Families, how is your courage these days? There is so much for us to wonder about and so many unknowns in our world today. Now that school has begun, there is concern, especially on behalf of our children. Are they in a safe environment, an environment where they will stay healthy and have as much of a classroom learning experience as possible?
Many schools have started the school year with an online learning program, which, for some, is a positive, while, for others, it is a negative. Regardless of what form education takes for our children, our desire for them is that they continue to learn and grow intellectually, socially, emotionally, physically, and, most importantly, spiritually.
Adventist schools throughout the Atlantic Union are doing their very best to provide a positive learning environment for students. An advantage our schools have is the relatively small class sizes, which makes following current safety guidelines much easier. At Union Springs Academy (USA) we are prepared for the challenges that have been placed upon us. We have set processes and safeguards in place that will give our students an in-person classroom environment, while allowing for optimum health and safety.
Take a look at these quotes and comments, shared by Union Springs Academy students, about the differences they see with an Adventist Christian education:
• “The worships every morning and evening.”
• “Seeing different spiritual views and learning about God, making a close relationship with Jesus a reality.”
• “Participating in campus ministries really made me feel useful in God’s service.”
• “Making friends from different cultures and having friends who are like family. These people I have met this year will be in my life forever.”
• “My spiritual, academic, and work-related experiences helped me become more mature, smarter, and a more dependable person.”
• “Teachers who care about how you are as a person, not just academics, but outside the classroom too. You are not just a number.”
• “A smaller environment in a country setting.”
One of the most positive aspects of an Adventist education is that sense of family. Each student knows and is known by every other student, as well as the faculty and staff. They are not simply a number or a face in the crowded halls or classrooms. They, instead, have a close-knit school community that will be there to help them celebrate their highest highs, and love them through their lowest lows. And yes, just like in other families, problems will arise; however, they can be resolved within the supportive environment of a faith community.
Ellen White outlines the scope of Adventist education clearly in the book, Education, p. 13: “Our ideas of education take too narrow and too low a range. There is need of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.”
Certainly, in the world of Adventist education our ultimate goal is for the eternal well-being of our students. As teachers, our prayer is that our students will see Christ living through us, also through our teaching, through our interactions with students outside of the classroom, creating a bond with our students that will last through eternity.
Adventist education is more important now than ever. For those who do not have access to a local Adventist high school, please prayerfully consider Union Springs Academy. We are nestled in the picturesque, rural Finger Lakes region of Central New York, near the shores of Lake Cayuga. Our students enjoy a safe and peaceful atmosphere, while obtaining a first-rate education, learning skills needed for this life and the next. The academy’s beautiful and tranquil surroundings are conducive to connecting with God. This is a place where faculty and staff seek daily to bring the students’ minds toward heavenly things. Despite the current challenges, Union Springs Academy, by God’s grace, is growing and thriving, both in the curriculum offerings and enrollment.
If you are wondering how you can afford to have your student attend USA, one way is through scholarships available for Atlantic Union Conference students. Come, experience the USA difference! Now is the time to make the change of a lifetime!
—Tom Dunham, vice principal/history teacher and Patty Dunham, alumni communication director, Union Springs Academy, and Miguel Crespo, president, New York Conference