AAA Seniors Demonstrate Dedication, Determination

August 23, 2016 | Stacy Tejel

Yutong "Kevin" Tan arrived from Beijing, China, with a determination that would allow him to have a great experience at Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA). After studying for nearly two years in an international studies program in China he felt ready to immerse himself in the "American."

While attending AAA, Tan has been able to improve his English, shine with his math skills and participate in the basketball program. He especially enjoyed the basketball program because it was something to give him a break from studies. "I was proud to be on a team and fight for our school," Tan adds. "It isn't just basketball; it is working together with your team to reach a common goal, and it is amazing."

Tan has committed himself to working hard. He is taking a perfect SAT math score of 800 with him as he graduates this year. He scored a 2010 on his SAT and a 107 on his TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) this year. He will be the first to tell you that his strict study schedule and determination are what allowed him to achieve his goals. "Last July, I decided to focus on the SAT during three months in preparation for college applications." Tan took between 40 to 50 practice SAT tests during that time, with each test taking three to four hours to complete.

"I have a goal to study at a top college," Tan explains. "If I am not going to work hard, what is the point? I want to learn and in order to achieve the goal I need to be dedicated." Tan will begin his undergraduate study at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., this fall.

When Joshua Venn chose to come to AAA, he wasn't quite sure what to expect. Auburn's wide range of class offerings, proximity to family and the allure of the Pacific Northwest were among his reasons for choosing the school. However, he did not want to have unreal expectations. Considering the size of the campus and number of students, he felt the likelihood of being able to really get to know his teachers and very many fellow students would be slim. “Honestly, I expected the school to be impersonal and cold, but it ended up being just the opposite,” says Venn.

Within three weeks Venn knew everyone and was happily surprised at the warm welcome he received from both students and staff. He has had the opportunity to participate in student week of prayer and serve as sophomore class vice president, junior class president and senior class vice president, all the while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. His leadership roles have benefited him and the school. Venn said student week of prayer was “a great opportunity to share my story and hopefully be a help to my peers.”

Engineering class was one of his favorites, especially the bridge project during which each student was given wood and glue and told to build a bridge. The final test for the project was to load up the bridge with weight until it breaks. Although Venn's design was unlike any Tom Allen, his teacher, had ever seen, it ended up performing the best with a carry-weight ratio of 1 to 1,486. Venn has been able to maximize his time at Auburn Adventist Academy and enjoy not only the spiritual atmosphere but the academics as well.

Even though it is difficult to watch the seniors graduate and leave campus, it is rewarding to see them grow and exciting to think of all God has in store for them.