Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

GCA Celebrates Milestone with Dogwood Day Celebration

Caleb McKinney, student representative, and Ed Wright, conference president, lower the tree into the hole for planting.
(From left) Nancy Gerard, Grant Tuttle, Kevin Kossick, Kurt Allen, Caleb McKinney, Ed Wright, Caryn Payne, Dennis Steele, Leslie Wurl, and Greg Gerard.

Georgia-Cumberland Academy opened its doors to students in the fall of 1965. As we look forward to our 50th anniversary celebration, there will be milestones to celebrate along the way.  One of these early events in the establishment of the school was recently commemorated at GCA.


In 1962, ground was broken for the new school. Spirits were high and the conference was united in sacrificial giving to make possible this new boarding academy. In December of that year, with a nearly completed administration building standing, more than 250 volunteers came to the site of the future school from across the conference to plant 200 dogwood trees, beautifying the entrance road.


A year later, the famous Penny Campaign was launched, and children from Georgia and Tennessee collected pennies to raise money for the music building. Together, the young people collected 3.4 million pennies and brought them to the campus on March 15, 1964. It was a high day of celebration with 3,000 guests gathering on campus to hear music by the Calhoun High School band, listen to the governor of Georgia speak, and watch the tons of pennies be unloaded into a special bin constructed for holding the pennies that day. 


On Dec. 16, 2013, the academy held a celebration to commemorate the Dogwood Day planting event, with conference officials, alumni, and guests participating in the planting of a pink dogwood tree on campus. A special chapel service was held, and Greg Gerard, principal, shared a brief history lesson on the work of the church in this place since 1914, as well as the story of how GCA came to be. Students, staff, and guests then exited the chapel to witness the planting of a dogwood tree between the chapel and the GCA Church.


God continues to pour out His blessing on this school, and our hearts are filled with gratitude as we reflect on the history of Georgia-Cumberland Academy.


Nancy Gerard, GCA director of alumni and development

Photos contributed