Education Rally in Sandpoint
"Adventist teachers saved my life!” said Mark Witas, principal of Cascade Christian Academy in Wenatchee, Wash. Witas, speaking at the first Streams of Light education rally held at the Sandpoint Adventist Church on Oct. 15, 2005, told the riveting story of his childhood and rescue by committed Adventist educators.
“The strength of our schools depends on the strength of our churches. Education has to do with evangelism and kingdom values,” said Witas during the Sabbath sermon. “When you provide an Adventist education for your child, you provide an extended family. Teachers are with your child seven hours a day. Children spend more time with their teachers than they do with you. Parents want to trust that the person with their child throughout the day represents who they believe in and what they believe.”
Witas went on to say that 85 percent of Adventist high school graduates attend college, and 80 percent graduate from college, as opposed to 16 percent of public high school graduates.
“Statistics are not the reason I send my child to an Adventist school. I get one chance with my child, and that’s it,” said Witas. “If you believe in evangelism, you’ve got to believe in Adventist schools.”
Because enrollment is decreasing in Adventist schools, parents and educators came together to address this troubling trend. Their desire is to celebrate Adventist education and look for ways to meet the educational and spiritual needs of the children.
Four more Streams of Light education rallies will be held in 2006. The first will be in Lewiston, Idaho, on Feb.11 with Gary Hopkins as the featured speaker. Mark Witas will speak again in Yakima on March 4. The third rally will be in Pendleton on March 11, and the fourth in the Pasco area on April 22.
The day-long event showcased Adventist education’s unique vision to equip children for this world and eternity. Homeschooling families participated, demonstrating that the home is the first resource in creating an atmosphere for children to grow and learn. Claudia Moots, a Bonners Ferry mother, said, “What a privilege to see your child see Jesus as a friend.”
The rally was sponsored by Streams of Light, an umbrella capital campaign raising funds for four projects. The UCC campaign director, Patsy Wagner, said, “These children are absolutely the best advertisement for Adventist education!”
The four projects are: $4 million for KEEP (Kid’s Educational Endowment Fund) to provide affordable Christian education for constituent children in grades K through 12, $1 million for Camp MiVoden, $500,000 for KidsBibleinfo.com, and $500,000 for church planting.