UCA Teacher Sees No Comparison Between Public and Adventist Education

Mariano de Oro spent the last 12 years teaching in public colleges and high schools. "I loved the kids I taught in the public school system,” he said. “But I couldn’t share Christ with them. That was always a heartache for me.”

When de Oro had the opportunity to transfer to Upper Columbia Academy (UCA) to teach Bible and Spanish, he was delighted to accept for the sake of his academy-age daughter, Jessica. However, the move represented significant professional issues for him as well.

“Of course I care that they learn their Spanish or any of their subjects well,” de Oro said. “But when you think about it, in the end what difference will that really make unless they know God? Everything in life comes down to that—knowing God.

“I’m sure my public school students could see that I was different, and they knew it was because I was a Christian. From time to time, I had the chance to share my faith directly with somebody. But really...I was muzzled.

“Now that I’m at UCA, my work is so much more a ministry. I can have prayer in my classes. When I talk with students about their personal problems, I can share real hope with them because I can talk to them about following and trusting God. And they can share with me! It goes against my nature as a Christian to not be able to share my faith.

“It is in this context—the context of Christian education—where I can really make a difference in the lives of young people. There are, of course, Christian teachers called to work in public schools. However, now that I’ve experienced the freedom to share Christ in the classroom, I don’t think I could go back.”