09 Jun

Campion Academy celebrates a high-achieving class

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Campion Academy celebrated the graduation of 47 seniors on May 29, the largest class to graduate in eleven years.

During the weekend activities, Friday evening’s Consecration and Sabbath’s Baccalaureate provided a spiritual emphasis for the graduates and their families.

The senior class praise team led the congregation in worship through music, highlighted by special performances.

On Friday evening, Christine Savage, spiritual vice-president of the class, introduced her father, Matthew Savage, as the speaker for the program. The evening concluded with the tradition of lighting candles, a symbol of passing the torch to the upcoming senior class.

On Sabbath, Campion Adventist Church joined the graduation celebration in the gymnasium and was blessed by speaker Jose Rojas, former NAD director of youth and young adult ministries.

As Commencement speaker, Rojas implored the students to take Jesus with them as they leave the academy. He highlighted the influence of his own academy Bible teacher, Pastor Paul Eagan, grandfather of graduate Christine Savage, who was in attendance at the event.

The members of the class of 2022 have been strong campus leaders and academically high-achieving. Twenty-seven students are National Honor Society members with grade point averages of 3.5 and above. More than half the class completed college credits during their years at Campion, some earning as many as 22 semester hours of college credit.

The graduates were awarded a total of over $1.3 million in scholarships from Union College and more than $3.8 million in total scholarships from Seventh-day Adventist universities across the nation.

–Jill Harlow is Campion Academy’s communication director; photo supplied

07 Apr

Campion student earns Master Guide

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Olivia is a senior at Campion Academy. She was honored on March 26 during the Campion Adventist Church worship service for having completed the requirements for Master Guide: the highest level of achievement in Pathfinder leadership.

Having already completed the Adventist Youth (AY) courses offered, Olivia decided to take on the challenge of the Master Guide coursework starting last summer. Reflecting on her motivation, Olivia said, “I have been in Pathfinders for over seven years, and I plan to be involved in Pathfinders for the rest of my life, so I wanted to get it now while I had a mentor and someone to do it with me.”

Campion church Pathfinder director, Alex Rodriguez, helped her through the process. The Master Guide curriculum typically takes years to complete, but Olivia managed to achieve her goal amidst her busy schedule. “The hardest part for me was finding the time to watch all the classes and read the books,” she explained; “I enjoyed the reading and listening parts, but it was hard to make time for them in between school and work.”

“Olivia has stood out as a model Pathfinder and young adult going above and beyond in both her cooperation with the club and her own personal development,” Rodriguez explained.

He also remarked on Olivia’s perseverance, saying, “First of all, continuing in the club during the high school years is a feat in and of itself. Olivia’s determination to continue in the club is inspirational. But what makes her accomplishments more incredible is her level of engagement.”

Rodriguez added, “A few years ago, she came on as full staff while still being a part of the teen leadership training program. Since then, she’s held dual roles (teen leader and staff member) and has gracefully occupied both roles. In her staff role, she has served as an AY instructor, drill and march instructor, and TLT instructor.”

Olivia shared that being involved in Pathfinders helped her learn hands-on life skills through the various honors, camp-outs, and drill and march. Being a Pathfinder has had a major impact on her faith: “Being around those who believe similarly to me and spending time getting to know them, has strengthened my relationship with God and has made me interested in learning more,” Olivia furthered. “Being in the Pathfinder Bible Experience helped grow my knowledge of the Bible, while at the same time, [it] allowed me to have fun with my friends.”

She plans to continue her involvement in Pathfinder leadership while she is studying at Andrews University next year. She encouraged other high school students to continue to be involved in their local clubs saying, “Pathfinders is a good way to take a break from the craziness of life and spend time with friends learning about God. It has drawn me closer to God and encouraged me to share my faith with others. As an older Pathfinder, I get to teach some of the classes for the younger ones. Teaching them impacts not only their lives, but mine also. Even though it can be hard to make time to be part of a club, it is worth the time put into it.”

Rodriguez emphasized her impact saying, “Olivia exemplifies the life of a dedicated young Christian and has become an integral part of our Pathfinder club and of the Campion church and community. Her efforts and tireless work and sacrifice have had a great impact on both young and old. I’m certain there will be folks in the kingdom of heaven because of the godly witness that she has been.”

–Jill Harlow is Campion Academy communication director; photo supplied

31 Mar

Campion Students lead evangelism series in Costa Rica

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … After ten days of holding evangelistic meetings at multiple churches in Costa Rica, the Campion students returned to campus both exhausted and blessed. The mission group included seven students, four Campion alumni, and Campion church pastors and members.

During the evangelistic outreach, each member was assigned to preach at a different church. The students would spend their mornings reviewing, practicing, and personalizing their sermons. They would spend time visiting homes in the afternoon and inviting them to attend the meetings. Each evening they would preach a sermon on a different topic and spend time interacting with the congregation. The meetings culminated with a total of 74 baptisms.

Reflecting on the experience Lily, sophomore, explained, “Costa Rica was exhausting, but rewarding. It was awesome seeing people getting baptized and knowing it was most certainly not because of any of our exceptional sermons and public speaking abilities but because of the Holy Spirit. We really got to see God in action down there.”

The students were especially challenged with the preaching aspect of the trip. Megan, sophomore, shared, “For me personally, public speaking is not an ability that comes naturally, which made it both terrifying and exhausting.”

Caleb, sophomore, shared her sentiments, saying, “Before this trip, I really disliked public speaking. However, after this trip, I do not mind public speaking anymore. The first meeting, for the first five minutes, I was very nervous, but then the Holy Spirit came over me and made me calm, and I was able to comfortably deliver all ten of my messages.”

The preaching aspect of the trip also grew their relationship with Jesus. “While I was preaching, I learned many things about how much I appreciate God. I grew spiritually because I had to learn to depend on God and trust Him that everything would be okay, and so it was,” Marcela, freshman, reflected.

Besides the meetings, the group took time to enjoy Costa Rica by visiting the beach, ziplining through the rainforest, and exploring a nature center.

The students were warmly welcomed at their various churches. “One of the many blessings I received was my church–everyone was extremely nice and accepting,” said Jared, senior.

Megan experienced the same acceptance at her church, explaining, “Being in Costa Rica taught me a lot about being friendly; the people there are all so open, and experiencing their culture showed me that in our culture, we are often cold. They showed me that sometimes it’s better to approach people and say “Hi” rather than just minding my own business.”

Caleb agreed with the other students that the culture and the faith of the people they met in Costa Rica made a significant impact on him. “What I learned from my time in Costa Rica is that we need to be more like the church members in Costa Rica,” he reflected. “They are on fire for Jesus, and they are so invested in every single worship service.”

–Jill Harlow is communication director for Campion Academy; photos supplied

02 Mar

Bridge-building competition exemplifies teamwork at HMS School

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Fifth and sixth-grade students at HMS Richards Adventist School faced off in a bridge-building contest in February. Working in teams, the students were challenged to design and build a bridge out of toothpicks, glue, and string while sticking to a project budget.

An audience of parents and friends watched in suspense as each team’s bridge was tested for strength and durability with increasing amounts of weight added until they eventually collapsed. Despite the fragility of the building materials, the bridges were able to hold a surprising amount of weight: up to 1500 grams or 3.4 pounds.

As the architect for the winning team, fifth-grader Matias explained they had to work through several challenges: “At first, we didn’t have enough toothpicks, so we had to buy more, and we almost ran out of money. We also had to change our plans a lot.”

In the end, the Bridge-Building Chipmunks team won the challenge with a design that incorporated many cross beams.

The bridge-building project and competition is an example of project-based learning at HMS Richards Adventist School. The project incorporated many educational objectives such as physics, engineering, and math, but the biggest lesson of all, according to fifth-grader Tryg, was “learning to work together and put the bridge together as a team.”

–Jill Harlow is Campion Academy’s communication director; photo supplied

20 Jan

RMC commits to further counseling services for students

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado …The Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) administrative board recently voted to financially support continued access to Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) for students and staff at Campion Academy.

Over the past two weeks, LPCs Sandy Eickmann and Kathy Aiken have volunteered their services to meet the needs of students and staff processing the grief of losing their friend, Timothy. However, Campion’s administration has recognized that the need for counselors will continue, not only for the immediate crisis, but for the growing mental health challenges facing teens in recent years.

RMC Educational Superintendent Diane Harris explained that after the need was brought to the conference administrators, they were “100 percent in support of making sure that all Campion students and staff had access to LPC’s.”

RMC voted to provide up to 10 hours of counseling services for any student or staff for the duration of this school year. Campion Academy is actively seeking to contract with a Christian LPC to start working with students immediately.

Women’s head dean Molly Santana commented, “Counseling is something we have needed on campus for a long time, so it is definitely a positive that it will be continuing. We want our students to know that we understand that the past two years have been unprecedented, causing feelings and experiences that haven’t been easy to deal with. We want them to have the support they need.”

Campion Academy students are not immune to the mental health issues that have sky-rocketed in teens in recent years. In October of 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry released a joint statement declaring the mental health crisis affecting children and adolescents a “National State of Emergency.”* In their statement, they advocate for more attention and funding to meet mental health needs of youth.

“We are so grateful to the Rocky Mountain Conference for filling this need at Campion Academy,” comments Principal Donavan Reeder. “Adventist Education not only seeks to give students academic knowledge but provide support for whole-person health: spiritual, physical, intellectual and social-emotional. Access to counselors will provide an important tool for our school to support students’ positive social-emotional health.”

–Jill Harlow is Campion Academy’s communication director; photo supplied


05 Jan


RMCNews with Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … After a day of howling winds that cut the electricity on the Campion campus, children and families made their way to a cold and dark Campion Church sanctuary guided by flashlights and lamps lit by a small generator for the HMS Richards School Christmas program.

It may have been dark, but it certainly wasn’t a silent night. The excited voices of miniature angels, shepherds, and wisemen filled the sanctuary when–suddenly–the lights flickered on, and the sound system kicked in, just six minutes before the scheduled start time.

After this little wink from God, the program continued without a hitch. The students showed off their musical talents playing violins and handbells and singing Christmas music while proud parents took photos and videos.

Finally, the children in Pre-K through second grade reminded attendees of the reason for the season with their reenactment of the Christmas story.

Reflecting on the event, Jill Harlow, Campion Academy’s communication director, said, “Just as the return of the power reminded us all that God cares about the little things, may our everyday miracles remind us that Jesus was born as our Emmanuel, God with us.”

–RMCNews with Jill Harlow, communication director for Campion Academy; photos supplied

23 Dec

Campion teachers prepare for a significant shift in learning and grading

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Campion Academy teachers and staff spent a week during winter break developing new skills and preparing for the upcoming semester. The training session included sessions with the Rocky Mountain Conference education department on the new standards-based learning and grading (SBL).

This style will be a significant shift away from traditional letter grades to evaluating students based on achievement by academic standard.

Paul Negrete, RMC associate director of education, is eager to see schools move in this direction, “The SBL framework will allow us to be more intentional and transparent regarding the instruction and learning taking place in the classroom. This shift in education will have a dynamic impact on how we are able to report on student progress and adapt instruction to better fit students.”

Campion Academy plans to begin implementing SBL in some classes next school year. Teachers were introduced to this concept last year and have been completing a course on the topic in addition to the conference training.

Campion’s academic vice-principal, Kent Kast, commented that SBL would clarify expectations for students. “Instead of instruction being very general and teachers giving material and saying there will be a test in a week, the students can focus on the skills and information they need to learn outlined in the priority standard.”

With standards-based grading, report cards will give more specific feedback to students and parents. Kast shared an example to compare traditional letter grades to standards-based: “In my chemistry class, if a student does very well all year, but doesn’t get balancing equations, their overall score could average out to be a B. What does that tell us? That the student is a little above average in chemistry. That’s it. SBL will instead tell us that the student did very well in every area except balancing equations, and if the student wants to improve, that’s where they should start.”

Campion Academy plans to be well ahead of the North American Division’s goal to implement standard-based grading across all Seventh-day Adventist schools within the next seven years.

–Jill Harlow is Campion Academy’s communication director; photo supplied

09 Dec


By Muriel Indermuehle with Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … After attending public schools all her life and starting her freshman year online due to COVID, Lily Testardi knew it was time for a change. She longed for a closer community in high school, so she asked her parents if they would consider sending her to boarding school.

Her father, Richard Testardi, told her to look into it and replied, “It’s a possibility, provided it is a Christian boarding school we can trust.”

Lily searched for Christian boarding schools near where they were living in Boulder and found Campion Academy. They were familiar with the area because they had previously lived in Berthoud and were excited to learn that Campion was continuing to provide in-person learning.

Richard explained, “We scheduled a tour the next day, and could instantly tell that Campion was different, that it was a place where people truly loved God and others.” The Testardis were not Seventh-day Adventists but were open to learning more about the church.

“It also felt like a place out of time,” Richard continued. “Students were less distracted and shallow than anything we had experienced recently, especially anything from public schools. Kids were not constantly on their phones, were friendly to adults, and actually had jobs in addition to school. And there were even rules (mostly about sex and drugs) that you could break and get kicked out for. Contrast that to our public schools that nearly celebrate any form of dysfunction, experimentation, or rebellion.”

In January, Richard, his wife Isobel, and Lily moved back to Berthoud and enrolled Lily as a dorm student at Campion Academy to complete her freshman year. “For the first time, we actually felt like we could trust a school with Lily’s well-being, even for overnight trips, even for trips out of the country,” Richard reflected.

The positive experience Lily had at the academy caused her and her parents to want to study the beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists. Richard shared, “We started a crash course to understand the Seventh-day Adventist denomination and found one pleasant surprise after the next (along with no shortage of controversy in this world of social media hyperbole). We found that everything hinged on Jesus, the Bible, and love! We have been totally welcomed and never judged.”

Lily, along with her mother Isobel and her father Richard, were baptized at the Campion Church on November 6th. At her baptism, Lily shared, “I know that God’s way is much better than anything I could have come up with on my own, and I know I am ready to enter into this covenant with Jesus.”

–Muriel Indermuehle, a member of the Campion Adventist Church, with Jill Harlow,  communication director for Campion Academy; photo by Anndrea Taylor

28 Oct

Campion manages COVID outbreak

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Campion Academy’s campus has remained open, and the administration has a plan to return to in-person classes on November 1 after a COVID outbreak put more than 50 students and staff in quarantine.

Many of those quarantined were considered close contacts but have not contracted the virus. Students and staff who have tested positive are reporting that they are recovering well, and none have required hospital care.

All classes met online for the past week, and students were given the option to return home or remain on campus. Students who were not placed in quarantine could still dine in the cafeteria, use the campus facilities for recreation, and attend the Week of Prayer meetings in person. Students who are quarantined are being cared for by the deans and the school nurse and are given time each day to go outside for exercise, fresh air, and sunshine.

All students and staff on campus were tested for COVID on October 17 and will be tested again on October 29 in order to return to in-person classes safely.

Campion students have had various reactions to being on quarantined and online learning.

“During this quarantine, I’ve been good for the most part, but it has been an experience that I wouldn’t willingly do again. One of the challenges that I’ve faced was finding the motivation to do something productive and not be bored all the time. I’d rather be sleeping all day if I had the chance, just so time would go by faster,” a student quarantining in the dorm expressed.

Another student quarantining at home stated, “I’m happy that I was able to go home for the time being, but still, having to wake up early has been a challenge for me. Talking to my friends on the phone, riding my bike, and candy corn have helped me get through the week.”

Yet another student was happy to get away from people for a while. “It felt like COVID hit us like a bomb, and I was a little scared when several people started testing positive. In a way, I was glad that I could kind of take a break from people, and making the choice to go home was easy because I didn’t want to be stuck in my [dorm] room for a week.”

Jenny Gann, Campion nurse, explained that lessons learned from the past year and a half have contributed to managing this outbreak more effectively. “First of all, we’ve built a good relationship with the county health department, and they have been supportive of our protocols and are helping us with our goal of keeping our kids in school as much as possible.”

“I’ve helped as a consultant with four other boarding academies that have had to handle outbreaks and have learned a lot from them,” Gann continued. “Honestly, we’ve had a lower percentage of positive cases than in outbreaks at other boarding academies, and I believe that is because we are wearing masks and have been cautious in immediately isolating and testing students with symptoms.”

Gann concluded, “We’ve been blessed that we are only having one week of virtual learning, and we’ve had excellent student and parent support through it all.”

–Jill Harlow, Campion communication director; photo supplied

01 Jul


By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Every Sabbath, my eleven-year-old son comes into the church service with a fresh Guide magazine in-hand. While not always an avid reader, he diligently peruses the content and happily reads several stories over the course of the day. And recently, he handed it over to me, excited to have found a familiar name of a Campion Academy alumnus as one of the contributing authors.

A tradition begun by Jenny Sigler, who previously taught Campion’s college writing course, the senior students in my class are tasked with submitting a story to a publication, not only Guide, but other options including Primary Treasure, and the Adventist Women’s Ministries annual devotional. After working to improve their writing techniques in class and creating multiple drafts, the students’ submissions are often met with success, with the publications purchasing the right to use their stories.

While getting paid for doing homework is a pretty cool bonus for students, having their stories published also gives them the opportunity to reach a wider audience with their personal testimonies, making an impact on the developing faith of young people. After receiving news that his story about a break-in would be published by Guide, Jayden Anggormas, class of 2021, shared, “I became confident in my testimony because my experience shows evidence that God works in our lives. The fact that it could potentially impact many young people motivated me to share it.”

Sami Hodges’ (class of 2021) story that reflected on spiritual lessons learned from plants, was also purchased. “I was thrilled when I got notified that Guide accepted my submission and wanted to publish it,” she reflected. “I grew up reading their magazines in church, and I mainly looked for the rescue stories and exciting adventures people would tell. It meant the world to me to have my story included in one of them. Even though my experience wasn’t a miraculous wonder with cliff-hanging suspense, I wanted to teach people of all ages the importance of patience and dependence on God in a relatable way.”

For the 2021 class, in addition to Anggormas and Hodges, Bentlee Barry will be published in Guide, and Tiffany Dien will be published in Primary Treasure.

So, the next time you see a Sabbath School student engrossed in the latest Guide or Primary Treasure magazine during the church service, take a peek over his or her shoulder; you never know if you might just find a familiar author.

–Jill Harlow is Campion Academy communication director and teacher; photo supplied

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