In 1905 while on his death bed, Charles D. Zirkle donated 45 acres of his property to the Virginia Conference to build a school. In 1907, construction began on the main building of what was known as New Market Academy. The first students enrolled in 1908. In January 1908 New Market Academy assumed its current name, Shenandoah Valley Academy. The name was changed because New Market Academy duplicated an old private school in New Market, ironically, the new name was shared with another, now defunct, military school in Winchester, Virginia. In 1911 SVA graduated its first four students. SVA attracts students primarily from Virginia and Maryland but students attend from across the United States to New York, Florida, or California and across national borders from places such as South Korea, Angola, the United Kingdom, and South America. By the time of its centennial in 2008 SVA had graduated over 6,000 students. During the 2009-2010 school year, SVA had an enrollment of two hundred and forty four students.
James Springer White, pioneer of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
James Springer White (August 4, 1821, Palmyra, Maine - August 6, 1881, Battle Creek, Michigan), also known as Elder White was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and husband of Ellen G. White. White's contributions to the denomination were rather notable, in 1849 he started the first Sabbatarian Adventist periodical entitled "The Present Truth" (now the Adventist Review) in 1855 he relocated the fledgling center of the movement to Battle Creek, Michigan, and in 1863 played a pivotal role in the formal organization of the denomination. He later played a pivotal role in the development of the Adventist educational structure beginning in 1874 with the formation of Battle Creek College (which is now Andrews University).
James White was born on August 4, 1821 in the township of Palmyra in Maine. The fifth of nine children, James was a sickly child who suffered fits or seizures. Poor eyesight prevented him from obtaining much of an education and he was required to work on the family farm. At age 19 his eyesight improved and he enrolled at a local academy. He earned a teaching certificate and briefly taught at an elementary school. He was baptized into the Christian Connexion at age 16. He learned of the Millerite message from his parents and after hearing powerful preaching at an advent camp meeting in Exeter, Maine, White decided to leave teaching and become a preacher. Consequently, he was ordained a minister of the Christian Connexion in 1843. White was a powerful preacher and it is recorded that during the winter of 1843, 1000 people were accepted the Millerite message owing to his preaching. At times however, White was met with angry mobs who hurled snowballs at him. During these early travels he met Ellen G. Harmon whom he married on August 30, 1846. James and Ellen had four boys, Henry Nichols (b. 26 Aug 1847, d. 8 Dec 1863), James Edson (b. 28 Jul 1849, d. 3 Jun 1928), William Clarence (b. 29 Aug 1854, d. 31 Aug 1937) and John Herbert (b. 20 Sep 1860, d. 14 Dec 1860).