09 Mar


RMCNews with MHANews – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Mile High Academy’s fifth-grader Bailey, recently returned to Colorado after spending two weeks in Argentina attempting to be the youngest female to summit Mount Aconcagua, which stands at over 22,000 feet, making it the tallest mountain outside of Asia.

When the family began planning their adventure, Bailey’s parents reached out to MHA, stating that Bailey wanted to turn her hike into a fundraiser for the music department.

“Bailey truly and passionately loves music, and it was hard during COVID to not have an official music teacher,” said Trisha, Bailey’s mother. “She is thankful to have one [now] and the Christmas concert was amazing. Bailey felt the donation would really make an impact on the music department, which is a class she looks forward to each week.”

It took the family three days of hiking to reach base camp, followed by intense eight-to-ten-hour days of hiking toward the summit. The family recalls memories of the trip, including hiking to a lake and going into a glacier tunnel.

“Hiking these high-altitude mountains is incredibly challenging, but the best part is we get to tackle them as a family,” said Trisha. “We train daily and spend our weekends hiking, so it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s all worth it when the hike comes. We feel that life is all about experiences, and we definitely had a lot of experiences on the hike.”

Unfortunately, the family wasn’t able to make it to the summit. During a rush down the mountain due to extremely bad weather, Miles, the father, fell and severely sprained his knee. He needed emergency evacuation, experienced knee inflammation, and had to undergo physical therapy. In total, Bailey walked up 18,200 feet before being evacuated.

In total, more than $3000 was raised, which will help MHA refurbish instruments within the music department and purchase new items that will continue to grow the MHA music program.

“Bailey’s smile and energy are such an inspiration at MHA,” said Andrew Carpenter, MHA principal. “We were cheering her and her family on their adventure and have enjoyed her stories now that she is back home with us again. We are also grateful for God’s healing hand and that Miles didn’t sustain a worse injury. A huge thank you to all the donors for their generosity and the kind donations to our music department. And a special thank you to Bailey and her parents for their kindness in turning their experience into a fundraising opportunity for our school. The donations received will help our music department grow through proper refurbishment and the purchase of several new items. Thank you, Bailey!”

When asked if they plan to hike Mt. Aconcagua again, Trisha said, “Yes, we are in talks to try it again in the next year or so. We learned a lot. Bailey knows that you don’t always succeed at everything your first time, but you need to learn from it, try again, and never give up!”

–RMCNews with MHANews; photos supplied

This article was adapted from an article in Mile High Academy’s newsletter.

30 Sep


By MHA News — Mile High Academy (MHA) hosted its annual Alumni Golf Tournament on Friday, September 24 at Plum Creek Golf Club. Located in Castle Rock, the golf course came alive with banter about the next hole-in-one, who’s been practicing and hellos of reconnecting friends.

“Playing in the MHA Alumni Golf Tournament is a fun way to support our school while enjoying a round of golf,” said Dr. Kris Fritz, golfer and MHA parent. “It’s great seeing the students, staff, parents, grandparents, and community members come together for a great cause every year.” Dr. Fritz’s wife, Dr. Tiffany Fritz, owns Piney Creek Family Dentistry and was a sponsor of this year’s golf tournament.

The golf tournament went ahead as scheduled even though MHA’s administration and board voted to move the school’s Alumni weekend to the Spring of 2022. And while the tournament was a little lighter on attendance this year, more than 30 players who came out to enjoy the beautiful weather. Congratulations to Andy Rockwood who won the $100 Putting Green competition and to the Castle Rock Adventist Hospital team for winning the tournament with 15 under par.

Littleton Adventist Hospital also sponsored this year’s event. Dany Hernandez, lead chaplain, reflected on the day by saying, “Littleton Adventist Hospital loves partnering with Mile High Academy for their annual golf tournament. Over the years, we continue to see the positive impact Mile High Academy makes, not only for the students that attend the school, but also to the community that we all care for.”

He continued, “The leadership at Mile High Academy puts on a fantastic event that brings together individuals who would otherwise not have the opportunity to be together. Most importantly, it helps raise funds for a great cause.”

MHA is currently planning for its in-person Alumni weekend celebration in April 2022. The weekend will kick-off with Grandparents Day on Friday, April 8 followed by Alumni Sabbath on Saturday, April 9 and the school’s Annual Auction at Topgolf on Sunday, April 10.

“Thank you to each golfer and sponsor who joined us this past Friday in support of Adventist education,” said Andrew Carpenter, MHA principal. “MHA is a close-knit community; one I am thankful to have joined. I appreciated the opportunity to make several new friends all while raising money for our school. God is here at MHA as we continue our mission of a Christ-centered education for not only this generation but for future generations to come.”

[This article was submitted by MHA News]

09 Sep


RMCNews with MHANews — Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Ax throwing, PVC ping pong, cardboard boats, and capture the mattress were the highlights of Mile High Academy’s high school outdoor retreat in Deckers, Colorado.

The retreat from the city began with student association officers spending a day in the wilderness on September 1.  As they arrived at Camp Shady Brook YMCA grounds, the atmosphere among the student leaders was electric with plans for getting to know each other better and planning the school year’s events.

First off was building leadership and self-confidence by completing a high rope challenge course some thirty feet high. Afterward, they gathered together for a team meeting to discuss the calendar and spiritual goals for the school year.

“It was awesome,” reflected Andrew Carpenter, MHA principal on the day. “The students bonded together as classmates while focusing on what it means to be a spiritual leader for not only peers but also for the world around them.”

The next day, the student association officers were joined by the other high school students where they were quickly divided into six groups. They were each given cardboard and duct tape and the task of building a sea-worthy vessel.  Four vessels successfully made it to the bottom of the lake.

After the groups decided that shipbuilding wasn’t in their futures, they moved on to a series of team competitions. The challenges included ax throwing, a climbing wall, maneuvering through a minefield, board walking, PVC ping pong, and finding seven gummy bears in a giant bowl of chocolate pudding.

The evening began with a joint worship focusing on the MHA spiritual theme for the year, “Abundant Joy”.

After worship, the night was just beginning as there was still one task to complete as a group … capture the mattress, a game similar to capture the flag but with a bulky mattress.

Reflecting on the event, sophomore Gwen said, “I am so thankful that [we were] able to have this retreat. It was fun watching our classmates grow and bond together as a group through shared experiences.”

–RMCNews with MHANews; photos supplied

19 Aug


By MHANews – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … “It felt good to see everyone’s smiles as we started the new school year,” reflected Mindy Philpott, parent, and treasurer of Mile High Academy, on the first-day events at MHA.

With the pandemic affecting the fellowship and community aspect during the last academic year at MHA, the administration and staff made it part of its mission to get the school community together several times during the summer months. Foregoing the traditional in-person registration gave way to an evening community event. Families met the new staff, enjoyed a sweet treat, and divided into elementary, middle, and high school groups for events with the teachers.

“We appreciate the teamwork and organization from the teachers, staff, and parents hosting the summer events,” said Andrew Carpenter, MHA principal. “Not only did these events allow for our families to spend time together, but they also opened the opportunity to welcome the more than 50 new students who joined our school family, easing nerves when they arrived on campus for the first day of school. God is here at Mile High Academy, and we’re excited to see His plans for the school year.”

With classrooms still being closed to visitors and parents, MHA shifted first-day events to the soccer field to allow parents and visitors to participate. The gathering included a prayer service and obligatory first-day pictures.

Addressing the audience before leading out in the prayer over the school, Diane Harris, RMC director of education, expressed, “How happy it makes me to see every one of you.”

The day continued with elementary school students enjoying a day of getting acquainted with their new classroom while getting to know their teacher and making new friends. Middle schoolers escaped campus to form new relationships at Chatfield Lake while high school students held team-building exercises.

Reflecting on the first day, students were excited for the opportunities in the year ahead. “The first day was good because I got to meet new people, and my teacher is very funny,” Charlee, MHA fourth grader, expressed. “The first day of school was amazing,” said Taryn Clark, fifth-grade teacher. “It was so good to see all the students and hear about their summers. I missed the energy of the classroom.”

MHA is beginning the academic year with 205 students enrolled.

–MHANews; photos supplied

20 Jul


By MHANews — Highlands Ranch, Colorado … “We have such an amazing opportunity to partner together to build something great for the Lord here in Denver,” said Andrew Carpenter, Mile High Academy’s new principal, commenting on the new school year.

MHA’s mission of offering a Christ-centered education for all students, is key to the foundations taught to our young people as they navigate the challenges in today’s world. This, in turn, has placed a strong emphasis on the relationships between MHA and the churches in Denver metro and RMC.

Part of building these relationships were conversations with Hugo Guillen, pastor of Denver South Hispanic and Central Hispanic church, and middle school teacher Christiana Hernández, who discussed opportunities for students in the Hispanic churches to learn about MHA. These meetings culminated in Carpenter being invited to preach at Denver Central Hispanic church.

Carpenter emphasized that one of the most exciting promises God has given us is His promise to come again. He expressed his own excitement about this promise and how he is eager to partner with the local churches, families, and schools to spread the message about salvation and the second coming of Jesus.

The Sabbath experience concluded with MHA opening its campus to the Hispanic churches for vespers, dinner, campus tours, an opportunity to ask questions and an open gym night for fellowship.

“It was encouraging to get together Saturday night and close the Sabbath with Pastor Hugo’s churches,” said Carpenter. “There was so much life and joy as we worshiped, ate, and played together at MHA. We are excited to continue to connect and build relationships with our Denver Adventist Community.”

Mile High Academy continues to work on building stronger, working relationships with our churches and with Rocky Mountain Conference. In the spring, pastors, RMC, and MHA discussed opportunities for all entities, focusing on how to further build the relationship between the school, church, and members. These discussions resulted in a change in MHA’s tuition structure, ensuring that all members of the Seventh-day Adventist church will receive a discounted rate regardless of where they hold church membership.

“We are blessed by the support and relationship growing between MHA, RMC, our pastors and churches,” Jocelyn Aalborg, MHA vice president of finance and development, said. “Through hard work and much prayer, it is our hope that churches will continue to view MHA as a unit in their church ministry.”

As a new school year dawns, MHA will continue to partner with and have a presence in the local churches. Several MHA Sabbaths are being planned where MHA students and staff will participate in the Sabbath program at various Denver-metro churches. Church pastors are welcome on campus to build relationships with students and offer support as needed. Pastor Danial Birai of LifeSource Adventist Fellowship will teach the high school Bible classes and other pastors will assist at various religious events, including MHA’s FOCUS Week.

“I want people to look at MHA and realize that God is here on our campus. He is the center, and we are encouraged by the outpouring of support by our local pastors [as we look for] ways to offer a Christian education for all students. He is coming soon, and it is our mission as a church body and school to support each other as we ready our young people and community to meet Him,” Carpenter expressed.

–MHANews; photos supplied

14 Jul

Mile High Academy High School Students Meet and Greet

By‌ ‌MHA‌News‌‌ ‌–‌ ‌Highlands‌ ‌Ranch,‌ ‌Colorado‌ ‌…‌ ‌Mile‌ ‌High‌ ‌Academy‌ ‌continued‌ ‌with‌ ‌their‌ ‌ summer‌ ‌of‌ ‌reconnect‌ ‌on‌ ‌July‌ ‌12‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌meet‌-‌and‌-‌greet‌ ‌event‌ ‌for‌ ‌incoming‌ ‌high‌ ‌ school‌ ‌students,‌ featuring ‌fellowship,‌ ‌food,‌ ‌and‌ ‌new‌ ‌connections.

The‌ ‌event,‌ ‌attended‌ ‌by‌ ‌50‌ ‌students,‌ ‌staff,‌ ‌and‌ ‌families,‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌chance‌ ‌to‌ ‌welcome‌ ‌new‌ ‌students‌ ‌to‌ ‌MHA.‌ ‌

“It‌ ‌was‌ ‌fun‌ ‌meeting‌ ‌the‌ ‌new‌ ‌students,‌ ‌getting‌ ‌a‌ ‌chance‌ ‌to‌ ‌see‌ ‌my‌ ‌classmates‌ ‌and‌ ‌spending‌ ‌some‌ ‌time‌ ‌visiting‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌families,”‌ ‌Logan‌ ‌Bryant,‌ ‌high‌ ‌school‌ ‌student‌ ‌commented.‌ ‌

The‌ ‌evening‌ ‌began‌ ‌with‌ ‌Andrew‌ ‌Carpenter,‌ ‌new‌ ‌MHA‌ ‌principal‌, ‌sharing‌ ‌plans‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌upcoming‌ ‌school‌ ‌year.‌ The‌ ‌gathering‌ ‌continued‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌friendly‌ ‌game‌ ‌of‌ ‌kickball‌ ‌ ‌between teams‌ ‌consisting‌ ‌of‌ ‌students‌ ‌and‌ ‌families.‌ ‌While‌ ‌some‌ ‌were‌ ‌enjoying‌ ‌participating‌ ‌in the‌ ‌game,‌ ‌others‌ ‌enjoyed‌ ‌watching‌ ‌the‌ ‌competition,‌ ‌while‌ ‌relaxing‌ ‌and‌ ‌socializing,‌ ‌and‌ ‌cooling‌ ‌down‌ ‌with‌ ‌ice‌ ‌cream‌ ‌treats.‌ ‌ ‌

“It‌ ‌truly‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌special‌ ‌evening,”‌ ‌Jocelyn‌ ‌Aalborg,‌ ‌vice‌ ‌principal‌ ‌of‌ ‌finance‌ ‌and‌ ‌ development,‌ ‌expressed.‌ ‌“We‌ ‌really‌ ‌appreciate‌ ‌our‌ ‌[high]‌ ‌school‌ ‌teachers‌ ‌for‌ ‌organizing‌‌ the‌ ‌evening‌’s ‌events‌ ‌so‌ ‌our‌ ‌students‌ ‌and‌ ‌families‌ ‌could‌ ‌reconnect.‌ ‌It‌ ‌felt‌ ‌good‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌ together,‌ ‌to‌ ‌laugh,‌ ‌to‌ ‌answer‌ ‌questions‌ ‌and‌ ‌to‌ ‌once‌ ‌again‌ ‌see‌ ‌what‌ ‌a‌ ‌great‌ ‌group‌ ‌of‌ ‌ students‌ ‌and‌ ‌parents‌ ‌we‌ ‌have‌ ‌in‌ ‌our‌ ‌school‌ ‌family.”‌ ‌

As‌ ‌‌summer‌ lingers,‌ ‌MHA‌ continues to offer ‌fellowship‌ ‌events‌ ‌for‌ ‌students‌ ‌and‌ ‌families.‌ ‌There‌ ‌are‌ ‌weekly‌ ‌Monday‌ ‌evening‌ ‌baseball‌ ‌pick-up‌ ‌games‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌third‌ ‌through ‌fifth‌ graders‌ ‌plus‌ ‌monthly‌ ‌events‌ ‌for‌ ‌others.‌ ‌The‌ ‌next‌ ‌family‌ ‌gathering‌ ‌is‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌incoming‌ ‌preschool‌ ‌through‌ ‌second‌ ‌grade‌ ‌at‌ ‌Redstone‌ ‌Park‌ ‌on‌ ‌July‌ ‌21.‌ ‌

–MHA‌News‌;‌ ‌photos‌ ‌supplied‌ ‌

29 Jun


By MHA News – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Even though the corridors and classrooms of Mile High Academy are quiet for the summer, the sports fields and gymnasium aren’t.  Creating ways for families and students to connect during the break is in full swing.

MHA administrators and teachers know how important fellowship and normalcy is to youth and young adult lives post-pandemic.

“Our kids really suffered due to all the COVID restrictions,” Walter Weber, middle school teacher said. “It’s fun seeing our students and [their] families laughing and enjoying events and evenings together. It feels more ‘normal,’ and [is] another example of the resiliency of our community.”

For the elementary school students, the weekly pick-up baseball games are a great way to connect and fellowship. For the middle-school students, two recent events provided the togetherness that many students have been longing for.

The first event was a week-long basketball clinic for the middle-school girls. They were coached through various skill drills, including general basketball etiquette, dribbling, passing, and learning how to work together as a team. Both current and former Mustang basketball players came together to help the 22 girls improve their skills on the court.

Why hold a basketball clinic? For Weber, the answer was simple. They are trying to give the girls what they missed during the school year–sports.

“The middle schoolers really felt the effects of the pandemic, which included not being able to have a basketball season last year. I wanted to give the girls an opportunity to come together for a few days to have fun, get refreshed on their basketball skills so they’re ready for the upcoming season, and just enjoy some time with their friends,” Walter commented.

The other opportunity for the students to grow together had to be adjusted because of the weather, but the students were still happy to be with their friends. The initial plan was to converge at the Chatfield Reservoir swim beach on Friday, June 25 for paddle boarding, swimming, a scavenger hunt, hot dog supper and vespers. However, since the event was postponed to Sunday because of rainy weather, and the weather was still not cooperating, the gathering transitioned into an open-gym night with volleyball, basketball and pizza for the 60 who had assembled.

“It was fun to see everyone. While I was bummed, we couldn’t be at the lake, Mr. Weber and Mrs. Hernández still made it a fun evening to be with my friends,” Logen, seventh-grader said.

Besides the weekly Monday baseball pick-up games for third through fifth-grades, the next event will be an high school evening at the MHA soccer field on July 12.

–MHA News; photos supplied

09 Jun


By MHANews – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … The Mile High Academy sports fields came alive June 7 when third through fifth graders were joined by families and friends, to enjoy an evening of the national pastime, baseball.

The evening activities involved dads and moms helping coach students though drills while other parents watched and enjoyed the fellowship.

Among the parents enjoying the evening was Dana Tikker who originated the pick-up games, and who commented on the gathering, “Monday evening was a great kick off to the summer. I really enjoyed being outside with the kids playing baseball and catching up with the families and am looking forward to more time together.”

The kids were divided into groups to work through a series of catching, hitting and base-running drills.

The gathering was made sweeter by ice cream treats distributed by MHA teachers, Denae Yuros, Sherri Francis and Taryn Clark.

It was a win for all who gathered to enjoy the interactions between classmates, friends, and families, an enjoyable event in a year where nothing has seemed normal in any aspect of life.

The third through fifth-grade baseball pickup games will continue through August 9 every Monday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. at MHA.

–MHANews; photos supplied

24 May


By MHA News – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Amidst smiles, waves, and swinging tassels, 14 Mile High Academy kindergarteners stood tall as they marched into the gym toward their future as first graders on May 18.

Those gathered, online and in-person, for this special event, were welcomed by the students followed by a prayer thanking God for “our families and our kindergarten graduation.”

A lively rendition of The Butterfly Song brought smiles and many broke into laughter as students read their parent tributes, which included words of love for their family members, thankfulness that their family feeds them, does the dishes and laundry, reads books, plays with them, and helps them when they’re hurt.

Together, the students sang the song Growing in Jesus with lyrics expressing how the graduates were learning to love all God’s children, how they were trusting in Jesus, becoming a friend of Jesus, and how Jesus is growing in them.

After receiving their certificates and moving the tassels on their caps, they recited a humorous poem about completing kindergarten and being in first grade. Alissa Armendariz, kindergarten teacher, shared her pride in the class by mentioning challenges they’ve faced and how they’ve overcome.

“It has been a difficult and challenging year for us all,” said Armendariz. “Among the many COVID related challenges was teaching students to form proper letter sounds while wearing a mask. The students learned well even with the many classroom differences, and we worked together to make this year a success. I am so thankful the students could be together with their friends most of the school year and am so proud of this graduating class.”

Before walking out the door, the graduates were already focused on summer plans. Jack said he was grateful Armendariz was his teacher and will miss her, but is looking forward to first grade after a summer of “playing with my new volleyball net, going camping, riding on my dirt bike and playing at the pool.”

Devyn really liked her teacher too and enjoyed being in her class. This summer she is “going on some trips, playing in the pool and having fun being with my family.”

The ceremony concluded with attendees reciting the following prayer, a slightly edited version Armendariz prayed before they left campus each day: “May God bless you and keep you as you go out from here today. May He bring you back safely next year. Remember you are loved, you are special, and you are worthy.”

To watch the kindergarten graduation ceremony, visit www.milehighacademy.org/2021-kindergarten-graduation/.

–MHA News; photos supplied

03 May


By MHA News – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Despite chilly weather and snow on the ground April 20, Mile High Academy’s middle school students took advantage of the sunshine to enjoy the great outdoors together.

The students piled on the buses, loaded down with flashlights, coats, water and lunches.

“In the craziness of everything enveloping this school year, it was nice to get to take the Middle School kids off campus to enjoy a day of bonding together as a school,” said Michael Armstrong, vice principal of academics and middle school science teacher.

The first stop on the adventure was Manitou Spring’s Cave of the Winds, where students visited a Geology 101 class in an underground laboratory. Hands-on education experience lasted for almost two hours, as they wound through the caves, learning about cave formations, local history, and even about the animals that help create a cave ecosystem. Students also experienced “cave darkness,” one of the two darkest places on our planet.

“It was fun to tour and learn about the history of the cave,” said Logen, seventh grader. “The best part was when the tour guides turned off the lights, and we were sitting there in total silence.”

Another middle-schooler described the cave in few words: “It was awesome.”

The escapade continued with a trip through Manitou Spring’s Memorial Park and a tour of the historic town, including ice cream, the arcade, and a sample of the natural soda water that springs from two of the nine local fountains, drilled in the 1920s.

Before returning home filled with memories and new discoveries, the group stopped to take in the beauty of the red stone rock formations at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

–MHA News; photos supplied