AAA Community Renews Adventist Education Support
About half of the students in the congregation were attending an Adventist school when Tacoma Central Church took a quick survey last summer.
The biggest obstacle for families interested in Adventist Christian education: transportation. Thirty or so minutes from Auburn Adventist Academy and Buena Vista Adventist Elementary School, parents in Tacoma and Gig Harbor struggled with the road commitment.
“The story changes when the church gets involved,” says Brent Kimura, Tacoma Central associate pastor. “Last year our church had six kids in Adventist schools. This year we have 20 kids. Next year our goal is to have 25 kids in Adventist education.”
The church set up a van pool system to transport 13 of 20 students. Three drivers — Brent Kimura, Darlene Ali and Carla Lopez — drive students to campus every morning and pick them up every afternoon or evening.
As Washington Conference examines, evaluates and envisions secondary Adventist Christian education, one of the most common questions is, "What's the interest level of churches and parents in supporting our schools and particularly Auburn Adventist Academy?"
Examples like Tacoma Central are just the beginning of the story of the passionate support for Adventist Christian education. Auburn City Church knows where every student in their congregation attends school and includes these students in a church-published prayer list.
“We consider Auburn to be our school,” says Gary Fogelquist, Auburn City senior pastor. “We pray for our students, offer a triple-match subsidy, attend school events, host an Educational Sabbath, support mission trips and feed students when they visit our church.”
When the boys basketball team, through hard work, good sportsmanship and a focus on a Christian approach to sports, ended up for the first time in the school's history attending the state championship, the community rallied. They raised funds, arranged transportation, designed a commemorative sweatshirt, traveled to Spokane to take pictures, and prayed for God to protect and bless the team as they witnessed for God in their actions on the court. The team did not advance through the championship, but they shared a noted witness of good sportsmanship.
Hearts of Gold, the academy's annual benefit auction, is another indicator of school support. Every table was full with school supporters from Burlington, Kirkland, Auburn, Sequim, Chehalis and many other places within western Washington. Donors raised more than $50,000 for student scholarships, representing more than $20,000 more than anticipated.
This story doesn't even begin to summarize the individual contributions of time, talent or treasure that is shared with this conference constituent school.
One of the newest examples of school support is the growth and development committee represented by AAA board of trustees members and church community supporters. The committee is finding possible solutions to keep the academy's residential program open long-term to serve the academic and housing needs of students and their families.
One of the key growth and development activities includes actively dreaming about a marketing and recruiting solution for the academy. Representatives are placing phone calls to parents; listening to and addressing families' needs, concerns and questions; and visiting with donors to seek funding for a new community-funded marketing and recruitment department.
Community support: yes, it is there and growing stronger every day by the grace of God. Seeing the unfortunate demise of sister academies across North America is serving as a motivating wake-up call to take renewed action to support primary, secondary and tertiary Adventist Christian education.
What about you? How are you giving back to Adventist Christian education? What ideas do you have for ways volunteers can support our school campuses? Share your stories and ideas by emailing.