JCS Celebrates Generations of Education

On Jan. 4, 1923, Ira B. Newcomb penned a heartfelt message to the Gleaner, expressing joy over the progress of a little church school in Kelso, Washington. He wrote, "We have a nice little eight-grade church school here in Kelso now and are glad to report that it is forging ahead … The spirit in our schools tells for the salvation of the children. Let us keep up the standard."

Today, Journey Christian School, formerly Kelso Longview Adventist School, traces its roots back to a humble beginning in the basement of a church with just a handful of students. The Lord has led over the last 99 years and the school has thrived — twice surpassed its capacity, necessitating expansion and relocation.

The testament to this legacy lies in the story of Marilyn Smith and Verle Rogers, who started first grade together in the basement classroom at KLAS in 1941. Marilyn recalls the basement classroom and the excitement of moving to a newly-built two-room schoolhouse.

As classmates, Marilyn and Verle developed a strong friendship, eventually marrying and raising children. Little did they know the initial meeting would set in motion a legacy that continues today. The foundation in Jesus laid during their years at KLAS proved enduring, sustaining their 55 years of marriage.

Their son Doug and daughter Shelley carried forward the family legacy, both graduating from KLAS. In the late 1970s, the school had once again outgrown its campus, prompting a move to a newly constructed campus during Shelley's seventh-grade year. Years later, Shelley and her husband, Dan, returned to the Kelso community, perpetuating the legacy with their own children.

Despite the school's name changing to Journey Christian School in 2014, the mission and fervor for students have remained unchanged. Shelley and Dan's six children, including twin daughters currently in the eighth-grade class, have attended and graduated from JCS.

This three-generation alumni family, with 80 years of education at KLAS/JCS, views the school as providing not only a strong educational foundation but also spiritual guidance.

In a world filled with darkness and uncertainty, JCS serves as a guiding light, demonstrating God’s love every day. Marilyn, Verle, Shelley, Dan and their children recognize their Adventist education as one of the most significant investments they've made.

As JCS approaches the fall 2024 centennial anniversary, we continue to be guided by prayer, seeking the Lord's direction to impact and reach children for His kingdom. The story of this school is one of endurance, faith and a commitment to shaping lives for nearly a century.

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