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New Perspectives - Sept, 2000 Issue #73 

Freedom Mountain Academy
Mountain City, Tennessee
Keven Cullinane

Keven and Patricia Cullinane are announcing the opening of a new program, Freedom Mountain Academy (FMA). In some ways FMA is built on the foundation of their earlier school, called The Academy of the Rockies, which they operated for ten years during the 1970s. Actually, FMA’s main lodge has been built in large part by volunteer labor cheerfully supplied by alumni of the Academy of the Rockies. When the Cullinanes sold the Academy of the Rockies, the property was developed into CEDU’s Rocky Mountain Academy, in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Keven and Patricia later helped develop the Carden Academy of Basic Education, in California, which is currently operating quite successfully.

Now the Cullinanes are ready to open Freedom Mountain Academy, as a work/study/adventure program, whose primary mission is to “vigorously exercise our inherent powers of reflective thinking. A close second mission is to induce within students a profound sense of awe for the intricate miracle of life; an awe-struck love for our endowment of human time, intelligence, and energy; and a deep commitment to avoid human actions which degrade one’s Creator-endowed gifts, and to employ them instead by participation in God’s evolving development of refined human nature. The resultant strengthening of self-respect arising from this participation further enhances a student’s ability to resist the temptation to compromise principles in the pursuit of peer group popularity.”

The work/study/adventure program basically involves almost five hours of study each day, with the first class beginning at 6:15AM. The classes are interspersed with meals and chores. The students will also do about four hours of farm work, which includes building fences, sheds, etc., farm maintenance, care and feeding of livestock, woodlot management, and gardening, as well as a variety of chores. To complete the mountaineering adventure part of the curriculum, students spend a total of fifty days (5-7 days per month) in the mountains receiving instruction in terrain navigation (how to navigate the hills with or without map and compass), wilderness survival, campfire cookery, field first aid, and mountain search-and-rescue. When they are not “in the hills,” their academic program will be conducted six days a week.

Students will be able to attend Freedom Mountain Academy for only one year, so they feel it is important to choose the most appropriate time to attend. They believe “maturity is a state of mind and definitely not a particular age, so students will range from high school sophomores to an occasional college sophomore (a mature 14 to age 20).” They observed that although students of all ages enjoyed the Academy of the Rockies, “the older students generally showed a greater understanding and appreciation of its unique academic program.” Freedom Mountain Academy is located within the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, a few miles east of the Great Smokies portion of the Appalachian Trail, and a few miles east of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

They are currently appealing to alumni and friends of the Academy of the Rockies to help them find “a select group of seven to ten students for our first year. For this group we are scaling back our annual tuition… In order to qualify for this substantial reduction, a student must be mature, able to socialize easily, possess a good work ethic and have a sincere desire to come to a school with our specific program. These students will serve as our ‘pilot class’ as we search out suitable expedition routes and camp sites for subsequent classes, and in other ways adapt the “work/study/adventure” curriculum and methods of Academy of the Rockies to Freedom Mountain Academy….We believe the inspiring example of AR alumni from across the country donating time to help build an academy like the one from which they head benefited, speaks well of the FMA advantages awaiting today’s teenagers.”

Copyright © 2000, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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