The History of (Boody) Decatur East Park Baptist Academy
Decatur (population 81,860) is located in central Illinois about 30 miles east of Springfield. The city is named after Stephen Decatur, naval war hero of the War of 1812. It It is the county seat of Macon County and is located in the center of the county. Decatur is nicknamed “The Pride of the Prairie” and has its own airport. Milikin University and Richland Community College claim Decatur as their home. According to www.mapquest.com the following roadways lead to and from Decatur; Interstate Highway 72, U.S. Routes 51 and 36, Illinois Routes 48, 105, and 121. The following waterways flow into Decatur; the Sangamon River, Finley Creek, Big Creek, Long Creek, Stevens Creek, Spring Creek, and Sand Creek. The following railroads also own tracks that are laid through the town of Decatur; Illinois Central Gulf, Norfolk & Western, Baltimore & Ohio, I.t., and I.c. The city is also home to a nice lake in Lake Decatur.
An article was found on the internet which provided a historical overview of the creation of Decatur East Park Baptist Academy which was located in Boody. The article was compiled by the Oral History Office of Sangamon State University in Springfield. It can be viewed in its entirety at the web address of http://www.uis.edu/archives/memoirs/EASTPARK.pdf .
In summary, the article states the following:
East Park Baptist Academy was started as a kindergarten class in the Decatur East Park Baptist Church in 1970. Each year classes were added until all grades, from kindergarten through 12th grade, were added. Due to the growing student population, the school was no longer able to be housed at the church facility in Decatur.
In 1976-77 the school opened up all classes in the former grade school building of Boody, Illinois. That was, in fact, the first graduating senior class as well, the Class of 1977. East Park Baptist Academy High School flouished over the next 10 years. In the early 1980s high school enrollment reached into the upper 60s for grades 9 – 12 with a graduating class high of 23 students in 1984. However the decline in enrollment in the lower grades was becoming a factor.
After reaching a high of 335 students for all grades in the early 1980s, the school had slipped to 115 total students in 1989. Reasons for the falling enrollment included some difficult economic times in the Decatur area. The seven students in the class of 1989 became the last of 13 classes to graduate from East Park Baptist Academy.
The East Park Baptist Academy school building, located in Boody, is now (in 2007) being used as a private residence.
(Boody) Decatur East Park Baptist Academy Quick Facts
Year Academy opened GS: 1970
Year HS courses begun: 1976
Year closed: 1989
East Park team nickname: the “Eagles”
East Park uniform colors: Red & White
School Fight Song: “Go Eagles”