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Center Christian Academy New Facility Ribbon Cutting - November 21, 2014
Composed by J.J. Ford

Center Christian Academy celebrated a Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting at the school’s new facilities located at 2398 Highway 87 north of Center on Friday, November 21. Attending the ribbon cutting were Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, members of the community, family and friends.

During the welcoming of everyone to the new school, Dathan Triplett, Pastor and School Administrator, recognized Sis. Price, a staff member at the school, saying "This is our 30th year as a school and she has been here all thirty years!"

Price said,"It's been a blessing, it really has, and if I had a choice to do anything else with my life, I would not change it. This would be it. God knew where to put me and I've enjoyed every year of it."

Bro. Mark Green led the group in a prayer of dedication and thanksgiving for the facility. As a part of his prayer, Bro. Green said, "Every effort that you have seen to go into this place, we are asking you to bless, to magnify, God, to let Your will be done."

Pastor Triplett added a few words of thanks, "We do say a big thank you to the Lord, He has blessed us, watched over us, led us all of this way."

He then recognized Connie Belgard, wife of Dr. Mike Belgard, who donated the land to the school.

Triplett said, "We really had no money and really nothing but a dream. These people stepped up and made donations, and we are grateful. Also, for the people in the community, parents, grandparents, that came together, provided the funds, what you see, all came together through their donations. About 1.1 million in dollars was donated and cash and a lot in labor and love. So, we appreciate them."

Triplett went on to express appreciation to all the contractors, Bro. Brian Newman and his family, as well as, the Goodrum Family who represent the original contractor of the facility, David Rhoads, who passed away a year ago. When speaking about Rhoads, he said, "This is his vision; he helped lay this place out. He is the one who directed us on everything. We are grateful for him and his memory." He explained the flag polls out in front of the school were in his honor. Sean Danley, concrete contractor, installed the flag poles for the school. "We appreciate his vision that has brought us this far."

Recognition of all the contractors who helped bring the project to fruition was made by Triplett. He expressed his appreciation by saying, "We were treated fairly and well by each and every contractor and I think that is some of the blessings of the Lord. But it is a reflection of the community too that such quality people and good people with skills and talents are ready to help out."

Praise was give by Triplett to Vicki Tomlin and her family for time and support they always give. He then turned to James Glaser affectionately known as "Grandpa" who is the grandfather of Melonie Triplett. Glaser provided equipment for the project while fighting two forms of cancer during the construction. Triplett said, "He is 80 years old now and has done this for his entire life, build buildings, and just loved this project and sponsored it."

Meg Camp, Chamber of Commerce Ambassador President, then presented Pastor Triplett with a gift from the Ambassadors saying, "Thank you for building such a beautiful building to give the children a Christian education opportunity."

Prior to the ribbon cutting, Chief Purification Inc. presented Center Christian Academy with a check for $300. Chief Purification Inc. is a company based out of Mississippi and they provided the water filtration services for the school at the new facility. Grant Gatlin, CEO, presented a check to Pastor Triplett saying, "We are glad to do it; we are glad that we were able to do this."

Center Christian Academy exists to provide a quality educational experience with a Biblical worldview to the families of East Texas. The school currently has 70 students from grades PK3 through 12th grade and 13 staff members. The new school has seven classrooms, a kitchen, and gymnasium. Pastor Triplett is the Administrator and his wife, Melonie Triplett is the Principal.

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