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By Ginny Miller
Daily Journal

BELDEN - The $2.8 million high school at Tupelo Christian Preparatory School was formally dedicated Thursday to a man described by a longtime friend as "a spiritual giant."

"I want you students to know him and not just know him because his name is on this building," Grant Fox told the school's 400-plus students during a ceremony honoring Tupelo's Jake Mills, who died in 1999. "He was totally and absolutely committed to the cause of Christ in everything that he said and did."

Mills, a businessman who owned the J.P. Mills Oil Co., was a member of First Evangelical Church and helped establish TCPS. He and his wife, Jane, along with sons Chris and Steve, donated more than 40 acres on Endville Road so the school could move from the church to a building of its own.

"The Mills family have a passion to see Christian education be an option for families in Northeast Mississippi," said Steve Tybor, chairman of the TCPS board of trustees.

Jane Mills now lives in Florida but returned to Mississippi for the dedication. "He just felt that without a vision people perish, so it's special for me to see a vision he had several years ago come to fruition," she said, adding that TCPS was established "because we wanted children to have the opportunity to study from a Christian world view."

Also Thursday, school officials announced the immediate construction of eight classrooms. With the new space, the high school that now goes through 10th grade will add advanced placement courses next fall, Principal Brady Garrett said, adding that the first senior class will graduate in 2009.

The TCPS campus also includes an elementary building for grades K-6, with plans to add a physical education complex and performing arts center. In all, the school plans more than $8 million in growth over the next few years.

Contact Daily Journal education writer Ginny Miller at or 678-1582.  

Appeared originally in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 5/4/2007, section A , page 2

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