HJA Program Features Vegetables, Chickens, Eggs and More

June 28, 2015 | Marilynn Colcord

For the past several months, with much prayer and leading by the Holy Spirit, committed school board members of Harris Junior Academy (HJA) in Pendleton, Ore., have been busy redefining their church school. With the support of the local churches in the district, some truly great things are happening. 

Reading, Writing and Agriculture

An on-campus greenhouse, composting bin and garden plot full of planted vegetables, fruits and herbs are teaching kids about agriculture. Plants are sold each spring for planting, and produce is harvested and used in cooking and/or sold.

A chicken coop, built by the shop students, houses 12 chickens. Eggs are collected, counted, washed and sold to customers for self-funding of the program.

Home School and Student Exchange Connections

HJA offers home-schooled children options to participate in classes such as physical education, shop and music to enhance their school programs. Entrance to these programs provides free attendance at worship assemblies, weeks of prayer, school field trips and more.

A supervised on-site program allows upper grade students to complete their education online while participating in a classroom setting with other students.

Industrial Technology (Shop) and Music

The shop program teaches small engine repair, welding, general construction and working with power tools.

Local orchestra musicians are volunteering to teach voice and instrument lessons. The school is hoping to expand this program in the coming school year.

New Kindergarten Program

This coming school year, kindergarten will be offered and taught with first and second grades.


Shannon Whidden, the new HJA head teacher, will be teaching grades three through eight while administering the school. She has a strong farming background that will work right in with the board's vision for the school.

Ongoing ideas in various stages of processing are in the works, and rebranding the school overall has been discussed. Board members want to present Harris Junior Academy as a Christian option amid other educational choices. With that in mind, they have updated the school's vision and mission statement: "Education for Eternity — not only college-bound but heaven-bound."

Harris Junior Academy focuses on building Christ-centered relationships, utilizing solid Biblical principles embedded in a quality educational program and instilling in students the thirst for more knowledge.

Following Christ's example, HJA students will be equipped to serve God with relevant life skills, leadership abilities and a desire to serve others, both here on Earth and through eternity. 

If you're interested in Harris Junior Academy, call 541-276-0615, or find us on Facebook.