From farm to campus

ALTERNATIVE HISTORY: The Pearl River Central Center for Alternative Education campus on Burgetown Road once was home to the St. Michael’s Farm for Boys.  Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

ALTERNATIVE HISTORY: The Pearl River Central Center for Alternative Education campus on Burgetown Road once was home to the St. Michael’s Farm for Boys.
Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

Before the property on Burgetown Road was home to Pearl River Central’s Center for Alternative School, it was home to St. Michael’s Farm for Boys. Both facilities were established with a similar goal of helping at-risk students.

John Houston, a member of the St. Michael’s Foundation board of directors and former interim director of St. Michael’s Farm for boys, said Father Victor Menard started the farm in 1954.

“It was designed to help adjudicated juvenile boys who were sent by the court for 2 years to be rehabilitated,” Houston said.

Houston said he has been involved in some way with St. Michael’s since 1955 and has been on the board of directors for about 30 years.

After Father Mernard died, the operations of St. Michael’s Farm for Boys was turned over to St. Francis Academy from Kansas, Houston said.

He said the boys did much of the construction on the buildings and the facility. Also, with the help of professionals, the boys living at the facility built the chapel, which still remains.

Houston said the chapel held daily services and Sunday service, which the boys attended.

The boys each had chores and were responsible for the upkeep of the grounds and the welfare of the farm animals, Houston said.

“It was a form of therapy and a way to teach the boys responsibility,” Houston said about the boys’ work with the animals.

When Pearl River County School District bought the campus in 2008, St. Michael’s Foundation decided to take the money from the sale of the campus and give back to the community.

Houston said the foundation provides scholarships for Pearl River Community College students and uses the funds to help individuals and the community as much as possible.

There were more success stories than failures at the school, Houston said. He said many of the students went on to college or served in the military and one student even got his doctorate degree.

“By and large the students that went through there were able to turn their lives around and become productive members of society,” Houston said.

SportsPlus

News

MDOT Announces Construction Updates for Pearl River County

News

City Council Meeting Recognizes Longtime Employee and Local Achievers

Columns

Then and Now: NASA Stennis Continues Frontline Support of Space Exploration

News

Pearl River County SPCA Announces Expansion of HOPE Thrift Store

News

PRC Graduate Wins Scholarship

News

Picayune Mayor’s Youth Council Selects 2024-2025 Members

News

BEAM Program Prepares for BEAD Challenge Process in Poplarville

News

Picayune Police Request Public Assistance to Locate Missing Teen

News

Body of boy recovered in waters behind Vinton Welcome Center

News

How a NASA Engineer Supports the Commercialization of Space

News

Carriere Teen Adleigh Fricke to Compete in Distinguished Young Woman Competition

News

Picayune Hosts 3rd Annual Independence Day Celebration

News

Wrong-Way Driver on I-59 Apprehended After Collision with Patrol Unit

News

City Council Attends MLL Award Ceremony, Honors Mayor’s Youth Council for City Spirit

News

Helena Hansen to Represent Pearl River County in Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition

News

MML Honors 2024 Municipal Excellence Awards Winners at Annual Conference

News

Pearl River County SPCA Launches “20K for 20K” Fundraiser

News

Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Makes Multiple Drug Arrests

News

Pearl River Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Production of Child Pornography

News

April Holifield Honored at 43rd Quilt Show & Competition

News

For Pearl River Hall of Fame inductee Nick Smith, Pearl River was the right place at the right time

News

Injured Army Veteran Receives Mortgage-Free Smart Home from Tunnel to Towers

News

Man Apprehended by Police K-9 Trea Following Traffic Stop

News

Chapel Hart Headlines Free Community Concert at Dobie Holden Stadium