Northpoint celebrates half-century of Christian education
Gladys Busby has been such a part of Christian education for 50 years. She was one of the first teachers when the Southern Baptist Education Center, or SBEC, first started classes in 1974. Busby taught second grade and on two different occasions became the school principal during periods when SBEC moved from one administrator to another.
She might have been among the teachers who moved chairs and desks around when classes were held at Broadway Baptist Church and Graceland Baptist Church.
But the now nearly 94-year old Gladys Busby has always been there for SBEC and what is now Northpoint Christian School. The road used to enter the campus is named Gladys Busby Boulevard, in fact.
And Busby was there again Saturday, as the school of just over 1,000 students celebrated its 50th birthday during a celebration on its campus during what Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite declared in a proclamation as Northpoint Christian School Day.
“Busby was part of the first staff,” Head of School Jim Ferguson said. “She ordered books and she purchased books and delivered books to classrooms.”
It was a group of 10 Southern Baptist churches that in 1972 came together and decided to start a school in the Whitehaven part of Memphis. A site was located and purchased, and on April 1, 1973, ground was broken for a building near the corner of Tulane and Holmes Road. That building was acquired by Memphis City Schools, and what is now Memphis Shelby County Schools has retained possession of it.
But as differences between the churches that included finances came about, the 10 churches became eight, to five, and finally in 1978, Broadway Baptist pastor Dr. Bobby Moore came forward to commit his church to total responsibility of SBEC.
With a change in the demographics of Whitehaven leading to a drop in enrollment, SBEC started looking for a new location for the school and the 61 acres on Getwell Road where the campus is now located was acquired in 1986 and classes started there two years later.
School officials began looking into a name change in 2012-2013 and in 2014 the congregation of Broadway Baptist approved the change to Northpoint Christian School.
Ferguson, who was an administrator in the DeSoto County School District and was in public school education for 26 years, became the Head of School for Northpoint in 2017, a position he has held ever since.
“I spent 26 years in public school and I loved every minute of it,” Ferguson said. “I was very grateful when the Lord led me to serve at Northpoint. I’ve often said that it feels like my professional and personal life merged on one path, where I get to come to work and serve my faith and lead in a way that I can be open about it.”
Ferguson said the birthday party, which included face painting, bounce houses, the Northpoint band and praise team, along with a hall of remembrances from past years, and of course, birthday cake, was important to have as a Northpoint “family” event.
“This just seemed right to have an opportunity for our families to come together as one and celebrate,” Ferguson said.
Today, 700 families from all across the Mid-South have children attending classes at Northpoint Christian School.
“It’s just been an incredible commitment to the Lord, ultimately it’s the Lord’s provision, how He’s provided and protected who we are and what we do,” Ferguson said. “We’re going to continue pressing forward to do what God’s called us to do.”
Today, Northpoint Christian School continues its commitment to college preparatory primary and secondary education while remaining true to a faith-based environment that school officials stress helps students find what they call the students’ “True North.”