History & Seal


Upper Columbia Academy’s history began in the 1920s when Yakima Valley Academy was formed. That school had to close down because the young people were literally causing it to split at the seams. Walls were held together by metal cables mounted on both sides of the rooms. They had to find a bigger place.

Elder Mote, Upper Columbia Conference president at the time, was given permission by constituents to spend no more than $100,000 for a school.

He attended an auction for the old poor farm in Spangle, Washington, but the opening bid was over his limit. He told the auctioneer that he guessed he couldn’t bid, so it was lowered to an opening bid of $100,000.

Surprisingly, Elder Mote’s was the only bid and YVA got it, along with 15 hogs that they sold for $1500 to provide operating capital for the first year of school.

After the move, the academy was renamed Upper Columbia Academy.


The seal of Upper Columbia Academy was designed in 1958 by a group of students and faculty under the direction of the principal, Elder J. V. Peters.

Each symbol represents an aspect of Christian education important to life on the Upper Columbia Academy campus.

Symbol Descriptions

  • Rope Border – Lifelong Friendship
  • Shield – Defending Each Other
  • “Chi” (X) – Jesus is Central to Everything
  • Star – High Aims & Goals
  • Lyre and Palette – Academics & The Arts
  • Mace – Respect for Authority
  • Eye & Book – Responsibility for the Use of Time
  • Lamp – Seeking Knowledge & Truth
  • Laurel Leaf – Achievement & Giving our Best
  • Oak Leaf – Strength & Courage