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Freedom Magazine, published by the Church of Scientology 
Clearwater Activists Help Spearhead
Worldwide Solution to Learning Challenges

Celebrities, education and government leaders convene to officially open new training facility in St. Louis

The new Applied Scholastics Spanish Lake campus opens.
Helping to open the doors of the new Applied Scholastics International headquarters in Spanish Lake, Missouri (above), were soul music legend Isaac Hayes, actress Anne Archer, U.S. Representative Lacy Clay and actress Jenna Elfman.
Isaac Hayes, Anne Archer, U.S. Representative Lacy Clay and Jenna Elfman
A long-time Clearwater resident and entrepreneur, Bennetta Slaughter is best known by many here as the woman who, in 1997, founded the Clearwater Community Volunteers (CCV). She was front-and-center in downtown development efforts as both the builder and leader of a 2,000-strong team of volunteers that has literally lit up the town with their many successful community projects over the past six years. (See article “Tight Team Zeroes In On Creating a Better Community,”)

On July 26, 2003, Slaughter’s name came to the attention of educators the world over as the Chief Executive Officer of an international teacher training facility that, for millions, means the difference between a dead-end future of failed dreams and dashed hopes and the realization of personal and professional goals and aspirations.

For Slaughter, the story leading up to this summer’s opening of that facility — the worldwide headquarters of Applied Scholastics International in Spanish Lake, Missouri — began just over a year ago at a meeting in the Fort Harrison Hotel in downtown Clearwater.  It unfolded with like-minded, determined spirits deciding to unite as a team to bring a new hope for failing education systems — and not just here in west Florida, but in every land.

That evening the group that now forms the core of Applied Scholastics International first learned of Spanish Lake, the former home for Catholic nuns purchased to house a model training facility for teachers to learn the basics of how to study for full comprehension and application — and how to teach others to do the same.

A Team is Born

CEO of APS Spanish Lake, Benetta SlaughterWith the goal of bringing the joy of learning to people of all ages internationally, Clearwater Community Volunteers founder Bennetta Slaughter (right) assembled a team of like- minded CCV pioneers to form the nucleus of Applied Scholastics International. Their new teacher training facility, in Slaughter’s words, “marks a new era in literacy and education.”
Always passionate about education, Slaughter has been a long-time supporter of the World Literacy Crusade, an international program to teach adults and children how to learn and read, based upon the educational methods of American humanitarian and writer, L. Ron Hubbard.  Recognizing the crying need for change in education and the potential of the proposed facility, Slaughter was the first to sign on.

Close behind her was Mary Adams, Clearwater resident and a native of St. Louis who had retired a few years earlier from a lifetime of teaching in both private and public schools. Like Slaughter, she too turned to her husband and said of the chance to bring effective learning to millions, “I want to do that!”

Assuming their posts as CEO and Senior Vice President for External Affairs respectively, Slaughter and Adams began building their faculty. To do so, they interviewed other like-minded Tampa Bay residents who wanted to make the move — and make a difference — in the field of education.

Soon to put their weight behind this endeavor were Sandy Adair, headmistress of the Delphi Academy on Drew Street in Clearwater at the time; Bonnie Paull, for four decades a community college professor; Mary Duda, a retired college professor with a doctorate in education; Pam Chipman, founder of Clearwater Academy International on Drew and Myrtle; and Clearwater Community Volunteers Betsy Roush, Jenna South, Katie Chamberlain, David Stubblefield, Leslie Stubblefield, Adrian Austin and Keri Lee.

From that point forward, the group rallied their resources to renovate the 120,000-square-foot historic landmark, create the curriculum, groom the surrounds and acquaint themselves with their new Midwestern neighbors.

Mary Adams summed up the mood of all those who stepped up to the plate: “Looking at the state of education today, each of us in our own way had said, ‘We have to be involved to ensure that all educators, all trainers, all tutors and all parents have this technology of how to study.’ And that was the inspiration.”


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