ADELE and REV. A.M. “DAD” SHAFFER founded this boarding school in 1924. Beginning as an orphanage, the school developed into a coeducationalboarding high school of high spiritual and academic standards. The first graduating class was in 1932 and made up of two graduates, one of whom was the founders’ son, Robert. The Academy has been a full-fledged high school in continuous operation with grades 9-12 since 1935.
Beginnings of Canyonville Christian Academy, Canyonville
Workers went into the woods the day after Christmas in 1923 to cut down logs and begin building the little church.
Gospel Mission – CCA Church on Main Street 1 year old (1923-34)
Because of the depression and a shortage of jobs, all the men of the congregation were able to help with the work, and six weeks later it was dedicated. It was called Canyonville Bible School in 1931. The gabled building in the background housed the entire school and would later be named Hafterson House.
Hafterson House was home to both men and women students. It also held the office, classrooms, lounge, dining room and kitchen. The upstairs dormitory was divided by partitions – boys occupied the north end; girls, the south end of the building. Single male teachers lived on the boys’ side, the ladies on the girls’ side. PE CLASSES IN THE 50’s were held on the open field across the street from Hafterson House where the gymnasium currently stands.
Continuing Traditions of the Early Boarding School
During World War II, supply trains ran through the neighboring community of Riddle. When the local mills filled the government orders, Dad Shaffer was able to purchase the surplus lumber that would not fit on the train. The boys’ dorm was constructed from these materials with the help of students earning shop class credits.
Through the 1950’s, MAY FESTIVAL was celebrated each May 1, with the traditional dance around the May Pole on the lawn north of Hafterson House. The festivities featured the coronation of the May Queen and her court. May Festival, now simply called Mayfest, is still held every year near Graduation Day!