Mt. Ellis Academy It's all about 'Equip-ment'

When students arrive at Mt. Ellis Academy on registration day, some are shocked to find they will need equipment the first week of school—sleeping bags, tents and other items for a week of outdoor school or senior survival. The flip side is, faculty and staff do their best to equip students—not just for a camping trip, but for a life of service.

When Amy Russell, Greg Jutzy, Mike Unterseher and Michael Lee first enrolled at Mt. Ellis Academy, they didn't realize they would be going through an "equip-ment" process that would shape their career choices and equip them for a life of service. Two of the MEA graduates, Russell, class of '01, and Jutzy, class of '02, attend Loma Linda University, where Russell studies dental hygiene and Jutzy will complete his first year of medical school. Unterseher, class of '02, recruits for Kettering College of Medical Arts, and Lee, class of '01, teaches English at Chiang Mai Adventist Academy in Thailand.

Equipped to Lead

A small school atmosphere at MEA ensures spiritual development and leadership go hand in hand. "My time at Mt. Ellis was a big step in my spiritual journey," shares Lee. While at Mt. Ellis, Lee served as a student chaplain and senior class president. "I chose my career path at Mt. Ellis—youth ministry."

Equipped to Serve

During the years these young alumni attended Mt. Ellis, the school went on two mission trips to Honduras. All four mentioned these trips as a turning point in their lives—a time when they learned the joys of serving people. "The Honduras trip was monumental in the shaping of my life and faith—answered prayers, opened doors, miracles—they all happened in just this one mission trip," says Jutzy. "It showed me when God is in control, amazing things will happen."

Lee agrees with Jutzy about the importance of mission trips—he has been on three trips to Honduras, one to Mexico, one to Curacao, and is currently serving in the mission field in Thailand. "Mt. Ellis mission trips influenced my desire to live a life of service," says Lee. "Otherwise I would not be here in Thailand teaching English as a second language." The trips had another benefit. Lee met his wife during his third mission trip to Honduras with Mt. Ellis.

Equipped by Influence

At Mt. Ellis, teachers play a vital role in shaping the futures of their students. Their influence is strengthened by small class sizes and one-on-one interaction. Unterseher says, "Mt. Ellis influenced my desire to live a life of service. The faculty and staff showed me what a life of dedication means—dedication to the school, to the ministry and to furthering something more than self."

July 01, 2008 / Montana Conference

Anita Strawn de Ojeda, Mt. Ellis Academy English/Spanish teacher