On November 2, 1986, a special constituency meeting of the Michigan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists voted to merge Adelphian Academy and Cedar Lake Academy. This vote set into motion the process that culminated in the establishment of Great Lakes Adventist Academy (GLAA) on the grounds of what was formerly Cedar Lake Academy.
The school is centrally located on M-46, three miles east of the village of Edmore. This rural setting encourages the development of an appreciation and love for nature. The spacious grounds and modern buildings provide the students with a comfortable atmosphere in which to live and learn.
When GLAA opened its doors for the 1987- 1988 school year, it did so with a commitment to continue the 179 combined years of service that characterized Adelphian Academy and Cedar Lake Academy.
Even though GLAA is Michigan’s newest boarding academy, in a very real sense it is also the oldest. Our school is dedicated to carry on the traditions begun by Cedar Lake in 1898 and Adelphian in 1904. We present here a historical glimpse of the two schools that provide the foundation upon which we are building.
Cedar Lake Academy was founded on December 2, 1898, with the five dollar purchase of a two-story public school building. When Professor J. G. Lamson, first principal, arrived at Cedar Lake, the district school was still in session, but he was permitted by the teacher to use a little recitation room as his office. This room and another little room represented the beginning of the administration of Cedar Lake Academy.
With some renovations and the addition of a basement, the 48′ x 30′ school building provided space for classrooms, dormitories, principal’s home, dining-room and kitchen. School opened on January 16, 1899, with about thirty students. Mr. H.W. Johnson and Mr. and Mrs. Lamson were the academic family. Frank Mosebar was in charge of the farm, and his wife was the matron.
Incorporated under the name Cedar Lake Industrial Academy on March 21, 1902, the school taught a very practical curriculum. Along with the basics of Bible, English and Mathematics, the school also taught printing, tent-making, bookkeeping, agriculture, blacksmithing, beekeeping, food preparation and carpentry. The first two graduates completed grade ten in June of 1907. It remained a ten-grade school until 1920 when eleven students graduated from grade twelve.
The administration building was destroyed by fire in 1910. Construction on the new building was begun immediately and without interrupting the school program. It was finished by graduation time of 1911. That building was in service until the new administration building took its place on March 15, 1974. A new girls dormitory was opened in 1967, and a new boys dormitory was completed in 1969. The food service complex was opened in 1971. From a one-building establishment, Cedar Lake Academy became a multi-building plant.
Through the years a variety of industries provided work for the students. Some of these included a school farm, the Butler Food Company, Rhodes Bake-n-Serve, Cedar Lake Mill and Cedar Lake Academy Industries. The dignity of labor was always an integral part of the school’s philosophy.
Adelphian Academy was founded on September 22, 1904, when at its annual meeting, the Seventh-day Adventist East Michigan Conference resolved to “take immediate steps to raise $5,000 for the purpose of establishing an academy.” A farm near Holly was purchased, and the school was started immediately. The first term opened in January of 1905. Six students were enrolled and attended classes in the farmhouse. Professor and Mrs. J.G. Lamson, who were also the founders of Cedar Lake Academy, were the first teachers. By the end of the first year, the enrollment had reached seventeen.
For the first full school year the farmhouse was used as the home for the girls and some faculty members. A nearby farmhouse was rented for the boys dormitory, and a temporary building was erected for classrooms and offices. Because this building was covered with tar paper, it was known as the “Black Chapel.”
In February of 1906, the rented home burned down. The boys were forced to crowd into the attic of the “Black Chapel” for the remainder of the school year. By the Fall of 1906, the two new buildings were ready for occupancy. The main building housed a chapel, classrooms, offices and a boys dormitory on the third floor. The girls dormitory included a kitchen, dining-room and guest rooms.
Adelphian Academy was a ten-grade school until 1914, when the 11th grade was added. By 1917, the 12th grade status had been reached.
The farm was the main industry of the school until 1927. In 1927, a woodworking industry, begun by Professor John Z. Hottel, became the biggest employer on campus. The operation began in an unused chickenhouse, and by the end of the first year, $20,000 worth of garden trellis had been sold. Other industries opened later to provide additional student labor.
Many well-rounded, outstanding workers for God have come through these two institutions. They received their inspiration and Christian training to do their best while in service for the Master from these schools.
Grand Ledge Academy opened its doors in the Fall of 1958, with 83 secondary students and 18 faculty and staff. Principal Ralph P. Bailey gave direction to the fledgling school as it struggled through its beginning years. Elder G.C. Hutches, Michigan Conference President, gave key leadership to the formation of this newest conference boarding academy.
The school was placed on the campmeeting campground so the buildings and grounds could be more fully utilized. On the west side of the cafeteria, a little bakery was attached and the girls dormitory and the Chapel were used as the departmental building during campmeeting. There was no gymnasium, so many of the activities, including graduations, took place in the auditorium. On Sunday, October 1, 1967, the girls returned from a Scott Lake outing to find their dorm destroyed by fire and their belongings either burned, dirty or soaked. Through their tears they sang their school song, “We Pledge To Thee . . . A Never Failing Loyalty.”
On February 25, 1968, the voting constituents of the Michigan Conference decided that they could no longer afford to subsidize three boarding schools, so it was voted to close Grand Ledge Academy as a boarding school at the end of that school year.
From 1968 to 1982, the local churches took up the challenge and ran Grand Ledge Academy as a day academy. At the beginning of this era, a new gymnasium was added to the campus and was used as a teen center during campmeeting.
In 1982, Grand Ledge Academy consolidated with Lansing Elementary School and Grand Ledge Elementary School to become Grand Ledge Adventist Academy. The last secondary school graduation was held in 1985 with two students graduating.
From 1985 to 1989, the school operated as a ten-grade school and entered its final phase with another name change, Mid-Michigan Adventist Academy.
With the sale of the campground, both institutions came to an end leaving many fond memories. When Adelphian Academy and Cedar Lake Academy merged to form Great Lakes Adventist Academy (GLAA), there was wide support to include Grand Ledge in all alumni and heritage functions. Thus GLAA has rich and varied traditions to support it.