Mennonite Bible Academy (Beatrice, Nebraska, USA)
A keen interest in education among the early Mennonites who came to Beatrice was first expressed by classes taught in private homes. In 1881 the first classes were taught by Helene Hamm, and later Mrs. William Penner. After Johannes K. Penner, an able minister and teacher, arrived in Beatrice in 1888, classes grew too large for his home. Recognizing the need for additional room and for instruction in the English language, the congregation built a two-room schoolhouse near "Onkel Lehrer" Penner's home three and one-half miles (6 km) west of Beatrice, and one-half mile (1 km) east of the First Mennonite Church, and hired an additional instructor. This school provided half-day instruction alternating between German and English. In later years the school was changed into a two-year course offering a fully accredited ninth grade plus Bible and other church-related subjects. Since students came only from the two local Mennonite churches, the attendance was small. In 1948 the accredited high-school subjects were dropped and a one-year course in Bible and other church-related subjects was offered. The school was closed for one year in 1950. When it later became clear that Nebraska state law prevented young people from being taken out of school for a year before continuing their high-school studies, the school was not reopened. The two-room, two-story frame building was dismantled in 1954 and the lumber sold at auction. Investigations were made of the possibilities of opening a parochial elementary grade school. Problems of transportation, cost, and possible attitude of non-Mennonite neighbors if children were taken out of the small country schools, and the difficulty of competing with superior facilities of the Beatrice public schools were factors to be considered before a parochial elementary grade school could be established. Public school consolidation was also a factor to be taken into consideration.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 589. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Friesen, Jacob T. "Mennonite Bible Academy (Beatrice, Nebraska, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M463713.html.
APA style: Friesen, Jacob T. (1957). Mennonite Bible Academy (Beatrice, Nebraska, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M463713.html.