Columbia Offers Unique Experiences

Small schools like Columbia Adventist Academy (CAA) are able to offer students some unique opportunities that are fun as well as educational.

For example, freshmen in CAA's physical science class build "submarines" that they use to dive in and explore the ocean (i.e. our elaborately decorated gym). As sophomores, they continue with the study of biology and have the opportunity to become certified in scuba. The highlight of that class is a trip north to the Rosario field station on Puget Sound.

Two sophomores, KaraLeigh Kandoll and Lindsay Kelstrom, described what the trip was like this year:

"Cloudy weather could not dampen the spirits of the 29 biology students on their way to Rosario in April.

"On the way, we investigated intertidal organisms at Tolmie State Park before visiting Seattle Aquarium where we spent the afternoon studying native Puget Sound marine life. We finally reached Rosario, where, after dark, we observed bioluminescent organisms.

"The next morning we learned how to discover where specific organisms live by using a transect line. On our return trip, we stopped at Useless Bay and discovered intriguing organisms like the moon snail.

"From there, part of the group returned to school while the rest headed to Hood Canal to take our scuba certification dive.

"While it might seem like just a fun trip, we have been working on our certification for many weeks leading up to this joint physical education and biology project. During the next few days, we completed the training we needed in open water skills and took underwater tours to complete the certification process. After all of our hard work, all 19 divers were certified."

Thanks to donors who help defray costs, CAA has offered scuba since 1997, and 120 students have been certified. “My students can see—even pick up, if they’re careful—some rather exotic things they can only read about otherwise,” explains Tom Lee, science teacher.

Music is another important part of our program. Almost 80 percent of our students are in band, choir or handbells.

Every year our groups have a calendar full of performances, but this year our handbell choir added a unique performance to their schedule as the handbell director Nita Yuros tells us:

"The CAA handbell choir performed for a lunch-time concert on April 21 at the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) in Portland, Ore. The students were asked to perform as representatives from the Christian schools in the Portland metropolitan area. The performance was one of several marking Christian Heritage Month sponsored by BPA's Christian Values Resource Group.

“'So many people commented positively on this event, and it was the highest attended event,' applauded the company’s weekly newsletter."

The students had just returned from a week-long tour to Salt Lake City with all music groups from CAA, where they organized and participated in the first Utah Teen Youth Rally.

July 01, 2005 / Oregon Conference