Sioux County -- Christian Schools
Orange City newspaper of June 7, 1902
The eighteenth annual commencement of the Northwestern classical academy of
Alton Democrat, June 14, 1902
Northwestern's Classical Acadamy: a note about the first graduating class
Whatever tends to build up intellectuality and Christian character is a blessing to the world and deserves the encouragement and respect of the public. We may not always agree on methods and teachings but all will admit that education and Christianity have ever tended to make better citizens and a better world. In matters of this kind the broad minded man lays aside his prejudices and with an eye single to the betterment of the world applauds the progress of any institution dedicated to the propagation of the higher ideals. This is not a world of great cathedrals and universities. They are the exception. It is a world of little churches and little schools. They are the institutions that leaven the world with civilization. The world is better for every one of them no matter where it is located or what its methods- so long as its tendencies are toward intellectuality and enlightenment.
It is indirectly a benefit to every citizen of Sioux county that she has within her borders an institution which will in time develop into a college that will aid in spreading the county's fame abroad. The Northwestern Classical Academy at Orange City is today the nearest approach to a college that Sioux county boasts. Such being the case it should interest the citizens of Sioux county to know that it is a growing institution. At its eighteenth annual commencement last Thursday it graduated the largest class in its history—a class of nine boys and eight girls. They are the: Misses Gertie Hospers, Mae Hospers, Elizabeth Huizenga, Alma Krohnke, Mary Muyskens, Kate Rouwenhorst, Kittie Smeenk, Fay Wilcox and Messrs. Henry Aalders, Neal DeBey, Dirk Dykstra, J. G. Van Diest, J . W. Kuyper, Dick Rbynsburger, Richard De Zeeuw. Hubert J . Vander Meide and Will Kuyper. With this class the alumni of the academy numbers two hundred and four. Many of them have completed their educations elsewhere and are occupying prominent positions on the stage of life. Most of them were Sioux county young people Though some have come from other states.
The graduation exercises were held at the First Reformed church which was packed with relatives and friends of the graduates. There was a profusion of beautiful flowers and a big table laden with gifts. The program as given below was well rendered and not too long:
At the close President Sonlen presented the diplomas and made the awards in the oratorical and elocutionary contests held this week. Dirk Dykstra won the first prize in the oratorical—a ten dollar gold piece— and Gerrit Van Peursem, the second, a five dollar gold piece. A fine silk banner was awarded to Miss Mae Hospers aa the elicutionary prize. Each graduate was sent from New York by the woman's executive board of Reformed churches a flexible Oxford Bible.
A bit of the academy's history may not be amiss. It's beginning was modest. " A small four-room frame building sheltered its first classes. Privations were heroically endured. Modern schoolroom requisites were unknown. All toiled faithfully, however, and gained the reward which crowns determined effort. In June, two years after it's inception, the academy launched upon life's untried sea its first product---the class of '86. The May class contained three occupants, just enough to guide it's uncertain course through the hazy mists of the unknown future, lo those days of toil and sacrifice it was hard to secure student material; much harder, however, was the task of securing funds to maintain the school. Progress was slow but it was uniform and steady." The first small building was supplanted by a remodeled skating rink which served eight years as school building and dormitory. Today a beautiful three story brick and stone structure adorns the academy campus. Sixteen thousand dollars paid tbe bill. In the past year the academy has made rapid strides in the matter of paying off it's debts and adding to its equipment.
Northwestern Academy School, Dec. 1916 (above photo)
Northwestern Academy (above photo)
~The above old news copy was typed for posting by Joan Van Peursem.