Adventist 1

Students perform with three octaves of handbells during a Monday class at Hermiston Junior Academy. Students will play during an open house Thursday at the school.

Hermiston Junior Academy invites the community to learn more about its programs and facilities during an open house event.

Now serving preschool through eighth grade students, the school celebrated 75 years of continuous operation in 2017. Fully accredited and offering small teacher-to-student ratios, the school — which is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church — presents a Bible-based and Christ-centered curriculum.

Hosted by the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce, the after hours networking open house is Thursday. The free event runs from 5-6 p.m. at Hermiston Junior Academy, 1300 N.W. Academy Lane — located off Northwest 11th Street. In addition to refreshments and door prizes, the academy’s orchestra and handbell choir will perform.

The school extends a special invitation to prospective students and their families. Any new student who attends the event and later enrolls will receive a reduced fee for the 2019-20 school year.

Principal Jordan Lindsay said small class sizes — with a current enrollment of 46 students, the largest class has 14 students — enhances the learning process. In addition, he said it helps in building a sense of community.

“We’ve been able to create a family atmosphere. The kids get along well and we have a very low bullying rate,” Lindsay said. “We have created sort of a safe haven for kids.”

Paula Oltman, school board chairperson and a volunteer strings teacher, agreed, saying the smaller atmosphere provides more one-on-one instruction. Also, she said the school is able to coordinate additional activities that are both educational and memorable.

Lindsay said outdoor education adventures have included such destinations as the Oregon/Washington coast to learn about marine life and central Oregon to study geology. Local field trips include visiting museums, places of business and Walla Walla University, which also is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Also, community service is incorporated into the learning experience. Each student participates at least monthly in giving back, Oltman said. That can include community cleanup efforts, helping someone with gardening, volunteering at Agape House, visiting assisted living facilities and performing concerts.

“We talk about our music being a ministry to serve others,” Oltman said. “It’s more than something we learn to do, we consider it something we can do to be a blessing to others.”

Chimes, handbells and a strings program with an orchestra are all available. Oltman estimates that 75 percent of the students are involved with the music program.

For more information, call 541-567-8523 or visit www.hjra.org.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539

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