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Owens Christian Academy: A Stimulating Educational Experience for Youth in a Christian Environment
2/5/2014 3:41:48 PM

Angenita Owens

Owens Christian Academy is a private, faith- based school in North Charleston located near Spruill and Cosgrove Avenue. It serves as a positive, educational alternative to all children in the Charleston community and surrounding areas. 

We believe children vary greatly in regard to their styles of learning. We strive to stimulate learning both in and out of the classroom. Owens Christian Academy provides a Christian environment for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders.

Mrs. Angenita Owens was a teacher in the public school system of Charleston County for more than 10 years. She was highly respected and regarded during her time there. However, Mrs. Owens had a burning desire to do more than what the school district’s curriculum allowed. She began having visions of owning a school someday. She shared this vision with friends like Ms. Odessa Bradford, who was working in the kindergarten class at Mary Ford Elementary School at the time. Ms. Bradford encouraged her to pursue the dream of owning a school and committed to be of assistance once she retired.

Inspired by Marva Collins, who founded Westside Preparatory School in Chicago; Mrs. Owens left Charleston County and established Owens Christian Academy in 1999, serving five students in the dining and living rooms of her home. We all know that beside every good woman is a good man.

Her husband, Sheldon, offered his full support in the pursuit of her dream. While interviewing parents and friends for this historical rendition, I kept asking the quintessential question-“How does someone convince you to allow them to teach your child in their home?” Well, the resounding responses were, “why not?” and “we knew how highly qualified she was”. It was as though I had asked a question that never crossed their minds.

One student actually relocated to Charleston from Georgia in order to attend Mrs. Owens home bound school program for one year.

Later, Ms. Bradford was the first employee to join and assist with the children. Because of the small group, field trips required parents to chaperone and drive the children wherever they needed to go. For one field trip a parent used their company van! This is just one example of the commitment parents had for the students. Mrs. Owens had a sleepover one weekend. The students had so much fun they didn’t want to go home the next day!

It was time for the school to relocate and Mrs. Owens sought the support of her family and dedicated parents. By way of doughnut sales and chicken dinners, parents raised $10,000 for playground equipment at the new facility. Her neighbor across the street was the contractor hired to perform the renovations. In 2003, the doors of Owens Christian Academy at 3377 Ridgeway St. were opened serving 12 students!

What I find amazing about this story is how God places people in your path at just the right time based on your needs. If Mrs. Owens didn’t work at Mary Ford she may have never had that conversation with Ms. Bradford about her frustrations with the district. Isn’t it amazing how the parents of those 5 students had faith enough in her ability to do what she said she would? Isn’t it amazing that the contractor lived across the street from where she lived? As the word spread about what this fascinating educator and her staff of highly qualified teachers was doing, enrollment soared. And now, after 10 years, OCA currently serves 80 students with an extensive waiting list.

Our students are so advanced that Mrs. Owens started a K-5/1st grade class to accommodate parents so their children could have a challenging curriculum as opposed to being “held back” in public school because of their age-not their ability to excel. We are so fortunate to have a visionary like Mrs. Owens at the helm of our children’s future.

We, the parents of Owens Christian Academy, salute you for a great 10 years and wish you continued success in your endeavor to produce future leaders!

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