A Brief History of Merced Adventist School
The earliest record found to date of a school in Merced dates back to 1926 with school being held on the Wolfsen’s ranch. The first teacher of the Seventh-day Adventist School, was Doris Jorgenson. The following year, Mrs. Owens taught the students.
20th & H Streets
During the 1929/1930 school year, the school was was moved to the Adventist Church at the corner of 20th & H Streets, where classes were held in the back of the church with two teachers.
During the 1930s into the early 1940s school was held upstairs in the church and money was raised to purchase about 1 acre for a seperate school.
In 1941 a school building was put up at W Street and 13th Street (Highway 140), near where Home Depot is today. (These former school grounds are currently being used by the Church of God). Clifford Emde led out in the building of this facility. After the school was completed a cottage was built next door for the teacher. This cottage was later used by the Pathfinders and for Dorcas.
In 1942 there were ten grades in the school, with Pastor Leslie Morril serving as principal and Jean Stevens (daughter of Amos and Sandie Wolfsen Stevens), as teacher. By 1943 or 1944 more classes were needed so a wing was added to the original building making three rooms for classes. It was during the latter part of the 1940s that the school's name was changed to "Merced Jr. Academy." In 1950 there were ten grades and three teachers. However, by 1955 there was only one teacher and 12 students.
Church membership had reached 123 on January 15, 1956, with 18 students in the school. A year and a half later, the first record of a Pathfinder Club is found. The school had grown to 13 students in the lower grades and 16 as upper classmen. This included several students from the community.
In the early 1960’s (with school tuition only $18 per month) fundraising began for a new church building. This was accomplished on May 30, 1970, when the Auditorium/Gym on M Street (near Loughborough Drive) was used for the first time for a worship service. Sometime before 1972, the school was moved to the gym from over on W and 13 Streets and plans were made to construct a church on the corner of Loughborough and M at a later date.
Enrollment continued to fluctuate for Merced’s school in the 1970’s. A high of 43 took place in 1971, but by 1975, enrollment had dropped to 27. In 1980, the school was closed with just two students.
Olive Avenue & McKee Road
In 1981, after many attempts to sell the M Street property, through the providence of God, the Auditorium/Gym and the six and one-half acres of land that remained was sold to a business developer for $1,085,000 cash. With these funds, our current facilities (located at the corner of East Olive Avenue and McKee Road, in Merced) were constructed. “Ground Breaking” was held on Sabbath afternoon, May 8, 1982, with a Land Dedication Service instead of the usual shovels and turning of dirt.
Construction began in June, and the school opened in September of 1982, with 35 students and three teachers, under the name “Christian Cooperative Educational Center – A Seventh-day Adventist School.” In the early 1990’s, the school’s name was changed to “Olive East Christian School.” Then, in 1998, the school’s name was again changed, this time to “Merced Adventist School.”
The school was closed at the end of the 2009/2010 academic year due to low enrollment. In March of 2014 the church met and decided to re-open the school for the 2014/2015 academic year with grades K-4 under the name "Olive Jr. Academy."