Forever Changed A Student's Firsthand Account

Though I am a junior at Gem State Adventist Academy, I didn’t grow up in an Adventist home. My parents belong to two different denominations. I attended my mom’s church until I was 11 years old, didn't go to church for two years, then, at 13, began attending a friend's church.

Two summers ago, Gem State recruiter, Debbie McCarver, came and showed a video and gave out T-shirts while I was at Camp Ida-Haven. I thought Gem State looked like a really cool school, and the camp staff encouraged me to go there.

My mom, on the other hand, didn’t feel the same way, so I took my sophomore year at the public school in McCall, Idaho. It was a difficult year.

Last spring my mom informed me that she and my dad were divorcing. The situation deteriorated at home with my parents’ constant fighting.

My friends started to fall into the drugs-and-partying scene. I really didn’t like being around that and resisted for a whole year. Then one day last summer, right before camp, I fell into it and made one of the worst mistakes I’ve made.

After that I went to camp, and while I was there my mom found out what I had done. The morning I got home, my mom confronted me about it. I broke down and told her everything I was feeling. I told her that I hated being at home because she and my dad were always fighting, and I didn’t like being with my friends because they were all getting into bad things, and I didn’t have anyone to hang out with. She said, “Surely not everyone is getting into bad stuff.”

One by one I told her what all of my friends had done, so even if I hadn’t come to Gem State, she wouldn’t have let me hang out with any of them.

I told her I needed to get out of McCall and that I wasn’t strong enough to fight the peer pressure anymore. Then she said that the only way I could leave was if I went to school at the place I wanted to go last year.

I said, “Gem State?!”

She said yes and told me to get all the information. Registration day was less than three weeks away from the day I got back from camp. I was really surprised how quickly things fell into place and, before I knew it, I was at Gem State Academy. It has been a great year so far.

Every school has its ups and downs, but Gem State has been fun. Except for camp, I had never been around the Adventist religion until this year, and I have learned so much from both Bible studies with people and Bible class. I don’t know how I ever believed anything else.

It has been an awesome year. I hope to come back next year and graduate from Gem State Academy.

July 01, 2005 / Idaho Conference