Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Highland View Academy Celebrates 70th Anniversary

Story by Lori Zerne

At Alumni Weekend this month, Chesapeake Conference's Highland View Academy (HVA) celebrates 70 years of existence where students can experience a quality Seventh-day Adventist Christian education. The school’s mission is to inspire and mentor students to excel in all Christ calls them to do. “We are committed to building on the dedication of those who came before to make sure our young people can have the best education possible,” says Erik Borges, principal.

As part of the 70-year anniversary celebration, Andrew Lay, HVA’s development director, spent considerable time researching the school’s history. In 1949 HVA began as Mount Aetna Academy on Crystal Falls Drive—a day school where the elementary school is currently located. In 1963 the Chesapeake Conference voted to build a fully-accredited secondary boarding school.

During the next four years, administrators determined the location of the school, the name—chosen as a result of a conferencewide contest—and the construction of two dormitories—Janel Kay DeHaan Hall and Hartle Hall—with a boarding option beginning the fall of 1967. In the successive years, more buildings were built and occupied, including the administration building (1975), gymnasium (1979), central and south classroom wings of the administration building (1981), I & E Barr Hall, which houses the Music Department and the cafeteria (1986) and the library wing of the administration building (1991).

Lay recently rediscovered an artist’s rendition of the original campus plan. He notes how interesting things changed from the original plan that included a complete music hall with 10 practice rooms and two large rehearsal rooms, a 400-seat auditorium and administrative offices. The classroom/administrative building was originally designed to accommodate 300 students and included a gymnasium with a seating capacity of 1,300 persons. Two industrial buildings nearby formed an industrial park where private industries, such as a laundry, could have provided student employment opportunities. The artist’s rendition also depicts tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields and another building that could have housed a science laboratory, home arts laboratory and technology education classroom facilities.

Funding and a changing world impacted the original design of the school, but the more compact campus efficiently utilizes resources and offers students a wide variety of academic and extracurricular opportunities, including STEM certification, dual-credit classes, competitive team sports and a full music program. Seventy years later, work opportunities are available both on and off campus, and because of the generosity of alumni and friends, scholarships are available to those with financial need, so that any committed student can afford the Christian education that Highland View Academy has to offer.

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