Looking for a safer environment and higher academic standards for their son, Neil, who had attended public school, the Patel family asked for directions to a private school. They were not interested in Christianity, as that would not agree with their Hindu beliefs, but they wanted the best education possible for their children.
They set out, carefully following the directions given to them. Shortly they found themselves lost and realized they had taken a wrong turn somewhere. But looking to the side, they could see a school. They turned into the parking lot and found themselves at Roseburg (Ore.) Junior Academy. It was not the school they had been looking for, but they met someone who offered to show them around and the Patels found themselves impressed with the buildings, the atmosphere and the happy children who appeared to be receiving a quality education.
They enrolled their children, Neil in second grade and, later, Rikita for kindergarten.
This year, after 13 years in Seventh-day Adventist education, Rikita graduates from Milo Adventist Academy as an honors student with an enriched, college prep diploma in science, math and anatomy and physiology. She is a member of One Voice, the most active singing group on campus, and choir. She helps lead in song services regularly and is a resident assistant, leading out in worships and activities around the campus. She is also executive vice president of the senior class. Rikita went with other Milo students on a mission trip to Guatemala and led out in Vacation Bible School activities and evangelism. She was elected by her peers as the most Christ-like representative on her dorm hall.
Patel is following in some of her brother’s footsteps: She plans to attend Walla Walla University, where Neil graduates this June. She would like to go as a student missionary, and they are working together this summer at Big Lake Youth Camp. They also share plans to pursue medical degrees at Loma Linda University.
Rikita says Adventist education has made a huge difference in the direction of her life and she is forever grateful for the wrong turn that was taken on the way to a better school. A God-driven turn — a wrong turn that ended up being completely right.