Auburn Marks 100 Years

June 25, 2019 | Education | Ryan Wilson

As a fire was burning the newly built Western Washington Missionary Academy in 1921, the bell from the tower fell to the ground. The bell survived and through the years signaled to scholars.

Now, 100 years later, the sweet tones of the original school bell opened the Sabbath morning centennial celebration for Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA). Two additional artifacts — a phonograph from 1919 and the original cornerstone — graced the stage beside the bell.

“A lot of people came together from all over the world to pay tribute to the 100 years of service that Auburn Adventist Academy has given to humanity,” says Rich Tyler (’89), president of the 30-year class. “It was truly an honor to be able to take part in this celebration.”

The alumnus of the year, Rick McEdward (’83), whose family has five generations of connections to the academy (as students or staff) and who now serves as a church administrator in the Middle East and North Africa, was honored Friday evening. During his Sabbath sermon, he highlighted stories of service and showed the impact each person can have for God’s kingdom.

Following the theme “100 Years: A Legacy of Service,” the May 3-4 programming included recognition of former principals, a roll call of honor classes, and a positive update on the state of the school by Peter Fackenthall, AAA principal.

“Whatever brought you back, whether the foundation of seeing friends and family or a ping on your phone telling you it was your honor year, we are very happy to welcome back our alumni to celebrate 100 years of Auburn Adventist Academy,” Fackenthall told the audience.

The church service ended with the annual tradition of past and present Sylvan Chorale members singing “Lord Make Me an Instrument,” conducted by retired director John Neumann.

Additional weekend services included Friday evening vespers with the 50-year class, Sabbath School with the 20-year class and Sabbath sundown worship with the 40-year class. Each of these services highlighted personal testimonies of the amazing things God has done in the lives of alumni, including the inspiring story of Pastor Mike Aufderhar (’79) battling and surviving brain cancer.

The weekend concluded with a 600-pound cake by school chef, Zuzana Rachel, that commemorated each decade of the school’s history, the annual alumni basketball tournament (where alumni defeated three consecutive teams of current students), and class reunions. The 50-year class extended their alumni celebration with 62 people departing the Port of Seattle for an Alaskan cruise. Cruise organizer Pat Mundy (’69), said the cruise went beyond everyone’s expectations and allowed classmates to continue celebrating their friendship.

Philanthropy was celebrated during the centennial gathering as well. The alumni golf tournament raised more than $20,000. The Alumni Endowment Scholarship fund helped 18 students who collectively received $8,700 and who expressed their gratitude by serving dinner at the alumni banquet. In all, alumni, donors and friends of the academy contributed $765,000 throughout the year for scholarships, academic program, and physical plant needs to “Restore Auburn” for future generations. To be a financial partner in “Restore Auburn” visit