At Sunday’s Lodi Academy graduation, Principal Harley Peterson introduced senior Lauren Wallace by saying that her parents also graduated from Lodi Academy.
Peterson mentioned two of her grandparents, then two of her great-grandparents.
As the audience thought he was done with his introduction, Peterson said that Wallace’s great-great-grandfather, Homer Lyle “H.L.” Wallace II, graduated with the Class of 1913.
A hundred years later, Lauren Wallace got her diploma.
“We had good experiences at the academy and wanted our children to have a good Christian atmosphere,” said Keith Wallace, a 1984 graduate who is Lauren’s father. “There’s a Christian theme throughout the school.”
However, the five generations of the Wallace family varied on their religious involvement, said Keith Wallace, who met his wife, Machelle, while they attended Lodi Academy, located on South Central Avenue near Kettleman Lane. They occasionally attend English Oaks Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lodi.
“We’re not religious in our attendance, no pun intended,” Keith Wallace said.
The Wallace family settled in Lodi in 1908 when Henry Lewallyn Wallace, who lived in Sonoma County at the time, wanted his children to attend a Seventh-Day Adventist school.
H.L. Wallace II, born in 1886, enrolled at Lodi Academy and not only graduated in 1913, but he taught at the school for several years, Keith Wallace said.
Family members said that Lodi Academy hasn’t changed much in the classroom over the years, though some lifestyle changes took place.
“School was a lot stricter,” said H.L. Wallace IV, who graduated in 1959. “You didn’t hold hands with a girl. If you did that, the teachers would say, ‘Get your hands off her.’”
Not only that, but girls also had to wear dresses that extended below the knees in the late 1950s, H.L. Wallace IV said.
Keith Wallace says he enjoys what he referred to as a small-town atmosphere at Lodi Academy. Lauren Wallace said she was in classes of no more than 26. There were as many as 32 per class when she attended Lodi Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School.
Will there be a sixth generation of Wallaces attending Lodi Academy?
“If I live in town, probably, yeah,” Lauren Wallace said.
The only question is where the youngest Wallace’s career leads her. For now, she will attend Pacific Union College, a Seventh-day Adventist college in the Sonoma County community of Angwin.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.