York Bible School
York used funds he received from the movie Sergeant York to promote education and his religious convictions through creation of an interdenominational Bible School. The facility would train song leaders, Sunday School teachers, lay ministers and others as well as offer formal Vacation Bible School curricula. The elegant structure, constructed of wood and stone from the immediate vicinity, had a sanctuary, classrooms and office space. The facility operated for about a year before it was closed at the outbreak of WWII.
York's crowning educational achievement was the establishment of York Institute in Jamestown and the construction of the stately building now listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which has also deemed the building to be of national significance.
A pamphlet issued in 1926 stated "...it will be the aim of the Institute to afford an opportunity for mature men and women to get an education, regardless of how backward they may be, and also to send out only such graduates as are prepared to succeed in the work the have chosen to do."
Possessing little education himself, York hired an assistant and tutor, Arthur Bushing, and became an accomplished, entertaining speaker, playing to packed houses throughout
the U.S., enticing the crowds with the re-creation of his role in the battle on Oct 8, 1918, and ending with a plea for support of the York Institute. The building opened in 1929 and was abandoned in 1979 for a newer structure, which is still operated as the only state-owned high school in Tennessee, having been relinquished to the state in 1937 after York's many political and financial battles to keep it open. Sgt. York presided over every graduation ceremony until his stroke in 1954 and continued to make regular visits to the school into the late 1950s, until he grew too frail.