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School attributes anti-bullying setting for student success

Hidden Treasure Christian School wants to make mission more visible
Hidden Treasure Christian School was formed in 1981 as haven from bullying for the founder's daughter with special needs
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 8:00 PM EDT
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TAYLORS, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - When John Vaughn, then a minister at Faith Baptist Church, started Hidden Treasure Christian School, he had his daughter’s best interests in mind.

“My dad didn’t want me in the public school system because other children would make fun of me and I would not learn about God,” Becky Vaughn told FOX Carolina.

On May 20, 1978, a house fire left Vaughn with third-degree burns on 95 percent of her body. Her mother, Brenda Vaughn, also survived the fire with third-degree burns to 65 percent of her body.

Not only did the pastor want a bully-free and academically-fulfilling education for his daughter but also one that would instill Christian values. Vaughn said she is grateful for the education she received.

“It helped me to have a biblical perspective to know that God had a purpose and a plan for my life,” Vaughn said.

When the school opened in 1981, its only two students were Vaughn and a 13-year-old girl with Down Syndrome. The next year, enrollment doubled and then kept growing in subsequent years. Today there are 60 students at the school - each diagnosed with a special need that may be physical, emotional, mental, intellectual or a combination of any of these.

“Bullying has not been an issue here and we pray it never will be,” Dr. Carl Herbster, Hidden Treasure Administrator, told FOX Carolina. “We’re here to help parents raise their children in a way that would accomplish the greatest potential for that young person.”

Hidden Treasure customizes each student’s curriculum to fit individual needs. The low student-to-teacher ratio and special attention given to each pupil’s learning process have led families from other states to choose Hidden Treasure.

Veronica Smith moved from Atlanta. After touring the school, she realized that Hidden Treasure would be the best place for her 16-year-old daughter, Teagan, who is considered low-verbal.

“I love the school,” Smith said. “Her reading has improved. Her math has improved. Her writing has improved. Her confidence in herself has improved.”

The yearly tuition at Hidden Treasure is $21,000. As a private school, it does not receive any state or federal funding. The school raises money for scholarships so families aren’t excluded due to financial need.

“We don’t want (Hidden Treasure) as a ministry be a hidden treasure,” Herbster said. “We want to develop the hidden treasure in every young person that comes to us.”