by Jon Dalrymple
COEUR D'ALENE, Wash., May 1, 2010 - Lake City Junior Academy celebrated its 100th anniversary on May 1, 2010 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The centennial celebration weekend featured a Sabbath worship service conducted by eight former principals, a historic presentation, tours of former and future campuses, a music vespers, and a reminiscing story time.
"An event like this is reassuring because it tells us that our mission is alive," says Ray Cummings, a teacher and former principal who has worked at LCJA for at total of 23 years. "We see it well in the students when they come back because of how they have grown in their spirituality and bonded with the church. The Christian friendships they form, in their teen years especially, are so important for this."
The century old Seventh-day Adventist school has been through a depression, war, fire, and many other challenges in it's North Idaho community. "But it comes out stronger each time," said Alan Sather, the current principal of LCJA, "hearing how the Lord has lead in the past is a real blessing because you realize that He will continue to lead in the future."
The 10 grade school began operating in the fall of 1909 just two years after the first Seventh-day Adventist church was founded in Coeur d'Alene. Classes began in the back of the church and since then have been conducted in four different buildings in Coeur d'Alene.
"We had no playing field," said Helen Boyes, who started at LCJA in 1929, "when we played volleyball one team stood on the sidewalk on one side of the net, and the other team stood in the street. But going to a Christian school is important. You see the difference in some of the ones my age who didn't attend a Christian school."
Currently 140 students attend classes in a facility that was purchased in the 1950s and added on to in 1978. Planning is underway for a new modern campus on a 40 acre site the school has purchased for the next generation of Lake City Junior Academy students.
"The teachers at this school taught me so much," said Heidi Pennock, who attended LCJA from first through ninth grade, "and now that I am a teacher myself at an Adventist school in California, they continue to help me and have become dear friends.
"One of my teachers in particular, who I had for four years, was the best teacher I have had in my entire education. She brought me to who I really was as a person, helped me have the confidence in who I was meant to be as I grew up," says Pennock. "When I went to Walla Walla College we learned about thematic teaching, whole language, and cooperative groups as if it was a new thing, but that was the teaching I got when I was in third grade."
"I can't say enough good about the school," said Bonnie Henneberg, a parent who sent her two boys through LCJA all their growing up years. "You want your kids to learn spiritual values. And it made me happy to walk by their bedroom in the evenings and see them reading their Bible. It's what you pray for."
"I liked being in a small school because you get really close to all the teachers and other kids," said Olivia Zahare, who finished the 10th grade at LCJA last year and went on to Upper Columbia Academy this year. "I have never been to a public school, so I can't really compare, but like nobody is exclusive here, we are all a bunch of friends."
"What makes LCJA really special is the people who support the school," says Twyla Brown, who was principal of the school from 2002 to 2006 and also attended LCJA from second grade through 9th grade. "These people have a passion for Christian Education. When challenges come up they press together and work through it. They believe Jesus is coming again. That's what drives people to keep supporting this school."