History

Dublin, New Hampshire—rugged Mount Monadnock, lush woodland, a sparkling lake, picturesque estates—had become a summer retreat for many New England blue-bloods. Its Currier and Ives atmosphere and quiet lifestyle, far away from business and social pressures, appealed to wealthy industrialist F. Nelson Blount and his family. Dublin seemed like the perfect escape from the social whirl of aristocratic Barrington, Rhode Island. The red and white buildings of Staghead Farm afforded a peaceful hideaway to shelter his children from the vain existence of so many of their elite friends. So in 1954, the Blount family moved to New Hampshire to begin a new life in the country. ​To outside observers, it seemed that Nelson Blount had everything a man could want. Everyone knew how he made his first million dollars before he was age thirty; the reputation of his farm as one of the largest maple syrup producers in southern New Hampshire; the legendary stories of his big-game hunting, deep-sea fishing and flying adventures; and his favorite passion—steam locomotives. His collection of more than fifty steam engines was eventually displayed in his Vermont museum, Steamtown, U.S.A. and at Edaville Railroad in Carver, Massachusetts. 

Yet deep within his heart was a void that could not be filled by fame or fortune. The peace of mind he sought was not to be found in the world religions he studied. But the answer came in 1962. Through the persistent witness of a Christian businessman, Nelson Blount came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. Immediate and dramatic changes took place in his life. As a new Christian, he enthusiastically shared his testimony with family and friends, many of whom were saved as a result. Soon the Blounts and a small group of believers were burdened by the need of Christian education for their children; But Christian schools were scarce in the early 60’s. Prayerfully, Nelson and Ruth Blount came to the decision to give their 1000-acre farm for the establishment of a Christian boarding school. 

The next hurdle was the right leadership for the school. When Florida pastor Mel Moody received a call from Dr. Arthur Fish of Christian Schools, Inc., he admitted that starting a Christian school was the “farthest thing from my mind.” But after two months of prayerful consideration, he agreed to move to New Hampshire as the director of the new school, with his brother Leon Moody coming as principal. The two Moody families left Panama City, Florida and arrived at Staghead Farm, sight unseen, in June of 1964. To prepare for the opening of a school in three months’ time would be a monumental task under the best of circumstances. For, although the property had been donated, the estate was still a working farm in every respect. The Blount family still occupied the main house, awaiting the completion of their new home on the hill. There was no housing available for the families—no classrooms—no faculty, staff or students—no dormitory furniture or kitchen equipment—and no money to operate a school. Doubt, discouragement, and determination characterized those early days. But there was a constant reassurance that what God had ordered He would supply. On September 8, 1964, with borrowed furnishings and a staff of ten, Dublin Christian Academy opened its doors to the first twenty-eight students, grades 9-12, from all six New England states. The transformation had begun. 

The original nineteen-room farmhouse, built in 1778, housed a girls’ dormitory, kitchen and dining room, and offices. The horse stable was converted into a boys’ dormitory which has since become a girls’ dormitory; the pig pen into a snack shop; the hayloft into a 5000-volume library; and the cattle barn into classrooms, a science lab, and a 325-seat auditorium. The chauffeur’s house, gardener’s cottage and guesthouse of the original estate are now faculty homes. The only new building that has been constructed is a boys’ dormitory. Nelson Blount never saw the complete fulfillment of his dream. Just three years after the opening of Dublin Christian Academy, he was killed in a tragic airplane crash while flying home from Steamtown. Over the years, more than 900 students have completed their high school years at Dublin Christian Academy and gone on to serve the Lord in all avenues of life. In the continuing transformation of farm to school and young people to Christian leaders, Nelson and Ruth Blount will always have a part. 

DCA marked its 30th year in 1994. It was a great milestone for Christian education in New England. But for those who knew and loved Mr. Mel, 1994 is remembered for a very different reason. In April of that year, God unexpectedly called him home to be with Him. Leon assumed the role of President, and Kevin filled Leon’s position as principal. Mrs. Mel carried on faithfully as a teacher, counselor and mentor until, 5 years later; she also went home to be with the Lord. In 2004, Leon and Barbara Moody officially “retired” after 40 years of faithful service to the Lord and Dublin Christian Academy. After Mr. Leon’s retirement, Kevin was named President & Principal with others coming alongside to help with the ministry. Leon and Barb’s son Eric had joined DCA in 1994, and his role grew over the years from dorm supervisor, coach, and athletic director to Dean of Students. In 2010, Kevin began experiencing unexplained health issues, he was diagnosed with cancer and kidney failure, and later underwent a kidney transplant. While Kevin underwent chemotherapy and regular dialysis, Eric assumed the role of Director of Operations. During this same time, DCA transitioned from a boarding school to a day school while continuing with some boarding students. The decline in Christian education and the economy played a big part in declining enrollment with the board holding a special meeting in 2013 to consider closing DCA. 

With some restructuring, much prayer, and God’s provision, DCA continued into its 50th year of operation and celebrated with more than 300 alumni for a DCA special gathering in 2014. Dean Setzler joined the administration and was named the Academic Dean overseeing all educational aspects of the school. In 2015, Eric was named Head of School with Kevin becoming the Director of Development. Along with enrollment improving each year and more increased fundraising, DCA has been able to make improvements in the facilities in recent years, including a major bathroom/hallway renovation in the classroom building, classroom building security upgrades, and the conversion of the library into a 21st century Learning Commons. DCA has also begun working with educational agencies to host ESL (English as a Second Language) camps as well as start summer soccer and fine arts camps.

DCA is an independent, nonprofit corporation. Its 8-member board of directors includes the school’s current Head of School Eric Moody, son of Leon, and its Director of Development Kevin Moody, son of Mel. Currently, those other men are Christian businessmen and a local pastor who support Christian education. Approved by New Hampshire’s Department of Education, the Academy is a member of the New Hampshire, New England, and American Associations of Christian Schools.