Campion Academy was once again rated the number one private school in Larimer County by Niche.com on the annual 2021 Best Schools ranking list. There are currently 32 private schools in Larimer County.
Niche.com, a nationally recognized education ranking site, based this ranking on a rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents. Ranking factors include SAT/ACT scores, student-teacher ratio, and data sourced from the U.S. Department of Education, Niche users, and the schools directly.
What makes Campion so great? We asked current students to share their perspectives.
“I love how it feels like a second home. When I’m here, I get homesick but my friends always cheer me up. They keep me going and are the reason why I came back. Campion is a school that's more than a place for you to learn, it's a family.” - Blet Htoo
“I like how it’s easy to get along with people and you can make a lot of friends.” - Tiffany Kolibu
“I like how Campion tries to make it possible for us to stay here (with in-person education during the pandemic) and I’m glad to live in the dorm because it allows us to be closer with our friends.” - Chrishella Kalawo
“I’d probably have to say the greatest strength of Campion is the spiritual environment, I just really enjoy how I can be in a place where people are my same age and who believe the same thing I do. They influence me to want to know God more and keep me consistent in my beliefs.” - Odalis Mata
“One of the things I really value about Campion is the inclusion of spirituality into everyday life. Teachers have worship and prayer before every class, which puts God first. Not only is spirituality incorporated into academics, but vespers and worship services allow everyone to grow closer to one another, and people form bonds here that will most likely last a lifetime.” - Sami Hodges
“For me, the best part about Campion is the amount of help the staff members give you. In other schools, some teachers don’t care if you fail or succeed, but here the teachers go above and beyond to make sure you succeed. They will give you their phone numbers, meet with you outside of class, and work with you when you are behind or struggling. It just goes to show how God is working through everyone on this campus.” - Haley Enochs
“I think a strength of Campion is the personal atmosphere. You can make so many connections here, and the staff really care about the students. I think what makes people want to come back are all the friendships they make here.” -Nelly Salinas
“My favorite thing is the dorm life because I love how my friends and I interact with each other and still hang out even with COVID policies and with masks. We still make it work and have fun!” - Mark Zelaya
“Campion excels at providing an environment where students can grow socially, physically, mentally, and spiritually.” - Jayden Anggormas
-Campion Academy Student News Team
Dear Campion Family,
We have so much to be thankful for as we reflect on how God has been present on our campus this school year. Campion completed the first semester of the 2020-21 school year with zero COVID cases. We praise God for He has kept His promise in Psalms 91:3 to protect us from the "deadly pestilence."
I wish to express thanks to our school nurse, Jenny Gann, for working with the administration and the Rocky Mountain Conference to put together a safety plan to minimize exposures and risk. I want to also mention our residence hall deans who have worked hard, endured risk by living with students, and kept to the plan to ensure safety.
In addition, teachers and staff have put themselves at risk to educate young people in a Christ-like environment. I appreciate all they have done to complete a successful first semester. A special note of thanks goes to Drs. Elias and Nohemi Hernandez who have been instrumental in helping us with medical supplies, guidance and support.
Finally, I am grateful to the students and families who have endured masks, social distancing and other restrictions to minimize risk so we can teach "in person".
Please join with us this Thanksgiving in giving praise to our God for His watch care over us.
Principal Donavan Reeder
‘Twas the night before finals, and all through the school, not a student was stressing, it was surprisingly cool...
Laughter erupted throughout the gym, as Campion Academy’s staff entertained the students with skits and songs during the annual Staff Talent Show on Saturday night.
To kick off the night, the Student Association (SA) lip-synced to “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson led by SA sponsor and talent show organizer Erin Johnson.
“It’s a fun event for both the students and the staff. The staff get to show a different, less serious side of themselves,” Johnson explained. “My favorite part of the talent show is performing. It’s fun for me to get the staff involved, and to see how the students react.”
Principal Reeder’s act drew big laughs from the crowd. Three student volunteers, oblivious to his tricks, were told to race to name the type of sports ball hiding underneath a row of towels on a table. Little did they know, Bill Hay was hiding under the table with his head sticking up under one of the towels. The volunteers were so shocked that two of them fell to the ground in surprise while the audience howled in laughter.
“My favorite part was when Nelly and Chrino fell from screaming because it was funny to see my friends scream and fall,” commented Kevin Perez.
Next, Yves Clouzet sang the Hamilton song, “You’ll be back” with a twist. He impersonated Principal Reeder and changed the words in a humorous performance about COVID-19 restrictions, including Zoom, sick list quarantine, and social distancing.
Cafeteria director Chef Allen and Mrs. Allen performed a rendition of the act “Who’s on First” between the chef and assistant planner who misunderstood the names of workers that would fill a kitchen position.
Carlos Santana, Dean Molly Santana’s husband, took students by surprise by busting out some beats in a Christian hip-hop rap. The students also got down to the beat and were waving their hands in the air.
The Great Helmdini, Dean Helm, never fails to awe the audience with his magic tricks. His mind-blowing card tricks left everyone wondering: how? His final performance left students in amazement when he pulled a long length of toilet paper, which was once ripped and crumbled, from his mouth.
Tiffany Dien, Student News Team
After preparing throughout the first semester, the instrumental groups of Campion Academy serenaded the Campion Church last Sabbath.
Allegro Vivace Ringers performed first and played Let the Bells Peal. For children’s story Music Ring Supreme played I’ve Got Peace Like a River. The groups also accompanied the congregational worship music. To end the Sabbath celebration, Caritas Chamber Strings played Brandenburg Concerto for postlude.
It was a highlight to hear live music performances during the COVID pandemic.
To add a little variation to everyday life, Campion’s Student Association (SA) introduced a spirit week to give the students a chance to loosen up before finals and get creative with their outfits.
“I liked spirit week,” commented Phoebe Mamanua, freshman. “It was really interactive, and I looked forward to going to school every day.”
Each day was unique and gave the student body many opportunities to put together some innovative combinations. As an incentive to participate, the class with the most involvement at the end of the week would earn a pizza party.
Monday - Twin Day
To start the week, each person found a “twin” and dressed up in matching attire for the day.
Tuesday - Christmas Spirit Day
The sleigh bells were ringing with everyone dressed up and ready for the holidays. SA members were all decked out in bells and reindeer antlers. Some students even wore Christmas lights to top it all off.
Wednesday - Wacky Wednesday
“I really enjoyed Wacky Wednesday,” said Jonathan Pineda, senior. “I wasn’t planning on dressing up, but when I saw how crazy everyone was going, I decided to join them. It shows how much people enjoy spirit week, being able to dress up differently from normal.” From mismatching socks to a full pineapple suit, Campion took “wacky” to a whole new level.
Thursday - Character Day
With a countless variety to choose from, students dressed up as characters from all over, and one group even went as characters, including minions, from Despicable Me. The majority of the Brazilian students got creative and dressed up as M&Ms.
Friday - Campion Spirit Day
What better way to end the week than with a burst of school spirit? A part of Campion could be seen on almost every person in the form of T-shirts, hoodies, sports jackets, or other Campion merchandise.
“I loved how creative people got during spirit week,” reflected Edward Camas, junior. “I think it helped a lot of people gain energy and inspiration to make it to home leave.”
Sami Hodges, Student News Team
As Campion students enter the last weeks of the semester and finals are approaching, it's easy to become overwhelmed and stressed.
Having stress isn’t always a bad thing; in fact, it's proven to be beneficial. However, stress becomes dangerous when it is uncontrolled and at a high level. It can easily sneak up on teens, and when not managed appropriately, it creates a snowball effect.
All teenagers are different, stress for some may be triggered differently than others. In high school, one of the most common sources of stress is academics. Teens often worry about meeting academic expectations either made by themselves, parents, or even teachers.
Sandy Eickmann, a professional counselor for over 20 years, shared some tips on how to cope and minimize stress levels.
Eickmann's biggest tip for dealing with academic stress is to not procrastinate. “The first step is to just get up and do it. Don’t let yourself have time to make excuses,” she said. This may seem easier said than done, but it's quite simple. When you first get told about an assignment, start it immediately. This will save much stress and anxiety in the long run.
“Secondly, you need to discipline yourself. Set a specific time and goal. For example, if you need to get an assignment done, tell yourself you're not allowed to watch TV (or check your phone) until you finish it,” Eickmann added.
Some teenagers suffer with test anxiety. “During the test, make sure to breathe in deeply and exhale quickly. While taking a test, don’t focus on what others are doing, just focus on yourself,” Eickmann explained.
During finals week, Eickmann encouraged students to get a good night's rest and eat healthy nutritious meals. “This will give you the energy and focus you need,” she said.
Teens under stress may change their eating or sleeping habits and avoid normal daily activities. As students it's important to pay attention to your fellow classmates. If you notice behavioral changes in a friend, such as becoming agitated or depressed, make sure to check on and encourage him or her to seek help.
Remember you're not alone. Get together with friends to work on homework and prep for tests. Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for help; Campion teachers genuinely care about the success of each student!
Bentlee Barry, Student News Team
Last week, 23-year Army Chaplain and award winner Dick Stenbakken enacted six key elements of the Gospel story every night for Campion Academy’s Week of Prayer. Throughout the week, he told the stories of Jesus through the Gospel John, Peter, Judas, a leper, a blind man, and finally, a Roman Centurion. The main purpose of these meetings was to help students better understand Jesus’ character through the experiences of first-person presentations.
“I’ve never seen Mr. Stenbakken’s performances before,” commented Haley Beckermeyer, sophomore. “They personally made me look at my life in a whole new light. They showed me how to see the Bible characters from their point of view rather than just reading the story. I felt like I could really experience the characters, like we lived in the same time period.”
Although never being trained in it officially, Stenbakken pointed out that all preachers and teachers have to “dabble in drama” at some point in their lives. “I’m a visual learner, and many other people are too. So when you see the character, the hammer, the nails, and the leprosy spots, it makes an impression that just describing it can’t do,” he explained.
Kylie Wehling, a junior, said, “I think it was cool to see what the characters in the Bible might have actually looked like. It was very interactive, relatable, and Mr. Stenbakken really captured my attention with his presentations.”
Not only are these drama performances influential to the audience, but he continued to describe how the presentations have changed his own life very deeply. “In order to develop a character, I need to get the story behind the story. I have to dig way deeper into the biblical text, as well as the historical and cultural background. As I immerse myself in the character, the message that character has comes alive. When it comes alive to me, then it does the same for the listener.”
In order to continue growing from this Week of Prayer, Stenbakken advised students to, “Study the Bible, and enter into it as an actor of the story, then read it again from a different point of view. Suddenly the story will become very real and personal, instead of something on paper. That’s the ultimate way of encountering God.”
Sami Hodges, Student News Team
The Campion Adventist Church and Campion Academy created a joint Fall Fest-themed Drive-in Vespers that brought the community and campus together last Saturday evening.
Lead Pastor Micheal Goetz explained that even though the usual combined events such as Prayer and Lunch (PAL) and Fall Festival can’t be held due to COVID-19, “We are unwilling to do nothing and act like life is on pause. So we took an idea that brought everyone together as safely as possible and had spiritual and social focus.”
Members from the community were invited to attend Campion’s special vespers, where they could listen to the music, drama and speaker from inside their cars in order to promote social distancing. Meanwhile, students in chairs that were spaced apart in the front of the parking lot.
As part of the worship time, Campion’s drama class acted in a Reformation Day skit to commemorate the actions of Martin Luther who sparked the Protestant Reformation. Literature evangelists shared their personal stories of witnessing before Pastor Matt Hasty challenged the audience to seek their identity in Christ.
After vespers, Campion Academy students and the community enjoyed a BBQ dinner and activities such as hayrides, doughnut eating, and egg tossing contests.
“I really enjoyed hanging out by the fire with everyone. It was warm and we had so much fun talking. We went to the baseball field to eat some doughnuts and it was good,” said Blet Htoo, sophomore.
Campion church member, Suzie Sendros commented, “My favorite part of the night was riding on the hayride to the field of games and competing for the top prize of doughnut eating champion or egg tossing queen!”
“What stands out most to our family was the camaraderie between the staff, students and community members, the laughing and singing and having some light hearted moments together!” Sendros reflected.
Tiffany Dien, Student News Team
When I entered the doors of the residence hall for my very first move-in day, I couldn't help but feel anxious. The rules, the people I was around, the things I was about to do, and the schedule I would have would be different. Everything I knew was about to change, but I would make memories that would last a lifetime. All the doubts and worries I had would soon fade, as this would become my second home.
For incoming students, residence hall life can be an intimidating yet exciting new adventure. Luckily, while being here, students make friends and have the help of their deans to guide them through. Although dorm life is much different than living at home, they learn to adapt and have a great opportunity to grow stronger relationships with the people around them.
Jahir Marcenaro, junior, stated, “The people here in the dorm are like family; they are fun, crazy, and awesome to hang around with. You always have something new happen each day that makes being at Campion feel less like a school, and more like a family trying to know God more.”
At times, residence hall students struggle with the complete change in schedule and lifestyle and experience homesickness. Sami Hodges, senior, explained, “Even though I have been in the dorm since sophomore year, I still get homesick every now and then. Personally I am not someone who easily opens up about my struggles, but living in the dorm has helped me learn to trust others, and the girls have been a big encouragement during my hardest times at school.”
For first-year students, while it can take time to adapt to the new environment, the friendships made in the residence hall are irreplaceable. “Dorm life for me is amazing!” Bentlee Barry, first-year dorm student, exclaimed, “I've never had as strong relationships with girls as I do here. Everyone in your hall is like your family, no matter what happens, we have each other's back. It was such a blessing coming here and I hope others are able to experience it.”
Most importantly, being in the residence hall puts students in a Christ-centered environment that encourages them to draw closer to God. The nightly worship and the ability to pray with the deans and each other help students grow a strong relationship with God.
Despite struggles, Hodges affirmed, “I’ve had to rely on God this year more than any other year, and I have come to realize that without Him, it is impossible to get through anything on my own.”
Now, as a senior, I’m anticipating the day when I will leave the doors of the residence hall for the last time. Although I will go on to new adventures, I will carry with me all of the friendships and memories I have made here, and forever remember my second home.
-Haley Enochs, Student News Team
The resilience of Campion Academy students and staff was tested over the last few weeks as there was a spike in students attending classes online due to mild symptoms and COVID policies.
In order to reduce the chance of viral spread, this year any student experiencing any potential COVID symptoms, even if they are mild, is put on “sick list”. In addition, close contacts, such as roommates, also cannot attend classes even if they are not symptomatic.
If a student on sick list cannot easily return home, he or she must stay in their dorm room alone or move to a guest room to be isolated. The deans and school nurse check on them regularly and bring them to-go tray meals from the cafeteria. The students are expected to continue to attend their classes virtually unless they have more severe symptoms.
Angel V. was never sick, but he was on sick list for several days because his roommate had symptoms. He commented, “At first, I was excited because I would be in my warm room, have my food delivered to me, and be in my bed during class. After the second day, my excitement was gone. I missed my friends, it was difficult to understand class because of the Zoom audio quality, and there was nothing to do in my room. I spent most of my day working out and finishing homework. I also texted and called my family and friends to keep myself from dying of boredom.”
Any student with symptoms is being taken for COVID testing as soon as possible. Over 20 students have been tested in the month of October and all of them have returned negative. After a negative test result, the student and close contacts can return to classes as long as they are no longer symptomatic.
Thankfully, with the negative test results and mild illnesses, the isolation time for students has generally been just a few days. However, those few days stuck in a room have been a good reminder to students that in-person school with COVID policies is preferable to Zoom in quarantine.
“Being on the list can make you lonely for sure, but I’m just thankful we have the opportunity to be here and not go online,” reflected Haley E. “Being on sick list isn’t everyone’s dream, but it’s better than being sent home.”
Students have been heard shouting for joy when they get negative COVID test results and can return to normal school life, and the teachers and other staff members are just as relieved. Having multiple students on sick list has been a stressor for teachers trying to deliver content to students both in-person and online, the staff members driving students to get tested, the deans and nurse checking on their status and well-being, and even the cafeteria staff preparing dozens of to-go trays to send to the rooms.
Head Dean of Men, Michael Gann says that even though caring for students isolated in their rooms can create extra work, he takes it in stride. “For me, it’s just another aspect of the job to embrace. Our role is to take care of and provide for these students and give them a safe and healthy place to live. When they are sick we take care of them; it’s just part of our role. No one wants to be stuck in a room for a couple of days, but it reminds us that we are all vulnerable, and we need to keep doing our part with hand washing, social distancing, and mask wearing.”
Despite the sick list woes, thankfully, most of the students have been recovering quickly from minor cold-like illnesses, and Campion heads into the last month of the semester COVID free.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director