WWVA Focuses on Community Connection and Service

One of the core values students at Walla Walla Valley Academy (WWVA) in College Place, Wash., embrace is connecting and serving their community. It is exciting to see students discover how their talents can be used to share the story of Jesus to others.

For WWVA senior Jennifer Rau, Christmas has always been a magical time and one of the things she loves about it is the opportunity to be in the Walla Walla (Wash.) City Church Christmas pageant. “I really enjoy being part of making the Christmas story come alive,” says Rau. “It makes it easier to really understand what a miracle it is.”

As she grew up, she became more involved, savoring the opportunity to work with every aspect of the production. As a seventh-grader, the pageant author invited her to become the assistant writer for the production. She was hooked.

“Getting to write the play was an eye-opening experience for me,” Rau says. “Not only did I enjoy the writing process, but I learned so much more about the Christmas story I was surprised.” The following year, she was asked to be the primary scriptwriter. 

Rau wrote the script for the 2016 Christmas pageant and directed for the first time. Overwhelmed, she was struggling to come up with an idea. “I got really stuck,” she says, “and so our family prayed together late that night. The next day my Mom and I looked at each other and said in unison ‘Nicodemus!’ The Bible and Desire of Ages have wonderful information to help the audience see the story from a unique point of view. Nicodemus’ story reminds us that it’s more than the facts, it’s about your heart.”

This Christmas, Rau had the opportunity to write and direct a musical. This time focused it on a wise man’s search for God. WWVA senior Winston Warner played the wise man Melchoir. “It is really eye-opening to be part of something like this,” he says of his experience. “At first you think it’s just a little thing, but as you study the part, spend time with God and in prayer and really focus on the story of Jesus, it changes you. It’s a pretty big deal.”

“I was quite astonished by what Jennifer created and the expertise of the student actors,” says Teri Foote, WWVA academic and financial associate and Rau's supervisor. “The most impressive part is how well they communicated how life-changing it is to constantly search for God. I am very proud of them all.”