BELDEN, Miss. (WTVA) - Elise Black teaches second grade at Tupelo Christian Preparatory School.
She has taught at the school for the past 24 years, starting here just one year after the school opened.
Black said, "My very first year was a real shocker. I had exactly nine children. I had come away from a school that had 32 kindergarten students there. Nine children was just amazing to me."
Back then, TCPS was housed at what's now Hope Church on McCullough Boulevard.
Over time the school grew and it was moved to its current location on Belden Endville Road.
There's a recently added baseball field that sits beside the football field.
All classes were originally in one building, which currently houses the elementary school.
Elementary Principal Ronnie Gholston said, "When we first came out, we were kindergarten through sixth grade. The sixth graders at that time were told they would graduate from TCPS. We've added a grade each year to get us to the point now where we have seniors walking out the door. It's a blessing to see our high school develop. It's amazing to see what God has done."
It's that ability to focus on both education and religion in the classroom that teachers like Elise Black say brought her here and have kept her here all these years.
Black said, "I kept searching for answers as to what more I could do for my children. These past 24 years I've had the opportunity to teach God and his truths to many children."
It's an educational experience leaders here say they hope will mean continued growth for this school that's been 25 years in the making.