Image Credit: Gina Hubin

Families Experience Student Life at Auburn

When Melinda Newell decided to enroll her home-schooled son, Samuel, as a freshman at Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA), it came with a lot of adjustments.

“The first six weeks were difficult,” remembers Newell, who lives in Oregon. “The first home leave could not come soon enough.”

The Newell family returned in November to experience their first Family Weekend. “We had a taste of what our son’s daily schedule is like: busy,” says Newell. “It was nice to see Samuel all dressed up in his choir tuxedo, meet his friends, taste the food in the cafeteria and meet some of his teachers.”

The month of November is always a special time at Auburn Adventist Academy with the excitement of reuniting with family for the holidays. Family Weekend offers a full weekend experience for parents to spend time on campus to meet school staff and church members who have become part of their children’s school family.

“No matter if they are full-time dormitory, five-day dormitory or village, each student is part of the AAA school and church family,” says John Soulé, AAA principal.

During Family Weekend, students showcase the hard work they have put in with the music department. They are featured in a sacred musical vespers as well as during the church service.

Sylvan Chorale member Lauren Ziegele enjoyed performing for Family Weekend, saying, “It was a unique experience because we were able to perform for our families. It seemed like everyone was more enthusiastic.”

Auburn students shared at Sabbath School about their participation in Youth Rush this summer with another set of students talking about why they came to Auburn Adventist Academy this year and how it has impacted their lives.

Not only was the weekend a good time for reconnecting with family, it was also a great opportunity to meet the students' extended family members. “It was fun meeting my friends' families,” says Heidi Kissinger, AAA student.

During the course of the weekend, the cafeteria offered up some extra-special meals, beautiful fall décor and lively conversation. Benjamin Hoffman, who plays trumpet in the band, enjoyed the special weekend. “Food was great. Music was wonderful," he says. "It was good."

On Saturday night, families attended Fall Festival in the gym. Not only are there booths full of a variety of food from all over the world, there are also game booths including a dunk tank, a giant sling shot, face painting and kissing clowns.

The weekend ended on Sunday morning with the opportunity for parents to sign up for conferences with teachers and a lovely brunch to send everyone home on a full stomach.

“We discovered that AAA is a family that loves its kids and wants to do what is best for them,” says Newell. “Teachers strive to show them God every day and are real with their students. They understand that learning and relationships are a process, not always a product.”

Village parent Christine Reed appreciated Family Weekend. “It was a great weekend, and we enjoyed getting to know our daughter's teachers and other parents," she says. "We are so thankful for all the teachers and staff and their dedication and commitment to making AAA a Christ-filled, academically rich school.”

Stacy Tejel, AAA teacher, and Heidi Baumgartner, Washington Conference communication director

Featured in: January 2016