When I was 7 years old, my parents began attending a Seventh-day Adventist Church company on a nearby reservation. We would drive almost an hour each Saturday morning to worship with other believers. As my parents began accepting Adventist teachings, our family life slowly began to change. In fourth grade the biggest change occurred — my parents enrolled me in North Puget Adventist Junior Academy (now Skagit Adventist Academy).
Growing up on a reservation, having friends who are more like family and attending a small-town public school wasn’t a bad life. In fact, I have great childhood memories. So the change to a small private school was difficult for me at first. But then, I was introduced to another world I didn’t know existed.
I began playing clarinet for the school band. I started reading and enjoying Christian books. I began attending Pathfinders and learning about birds, knots and cake decorating. I went camping. I was introduced to plant-based food and so much more! My life was changing. But best of all, through regular family worship, church all day on Sabbath and my Christian education, I began to know Jesus.
Looking back now, I am proud of my parents for the great sacrifice they made to send me to an Adventist school. We were a poor family living on one income on a small reservation. The investment of money and time wasn’t easy. But my parents believed an Adventist Christian education was the key to my success. Now, as a parent with two kids of my own, I wholeheartedly agree.
Because of my experiences, I am sharing three reasons Adventist education matters.
The most important reason I am choosing an Adventist education for my two kids is the focus placed on eternal things. Adventist teachers introduce kids to Jesus daily, helping grow their character and intentionally showing them Christ through their words, teaching and lifestyle. I'm thankful our schools begin the day with corporate prayer and classes with worship. I also value the phenomenal Bible classes that help my kids encounter Jesus and give them a chance to participate in week of prayer events and community service. This spiritual focus is something my children won't get in public school.
Adventist education features smaller class sizes. This means students have more time to interact with their teachers. In smaller classrooms, my children have the chance to know and be mentored by godly teachers. When these teachers are invested in Christ-centered relationships with students there is the potential for great change. I realize there are great teachers in many different schools across the Northwest, but I believe that nothing compares to a committed Adventist teacher.
Did you know that 85% of kids that graduate from an Adventist school go on to college? That’s pretty awesome! I love that the school I attended had high academic standards for their students. Students in an Adventist school, on average, place a grade higher nationally than other students. The curriculum offered to students is intentionally designed with a Seventh-day Adventist worldview and whole-person education in mind. When students struggle, there is teacher support, mentoring and even older student tutoring.
The value of an Adventist education is multifaceted and long lasting. Studies like ValueGenesis show that it strengthens young people's faith, results in more decisions for baptism, affects church attendance, and more. In my own experience, Adventist education has been lifesaving and truly life-changing.
Today I am honored to work at the Adventist school of my childhood. I have the privilege to send my own kids to an Adventist school.
If you are not sending your kids to an Adventist school, will you please consider it this next fall? It has been such a blessing for me, and I know it can be for your family as well.