A Dean's Testimony Auburn Dedicates New Dormitory

After many hours of searching for the right words to convey what an amazing event the new Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA) girls' dorm dedication and open house was, I gave up! My words just did not have the power of the speech that was given by Kay Sanborn, AAA girls' dean. The audience was deeply touched by it. I think you will be too. Nelita Davamony, AAA GLEANER correspondent Welcome to all of our guests and friends, and thank you for coming today as we celebrate the near completion of a vision. When I was hired 16 years ago, Wayne Wentland (Auburn principal at the time) told me they planned to build a new dorm within the next five years. Well, it took a little longer and didn't happen as originally planned. It has been a year since the groundbreaking and longer since that November day that Nelson Hall caught on fire. One word that we have heard time and again since that day is "blessed." If you were to look in the dictionary you would find several definitions; however, the one I'd like to focus on today is the one that says, "to make happy and to endow as with a gift." There is not time to list all of the blessings that we have experienced in the past 18 months. We were blessed that the fire didn't happen at night when the girls were sleeping. We were blessed by the quick response of several fire departments and instant support of family, friends and community. We were blessed by a community and church that opened their homes to the girls. We were blessed when the mother of a village student went to Wal-Mart and purchased T-shirts for the girls to sleep in, toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, brushes and other basic needs. We were blessed when the Red Cross responded immediately and provided emergency medications and teddy bears for each resident. We were blessed when people came with clothes (some fit and some didn't). We were blessed that no one was injured. We were blessed that the school had a good insurance policy. We were blessed that the staff gave up their Thanksgiving vacation to help turn a boys' dorm into a girls' dorm. We were blessed that the boys doubled up and shared their dorm with us. We were blessed when we saw the caliber and character of the girls as they were forced to grow up overnight. We were blessed by the good attitudes of the girls as they moved in last fall with four girls in some of the rooms. We were blessed as we saw the patience the girls showed as they waited for their new home to be completed. There have been countless gifts to the girls and the school from friends around the nation and the world. They were given with a generous spirit. I would like to illustrate that spirit by sharing with you two of the gifts I personally received. When I had nowhere to stay, my friend Hannah Roberts let me stay in her room and use her bed. She not only made sure her room was clean and ready for me, she also wrapped her favorite American Girl doll and was ready to give it to my granddaughters as she knew their dolls had been in the fire. When I arrived at the Roberts' home, sweet D.J. met me at the door and reached out his fist to give me something. As he opened his hand, he handed me a quarter, two nickels, a dime and some pennies. A short time later he came out with his hands behind his back, smiled and gave me two dollar bills. When I suggested that he might want to save some of this money for himself (I knew the family had a Disneyland trip planned.) he assured me it was okay because he could always get more money. Our friends didn't just think of us in the days immediately following the fire—they continued to bless us with gifts and support. Even D.J. asked his mom in June following the fire if Kay Sanborn's finances were okay now or if she needed some more money. That was from the heart of a five-year-old; however, it illustrates the spirit of many. We will do our best to train these ladies who will lead us in our faith journey today, in the next generation and for generations to come. This will be a vibrant residence hall where students will live and grow together in a community of faith, which will enable us to better fulfill our mission of preparing young women to become contributing citizens to this society and a heavenly society. I would hope that none of us will ever forget the many blessings we have experienced as a result of the fire and the building of this new residence hall. As a reminder for the charter residents of this new building and as a keepsake, I would like to present all of the current residents of "Nelson Annex," also known as "Witzel South," with a Beanie Buddy. In working with the company, they gave me a greatly reduced price on the bears (another blessing) as I shared with them the reason I wanted to purchase so many. The bear that each of the girls will receive is named "Blessed."

After many hours of searching for the right words to convey what an amazing event the new Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA) girls' dorm dedication and open house was, I gave up! My words just did not have the power of the speech that was given by Kay Sanborn, AAA girls' dean. The audience was deeply touched by it. I think you will be too.

Nelita Davamony, AAA GLEANER correspondent

Welcome to all of our guests and friends, and thank you for coming today as we celebrate the near completion of a vision. When I was hired 16 years ago, Wayne Wentland (Auburn principal at the time) told me they planned to build a new dorm within the next five years. Well, it took a little longer and didn't happen as originally planned.

It has been a year since the groundbreaking and longer since that November day that Nelson Hall caught on fire. One word that we have heard time and again since that day is "blessed." If you were to look in the dictionary you would find several definitions; however, the one I'd like to focus on today is the one that says, "to make happy and to endow as with a gift."

There is not time to list all of the blessings that we have experienced in the past 18 months.

We were blessed that the fire didn't happen at night when the girls were sleeping.

We were blessed by the quick response of several fire departments and instant support of family, friends and community. We were blessed by a community and church that opened their homes to the girls.

We were blessed when the mother of a village student went to Wal-Mart and purchased T-shirts for the girls to sleep in, toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, brushes and other basic needs.

We were blessed when the Red Cross responded immediately and provided emergency medications and teddy bears for each resident.

We were blessed when people came with clothes (some fit and some didn't). We were blessed that no one was injured. We were blessed that the school had a good insurance policy.

We were blessed that the staff gave up their Thanksgiving vacation to help turn a boys' dorm into a girls' dorm. We were blessed that the boys doubled up and shared their dorm with us.

We were blessed when we saw the caliber and character of the girls as they were forced to grow up overnight. We were blessed by the good attitudes of the girls as they moved in last fall with four girls in some of the rooms. We were blessed as we saw the patience the girls showed as they waited for their new home to be completed.

There have been countless gifts to the girls and the school from friends around the nation and the world. They were given with a generous spirit. I would like to illustrate that spirit by sharing with you two of the gifts I personally received. When I had nowhere to stay, my friend Hannah Roberts let me stay in her room and use her bed. She not only made sure her room was clean and ready for me, she also wrapped her favorite American Girl doll and was ready to give it to my granddaughters as she knew their dolls had been in the fire. When I arrived at the Roberts' home, sweet D.J. met me at the door and reached out his fist to give me something. As he opened his hand, he handed me a quarter, two nickels, a dime and some pennies. A short time later he came out with his hands behind his back, smiled and gave me two dollar bills. When I suggested that he might want to save some of this money for himself (I knew the family had a Disneyland trip planned.) he assured me it was okay because he could always get more money.

Our friends didn't just think of us in the days immediately following the fire—they continued to bless us with gifts and support. Even D.J. asked his mom in June following the fire if Kay Sanborn's finances were okay now or if she needed some more money. That was from the heart of a five-year-old; however, it illustrates the spirit of many.

We will do our best to train these ladies who will lead us in our faith journey today, in the next generation and for generations to come. This will be a vibrant residence hall where students will live and grow together in a community of faith, which will enable us to better fulfill our mission of preparing young women to become contributing citizens to this society and a heavenly society.

I would hope that none of us will ever forget the many blessings we have experienced as a result of the fire and the building of this new residence hall. As a reminder for the charter residents of this new building and as a keepsake, I would like to present all of the current residents of "Nelson Annex," also known as "Witzel South," with a Beanie Buddy. In working with the company, they gave me a greatly reduced price on the bears (another blessing) as I shared with them the reason I wanted to purchase so many. The bear that each of the girls will receive is named "Blessed."

July 01, 2005 / Washington Conference
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