Emma L. Minnis Junior Academy

Preparing. Building. Educating for Christ.


The oldest 7th day Adventist church opened in Louisville, KY WITH Alonzo Barry as its first pastor in 1890. One of the first pastor’s, Elder J.P. Lawrence soon opened the church school in 1915. This school continued at several locations before the church was finally built on Magazine St, which was ultimately destroyed by fire in 1952. Sister Katherine Takecare was the teacher was teaching at the school for nearly 10 years before the fire of 1952, she was also a teacher at the school during the time of the fire. 

During the next four years after the first school was location on 22nd and Chestnut, while the church held service at Broadway Temple on 13th and Broadway. Elder Eric Lynes was the pastor at this time. The church was later rebuilt by the pastoral leadership of Elder E.T. Minnis. Sister Lenorsa Washington was added to the teaching staff at that time. During the next four years the school was still in operation with Delilah Mae Custard, Alvin Gouldbourne, Paul Jenkins, and Zeola Germany Alston until 1956.

After the church was rebuilt and the school resumed at the new church, Sister Evelyn Minnis was the teacher until 1958. In 1958 the school closed for a short period of time due to financial hardship. The church school was closed until 1962 when a former member returned home from Baltimore, Maryland and reopened the school with the twelve students, under the pastoral leadership of Elder C. Graham.

The teachers at the church, using the basement for classrooms, including the conference room were Sister Gayle Crank-Hurd, Sister Oneida Taylor, and Sister Eula Washington. After four years they were able to move to Cypress and Virginia using the Greater Tabernacle Baptist Church as a school until 1974. Brother Leroy Anderson joined the staff at this time. For a short time three other teachers also taught at Cypress and Virginia. They were Sister Le Lois Harris, Sister Mary Martin, and Brother Charles Cunningham (the son of Sister Eugenia Cunningham, the author of “Make Bright the Memories”.

Soon the Cypress Avenue School was sold and under the leadership of Elder I.J. Johnson a new school location had to be found. The school had to move to a location in the main part of the city or downtown area on Second and Chestnut St., also used at the YWCA or the “Y”. Four new teachers were added to the staff as two former teachers moved away. They were Sister Minnie Major, Jessie Wagner, Diana Medley, and Clevon Harris. 

During a short period they remained in the downtown area before moving to their own school building on Wilson Avenue and 18th St. With the new school building being the church’s own building, the enrollment was then at the highest that it has ever been in the school’s history with 90 students. Mary T. Maupin was the music teacher for many years where she taught many students to play the bells.

Three more new teachers, Brother Glenn Timmons, Sister Jackie Ford, Johnnie Smith, Idabeth Jacob, were added to the staff and Dr. Ella Simmons became the principal. When Sister Simmons was called to teach in California, Sister Brenda Cowan was called to be a staff member. For a brief period of time Donald Bedley and Gloria Branch were also on the staff and Florence James was the preschool teacher.

The school would soon relocate in the vacant Carter Traditional Elementary School on 36th and Virginia. There, three more teachers were added to the staff – Kadia Turner, Kim Armstrong, and Dale Lewis. Two more moves would take place before a new school would be built and then they would finally have a permanent location to call their own. For a short time the school was placed at Simmons College of Kentucky with Sister Vanessa Wilson as Principal, two preschool teachers – Vicky Robertzin and Denise Edwards.

Before moving to the new building and current location of 1939 Magazine St., the school had to return to new Life 7TH day Adventist Church on Taylor Blvd. with two new staff members Daniel and Bernita Mitchell. The new school was finished in rapid time opening just in time for the 2010 school year. By the grace of God and under the pastoral leadership of Elder Kennedy C. Luckett and the hard work of many past and present Magazine St. members, E.L. Minnis Jr. Academy now has a spot on the corner of Magazine St. to call its own.