Walla Walla Valley Academy Celebrates 125 years of Adventist Education

by Katie Woolever

College Place, Wash., July 12, 2011 - To the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist message ... who have handed on to us the torch of truth — kindled again at such infinite cost," begins the dedication of the 1952 Walla Walla College Academy yearbook, the Delphian.

Milton Academy, founded in 1886, arose from the desire of area Adventists to establish quality Christian education in the valley. Milton Academy became Walla Walla College Academy in 1892 and is now known as Walla Walla Valley Academy. The academy, the oldest Adventist academy in the Northwest, is proudly celebrating and praising God for 125 years of transforming hearts and minds.

WWVA has become a commitment to many families. Alumni send their children who in turn send their children, and so a tradition is born. Last June, Lauren Prusia ('10) earned the distinction of being a fourth generation graduate of WWVA. She was preceded by her father Kenneth ('83), grandfather Charles ('57) and great-grandmother Darlene ('38). In fact, over the span of 72 years, a total of 14 Prusias (brothers, sisters, cousins and grandchildren) have become WWVA graduates. Occasionally, alumni even return to serve the school that saw them through their formative years. Currently one fourth of our faculty members are alumni.

Withstanding the test of time and generations, WWVA has moved ever onward in its journey to educate young people and deepen their relationship with the Savior. Herb Sweezey, senior, says, "Faculty and students have shown me God by being a spiritual family. You can bring your issues, saying ‘this is what I'm going through' and they will be there for you, encouraging you to do the right things, the things that are good to God."

Though WWVA has changed in name and location throughout the years, its mission has remained steadfast: To prepare our students for the Second Coming of Christ by instilling in each a love for God, for learning, for life and for service.

If only the founders of Adventist education in the Northwest could have foreseen the comprehensive K–16 educational system in the valley that has blossomed from their faith in the vision. The conclusion to the 1952 yearbook dedication says it best: "... may we be worthy of their sacrifice and devotion. As sons and daughters of a noble cause, we dedicate not only this poor book, but our lives to the realization of their hopes and dreams."