'Each One Reach One' Chosen as UCA School Year Theme

How do you choose a theme that will guide a whole school for the year? At Upper Columbia Academy, the students are asked.

John Spano, UCA history teacher and head sponsor of the associated student body team, has gained considerable experience mentoring student leaders throughout his teaching career. “Each year, I encourage the incoming officers to pray about a theme,” said Spano. “I don’t want them to just think of something catchy — I want it to be God-led because that’s what will make all the difference.”

“The ASB team came into the year with excitement to decide the new theme,” said Torin Smith, ASB president. “We brainstormed and prayed about each idea, but the one that rose to the top was ‘Each One Reach One.’ We wanted to encourage an environment on campus where students interact with one another with kind and thoughtful words.”

The other officers echo Smith’s sentiment. Eric Olson, ASB vice president, mentioned he has noticed his conversations with his peers seem to turn more often to how to positively influence others for Christ. “It has definitely been an emphasis in everything we do as a leadership team,” he said.

The theme was introduced on the first night of the school year at the Handshake, a kick-off event for students to get acquainted with each other. Several of the ASB officers spoke for worship, talking about the difference one person can make. The idea was reiterated at the Agape Feast, also planned by ASB.

During the fall Week of Prayer, the theme was reinforced by the speaker, Dale Goodson, a missionary who returned from Papua New Guinea. 

“Hearing ‘Each One Reach One’ multiple times throughout the school year helps me think more about how I relate to others,” said Joseph Lee, UCA senior. “It is a great reminder that I can affect those around me.”

Halfway through the year, the ASB leadership team paused to reflect on what they’ve done and what they still want to accomplish. “Most of our meeting time was taken up by a discussion of how we will continue to incorporate our theme into each activity we plan,” Spano relayed. “We want it to stick with people.”

“Honestly, I don’t believe the theme has changed our campus, but the change God has been working out in us is what inspired the theme,” said Fred Riffel, pastor and UCA Bible teacher. “These words beautifully express who we are as a school family.”

Riffel went on to point out that observing kind acts and hearing encouraging words are not rare occurrences at UCA. “We have been praying for God to become part of our DNA, and this is yet another evidence of His answer — seeing His character reflected in our students and colleagues.”

Reaching others doesn’t end at the edge of school property, according to Smith. “UCA needs to be a center of hope for the community, as well, and that is what we want to encourage for the rest of this year. My fellow officers and I want to lend a helping hand wherever we are to touch people like Jesus did.”

In addition to the activities planned on campus, the team has initiated several outreach activities, including a visit to a nearby nursing home.

Featured in: March/April 2024