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NACC to begin Courses at Moon Lake in Mentone this Fall

July 03, 2024

NACC President Dr. David Campbell (center) delivers remarks at the Mentone Moon Lake School during a press conference.

Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) has partnered with the town of Mentone, Alabama, to offer courses at Mentone’s Moon Lake School this fall. This announcement came on June 18 from NACC President Dr. David Campbell as a crowd gathered for the ribbon cutting of the sculpture garden in front of the campus.

Three years ago, students walked the halls of Moon Lake Elementary School in Mentone for what appeared to be the final time, following the county board of education’s decision to close the campus at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. This fall, the historic school will once again be a center of learning for Lookout Mountain and beyond.

“We are very excited about providing these courses at Moon Lake School in Mentone,” said President Dr. Campbell. “We are starting with courses that we think will be beneficial to traditional students and life-long learning community members as well. These courses include creative writing, music appreciation, vocal ensemble, and English 101.” Campbell credits Mayor Rob Hammond, his staff, and community leaders for “working very hard and cooperatively to accomplish this.”

The town and college began discussing the project in mid-spring. During this relatively short period, NACC has pursued the many approvals necessary to host classes on a site away from its main campus on the DeKalb/Jackson County line near Rainsville.

“Our staff has touched all the bases necessary in higher education to set up an off-site center, including those of the Southern Association of Schools Commission on Colleges, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, and our own system, the Alabama Community College System,” says Campbell. “All their regulations are being finalized.”

Meanwhile, the Town of Mentone converted the Bill Berry Community Room into two classrooms to accommodate NACC. These classrooms will be well-appointed. “We will equip our classrooms on the Moon Lake campus with the education technology that is used in higher education instruction, just as we do on our campus,” says Campbell.

The instructors will also be top-notch. Campbell says Dr. Kathy Adkins will teach a vocal ensemble class and music appreciation. She was part of the famed Forester Sisters, who charted five number-one hits and 15 total top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot Country charts in the 1980s and 1990s. The three-time Grammy-nominated group was named Group of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 1986. Adkins has taught extensively at elementary, high school, and college levels, and has received numerous awards for her service and leadership.

“Cindy Bowden, an experienced and very talented English instructor, will teach creative writing,” Campbell adds.

NACC’s presence on the Moon Lake campus will have a significant impact on this whole region, says Mentone Mayor Rob Hammond. “Moon Lake School was the heart of this town for so many years. It was a devastating blow when it closed, but look where we are now. This news proves that with hard work, faith, and dedication to improving our town, Mentone will always find a way to move forward.”

Dr. Bill Berry, a former Moon Lake student who served as principal of the school from 1994 to 2007, notes that “this partnership is an exciting continuation of the campus’s rich tradition of educational excellence. The vision of Dr. Campbell meshes perfectly with Moon Lake’s motto ‘Firmly planted, forward moving’ – and I see great learning opportunities ahead for the people of Mentone!”

Mentone has earned quite a reputation for cultivating, encouraging, and sustaining the arts. A popular place to visit, the town has been recognized for its artistic nature since its founding in the late 1800s. Mentone was recently named the best art town in Alabama by

While the announcement is big news for Mentone, Campbell is already looking ahead. “I can really see a great future with this partnership with the Mentone community,” he says. “We hope eventually to sponsor more in the arts, particularly with music concerts, theater presentations, and art shows, activities that are a great fit for the Mentone community. All this is contingent upon being able to secure the right venues, of course, but if we can reach that level, these activities would add some economic development to Mentone, which of course already is one of Alabama’s most popular towns to visit. As I said, we are excited!”


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