"My feet have closely followed His steps...to keep His way without turning aside." 
Job 23:11

Welcome to Hope Academy. My name is Mara and it has been my privilege to be the director at Hope Academy for 21 years.  I was raised in Lexington, SC and graduated from USC with a degree in Elementary Education.  My husband spent nine years in the Air Force, and we enjoyed living in Florida, Delaware, Oklahoma, Germany, and Virginia before coming home to South Carolina.  My husband now works full time at McEntire Air National Guard Station.  During my time traveling with my husband I worked in daycares, YMCA after school programs/summer camps, and at a Christian preschool before coming to Hope Academy.  I started out as the teacher in the Two year old room, and then taught the Fours class for a year.  I took time off to have my last baby and came back to Hope Academy as the director.  My husband and I have been blessed with over 30 years of marriage, three boys ages 29, 26, and 24, and one girl age 21.
We want you and your children to find your home away from home here with us. Our primary goal here is to provide a nurturing, educational, Christian environment for your children. We are more than a babysitting service or daycare and stress early education with the A Beka curriculum in our Three's and Four's classes. We are continually making changes and upgrading to better suit you and your child's needs. I feel that your family and the staff here at Hope Academy have to work together as a team to raise our children.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to drop by the Academy or give us a call.
Mara Dunkin
Director of HOPE Academy
Our Mission
We exist to partner with our parents to provide quality Christian education which nurtures the development of the whole child.
Our History
When Dr. Dennis Letts began Rice Creek Baptist Church in January of 1996, it was his vision to make reaching children a vital part of the church ministry.  After meeting for four years in the Rice Creek Elementary School cafeteria, they began the search for land nearby.  The nearly 8 acre tract in the Summit Community had been set aside for a church.  Several churches had made offers to buy the tract to no avail.  Pastor Letts son, Michael Letts, informed the head of the planning group for the Summit  that Rice Creek Baptist Church was planning a daycare as their main ministry.  The Summit then agreed to sell the land to Rice Creek Baptist Church.  After the church was built and opened their doors in August 2000, they changed the name to Parkway Baptist Church and Academy.  Through the Lord's blessing, they quickly outgrew the original building and added the Infant and Toddler building in 2002 and a third building in 2008.  The third building was intended to hold the church offices, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and Afterschool room.  Pastor Letts was led by the Lord to step down as senior pastor in June of 2007 and the church promoted Trey Pruitt from associate to senior pastor.  After the third building was completed Parkway Baptist Church and Eastwood Baptist Church (located on Clemson Rd.) merged and created a new church, HOPE Baptist Church and Academy.  In 2017 Pastor Trey Pruitt resigned.  Tim Murr, our new Pastor arrived from PA in August 2019.  Through God's grace, HOPE Baptist Church and Academy continues to minister to the families in NE Columbia and help train up a child in the way that he should go.