Auburn Uses Hands-on Learning for Holistic Education

August 01, 2004 | Amber Serns

Christian education and the philosophy of a balanced lifestyle on which it is based is truly a blessing to those who experience it. Auburn Adventist Academy's (AAA) goal of providing a Christ-centered, opportunity-filled learning environment is seen when one observes the wide variety of classes offered there.

Many of Auburn's electives are sought after because of their interactive and hands-on characteristics—courses like auto mechanics, digital video editing, international foods, painting, private pilot's license, scuba diving, tennis and welding, to name a few. (Visit for a complete list under the "Academics" tab.)

Spady Hall, AAA's noisy industrial arts building, is where a lot of student creativity is unleashed. Students focus intently on personally designed projects through enormously large safety goggles in the woodshop. Dale Hyde, himself a talented carpenter, active pilot and knowledgeable mechanic, is the school's industrial arts instructor.

Upon visiting Spady Hall just before graduation, I found an extremely creative and uniquely personal project being completed by 2004 graduate Esther Ushijima. Ushijima, a talented pianist and AAA's Sylvan Chorale accompanist, wanted to make a small piano to use as a coffee table. The project turned out beautifully and can now be found in the home of her parents, Tatsunori and Shigeko Ushijima.

As I observed the craftsmanship of this table, I realized how happy I was that this creative talent could be expressed in such a positive way. And as I began to realize the sense of satisfaction that so many students have felt after completing such a project, I recognized what a blessing it is to be part of a school that is able to facilitate these expansive avenues of learning.

How thankful we should be for an educational system that supports and encourages a healthful and holistic approach to educating.