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College of the Ozarks Begins Program for K-6 Students

College of the Ozarks is a Point Lookout-based, four-year college where students can work their way through school (Photo
KSMU archives
College of the Ozarks is a Point Lookout-based, four-year college where students can work their way through school (Photo

A new wave of youth begin classes this week at School of the Ozarks, an extension of College of the Ozarks.

The Christian liberal-arts school in Point Lookout, dubbed Hard Work U, is known for providing free tuition to students in exchange for age-appropriate chores to help support them throughout enrollment. Beginning Thursday, 139 students age kindergarten to sixth grade will take part in the process.

“The same mission that the College of the Ozarks has [is the same for this new school], and that is to provide a quality Christian education to those young people found deserving.”

Elizabeth Andrew Hughes is the public relations director at C of O.

For the very young, tasks will include taking care of and keeping their own space tidy.  The older fifth through sixth graders will clean the school hallway, common area and wipe down tables after lunch time, says Hughes.

“Lower school is much different depending on the age range. They had personal interviews after reviewing the applications with the parents and the students and had one-on-one conversations with them,” Hughes said.

The new facility, S. Truett Cathy Lower School, is named in honor of the founder of the fast food chain Chick-fil-A, who Hughes says is a longtime friend of the college and advocate for education.

“The people familiar with the values of Mr. Cathy champion the same values as College of the Ozarks, which are Christ-like character, hard work, and a biblical world view.”

Darren Grem is an assistant professor of History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, and is currently writing a book entitled “Corporate Revivals: Big Business in the Making of the Evangelical Right.” He believes that the naming of this new school was a nod to those values that Chick-fil-A wants to instill in the coming generations in its own programs.

“[The program] teaches what Cathy and others see as core values of hard work, individualism, determination, devotion to family, and devotion to God and country,” Grem said.

Last year, Grem gave a lecture at Missouri State University entitled “Of Chicken Sandwiches and the Christian Right” which drew some 300 students.

C of O’s Elizabeth Hughes says there has been a lot of interest in the Lower School, so much so that there was only enough room for less than half of the applications it received.

College of the Ozarks was incorporated as The School of the Ozarks in 1906, and until the late-1950s operated a high school and grammar school.  The college reopened the high school in 2012.