On Saturday night, May 21, 2016 at the annual awards program, Campion Academy recognized its 9 international students from 5 different countries (China, Japan, Nepal, South Korea, and Taiwan.) The international students were reminded, “At Campion Academy, we are a family. We want to make sure that you know that we consider you a part of our family, and we are so glad that you are with us!”
For the past 4 years, I have represented Campion Academy internationally by making 4 separate trips to South Korea and China with the intent of developing relationships with students, parents, and agents from those parts of the world. As a school we are developing an intentional international program to bring other students from around the world to our campus. We currently have 2 ELL (English Language Learner) staff members who are developing a strong program to support the international students, most of whom are coming to learn English.
In short there are 3 main reasons why we are actively developing this program:
1. An increased enrollment, which helps the financial aspect of the school.
2. An evangelistic effort to bring non Seventh-day Adventist students, and in many cases, non-Christian students, to our campus for 1 to 4 years, where they are daily exposed to Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and worship opportunities. A number of international students in the past have been baptized and go on to attend Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities. This is fulfilling one of the missions of our church and school to “go into all the world … “
3. An opportunity for our U.S. students to learn about other cultures and interact with other students from around the world.
On a Campion Academy sponsored trip during the summer of 2015, Campion ELL teacher, Patricia Torres and her husband, Mike, along with Chezney Barry (now current senior) and Gaby Joya (Campion graduate in May 2015) were able to go to China for nearly 3 weeks to experience the Chinese culture first-hand. While there, they were hosted by Shijiazhuang No. 24 High School, which has expressed interest in becoming a “sister-school” to Campion Academy. In addition to sightseeing opportunities, they lived, socialized, attended classes and made many friends with the local Chinese students. Mrs. Torres was also able to teach a number of specialty classes throughout their visit.
Chezney loved it and didn’t want to leave, but realized she needed to return to finish high school. However, Gaby Joya, who had just graduated from Campion a week before leaving for China, liked it so much that she decided to stay and continue her education there!
Gaby recently told me, “My experience in China has been life changing. It has opened my eyes how God has a specific plan for each and every one of us. I never would have thought I would ever go to China, let alone live and go to school here. My experience has been a great blessing, and a true testimony. I believe God has been planning this for a while. Every little detail was taken care of and I'm truly in awe. It has now been a year since I came, and my experience has been truly amazing. I have amazing Chinese parents whom I love and am truly grateful for. I get to help send students to Christian schools, and I get to learn and experience the Chinese culture. I believe God has a plan for everyone … we just need to say, yes.”
During my recent visit to China in March 2016, I was able to spend 2 days with Gaby and her Adventist host family and saw a spark in her eyes that was truly inspiring. Gaby has been studying Chinese for this past year and has been recently accepted into a leading business school in Shanghai. She plans to major in international business.
Plans are in the initial stages to send another group of Campion students to China in the summer of 2017 so that they too can be exposed to the same type of experiences that Chezney and Gaby enjoyed and are continuing to experience. Until then we will continue bringing other cultures to our campus to share with our students.
Dean Helm is the V.P of Finance at Campion Academy