Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


The Avondale School Opens

For some unknown reason, no official report of the opening of the Avondale school graces the pages of the Bible Echo. However, Metcalfe Hare stated in a report: 4BIO 301.6

The school opened the twenty-eighth of April, Mrs. E. G. White, Elder S. N. Haskell, and the teachers being present, with all those who had been associated with the work. The buildings were dedicated to their sacred mission by Elder Haskell.—DF 170, “The Avondale School, 1895-1907.” 4BIO 301.7

Ellen White furnished a few more details in a letter to W. C. White a few days later: 4BIO 302.1

April 28 our school opened. At the opening exercises the upper room of the second building, above the dining room, was quite full. Brother Haskell opened the meeting by reading a portion of Scripture. He then prayed, and made a few remarks. I then followed.—Letter 141, 1897. 4BIO 302.2

“The Spirit of the Lord was present,” she wrote to Edson (Letter 149, 1897), and in her diary for the opening day she wrote: 4BIO 302.3

We had the opening exercises in the last building erected. We had more in attendance than we had expected. We felt very thankful to make so good a beginning. We were very much pleased to have Brother and Sister Haskell with us. Brother Herbert Lacey and his wife were with us.—Manuscript 172, 1897. 4BIO 302.4

So with a staff of six (of which four were teachers) and with ten students (Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 365) the Avondale school commenced, and on the very day appointed. When some expressed the opinion that the buildings could not be completed on time, Ellen White had declared: 4BIO 302.5

There must not be one day's postponement.... If there is but one student present, we will begin the school at the appointed time.—Letter 149, 1897. 4BIO 302.6

She understood well the far-reaching psychological effect if they failed. But they did not fail. She wrote on May 5: 4BIO 302.7

School had been delayed so long that we knew that no matter what our condition was in the way of preparation, it must start on time. But no one believed that it would. Now, when they see that we are in earnest, they will have some confidence and interest in the school.—Letter 141, 1897. 4BIO 302.8

One week after school opened, Ellen White reported forty students. The Bible Echo dated June 7 reported that “about fifty students are in attendance at the Avondale school,” rather more than expected. The next issue declared that they were “happy to revise these figures this week and state that there are sixty-two.” 4BIO 302.9

Ellen White felt comfortable with the Haskells at the school taking a leading role. She wrote of them as experienced laborers, who “were a great help to us in the work of preparation, in devising and planning to get things in order” (Letter 149, 1897). Prof. and Mrs. C. B. Hughes were on their way from Keene, Texas. After the school was quite well organized and had continued for two months, the faculty was described in a report by G. T. Wilson in the Bible Echo: 4BIO 303.1

Prof. C. B. Hughes and wife arrived two weeks ago from America. He has been chosen by the school board as principal of the school, and is to have the general management of things on the place. He teaches the history class, who are now studying “Empires of the Bible.” His wife teaches grammar, rhetoric, elocution, penmanship, and one Bible class. 4BIO 303.2

Prof. H. C. Lacey is teacher of mathematics, physiology, geography, singing, and voice culture; and his wife teaches the primary department. 4BIO 303.3

Pastor S. N. Haskell is the principal instructor in Bible study; and Mrs. Hettie Hurd Haskell, his wife, has charge of one Bible class, and acts as the matron of the school. 4BIO 303.4

Mr. T. B. Skinner, a graduate of St. Helena Sanitarium Nurses’ Training Department, has charge of the kitchen and dining room, and on one day in the week gives practical instruction in cooking. The students are taught how to make bread, can fruit, and the other arts of healthful cookery.—June 21, 1897. 4BIO 303.5

In concluding his report, Wilson observed that “the students are mostly young men and women, of good, intelligent class, besides whom there are a few persons of more mature years.” About one half were below the age of 16. 4BIO 303.6

The school at Avondale was off to a good start. 4BIO 303.7