(Excerpts taken from “Southwest Christian High School An Historical Perspective” written by former teacher and historian Robert Schoone-Jongen)
In 1917 the first Christian day school was established in Edgerton, founded by the Dutch-American settlers who came here in the 1890’s. The school was based in the traditions of the Dutch Reformation. For many decades children who wanted to continue their education past the 8th grade went to Hull, Iowa where they attended Western Christian High School.
After the Second World War, a group of parents took the final steps to organize a high school right here in Edgerton, and in 1951 the articles of incorporation were adopted, and South West Minnesota Christian High School came into legal existence.
Southwest has been entrusted with a sometimes contentious task. On the one hand it has tried to help young minds learn the eternal truths of the Christian faith. On the other hand it had to prepare students to use that faith in an ever changing world. With the changing curriculum and the extracurricular activities, it has not always been easy to harmonize the sensibilities of the community and provide a Christian perspective on the surrounding culture.
But the core has remained remarkably stable. The curriculum still strives to help young people grow into useful citizens of God’s kingdom wherever the graduates are assigned to serve in it. Understanding God’s truth remains the principle objective which drives Southwest Christian.
During the past sixty plus years Southwest MN Christian has served literally thousands of students from Edgerton, Leota, Chandler, Pipestone, Luverne, Worthington, Hills and Holland as well as occasional exchange students from countries such as Germany, Sweden, Spain, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Yugoslavia, Venezuela, Mali, and Azerbaijan.. The first graduating class had only twelve students. Within a few years the student body swelled to 200 and at their peak the enrollment hit 300 students in 1969-70. Presently there are 90 students, some of whom are great-grandchildren of the original students enrolled in the school.
Educating over 2500 students has required the services of many people. There have been hundreds of parents working through the Circles and serving on the board of directors. There have been seven full time custodians and six secretaries, and about a dozen cooks. Six individuals have managed the day to day operations of the school as administrators. The classrooms have been handled by well over 125 full time teachers and dozens of part timers.
The results of these efforts can be seen literally around the world. Southwest Minnesota is home to about a third of the school’s graduates. They have helped build their communities and churches - operating farms and businesses, raising families, serving on committees and in the government. Others have ranged further afield, from the Dakotas and Iowa to both coasts, over the border into Canada, and beyond to countries on almost every continent.