Alumni Echoes September 2023

Join Us on September 29 and 30, 2023

Remember When… Join us as we celebrate our Alumni family on this special weekend.  Beginning with the Bob Larrabee Memorial Golf Tournament on Friday and wrapping up with class reunions and photos on Sabbath afternoon, the weekend will be a wonderful opportunity to share memories and connect with old and new friends.  We look forward to welcoming you home.

FRIDAY, September 29

9:30 am Bob Larrabee Memorial Golf Tournament at Indian Canyon Golf Course – Registration Form

5:30 pm Pioneer Reception in the Historic Cafeteria. The classes of 1973, 1963, and 1953 are invited.  RSVP here.

6:45 pm Registration opens in the UCA Gymnasium

7:30 pm  Vespers in the UCA Gymnasium

SABBATH, September 30

9:15 am  Registration opens in the UCA Gymnasium

10:00 am  Worship Service in the UCA Gymnasium

Haystack lunch in the Gym immediately following the worship service.  Donations welcome.

2:00 pm  Class reunions and photos in the Campbell Administration Building

Honored classes:  1953 and all prior classes, 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003, and 2013.

Campus Spotlight

Lacey Hall Benefits from Maranatha’s TLC

For the past three summers, the UCA girls’ dormitory has been the recipient of some serious attention from some Maranatha volunteers.  Just as school gets out, a group of these dedicated and skilled volunteers arrives to spend several weeks helping around our campus.  Their gifts of time and talents are always a boost, but with the daunting task of the long overdue Lacey Hall updates, Maranatha’s help was especially appreciated over the last few years.

The girls’ dorm was recently named Lacey Hall in honor of Florence Lacey, who served at UCA for close to 25 years.  Most recently she was the Vice Principal for Academics and Registrar, and she was loved by students and fellow staff members alike.

Dani Rivera served as head girls’ dean from 2020 until March of this year, when she stepped away to devote her full attention to a new baby daughter.   She has been involved in the project since it began, and she shares that God’s hand has been evident from the start.  “What a rollercoaster the Lacey Hall renovation has been!  Throughout the entire project, we have seen God work in many amazing ways!  Our faith has been tested, and many times it was tempting to be discouraged.”

The first phase of the renovation happened during the summer of 2021.  This portion included all the rooms on the third floor as well as the guest rooms on the first floor.  According to Rivera, “The financial needs were great, and available funds were short.  We began the project during the Covid 19 pandemic, and contractors were booked months in advance, building supplies were expensive and difficult to obtain, and our window of time for completing the renovations was only eight weeks. But as phase one of the project unfolded, God’s guidance was readily apparent. Despite all the obstacles, the work was almost all finished by the time the school year started!”

During the summer of 2022, phase two of the renovation was completed.  This included almost all of the first and second floor rooms, lobbies, offices, and hallways.  Says Rivera, “We gutted each room, painted all surfaces, and installed new carpet, cabinetry, electrical, and sinks.  The hallways and center lobby received fresh paint along with new carpet and trim.”  She goes on to share that during both summers, the vast majority of the demolition and painting was completed by the Maranatha volunteer team. “They did a tremendous job, going above and beyond to do repairs and patching, removing and recycling the debris, and prepping for all the other contractors to follow.”

In addition to the important cosmetic and functional updates already mentioned, several other necessary repairs became unavoidable during the 2021-2022 school year.  The girls’ dorm roof required replacement after several major leaks caused flooding in multiple rooms and the boilers that provide heat finally succumbed after years of heavy use.

As school started last year, the girls were able to move into a newly updated space, and Rivera reports that the difference this made in their lives was remarkable.  “They have a fresh, clean space to make their own.  Gone are all the stained, damaged, and broken cabinets, carpet, and sinks.  They no longer have to struggle against broken and jammed drawers or try to glue down peeling countertops.  The new carpet tiles provide for easy replacement if something gets stained and increased electrical outlets give additional easy access to plug in things all around the room.  The hodge podge of poorly painted, different colored rooms is replaced with uniform, light walls, perfect as a blank canvas for décor and for combatting the dark days of winter. Hearing the exclamations and excitement from parents and students on move in day as they experienced the bright, fresh halls and the clean new rooms was incredibly rewarding!”

In recent weeks, Maranatha returned to campus and again focused on Lacey Hall as one of their projects, painting stairwells and replacing an exterior entry staircase.  However, even with volunteer assistance, the cost of these projects has been a challenge.  “We are on a journey of faith,” says Rivera.  “We covet your prayers as we continue to trust that the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and can call forth coins out of the mouths of fishes has an awe-inspiring plan to provide for our comparatively trivial needs.  Thank you for your prayers and support!”

By Dani Rivera and Krista Mikkelson

Principal's Note

Remember when…you arrived on campus with the family car jammed with boxes, suitcases, and matching comforters to go with what your roommate was bringing?  Remember wrestling armloads of things up and down the stairs and then that final goodbye with mom and dad—turning your back so your neighbors would not see the tears fall?  Then watching them walk hand in hand back to the car with a catch in dad’s throat and tears brimming in mom’s eyes, taillights disappearing over the railroad tracks on their way out of Spangle?

That moment has come once again and for another year students have streamed onto the Upper Columbia Academy campus. They are filled with anticipation, nerves and perhaps a little fear.

As we set out on another year, it is with planning, excitement and expectation for all the good blessings that God is going to pour into each day.

Remember When…Joshua took twelve rocks from the middle of the Jordan River and piled them on the bank as a reminder that “thus far God has been with us” and He will continue!  The start of the 2023-2024 school year is another rock placed on that monument–stacked with all the “Remember Whens” that UCA has had in the past.  God continues to show up and be with us.

Through your thoughts and prayers, you too are joining us in yet another journey and experience. Thank you and until another moment in time, remember:

Keep looking uP!

PJ Deming, Principal

Guest Feature - Birding on Campus

By Stephen Lacey, Former Faculty Member
Photos:  Stephen Lacey

What could be more fulfilling than seeing an American pipit hopping around a mud puddle beside campus . . . especially when you’ve had those ancient smudgy-lensed binoculars swinging dangerously around your neck for hours? How about watching a flock of Bohemian waxwings feasting on mountain ash berries when you should be listening to (or teaching) the delights of English?

Quite a bit could be more fulfilling, I suppose, but UCA’s campus with its trees and ponds is good habitat for avian friends and pests (I won’t mention the latter.), and the surrounding fields make a good hunting ground for assorted owls and hawks.

Truth be told, dozens of bird species can be seen on campus, and I have thought for years that an elevated bird blind overlooking the settling ponds should be built; they are, after all, on E-bird’s hotspot map. Now, there’s a good project for our wonderful Maranatha volunteers!

So, when visiting campus for alumni gatherings or other auspicious events, don’t forget to bring a bird book or phone app so you can creep away in the early morning and add to your life-list.

Now, where were we? Had we finished participial phrases and were about to move on to subject-verb agreement?

Some birds seen on campus

American goldfinch
American kestrel
Bald eagle
Barn swallow
Black-billed magpie
Black-capped chickadee
Black-chinned hummingbird
Black-headed grosbeak
Black-necked stilt
Bohemian waxwing
Brewer’s blackbird
Brown creeper
Brown-headed cowbird
California quail
Calliope hummingbird
Cedar waxwing
Cinnamon teal
Cliff swallow
Common raven
Common yellowthroat
Cooper’s hawk
Dark-eyed junco
Downy woodpecker
Evening grosbeak
GadwallGolden-crowned kinglet
Gray partridge
Great-horned owl
Green-winged teal
Hairy woodpecker
Horned lark
House wren
Lesser goldfinch
Mountain chickadee
Nashville warbler
Northern flicker
Northern shrike
Orange-crowned warbler
Pine siskin
Red crossbill
Red-breasted nuthatch
Red-tailed hawk
Red-winged blackbird
Ring-necked duck
Ring-necked pheasant
Ruby-crowned kinglet
Rufous hummingbird
Song sparrow
Spotted towhee
Townsend’s warbler
Tree swallow
Tundra swan
Varied thrush
Violet-green swallow
Western wood peewee
White-crowned sparrow
Wilson’s warbler
Yellow warbler
Yellow-headed blackbird

From the Editor

For the last few days, UCA has been bustling with activity as we welcome our students back to campus.  Registration, Handshake, Lake Day at Camp MiVoden–these are all time-honored traditions that happen in rapid succession as we kick off a new year of school.  And speaking of traditions, in just a few weeks, we will welcome our extended family home to campus.  Plans are coming together for the 2023 Alumni Homecoming Weekend on September 29 and 30.

I look forward to greeting each one of you as you gather for a time of reconnecting and remembering.  Our theme is “Remember When. . .” and I hope you will come ready to share memories and stories, and to listen to and be inspired by your friends–old and new.

This year we will also continue the tradition of the Pioneer Reception, specifically celebrating the 50 year class of 1973 and all prior graduates.  This will take place in our historic cafeteria on Friday evening, September 29, at 5:30 pm.  It will be a great opportunity to connect with your classmates, enjoy light refreshments, and meet our administrative team.  Please RSVP here to save your spot.

The Bob Larabee Memorial Golf Tournament will also take place on Friday, September 29, at the Indian Canyon Golf course. You can view the registration form here.

Other weekend events you won’t want to miss include:  Friday evening vespers at 7:30 pm, the Sabbath worship service beginning at 10 am, a complimentary haystack lunch, class photos and reunions, campus tours, and lots of visiting and catching up.

I hope you will all plan to join us!


Krista Mikkelson, Director
Alumni and Enrollment Services

Pictures from Fall 2022 Homecoming Weekend

Class of 1952

Class of 1962

Class of 1972

Class of 1982

Class of 1991

Class of 1992

Class of 2002

Class of 2012

Tammy McGuire

Dick Hart

Elder Otis Parks