CAA Selected as National Finalist for 2004 Academy Award for Excellence

July 01, 2004 | David Allen

Columbia Adventist Academy (CAA) was selected as the first runner-up for the 2004 Academy Award for Excellence and received a $20,000 grant during the Alumni Awards Foundation's annual convention held in February 2004.

Three Adventist high schools were selected from more than 100 in the United States and Canada to present their school for consideration in the 2004 Academy Award for Excellence. The other finalist schools were Andrews Academy (Berrien Springs, Mich.) and Georgia-Cumberland Academy (Calhoun, Ga.).

"What is so great about Adventist schools?" Many people, even Adventists, ask that question themselves when they hear about people sending their kids to an Adventist school. As someone who has attended Adventist schools for most of my schooling, I can attest that there is something great about this Christ-based system," testified Shannon Gibb, who represented CAA for the award. "When I heard that my school was selected to win the award of excellence, I knew that this academy deserved every inch of this recognition....By showing people what was going on at Columbia, we were able to show them that God is still working in our schools.”

CAA applied for the award in December 2003 and successfully completed the three-stage application process and the judges’ on-site school visit. The final component was for four students and one school administrator to travel to Scottsdale, Ariz., to represent Adventist education in an 18-minute presentation to members of the Alumni Awards Foundation and a panel of judges representing Adventist colleges and universities. The final decision was made based upon the compilation of scores from the application, on-site visit, popular vote and a panel of judges.

“Columbia Academy students really rose to the challenge and showed us the caliber of young people in school today. Columbia demonstrated excellence in their programs and a school environment that is preparing young people as responsible, caring citizens,” said Dale E. Twomley, board of directors chair.

“It is evident that you and your team are committed to excellence and that everyone involved—students and staff alike—have been challenged to be the best that they can be....You are shining stars, and your efforts raise the bar for excellence in Seventh-day Adventist education,” affirmed Pam Sadler, Alumni Achievement Awards executive director.

What did participating in their school’s presentation in Scottsdale do for CAA students? “Being a part of the trip showed me many things. It was refreshing and reassuring to see how many people believe in the Adventist school system. It showed that people really care about our schools and want to give back for all that they did for them. Seeing this group of people made me want to be a part of their group, and someday I plan on giving back to the school system that has given me so much,” declared Grant Hummel, CAA senior.

All students were proud that their school had received this award. “It was really cool to be picked from all the other schools to receive this great honor. Because we are a small school, it seems like no one ever notices us. Winning this award is a statement that we really are a great school,” commented Michelle Whitley, CAA sophomore.

Columbia Adventist Academy plans to use the award to provide computer technology for each classroom.