Support will make OSA vision reality
Having just read all the past Oneida Stake Academy Foundation board minutes, I am overwhelmed with the love and support of people from this county who have brought about the move and restoration of our beloved monument to this point. Not only sweet old couples have pulled from their pockets time and again, but our youth have donated clean-up hours, made the Academy bell tower ring again through eagle projects and even served on the board.
I feel board members who gave so much of their time, money, and effort need to be recognized with appreciation—Necia Seamons, Elliott Larsen, Don Hampton, Joseph Linton, Doug West, Kim Wilson, Leo Geddes, DeVerl Baxter, Nathan and Sydney Hale, Jay McKenzie, Paul Judd, Lyle Fuller, Larry Bradford, Ed Moser, Vince Whitehead, Rick Sparrow, Jim Brown, Saundra Hubbard, Erin Larson, Lucinda Harris, Helen Smith, Craig Golightly, Irasema Jeffers, Dan Oswald, Shawn Oliverson, Jeff Call, Brandon Olsen, John Olsen, and Doug Day. I wish I could list all the others who have assisted in many ways.
Attitude toward the Academy has changed over the years through pageants, heritage days, fund-raisers, and dissemination of information about the historical significance of this gorgeous stone building. It is one of only five academies buildings remaining between Canada and Mexico. There used to be 35. The OSA represents the foundation of the huge education system in the west and the fortitude of the early settlers who built it. Within its walls live the stories of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents — those who built the communities we live in and benefit from today. This legacy is being saved to honor them and enrich us though joyful gatherings in our day.
At this moment Necia and I are compiling a book on the Academy’s history that will be available shortly. We hope everyone will enjoy reading of their ancestors who were schooled there.
Chris Faux, chairman of The Wilson Theatre in Rupert, Idaho, recently told me how that little town was able to restore its beautiful theatre. It too has a space for hosting community events on its top floor.
“It took us over 20 years, but it was through the people’s support. Everyone gave, even youngsters donated babysitting money. We let the town know that we would not give up until it was done, and they came through for us,” she said.
I know we have that same spirit of giving in our area. We will not give up here in Preston either, and with everyone’s help it will be possible to use the Academy as a community center. A great deal has been done already. This fall our plumbing will be connected to city lines. Then the board will work on a project to install mechanics for heating and cooling. (Follow us on Facebook!) Step by step, with your continued contributions, we will open the Academy building’s doors to the public, and truly the angels will rejoice.
Oneida Stake Academy Foundation