On September 11, 2016, an audience of 30 visitors along with multiple staff members and students attended the dedication of Harbert Hills Academy’s first Girls’ Dorm.
The festivities began with Rural Life Foundation President, Steve Dickman, giving opening remarks that included a history of Harbert Hills which emphasized the pioneer spirit of the founders of Harbert Hills Academy. Several families were instrumental in coming to the area in 1952 including Lester and Geraldine Dickman, David and Gloria Patterson, Andy Rimmer, and Albert and Mabel Nielson. Those early pioneers chipped away at the forest to start a path to transform their written dreams, of starting a vocational school, into a reality. That dream has now grown into a ministry that includes a nursing home, radio station, bakery, elementary school, and boarding academy.
While the dream was taking shape, many buildings appeared on campus but a traditional Girls’ Dorm remained unfulfilled. In 2009 the push for donations and a firm decision to break ground for the Girls’ Dorm became a reality. In honor of the pioneers, rather than name the Girls’ Dorm after a single person or family, it is to be called “Pioneer Hall.”
Mr. Dickman acknowledged various ministry partners that helped raise funds toward the completion of the project which exceeded $1,000.000. Many individuals, ministries, and organizations contributed financially along the journey to finally get the doors open.
After Mr. Dickman’s opening remarks, Ensemble and Large Choir Director, Lita Supadi assembled a group consisting of several Harbert Hills students and staff to sing “Home.”
Pastor Bob Wint shared a few thoughts about how he should be recognized as the first person to break ground for the Girls’ Dorm, back in 1964 when he was a student clearing trees and stumps. He reminisced about how Lester Dickman wanted to build a Girls’ Dorm year after year but some other item always took precedence. He also spoke about how he wished that a Girls’ Dorm could have been built during the years that he served as Principal of HHA. He encouraged the audience to rejoice in what we have now. He asked that the students never forget that this building is a gift from God to them.
A representative from one of the ministry partners, Outpost Centers International, spoke about the confidence that his organization has in the planning and determination that HHA exhibits. He stated that multiple entities approach OCI for assistance with projects however most of them only have ideas. He expressed his appreciation for HHA’s solid planning that included the ability to complete the project. He said that OCI has used HHA as an example for other ministries as they consider bringing their projects to fruition.
Honored guest, Mrs. Geraldine Dickman, cut the ribbon to signify the dedication of Pioneer Hall. Mrs. Dickman was surrounded by her three children: Steve Dickman, Randy Dickman, and Pam Biggers.
The ceremony was capped off by inviting the guests to partake of refreshments and to tour the newly dedicated building.