Palmyra Christian Academy starting new year in new building

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Carter Townsend, left and Everett Crumrine, first graders at Palmyra Christian Academy, build on the lighted table on Thursday for a late-day activity. | Megan Duncan

PALMYRA, Mo. — Amanda Crumrine, founder and administrator at Palmyra Christian Academy, has always prayed God would close the doors to anything He doesn’t want for the school.

“He has just flung the doors open,” she said.

Doors are quite literally opening for the school, which will begin the new year in a new building. The school will move a few streets over from Palmyra Presbyterian Church at 222 W. Church to Palmyra United Methodist Church at 110 W. Olive.

The Palmyra Methodist Church building was bought at an auction in October by Darin and Danielle Heimer have two children enrolled at Palmyra Christian Academy. 

The Heimers are owners of Heimer Construction, which has been renovating the building since they bought it.

“They have really stepped up because they knew we were outgrowing this space. We had looked at it but as a small nonprofit, it just wasn’t in our budget,” Crumrine said. “It’s gone super fast.”

Crumrine expressed her gratitude to Palmyra Presbyterian Church for allowing the school to use the space.

Palmyra Christian Academy began in 2021 with elementary grades only and about 16 students. Through community requests, the school added a half-day of preschool and sixth and seventh grades. It now has 47 students enrolled. 

The new building will double their space and allow them to be preschool through 12th grade.  

“We were just going to have an elementary school, but we had a lot of community requests for older grades. We just want to fill the need for the community, so we decided to expand to 12th grade,” Crumrine said.

With specialized classes necessary for older grades, Crumrine said junior high — and soon high school students — use the homeschool curriculum from Abeka Academy.

“Thousands of students across the nation use it. They get their instruction from videos, and they have a classroom supervisor who assists them and administers tests and quizzes,” she said. “Then they participate in everything else with the school like music, gym class and lunch.”

Crumrine said they also encourage students to do dual enrollment with the public school district they live in. They take at least one class at a public school to participate in extracurriculars such as music or sports.

“We are planning to add some extracurriculars and clubs, but we also realize there are all different types of interests, so we want to encourage families that they can still do that, even if they attend private school,” she said. “Not all of our kids will want to do that, but it’s an option we want to make sure they still have.”

Crumrine said Palmyra Christian Academy is a midpoint between homeschooling and being at a larger school. Class sizes do not generally exceed 12 students with combined grade levels. This allows for more individualized attention.

“If a student struggles in an area, then we can have them do a different grade level in that subject so that we are not just passing them on when they don’t understand the information,” she said.

Crumrine said everyone should make school choices according to the needs and desires of their family. She started the school to provide a nondenominational option for families.

“I felt God leading me to open a private Christian school so that families in Northeast Missouri had an opportunity for their kids to have a solid academic education in a Christian environment,” she said. 

Crumrine has more than a decade of teaching under her belt. She has a master’s degree in education and taught for four years in the Quincy Public School District. She also served as the Adams County health educator and as the Madison Park Church early childhood director.

She said about 25 percent of students at Palmyra Christian Academy come from Hannibal, with other students coming from Palmyra, La Grange, New London and Quincy (Ill.).

Crumrine wants all children to feel welcome at Palmyra Christian Academy, no matter what church they attend — or even if they don’t go to church.  As a non-denominational school, Palmyra Christian Academy is not tied to any one church. The school is completely independent with no one funding them.

“We raise all of our money on our own, but we feel like that’s worth it because as independents, we can make the best choices for our students,” she said. 

Crumrine said Christ is at the center of everything they do. She said improving the reading skills of their students gives them a chance to edify their spirit.

“Reading is an easy way to just fill kids’ minds with what the Lord wants us to do,” she said. “There are Bible classes each day, so kids are learning the stories of the Bible — not just surface level but more in-depth. When you have kids five days a week, you can go so much deeper.”

For science, Crumrine said the school teaches from a Christian worldview — that God is the creator and the source of everything — which is important to most Christian families.

“Our parents are thankful that their kids are learning things in a school that aligns with their family values. The message they are hearing from their teachers are what they are learning from their parents,” she said. “The early formative years are just so important. That’s when they are forming their worldview of how they see life.”

Palmyra Christian Academy has nine staff members. Debbie Church teaches kindergarten and first grade and has been with the school from the beginning. 

Church was a teacher at Quincy Christian School until it closed in 2021. With tears in her eyes, she remembered a board meeting where they tried to find ways to keep the school open. 

Although she was heartbroken when the Quincy school closed, she is elated to have witnessed the growth at Palmyra Christian Academy.

“When I worked at Quincy Christian School, and it just kept going down with less and less kids, it was so sad,’ she said. “Being here and having more and more kids each year has just been really fun.”

Riley Fishback, a third grader. has been with the school since it began. She said her class memorized The Lord’s Prayer along with Psalm 23 to recite for the school play.

Scripture memorization is a big part of the education at the school. 

“I really like it here, and I hope they keep getting more grades,” Riley said with a grin.

Klementine Massey, a first grader, said her favorite part of attending Palmyra Christian Academy is her three favorite friends. She is excited for more students to join.

Crumrine looks forward to the school’s future. She said her orders come from above.

“This is God’s school, and we are just along for the ride,” she said.

To learn more about Palmyra Christian Academy, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

The school will move to the building at 110 West Olive, which once housed Palmyra Methodist Church. | Megan Duncan

Editors note: Corrections were made from a previous version of this story.

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