Pastors and teachers and chairpersons honored for their service at the Marion Christian School 50th anniversary.

June 29, 2023

Southern Illinois School Commemorates 50 Years

Students, faculty, staff and well-wishers marked the 50th anniversary of the Marion Adventist Christian School during a two-day homecoming celebration on April 29–30, 2023.

At the joint program with the Marion Adventist Church, former students, alumni, staff and pastors were recognized. Additionally, the program featured stories about the school’s modest beginnings led by members who were supportive of Adventist Christian education.

On Sabbath, Pastor John Martin, who helped build the first dedicated building for a school, spoke for the divine service. Former pastors Jerrett and Gail Brown, Dale and Carol Barnhurst, John and Billie Martin and former teachers Marian Brazzell and Becky Anderson were in attendance. The pastors and teachers, along with former school board chair, Kerry Wilcut, and current chair, Marietta Kellum, were honored during the service.

Three generations of one family participated in the service, the youngest of whom is a current student.

Vision for a School Where Children Are Taught By the Lord

One of the founding members, Kay Kelton, shared the history of the school. She spoke of the first building where classes were held at the medical cabin at Little Grassy Lake Camp, some 30 miles from Marion. This would last just one year, 1972–1973, as families wanted to be closer to the town of Marion. Kay and her husband owned a structure that he was going to use to raise catfish, and as the story goes: “The children asked their dad, ‘What do you think of selling this property to the church for the school?’” Kay explained. “He said, ‘Yes,’ so the decision was made to remodel the building for a school. And we had a school there for four years.”

In 1977, the school moved to the east of Marion on Crabtree School Road, enlarging that location in 1981, and, finally, on Valentines Day 2000 moved to its current location, debt-free, when an additional building was attached to the Marion church.

The school has weathered many changes over the past 50 years, including the death of one teacher, closure for one year, and several changes in location. During each phase, the church family has strongly supported the school, and with God’s guidance continued educating the children. 

Jean Valdenegro is the principal/teacher at the Marion Adventist Christian School.