Gem State Adventist Academy

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Gem State Adventist Academy
Caldwell, Idaho, USA
Type Christian (Seventh-day Adventist)
Faculty 10
Grades 9-12
Number of students 78
Color(s)          Royal blue and white
Mascot Jaguar
IHSAA Division 1A

Gem State Adventist Academy or just Gem State Academy is a private, Seventh-day Adventist high school located in Caldwell, Idaho.


The Seventh-day Adventist Church, established in 1863, in the early twentieth century started to establish religious schools. The schools were to be built in rural locations and emphasis was to be placed upon physical labor as well as academic work.

In Idaho, this resulted in building Gem State Academy during the summer of 1918. The site chosen was in Caldwell, a thriving little city of about 5000 people, one half hour from the capital city, Boise.

Besides the usual school subjects, the students were taught practical skills such as woodworking, first aid, sewing, cooking, mechanics and farming. They also pursued religious studies and engaged in many service projects where they acquired practical experience in serving people in need.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s even the small tuition fee of $21.45 per month became more than most parents could afford. Some paid entrance fees with a horse or a cow or a load of beans or apples. The principal, W.S. Boynton, took steps to create more student employment opportunities. A greenhouse and truck garden was begun in 1931. The students raised vegetables to sell door-to-door and commercially. Large quantities of celery and carrots were shipped by railway freight to be sold in other areas. Much of the food for the students came from those gardens as well. In 1932, a cannery was begun in the basement of the church elementary school on the property. Fruits and vegetables were canned for use at the school, custom canning was done for area residents, and surplus corn and other vegetables were canned in large quantities and sold or bartered to local merchants. Campus wages in the early 1930s were 12 cents an hour for boys and 10 cents an hour for girls.

At Gem State, the 1941 and 1942 yearbooks were dedicated to those students and former students who had gone to serve in the war, some of whom had been killed in action.

The Postwar years[edit]

After the war a bakery was built to increase student employment opportunities; it ultimately became the Rhodes Bake-N-Serv Company.

In the 1960s, while President John Kennedy was planning to put men on the moon, and Martin Luther King Jr. was fighting for civil rights, the Idaho Conference of Seventh-day Adventists were planning a new campus for the aging and outgrown Gem State, now near the expanded city. It was voted that a new school should be built in a more rural area. The land chosen had been bought in previous years, in the country on top of a hill overlooking the Boise Valley. By the fall of 1962, the administration building, dormitories, power plant and laundry were complete enough to start school.

The primary focus of a faith-based education with real life work training did not change. Over 93% of students went on to college after graduation[when?].

Mission statement[edit]

Gem State Academy is ultimately committed to reflecting the teaching, compassion, intellectual acuity, creativity, leadership, example, sacrifice, and grace of Jesus.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°36′21″N 116°41′03″W / 43.60583°N 116.68417°W / 43.60583; -116.68417