First Week at UCA Sets Tone for Year

October 07, 2017 | Brisa Ramirez

The beginning of each school year is a defining time. At Upper Columbia Academy (UCA) in Spangle, Wash., the precedent has been set for Jesus to be the focus throughout the entire year.

Registration day began with a powerful blessing. A special effort, called Prayers for a Miracle, made UCA possible for 22 new students. The first Friday evening began with an agape feast. New and returning students socialized as they prepared to welcome the Sabbath together. Outdoor vespers began with song service. The program emphasized the importance of the act of communion. Several students and staff shared throughout the program.

“Having a communion service at the beginning of our school year not only connects our students to each other but also connects them to Christ in a real and meaningful way,” says Eric Johnson, UCA principal.

Students were invited to participate in the communion service. Many chose partners and selected a spot on the lawn. The UCA family of students and staff engaged in the program as participants and program coordinators. Students continued to have opportunities to be involved in the program decisions for their Jesus-centered school year.

While introducing the discussion topic to the student body, Misa Barba, school chaplain, explained, “We want to try out different things in Sabbath School this year, and we want your input.” Student leaders led small-group Sabbath School discussions on what makes Sabbath School a personal connection time with Jesus.

Class night was the first Saturday night event of the year and began with a familiar start to any UCA activity: a prayer dedicating that time to God while having fun. Sabbath had ended and the scheduled worship program time was over, but Jesus continued to be at the center of it all. Class night overflowed with traditions of competition as freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors created victory tunnels for each class every time they had a victory. The gymnasium was charged with positivity that carried to the field for more team challenges, more cheers and more camaraderie.

The first weekend clearly demonstrated how at UCA Jesus, too, is part of every aspect of campus life.