“It is God who gives insight and wisdom. He is the source of all knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6, CW).
Ellen White once posed the question, “What is the essential education for this time?” And then she went on to answer, “Education means much more than many suppose. True education embraces physical, mental, and moral training, in order that all the powers shall be fitted for the best development, to do service for God, and to work for the uplifting of humanity” (Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 387).
Although there is only space to tell of just a few examples, this “essential education” is found throughout the Central California Conference (CCC) K-12 schools. More information can be obtained by going to schools’ websites. Certainly, the “sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15) is affirmed in the lives of our teachers and students.
Hollister SDA Christian School: Principal Chester Sears shared, “Nazmy Godinez, K-2 teacher, always prays at the typical times throughout the day. One of the students asked, ‘Why don’t we pray for everything?’ So now they also pray before each class, before recess, or any time they think they need to pray. Sometimes we adults can learn from the students.”
Los Banos Adventist Christian School: Principal Lea Gilbert described what happened with her first- to fourth-graders: “At the beginning of the new year, my classroom made the resolution to be of service to others. After brainstorming ideas, they voted to sponsor a child through World Vision and to help our local community by collecting canned goods for the Merced Food Bank. Every little bit counts!”
Central Valley Christian Academy: The first- and second-grade classroom talked about performing random acts of kindness and wrote about how they felt when they were kind. Teacher Tiffany Steinberg added, “They are learning about how God molds us as our Potter and prepares us to be who God wants us to be.” Cherie Uyeyama, the eighth-grade teacher, told how her students created Bible verse cards for a cancer patient and for a mother who was discouraged. During the height of the pandemic, Lukas Castillo, a high school freshman, visited and wrote letters to a lonely 98-year-old World War II veteran, resulting in a lasting friendship. A recent highlight occurred when siblings Gael and Gali Gomez, through the influence of the school and Bible studies, were baptized together.
Foothill Adventist Elementary: The eleven fifth- and sixth-grade students at this school in Milpitas voted to support the Kids Against Hunger Bay Area organization as their classroom’s Light the World project. They raised $569.19 by selling Valentine candy and roses, which far surpassed the $55 their teacher, Bonnie Gottke, had envisioned. Read this inspiring story in its entirety on their website: www.foothilladventistschool.org/classes/community-service.
Armona Union Academy: Seniors in Spanish 2 asked to lead out in class worships, and they did an incredible job sharing their faith with their classmates. Additionally, students in Religion 4 conducted the annual student week of prayer. At the other end of the academic continuum, kindergartners were definitely listening when their teacher explained how Jesus helps us to feel better when we’re sick. One of the kindergartners then shared how he assured his own sick family that Jesus would make them better.
Miramonte Adventist Elementary: As noted in the February 4 Pacific Sunrise newsletter, some of Miramonte’s students observed the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service by thanking the Mountain View Police Department officers. It was done as part of this year’s theme: “Unity in C❤mmUNITY.”
Fresno Adventist Academy: Recently the academy students were asked to respond to several questions about their educational experience. While many students described the value of Adventist Education, a freshman summarized what many others had expressed: “I believe that Adventist schools do their best to create a great atmosphere that includes everyone and supports our beliefs. Overall I think this school gives us the best opportunity to create a close relationship with God and to use the Bible as a resource in our daily life.”
Monterey Bay Academy: Biology teacher Jenny Wheeler shared how the pandemic reminded her that God did not create us to be alone. It is especially poignant now that the school has been allowed to return to in-person teaching, using a cohort structure, after nine months of remote learning. For the first two weeks, the focus was on the three R’s: relationships, review, and rebuild. Wheeler exclaimed, “The students now have motivation. Their spirits are higher and they are now more engaged. Being together, in person, is such a gift! One that I hope we will never take for granted. God created us to be social creatures as we support and serve each other.”
As God would simply say to CCC’s schools, “Tell the kids I love them!” When our children sing “Jesus loves me, this I know!” with delight and enthusiasm, surely Adventist Education fulfills its essential and true purpose.
By Deloris Trujillo