28 Sep


Karrie Meyers – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Mile High Academy (MHA) has recently garnered remarkable ratings from Niche.com, solidifying its position as a leading institution among Colorado’s private schools. The school not only earned an impressive overall Niche grade of A but also claimed the coveted top spot among 63 of the “Most Diverse Private High Schools in Colorado” and was ranked as the #1 “Best Private High School” in Douglas County.

Reflecting on these achievements, Andrew Carpenter, principal of MHA, expressed his gratitude in an email to the teaching staff following the announcement of the rankings during the monthly school board meeting. He stated, “While these rankings do not define our ultimate success, they serve as an external validation of the unwavering dedication that all of you have invested in making our school an extraordinary place of learning.”

MHA has already witnessed the tangible outcomes of a successful school year. The first day of classes marked a milestone with the highest-ever enrollment on the opening day, and this positive trend in student enrollment continues to date. Additionally, the school year has seen a series of successful events, including the recent Alumni Reunion Weekend.

Carpenter emphasized, “As we commence each day at MHA, we begin with a moment of prayer over the intercom. This commitment to our faith is evident not only in our enrollment numbers and rankings but also in our daily activities, underscoring the divine purpose that guides our school as we diligently carry forward His work and mission.”

—Karrie Meyers is the marketing and development coordinator at Mile High Academy. Photos supplied.

28 Sep


Vashty Segovia Santos – Ward, Colorado … The Campion Academy Girl’s Club took a break from campus, spending the weekend in the cabins at Glacier View Ranch (GVR) in Ward, Colorado, learning about different ways to study God’s Word, September 22-24. The girl’s head dean, April Riseley, and assistant dean, Cherie Haffner, planned the weekend full of activities and worship services in GVR’s Long House.

Carol Turk, the speaker for the retreat, explained a variety of ways that she studied the Bible. She talked about the different ways everyone thinks and how not all bible study techniques will be beneficial for everyone. Ariel Patterson, senior student, shared, “Something I learned from the speaker is that your relationship with God is personal, and that you can express it in your own way. Everyone has a different way of glorifying Him.”

Turk expressed that, when she was younger, she also didn’t enjoy just simply sitting and reading the Bible. She enjoyed studying the Bible in depth with art and sharing that with others.
Turk taught the students some techniques to study the Bible through art, including making decorative booklets to write down important messages. Olivia Arizola, junior student, recalled, “I loved learning how to make little books. It was so unique and fun to try and do.”

The girls bonded with each other discussing spiritual topics and creating art. They ended the weekend having a fun board game night while enjoying hot chocolate and chips.

The girls were able to not only reconnect with each other, but also with God’s nature.
There were lots of outdoor activities available to do like paddle boarding, hiking, and star gazing. Beatriz Moraes, student, expressed, “I liked seeing the beautiful sunrise on the hike. We were able to have time to sing and worship God.”

—Vashty Segovia Santos, Student News Team. Photos supplied.

28 Sep


Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … The entire Campion Academy student body left the classrooms behind to learn from nature at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), September 13. The teachers each led a group of students to study a variety of topics including elk ecology, orienteering, park history, junior ranger, and front range floods, while also exploring the top sites of the park.

One of the groups tested their endurance on a nine-mile round trip hike to Sky Pond. Jack Ramos, student, shared that they found wild raspberries to enjoy on the hike saying, “They tasted so good! I’m glad that I experienced these moments with friends.”

The elk ecology group not only observed bugling elk, but also saw a variety of animals including a bear, bighorn sheep, and marmots. “I learned all about the different animals that live at RMNP and how the park is trying to protect and regulate the elk and other animals,” recalled Sarah Rushhold, junior student.

In addition to the learning components, one of the objectives of the day was to allow all of the students to experience the Rocky Mountains. Eriane Saraiva, a senior student from Brazil, explained, “This trip was my first time in the mountains, and, for me, it was a very fun and different experience. One of the parts I enjoyed most, apart from spending time in nature, was taking a break from studying and school, and I also had the opportunity to talk to people I hadn’t gotten to know before.”

—Jill Harlow is the Campion Academy communication director. Photos supplied.

26 Sep


Karen Bowen – Farmington, New Mexico … International speakers and grief coaches, Steve and Karen Nicola, from Comfort for the Day provided a three-day training seminar for the Aztec and Piñon Hills Adventist Church congregations and participants from the community, September 22-24.

Learning about developing grief support teams was not just passively listening to instruction. Table Talk paired activities, brainstorming, and individual heart searching were all integral parts of the seminar. Further team development plans are being scheduled in both Aztec and Farmington, New Mexico.

The presenters were very open with their story of grief due to the Leukemia death of their 3-year-old son and their journey of healing from grief. The seminar participants were drawn closer to each other through conversations and activities about personal grief.

One seminar participant said, “Oh, if only I had known these valuable ideas ‘back then’ and had a team like this to help me! Since grief is a part of life, it is a privilege to find resources that can help us support each other in finding healing.”

—Karen Bowen is an elder and deaconess at the Piñon Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church. Photos supplied.

26 Sep

Mile High Academy’s Alumni Reunion Weekend: A Grand Celebration

Karrie Meyers – Highlands Ranch, CO … Mile High Academy (MHA) hosted a heartwarming Alumni Reunion, September 22-24, bringing together alumni, students, and staff, showcasing the strong bonds that continue throughout the MHA community.

The weekend kicked off with Grandparents Day on September 22, with over 90 grandparents participating in classroom activities alongside the students. This unique intergenerational experience provided grandparents with an up-close look at the outstanding education and nurturing atmosphere that MHA is renowned for.

The campus came alive on Saturday with the Alumni Reunion Sabbath. The day featured a special church service with alumni roll call, musical performances by MHA students, and a touching tribute to Maxine Gerst, former MHA teacher who passed away last October after a long battle with cancer. The tribute was followed by a message from former staff member Leandro Bizama, who spoke about the significant importance of returning “home” to one’s roots.

Following the church service and the annual honor class photos, everyone enjoyed an enchilada lunch generously provided by community families. The afternoon was filled with tours of the campus and visitation, allowing alumni to reminisce about their time at MHA while seeing the school’s growth and development over the years.

The first-ever 3-on-3 alumni and friends basketball tournament was held on Saturday night with fifteen teams battled it out on the courts in an atmosphere of friendly competition and camaraderie. The tournament crowned champions in three categories: men’s, women’s, and student teams, with each team showcasing their basketball skills and school spirit. The evening was a huge success and will be added to next year’s alumni weekend activities.

Sunday featured the annual Mustang Classic golf tournament at Raccoon Creek Golf Course, with 52 golfers enjoying beautiful weather. The winning team shot an impressive 14 under par, and the event was a success thanks to the support of nine generous sponsors.

Jocelyn Aalborg, who serves as the vice principal of finance and development and primary contact for alumni, conveyed her joy after the successful weekend, saying, “Our alumni hold a cherished space in our hearts, strengthening the family and community spirit that defines Mile High Academy. This weekend highlighted the profound significance of alumni reunions. They offer a chance for former and current students to unite and commemorate their shared journeys, all while our school progresses in fulfilling its mission.”

MHA’s next Alumni Reunion Weekend will be held September 27-29, 2024.

—Karrie Meyers is the marketing and development coordinator at Mile High Academy. Photos supplied.

21 Sep


By Mic Thurber

You are invited to the Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) 2023 Town Halls. You’ve probably seen them advertised in NewsNuggets or read a bulletin announcement about them. We have them in six regions in our Conference. This year, the locations are:

Campion Seventh-day Adventist Church | September 21 – 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Pueblo First Seventh-day Adventist Church | September 24 – 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Aurora First Seventh-day Adventist Church | September 24 – 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Casper Seventh-day Adventist Church | October 8 – 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Pinon Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church | October 14 – 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Grand Junction Seventh-day Adventist Church | October 15 – 12:00-2:00 p.m.

This year, you’ll hear some general reports about what’s been happening in RMC directly from some of our departmental directors. They all work hard to expand the ministry and mission of the Conference and to support the ministry of our local churches wherever possible.

I will be sharing updated and expanded conference priorities and aspirations for this new term as we face the next few years together. Of course, we have an overall mission as Christians and a more focused mission as Seventh-day Adventist Christians. And then we have the opportunity and responsibility to focus our collective laser beam even more finely here in our own conference as we seek to do His work in our part of His vineyard in today’s world.

We’ll also be asking for your feedback on some specific bylaw areas that can be considered for our next session.

And, of course, there will be time for your questions as well.

All in all, we hope to be able to conduct these meetings in two hours or less. It’s an investment of your time and energy, but I hope you will come. We are all in this together, so, as often as we can be together, the better for our communal efforts to serve our Lord in the best way possible.

I will look forward to seeing you soon!

—Mic Thurber is RMC president.

21 Sep


RMCNews – Ward, Colorado … The Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) Youth Ministries and Education Departments conducted their first joint Outdoor School event involving students and teachers from several Adventist schools in its territory. It was our first. “In the time that I’ve been part of the RMC, we’ve never done a conference-wide Outdoor School,” explained Diane Harris, RMC director of education.

The Glacier View Ranch in Ward, Colorado, welcomed nearly 180 young visitors, teachers, and chaperones to the RMC inaugural Outdoor School, September 17-20. The camp was open to fifth grade through eighth grade students. Lots of excitement and laughter was heard among 117 students in grades five through seven, and 45 eighth graders in attendance.

The event became a joint effort between the RMC youth and education departments. Diane Harris remarked on the collaboration with Brandon Westgate, RMC director of youth, and his team, “Brandon came with experience. He was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ The collaboration between both departments has been amazing and provided for an excellent experience for our students.”

Harris identified the “CHERISH” theme of RMC education as focus for all activities at the Outdoor School. The organizers brought kids together from nine different schools and the activities were a “witness to students who may not understand our Adventist culture.” As a camp chaplain, Brandon Westgate presented Gospel lessons for fifth through seventh grades that “God wants to have a relationship with us … and desires to give you an opportunity to be close to him.”

The participants at both the fifth- through seventh-grade camp and the eighth-grade camp enjoyed a variety of activities from orienteering, survival skills, fire starting, model rockets, bird and tree identification, and more.

When asked if they thought the activities at camp were useful, Melanie and Elizabeth, sixth-grade participants, commented on the fire-starting activity they were coming from. Elizabeth said, “It’s interesting to learn how to build a fire. It’s fun.”

This would be an important learning activity for the eighth graders who were camping out at the GVR’s Pathfinder Village. One of the sixth graders commented that she was hoping to experience “sleeping in a tent. I will have to wait two more years.” Elizabeth remarked, “I feel a little bad for the eighth graders,” while Melanie followed with, “they have to sleep outside in a tent, so it must be freezing cold out there.”

Elisa, an eighth-grade participant, had just finished up activities on fire starting and learning how to use a compass. She commented on what she liked about camp: “I like hiking and everything like that. And I like learning how to survive since I’ve never done this before. I’ve only stayed in a camper.”

Zoey, another eighth-grade participant, was enjoying her time at camp and remarked, “Since you’re here with your school, and there’s also new people, you’re able to make new friends and have new connections. The sponsors here are really nice, and you just have a lot of freedom here [to explore].”

She continued, talking about her favorite activity of the day: “Identifying plants [was useful]. Because you never know if there could be poison ivy or poison oak or if you can eat that berry or not eat it.”

Benjamin, also an eighth-grade participant, was enjoying camp and commented, “It’s fun to hang out with your friends in the tents. It’s a bonding experience. And it was fun to do the fire-starting activity.” When asked how it has been staying in the tents, he said, “It has been cold!”

Middle School teachers, chaperones, and RMC youth ministries and education leaders also had high school teachers from Campion Academy and Mile High Academy join the eighth-grade camp in survival skill training. Even though they were learning important skills, there was also time scheduled to come to the main camp for swimming and warm showers.

Under the watchful eye of the teachers in both camps, there was much excitement when they created a recipe to make ice cream, and the eighth graders “connected with the wild,” gathered bearberries, and tasted their freshly made jelly.

As both camps were packing up to leave, Harris asked some eighth graders what their favorite part of the experience was. Many students replied, “rappelling, the food, and the tea parties!”

Paul Negrete, RMC associate superintendent for education, participated in the eight-grade camp site activities and reflected, “RMC schools are blessed with amazing students. It was fun to see our students collaborate, persevere through challenges, and have deep conversations about faith and God. I’m excited to see what God will do in the lives of these extraordinary individuals.”

Ericsson, a sixth-grade student, was eager to return to camp next year. He remarked, “[I have liked] everything. I would definitely come back. It’s been fun to hang with everybody.”

—RMCNews. Photos by Rajmund Dabrowski, Liz Kirkland, and Mic Thurber (group photos).

21 Sep


Paulette Yaple – Cheyenne, Wyoming … Where do dinosaurs fit into history? Were there dinosaurs on the ark? Did people and dinosaurs exist at the same time? These and many other questions were answered by Creation Truth Foundation President Matt Miles during the two-day seminar at the Cheyenne Seventh-day Adventist Church starting September 15.

“Dinosaurs – Great Historic Creatures” was the topic on Friday. Matt showed, from the Bible, that dinosaurs were historic, not prehistoric creatures.

There were two presentations on Saturday evening.  We learned from “The Flood: Lessons from a Global Disaster” that dinosaurs were on the ark and there was plenty of room for them. During the second presentation, “Human Evolution, Really?” Matt shared scientific facts about carbon 14 dating. When mitochondrial DNA samples were taken from people around the world, the results showed that we are all related to one woman who existed around 6,000 years ago. Can you guess who?

There were many displays of dinosaur fossils that could be examined, including a 30-foot-long full skeleton of Triceratops Prorsus and the head of Tyrannosaurus Rex. The most complete fossil of Pachycephalosaurus Wyomingsis, that was found in Wyoming. Bob Dugas, vice president of Creation Truth Foundation, presented books on dinosaurs available for purchase.

Lana Anderson commented, “I thoroughly enjoyed the Bible and science presentation. It was a great learning experience about fossils and how they support the creation story as stated in Genesis. I truly knew nothing about fossils until attending this seminar. The best information I learned was what conditions are needed for a fossil to form. These conditions totally support the flood story as presented in the Bible. This seminar affirmed my belief in the Bible and a literal creation week.”

“The messages were very engaging with information about human origins and the newest archaeological finds. The meetings provided an excellent opportunity to speak with others on this topic, and they really delivered on their promise to ‘connect the dots between the Bible and science’,” said Bill Nixon, pastor at Cheyenne Adventist Church.

Chris Bridges, an attendee, commented, “Things I had questions about were clarified for me through Bible text.”

More information on the topic of creation can be found at creationtruth.com.

—Paulette Yaple is the communication secretary at Cheyenne Seventh-day Adventist Church. Photos supplied.

Pastor Bill Nixon, Bob Dugas, Matt Miles in front of Triceratops Prorsus
Human footprint intruded by a dinosaur footprint near Glen Rose Texas
21 Sep


Eva Resz – Loveland, Colorado … Around 600 alumni reunited at Campion Academy in Loveland, Colorado, rekindling their friendships, the weekend of September 15. The homecoming event included worship services, musical performances, time to gather with old classmates, and sports competitions.

During vespers Friday evening, Dick Stenbakken, an alumnus, portrayed John, disciple of Jesus, when he was exiled to the island of Patmos. His reenactment gave the audience hope of Christ’s Second Coming. Lillian Resz, sophomore student, expressed, “The performance was super entertaining and touching. It was amazing to see former Campion students together, and Mr. Stenbakken’s performance made me even more excited to reunite with God and my family in Heaven.”

At the church service, the honor classes, with graduation years ending in three or eight, were recognized. Alumni of the Year Awards were presented to Codi Jahn, Class of 2001, for her contribution to the Campion Community, and Darryl Bohlender, Class of 1971, for his service to his community. Finally, Harold Williams was inducted into the Hall of Faith for his dedication to Campion students over 28 years of teaching.

The event also included choral, orchestral, and handbell performances. Ginger Easley, Class of 1983, shared, “The music program was big for all of us, so it was really cool to see the current music program. The performances were great!”

Erik Stenbakken, Class of 1986, was the weekend’s main speaker. In his sermon, he revealed many humorous antics from his time at Campion Academy and emphasized how God works to save us, despite our own actions.

During a sundown worship service Saturday evening, current students participated in a panel discussion where they shared testimonies of how Campion Academy has changed their lives, helping them grow into spiritual leaders. Taryn Clark, Class of 2003 and former Campion staff member, reflected, “I just love that this is a place for people to get a great Christian education.”

The current students and alumni faced off in friendly competitions of soccer and volleyball on Saturday night. Alumni dominated the soccer game winning 6 to 1 while the current volleyball team beat the alumni in a close match of 3 to 2.

On Monday, 27 alumni and supporters participated in the annual Reeder Golf Classic which raised money for Campion Academy. The winning foursome was sponsored by Amy Gane’s Southmarch Veterinary Clinic and included Stefen Wilson, Christian Cable, J.D. Downs, and Cayman Ham.

As the weekend came to an end, David Marroquin, Class of 2018, advised current Campion students to, “Enjoy your years here at Campion. Make sure you cherish your youth and the time that you’re here.”

—Eva Resz, Student News Team. Photos supplied.

20 Sep


Marsha Bartulec – Erie, Colorado … Grandparents hold a special place in our hearts, and, at Vista Ridge Academy (VRA), we believe in celebrating their wisdom and love. Our school’s annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day is an occasion that brings together generations and creates lasting memories. This year on September 15, we welcomed more than 90 grandparents and special friends to our school for a day filled with love, learning, and fun.

Principal Marsha Bartulec was overwhelmed with the turnout: “I had expected maybe 60 to come to the event, but we had over 90 in attendance, more than doubling last year’s attendance. We are blessed to have such a loving and supportive community.”

The day began with a warm welcome breakfast where grandparents, special friends, students, and staff mingled over waffles. It was a delightful way to start the day, fostering connections and setting a joyful tone.

Our Grandparents and Special Friends Day chapel service was a spiritual highlight. Grandparents and students gathered to worship together, deepening their faith and family bonds. The service included music with the second and third graders and Mrs. Fetroe, pledge, prayer, and a heartfelt message by Boulder Church Pastor, Geoff Patterson, emphasizing the importance of family and faith.

Grandparents and special friends accompanied their grandchildren to the classrooms, where they had the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning experiences. From science experiments to art projects, grandparents became active participants in their students’ education. It was a heartwarming sight to see the exchange of knowledge and love across generations.

This year, the annual Fun Run event was added to the special day. For one hour, students ran around the school’s track to raise money for school transportation. Grandparents, special friends, and parents joined in on the fun, cheering or running with the students.

Having not seen her grandma in a while, a middle school student enjoyed having the opportunity to spend the day with her grandma. “I enjoyed sitting down and having breakfast with my grandma and playing jeopardy in our classroom activity,” she says.

Grandparents and Special Friends Day at Vista Ridge Academy is a reflection of our commitment to wholistic education, where we not only focus on academic excellence but also on nurturing values and relationships. It’s a day that celebrates the importance of love, learning, and the strong connections that define our school community. We eagerly anticipate continuing this tradition in the years to come, celebrating the invaluable role grandparents and special friends play in our school community.

—Marsha Bartulec is principal of Vista Ridge Academy, Erie, Colorado. Photos by Marsha Bartulec and Rebecca Larson.

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