Hillman Christian Academy opens this month; open house tonight
HILLMAN — A new Christian school will start classes on Monday, Aug. 29 in Hillman.
Hillman Christian Academy will serve students in kindergarten through eighth grade, with a Bible-based, individualized learning environment.
School Administrator Sally Petrik established the academy under the nonprofit name, Hillman Christian Family. The school is overseen by a board of eight people, she said.
As part of Hillman’s Victory Over Japan Day (V-J Day) celebration, Hillman Christian Academy will host a open house from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at 331 W. 3rd St., in the former Free Methodist Church building. The event will feature live music, refreshments, a live auction, a 50/50 drawing, and raffles. Proceeds will benefit the school.
The academy will have a more individualized learning model than most schools, Petrik said, allowing each student to learn at their own pace. And there will not be homework, unless there are special circumstances that warrant catching up at home.
Petrik is a licensed administrator in the state of Michigan. She has worked in various public school systems, including Hillman, Grayling, Fairview, and Rogers City.
“Years ago, I taught school,” Petrik said.
She taught at several parochial schools, including Lutheran schools in Royston and Rogers City.
She is an engineer and lived and worked in Arizona before coming to Hillman to take care of her aging parents, and her husband’s parents.
“We have family here,” she said.
She grew up in Milford, but summered in Hillman, where her grandparents lived.
“So, I came back and I volunteered,” she said, at Hillman Community Schools. “I thought, ‘What can I do?’ Because God has called me here, and I’m taking care of everybody. So, I volunteered at the school.”
Petrik’s background is a process improvement engineer.
“I was working with a company that accredited schools in the state of Michigan,” she said. “So, that gave me insight into all sorts of schools.”
Petrik has written several books and led conferences on process improvement in education. Her books are available on Amazon.
“I was home one day, last summer, and I was reading my Bible in the morning, and I thought, ‘Lord, just let me know when the time is right, because I don’t want to open a school if it’s not what you want,'” Petrik said. “And now is the right time. So, I started the whole process.”
The school has tuition of $800 per student per year, which is much lower than most private schools, Petrik said.
“This is going to be a different school,” she explained. “We’re going to use lean principles, so we can be much more cost effective. I know it works. I did it in Rogers City … I know this method works. I’m out of the box.”
Petrik said with God, all things are possible.
“He’s been guiding us every step of the way,” Petrik said. “It’s a tremendous journey, but we’ve been so blessed … The whole community stepped up.”
To learn more, email HillmanChristianFamily@gmail.com, call 480-895-0627, or visit hillmanchristianfamily.com/hillman-christian-academy.