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Presbyterian Weekday School in Black Mountain celebrates 30th year of educating 68 pre-school children with the philosophy of challenge, learn and grow.

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Presbyterian Weekday School in Black Mountain is celebrating 30 years of teaching pre-school age children.

Alice Patton, director of the Weekday School since 2004, guides the school in fulfilling its mission statement to "combine Christian faith with the highest standards in early childhood education." She replaced Pat Tuttle who served as director from 1987-2004.

The Weekday School has been a vital part of the Black Mountain community since 1984 when Mary Sutton was its first director. Since then more than 1,500 students have been through the school.

"Many local parents went through Weekday School, and now their children are attending," Patton said. "We enjoy being part of and serving the local community. Our students do a lot of mission work. We conduct a major food drive every November and donate some 500 food items to Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry.

"We send hats, gloves, pajamas and underwear to fill Christmas boxes for children served by Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry. Our children send books to children in Malaya (a set of states on the Malay Peninsula) and to schools and libraries in Guatemala that David LaMotte helped start. We get pictures back from the children."

Patton was a teacher and a parent with children attending Weekday School before she became the director.

"I've seen a lot of changes, especially in the size of the physical facility," she said. "We used to have 36 students and now there are 68, and we are at capacity. We have 10 teachers who hold college degrees in early childhood development and related fields, and the assistants have early childhood credentials. All of us train more every year. We try to stay on the cutting edge of education and have the highest learning standards. A favorite motto is to challenge, learn and grow."

In an event to symbolize new beginnings and also celebrate the 30th year of the school, the Weekday School students recently released butterflies that they had raised. Their T-shirts carried the slogan "Playing, Learning, Growing Together."

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