At Zama Baptist Church, some of those who worship every Sunday find themselves receiving spiritual lessons in the same setting they received their first formal education. The former Zama School now houses Zama Baptist Church.
Gerry Sanders, a resident of the Zama Community, was a student at Zama School and is among the weekly worshipers. He gave a recent tour of the building.
The church purchased the former Zama School building and following years of fund raising the process of converting the facility into a house of worship is in progress.
Inside the sanctuary, complete with its stained glass windows, there’s no indication that it was once a school. The pulpit, piano and choir area is the place where plays were given, speeches made, diplomas handed out, and other activities held.
“A work in progress” is Sanders’ description of the transformation that has been underway for about two and one-half years.
The effort is progressing with workers having completed renovation of a portion of the spacious school. Completion of the foyer, sanctuary, prayer room, Sunday School rooms, rest room, hallways and kitchen area has allowed the congregation to make the move.
First services, conducted by the pastor, Rev. John Ballard, were held in October.
Entry is made through double, leaded glass doors which open into a spacious foyer. A fountain and potted plants dominate this area leading to a second foyer from which entry is made into the prayer room on the right and the sanctuary on the left. To the right of the entry is a tastefully decorated room which was formerly used as office of the school principal.
One rest room has been completed which is located down the long hallway where school children once went to classes.
Many of the light fixtures are original to the building, constructed in the mid-1940s.
The kitchen and dining area are still in stages of completion.
The contribution of Floyd “Sonny” Sanders’ architectural expertise is evident throughout the completed areas. Sanders, a native of Zama and brother of Gerry, is a resident of Maryland and has been instrumental in the project.
The church building vacated by the congregation is within sight of the new house of worship just off Highway 19 in the Zama Community. Having once been school grounds is noted in the gymnasium and principal’s home which stand in states of dilapidation on the property.
According to a chapter in the “Kosciusko-Attala History,” Zama was a “boom town” for a number of years brought about with the timber business and the establishment of a saw mill. The town boasted a hotel, a depot, commissary, jail, bank, post office, YMCA building, school, and numerous other structures.
The two story school, building burned in 1949 and a modern facility was constructed on the same site. In 1965, the high school was closed and in 1968 the grammar school met the same fate and students were bused to other schools.
With a fighting spirit, Zama residents conducted a number of events to raise money to pay attorney fees in an effort to have the school reopened. The courts gave a favorable decision and the school reopened.
Children of the area continued their education through the eighth grade until closing in the early 1980s when enrollment declined to approximately 40 students.
School memories remain as the church offers weekly lessons in keeping the faith.
Open house is planned Dec. 8 and 10, beginning at 5 p.m. with a time of refreshments and fellowship.
Gerry Sanders is also holding open house on the same dates at his home located one mile from the church.
Zama Baptist Church holding services in former school house
The Nation’s Capitol: Ethel High School students see sites in Washington, D.C.
Usually students spend spring break in activities totally foreign to education – not so with a group of Ethel High School students. Although they did not attend classes, ten EHS students feel they furthered their education during the five days of spring break spent in Washington D.C.
May 23, 1963
When Mary Ellen Scarborough steps across the stage of the Kosciusko High School auditorium to receive her diploma on Friday evening, she will be the third child of Rev. and Mrs. Ben C. Scarborough to finish Kosciusko High with a perfect attendance record. Benjy, who finished KHS in 1959, will be graduating from Mississippi College on June 2. Jack, who finished KHS in 1961, graduated from Holmes Junior College on May 19. All three have been active in student, church, and community affairs and have been honor roll and dean’s list students.
Relay for Life raises funds
Attala County Relay for Life was held May 10 in the Attala County Coliseum due to threat of rain. The event raised approximately $60,0000. See the photos attached for more about the event.
Pioneer Day:Annual French Camp event provided activities for all ages
The historic district in French Camp, located adjacent to the Natchez Trace Parkway, was transformed into an area reminiscent of olden days.
May 16, 1963
The Redbud has been named as Kosciusko’s official tree and the rose as the official flower in a recent promotion of the Kosciusko Garden Club. The project was carried out by the garden club in connection with the Clean Up, Fix Up, Paint Up campaign now in progress. Among other trees suggested were magnolia, dogwood and pine. Running a close race with the rose was the iris, and the dahlia.
Elvis and a snake. . . Oh my!
Ethel’s 31st May Day brings out people for shopping, food and entertainment Saturday. Here are photos from the day's activties.
May 9, 1963
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Lacey have received notification from the South America Indian Mission that they have been accepted as missionaries. They have been assigned to the country of Bolivia where the mission has been working since 1926. Lacy is presently serving as the Director of Christian Education in the First Presbyterian Church in Kosciusko.
Long Creek holds motivational rally for upcoming state testing
More than 200 students and parents filled the Long Creek Elementary Gym in Sallis on May 2 for a pep rally to energize students for the upcoming state test.
Area native remembers her days as Senate page
Alice Faye Roberts Leslie, 95 year-old Weatherford, TX resident, made a recent trip to her native Mississippi and visited briefly in Attala and Leake Counties with relatives and reminisced about days of her youth.
Natchez Trace Festival photos
Check out these photos from the 44th Annual Natchez Trace Festival held in Downtown Kosciusko Saturday.
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