New Industrial Arts Technology Building at Harris Junior Academy

Smiles and cheers abounded Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009, at the long-awaited ribbon cutting ceremony for Harris Junior Academy’s newly dedicated industrial arts technology building in Pendleton, Ore.

The project began more than two years ago when Alton Olson, a retired teacher, saw the need for a quality industrial arts program for HJA students. Olson taught shop in public schools for 30 years and desired to help young people utilize their minds and hands in skilled labor to complement their academic curriculum. Olson strongly agrees with Ellen White's statements in the book Education, encouraging manual training in schools.

Olson organized a floor plan and budget, then presented the idea to the school board who strongly embraced it. Church members did not hesitate to jump on board with their support, stepping up with large contributions to get the project rolling. Additional contributions of money, time and labor were offered as others caught the vision.

"God has been working on our behalf, providing us with many blessings — in finances, time and volunteers,” says Olson. “It is to His credit that we have been able to complete our project so wonderfully."

The HJA industrial technology program will focus on woodworking and metal working. Students will learn safety skills, small engine repair, building and carpentry. Olson's goal is to provide his students with skills they will utilize all throughout their adult lives.

The new building also provides an opportunity for community classes such as lawn-mower repair and tune-up, basic woodworking and metal working.

Featured in: January 2010