The elementary grades were orignally a part of the Cedar Lake Acadmey, which was founded on December 2, 1898 by Professor J.G. Lamson. Professor Lamson bought the 38' by 40' two-story public school building for $5.00, renovated it, and opened the doors to thirty students in grades one through ten on January 16, 1899. In addition to Bible ans basic academics, a variety of practical subjects were taught at the acadmey-inculding printing, tent-making, barrel-making, bookkeeping, agriculture, blacksmithing, beekeeping, food preparation and carpentry. From the original one-building establishment, Cedar Lake Academy gew into a multi-building plant---and the elementary school grew with it, being housed in several campus locations before finally moving to its own buiding---the fieldstone building---in 1932.
"Magnus Hansen was one of the real forces behind it", remembers Ray Papendick, who moved to the area several years after the school was built. Fieldstone was chosed as the building material because it was cheap---and Hansen laid much of the stone himself. The building was not to be without decotation, however. Bert Papendick's grandmother, Amy Evans, had brought back seashells for Haiti which were used to "dress up" the fieldstone a little.
The original building had no restrooms---only outhouses. Modern conveniences would come later. In the years to come, there would be two more addition to the fieldstone schoolhouse.
"People kept having kids", Ray Papendick remembers, "That was the problem." Or the blessing, depending on how you looked at it. In any case, by the 1980's the old stond schoolhouse was filled to capacity. In addition, it had begun to creak and groan with age. The school board realized that some sort of change was in order. Either there would be a major renovation project, or a new building. They decided on the latter, and furthermore, that the fieldstone building would have to come down.
With mixed feelings, area residents watched a crane rake rocks off the old stone building---then push till it finally caved into its own basement. Many had gone to school there, and hated to see it go. But on the hill just behind the old school stood a new school to make memories in and be proud of. And, in a very real way, the old fieldstone building is with us still. In the hearts and lives of those who attended it---and under the soccer field.
Wow! It's hard for those who have lived here for years to believe that the new school is not only built---it's paid for! That's quite an accomplishment in this day and age. Let's see---the first school building cost $5. The new building cost $265,000---which doesn't include the 7,000 hours of donated labor. Now that's inflation!
Because people had just kept giving when the Cedar Lake SDA Church was paid for, CLE had $80,000 on hand to start the project. $115,000 was borrowed during the course of the project, with the goal of paying the loan off by November, 1996. The loan was paid off nearly on target---in April of 1997.
This current building is a tribute to the many hands that worked to build and pay for it. The quality of the building and program here make a statement about the importance of Christian education to this community. To all of you who helped make the dream of an up-to-date elementary school in Cedar Lake become a reality---a hearty thank-you! And a thank-you to God, without whom none of this would be possible.