Posted by: L. E. Barnes | May 8, 2010

Nicholas Sparks’s Other Passion

Nicholar Sparks, author of such bestselling novels as The Notebook and The Last Song, was interviewed on The 700 Club this week and shared about his other passion: education. Did you know that he used his own money to found a preparatory school? It’s called The Epiphany School–and I’ll admit that I envy those students for the quality of the education they’re getting. (Would to God that all Christian schools were of that caliber.) And of course, as a burgeoning writer, I envy Sparks’s success at writing! Here’s a portion of the news story:

Success has allowed Sparks and his wife Kathy to build the house of their dreams along the Trent River here in New Bern. It’s also allowed them to give their five children an education second to none.

With only one high school in town and a 40 percent drop-out rate, public school was not an option for their kids. So several years ago, Sparks and his wife invested $10 million of their own money to start The Epiphany School – a private Christian school for grades 5-12. The school is open to all faiths.

“Yes, we say we are open,” Sparks explained of the school’s inclusiveness. “However, we expect everyone here to live their lives in agreement with the greatest of all the commandments, which is ‘love God and love your neighbor as yourself.’ And it just creates a very inclusive school.”

“It was kind of a whim at first – let’s make our own school,” Kathy, Nicholas’ wife, added. “Turned into 240 kids…and it’s just great to see all the kids blossom and they’re doing so well.”

Here at The Epiphany School students not only receive a top-notch college-prep education, but are also encouraged to discover their God-given gifts and talents.

“Each student is wrapped up in a package by God,” Matt Buckwalter, Epiphany’s middle school director, said. “And when they come in the doors, it’s our job as teachers to create an environment and begin to help them open up those packages and find out where their gifts are.”

There is also a huge emphasis on learning by seeing first-hand.
“For instance, the students would learn about the Holocaust, Sparks explained. “My son, he’s a sophomore, read the diary of Anne Frank just like all the other high schools.”

“Well today, my son is getting on a plane, he’s flying to Poland, Checkoslovakia, Hungary,” he said. “He’s going to actually go to Auschwitz. He’s going to go to the Jewish quarter in Krakow, he’s going to go to Burkanow in Checkoslovakia. He’s actually going to see these places that he read about.

“And we try to do this at a very low cost for the students,” he said. “So if you come in as a freshman, by the time you graduate you will have visited 23 countries on six continents and spent 213 days abroad.”  

Students also take turns leading prayers in class. And, of course, writing is very important here.

“So every class, every class, every test has a writing component, even your math test,” Sparks said.

Read the full story or watch the video of it here.


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