Kelly Koppelmann Waller – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … We have all heard of organizations being referred to as a “family.” Many truly are, especially in the culture of Adventism. No matter where you go, usually, you can find an old friend or a friend of a friend, and it’s comforting to have that place to belong.
Mile High Academy (MHA), a preschool through twelfth-grade school in a suburb of Denver, Colorado, is definitely a family. In May, MHA closed out its 109th year of educating the young people of the Seventh-day Adventist community. While that fact alone is impressive, there was something extra-special about MHA’s senior class of 2023.
“Being able to attend MHA was so special to me, because my mom also attended MHA, making me a second-generation alumnus,” says 2023 graduate Kaylynn Linser. “It shows the impact of MHA’s community, and how it’s not just a school, it’s a family. And being able to grow up in that family has been such an amazing gift.”
Out of a class of 17 students, six of them had at least one parent who graduated from MHA. Furthermore, five of the six “legacy students” attended our school continuously from preschool/kindergarten through twelfth grade. One of the legacy students is even a fourth-generation MHA student, as her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother also attended the academy.
Making such a commitment is not an easy task, and that is definitely recognized. “We [Gloria and Tiffiny] realize the sacrifice that people have to put forth in order to receive an Adventist education. But if we didn’t believe in the value of Adventist education (MHA specifically), we wouldn’t have had four generations come through the doors of MHA. We love our school!” shares Gloria Gates Cross, who was a member of Mile High Academy’s first high school graduating class in 1965.”
Another parent echoed the sentiment. “We sacrificed financially to have both of our children in Adventist education,” said Kevin Waller. “The loving teachers and their positive influence on our kids made the tuition a little easier to pay.”
The MHA family extends much further than the class of 2023. “MHA has had a generational impact on my family,” says Jay Eno. “My wife and I both attended and met in high school. My three kids all attended from preschool to twelfth grade. My sister-in-law and brother have taught there. My nieces and nephews also attended MHA. Added up, the Eno family has over a century of experience at Mile High Academy.”
During the 2022-2023 school year, 18% of students across all grades had at least one parent who attended MHA. There are also seven members of staff who are alumni, all of whom chose MHA for the education of their own children.
—Kelly Koppelmann Waller is the RMC conference clerk, executive assistant for administration, and ministerial administrative assistant. Kelly was a teacher at Mile High Academy from 1996-2001. Photo supplied.