I’ve been doing literature evangelism for over half of my life. Each day, I see first hand the impact that I’ve made by “go”ing as Jesus asked us to “Go” in the Great Commission at the end of the gospels of Matthew and Mark. In Luke 10:1, we read that Jesus sent 70 people to visit the cities and villages before Jesus went to visit them. Jesus will be visiting our cities once again. Just like in his day, we need the “70” to “GO” to the cities before Jesus comes. As you contemplate what job you’ll have at Campion this year, contemplate making this year a year of service for the salvation of others. Take a look at what others have said when asked, “What has LE meant for you?”.
Raquel - “LE was my favorite part of Campion last year, and is a fun way to spread the Word of God.”
Adrianna - “LE has shown me that the world is bigger than myself. Before I started canvassing, I was very upset with God about past events in my life. Canvassing has shown me that if it wasn’t for those experiences, God would not have been able to use me for his ministry.”
Alexis -” LE has become another family to me. Everyone who does LE, and has ever done LE, is part of a huge family that is pulling me closer to Christ.”
Pastor Joe - “Literature Evangelism has been in my life for 44 years. The experiences I had have changed my life.”
Robyn - “LE means an opportunity to be God's tool!”
Richard - “I value it, because you spread the word of God. I think it’s super cool and kinda rare. I like praying with people, and leaving seeds of salvation.”
Naomi - “There’s been something about spending my day trying to sell people on the concept of Jesus, that’s really made me take it all in for myself. Nothing’s driven home the point of Christianity for me more than literature evangelism has. Jesus has a way of reaching people when they’re committed to reaching others.”
It’s one thing to look back and see how God has blessed others who have done LE in the past. It’s another to consider how He will bless it during this Covid-19 pandemic. Will God continue to bless this ministry?
On August 4, I received a call from Adrianna, who has been canvassing independently this summer. She met a lady who recognized the Steps to Christ Adrianna was offering. The lady had purchased it a few years ago. This year, she gave Adrianna $100 for 10 more copies, so she could share them with her friends.
A few weeks before that, I received a call from another independent LE named Clayton. Clayton met a manwho had been struggling over things in his church that he said were, “Anti-God”. After a few minutes of chatting with Clayton, the man kept a book about how to study the Bible and scheduled a time to study the Bible with Clayton. After their first Bible study, the man told Clayton that he’s “never learned this stuff before“.
I’d like to repeat the old quote, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past.” God has led LE in the past, and he continues to lead LE today. Is he leading you to do LE this school year? I challenge you to pray about it.
Literature Evangelism Director, Rocky Mountain Conference
Russell Branham, husband of Director of Development and Alumni Relations Darcy Force, has been hard at work planting Campion’s summer garden as the new Program Director of Acquainting Agriculture. Branham took over the care of the garden and produce sales as a volunteer last summer through this spring, including maintaining a winter garden. After Campion Academy procured a grant from AdventHealth this spring, he has been able to manage the garden as a part-time employee.
Branham has had previous experience working in greenhouses and gardens and has a personal passion for agriculture. “Long before I came to Campion, one of my personal goals has been to help teach people how to grow food for themselves,” he explained. “Agriculture seems to be a dying skill, and I think we need to get back to our roots. I’d like to see the young folks learn about growing and becoming self-sufficient.”
Without students or volunteers in the program this spring and summer (or the promise of a farmers market), Branham has kept the garden at a smaller, more manageable scale, and he plans to keep produce sales to our school and church community. Currently, he is growing crops such as bush beans, okra, brussel sprouts, beets, carrots, squash, radishes, turnips, asparagus, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, and raspberries. He expects to have produce available for sale in mid-August. With a future sweet harvest in mind, Branham has also started a small peach tree orchard from seed with 35 saplings growing strong.
In early July, through the use of grant funds, Branham was able to purchase a BCS 739 walk-behind commercial tractor as a much-needed piece of equipment to increase his efficiency. The tractor has multiple implements and he is currently using it for tilling the ground and creating new rows for planting. He is working to improve the garden area overall for future harvests. “Right now I’m focusing on the health of the garden. It was very overgrown with weeds and I’ve been able to get that under control. I’m working on squaring off the sections we are using for growing and tarping off the areas around to reduce the weeds.” Branham uses all natural methods of weed and pest control without the use of chemical pesticides.
In the fall, he plans to work with students to plant winter crops both in the greenhouse and in the ground using simple row covers. Campion is currently still seeking a classroom teacher for Acquainting Agriculture in order to offer it as a class, but Branham will work with students in the field.
The grant received from Advent Health will cover the basic costs of employing Branham and a teacher for the program for the next year. However, the program will still rely on donations as it continues to get established. If you have an interest in helping the agriculture program please consider donating for the following needs:
High Wind Tunnel Kit - $2,800
Implement - Rotary Plow $1,495 (to be used with the new tractor)
Used livestock tanks (items to be turned into large planters)
Large water containers (used is also fine, as long as no chemicals were used in it. Food Grade.)
campion.net/give | 970-451-1513
Campion Academy welcomes Nick Allen to the staff as Food Service Director. Allen has worked in food service for his entire career and has worked in the cafeterias of Andrews University, Mt. Vernon Academy, and Pines Springs Ranch camp in Southern California. “I’ve always loved being in the kitchen,” he says; “I grew up helping my mom and grandma and my first jobs in high school were in the kitchen. Over the years, I’ve seen that working in the kitchen is my passion, and I view it as my service to others, following the example of Christ of being a servant-leader.”
Allen grew up in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he attended Andrews Academy. Later, he earned a certificate in Vegetarian Culinary Arts at Atlantic Union College.
“When I saw the opportunity to be at Campion Academy,” he comments, “it reminded me of the good memories I made at Mt Vernon Academy. I enjoyed interacting with the students, especially with those who worked in the kitchen with me. I got to mentor them, and I missed that. This was an opportunity to be able to live, and work, and play with teenagers again, and I thought ‘I can’t pass this up.’”
Allen enjoys making a wide variety of dishes from around the world and experimenting in the kitchen. “I like learning what people like and what they don’t like and challenging myself to make new dishes based on that,” he says. “I also love doing pizza night, and I make my dough from scratch. One of my unique favorites is (vegetarian) barbecue-chicken and mac and cheese pizza. I also have experience with meeting needs of people who are vegan and gluten-free, and I’ve been experimenting with making my own vegan cheeses, and so far everyone has loved it.” He says he’s also looking forward to making authentic ethnic dishes and continuing Mrs. Fagan’s recent tradition of inviting our international students into the kitchen to help prepare foods from home.
In his free time, Allen and his family enjoy RC cars and trucks, hiking, and biking. They are looking forward to trying out backpacking and mountain biking in the Rocky Mountains. His wife Valerie has a passion for music and plays violin and viola. He and his wife, and their two children Orianna (10), and Tristan (7), will be moving to campus in mid July.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
At Campion Academy, as we seek to become more Christ-like, we want to do more than just write statements against racism, we want to listen and learn how we can do better. In my interview with Rob Pride from our last issue, he recalled that racial issues were never something discussed at Campion when he attended and he challenged us to have those conversations. So this week, I sat down with two current students and an alumnus to talk about their experience being black and attending Campion Academy.
The following is a summary of our conversation. To listen in to the full conversation, click the link for the video below.
How has the killing of George Floyd and others we’ve seen recently, and the following protests impacted you personally?
Amira: “Mainly, it opened up my eyes that the world hasn’t changed and that it’s still so cruel and it’s just sad.”
CJ: “There’s a lot of tension. I feel like a lot of people have been tip-toeing around me, I don’t know how to explain it, it’s like they’re walking on eggshells or something because of everything that has happened.”
Emma: “I feel like it has definitely opened my eyes to how serious racism is in America, and it has me thinking about ways that we can make it better and really talk to each other and have these difficult conversations. I feel like before it was just kind of avoided and everyone knew about it, but we didn’t really talk about it. There’s a lot of tension because now we are bringing up an old issue to the surface, and it’s hard.”
Did you feel you experienced racism at Campion or at other points in your life?
CJ: “I think since I was in the Adventist system for so long, I never really thought about it until after I graduated and I came back home and was talking with my brothers about things. Some things that happened could have been seen as racism, but I think how they said it, I didn’t see it as racism. I never thought about it going through Campion. I’m pretty sure there were racist jokes, but no one didn’t like me because of the color of my skin and that was a cool thing about Campion and Adventist education in general.”
Amira: “I honestly haven’t. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Adventist school system and attended public middle school, but everyone was cool there too. Again, there are racist jokes, but I agree that no one has ever not liked me because of the color of my skin. There was a time in third grade a girl wouldn’t share with me because she said she “didn’t like black people.” That really just broke my heart to be denied something just because of something I can’t change and is not my fault. It really opened up my eyes. I haven’t experienced direct racism since then, but it really just blows my mind that you can even think that way.”
Emma: “Again, I didn’t really experience that much and I’ve been in Adventist schools since kindergarten, but people have said racist comments to other black kids at my school and it also affects me. I’ve even heard kids make racist jokes and it just shows you how much of a problem it is, how it affects everyone, and how we are teaching our kids. I haven’t experienced it a lot because I feel like I have had more privilege than other black kids that I know being raised in white family.
What can we do at Campion to be better at being anti-racist?
CJ: “I was talking to my friend the other day, and he grew up in Florida, and until he left that area he didn’t realize that racism was a big thing because where he was from everyone was cool with everyone, but once he got out of that, he realized these things actually happen. So, that might be similar to students coming out of Campion. I think we just need to educate people to let them know that it is okay to have black friends and that they are not really different, other than the color of their skin.”
Amira: “Honestly, Campion does such a great job. Maybe it’s because I’m an international ambassador, but we are so accepting. I’ve never seen so many people come together and accept different cultures, different languages--it’s beautiful. I do believe that education is important to teach everyone that we are not different, we are all people, and to be sensitive that some jokes aren’t funny because it’s inappropriate. I feel like that is something that should be also said.”
Emma: “I think educating people that we are all the same is good, but we also need to educate that we are different and to embrace the beauty that we have in different cultures. The more you learn about another culture, the more you can learn about another person. I feel that would just make people more open to talk about stuff, and it would help us not feel like we are so different if we learned about each other’s cultures. And also accountability, like if someone makes a racist comment, rather than just pushing it off, or saying it’s not a big deal, really actually attack that issue and explain why it hurt us, or why it is inappropriate.”
What about in our churches?
Emma: “I definitely think that bringing the conversation on race into our churches is also important. The Bible does talk about race, and just because we are in church, doesn’t mean that it’s not important and it can’t be addressed. Someone might be feeling a certain way about a racial issue, but because we are not talking about it, it’s just staying inside and they might feel like they have to be someone different at church. I always feel like I have to be someone else at church, and it has to do with my skin and maybe with the way I was raised too.”
What do you wish would be the biggest change in society at large as a result of this movement?
Emma: “My main biggest hope is that we increase accountability. A lot of these killings were happening before George Floyd and the reason why they were able to do that because they got off the hook and no one dealt with it. I hope we start to deal with it more, and if it happens once, we deal with it right then and there.”
Amira: “As Emma said, I want more accountability. But I really want more social awareness. I want everyone to realize there is a problem. I want everyone to stand up for what is right and when they see a problem, to help and talk about it so we can deal with it. I feel like in the past, that was not the case at all. We weren’t talking about it. It was just being swept under the rug and this really has all of us coming together and shown us what we can do as a whole.
CJ: “Well, I want Jesus to come sooner! I want people to realize with these killings that people just want justice and they’ve been waiting for that for a while. And it hasn’t happened! I want people to understand that just because people of color want justice for these killings that doesn’t mean that we want anything bad to happen to people of other races. We are not trying to overtake the country, we just want justice. We want to be treated like everyone else. I think what would help is more education and maybe more training for officers. More training in how to de-escalate situations, because there have been other times when the situation was de-escalated and no one had to die and deadly force didn’t have to be used.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
On June 8, Sergeant Rob Pride (CA Class of 1991), participated in a roundtable discussion regarding police reform with the President and other members of the administration. As the elected chairman of trustees for the National Fraternal Order of Police, he represents law enforcement officers at the highest level. The reforms discussed at the June 8 meeting were included in an Executive Order signed by the President on June 16.
Pride was awarded the Campion Academy Alumni Association Alumnus of the Year Award during Alumni Weekend 2019 for his outstanding support of the Loveland community. Pride has donated many hours to community service, including to his alma mater. After graduating from Campion, he returned in 1993 as a task force dean and student teacher as part of his studies at Union College. During that time, Pride had the opportunity to attend the Weld County police academy as a volunteer reserve deputy. This led to a change in his career path and he was hired by the Louisville, CO police department in September of 1994. Pride holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Emergency Management from Columbia Southern University. Hired by the Loveland Police Department in 1998, he has served Loveland for the past 21 years and currently holds the rank of Sergeant.
During his time at the Loveland Police Department his has served in the gang unit, as a detective in the drug task force, a detective in the criminal investigations unit, team leader for the SWAT Hostage Negotiations team and the coordinator for the Field Training Unit which trains new officers on the department and prepares them for a career in police work. Pride has been actively involved in advocating for those in the police profession and leading efforts for awareness in the areas of PTSD and police suicide prevention. He has held various local and state leadership positions.
Pride has volunteered at Campion over the years as an assistant girls’ basketball coach, basketball game announcer, and given talks during chapel and other events to students on various topics. While receiving the Alumnus of the Year Award, Pride said he attributes much of his career and life success to the relationships, spiritual lessons, and mentorship he developed from the faculty and staff at Campion Academy.
As a Campion alumnus, he sat down to talk with me about the issues of racism and policing that have been vibrating across the world in recent times.
As a black man and a police officer, Sgt. Pride had some important messages for our community. He emphasized:
Watch the video of the interview and read the full transcript of Sgt. Pride’s remarks.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
Jill Harlow (JH): I know last week, we were so proud that you were able to meet at the White House with President Trump, Vice-President Pence and of course other law enforcement officers and chiefs to discuss responsible police reform in the wake of recent events. Here at Campion, of course, you are very highly respected in our community and well known, but we are seeing that now at a much higher level. How did it come about that you were chosen to speak at this roundtable?
Sergeant Rob Pride (RP): I serve in the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) as our National Trustee for Colorado. What that means is that my job is to take the voice of the Colorado members to the national level and vote on their behalf and provide input on their behalf. At the national level, each state has a trustee. Like I do in Colorado, each state has a trustee that represents them at the board meetings. Among those trustees they choose a chairman to serve on the national executive board. There are only seven people on the national executive board for the FOP and that is of a membership of over 350,000. Almost three years ago, I was blessed with being elected to represent the trustees as the chairman of the board.
So that is how these visits to the White House have come about for me; it’s in my duties to represent the members of the National FOP. Since I’ve been elected to that position, we’ve actually been to the White House before. I think this was our fourth time discussing issues of policing and matters of importance to us with the president and his staff. This just happened to be the only one that was in the media. The media hasn’t been present for the other meetings that we’ve had. So, that’s how it came about.
It’s funny, all those times I spent on that campus behind you, running around with my buddies and all the things we did, never in a million years would I have believed it if someone would have told me I would be sitting next to the president at the White House discussing important issues like police reform. I would have thought they were crazy, and I’m sure many of the staff at Campion would have thought they were crazy too.
JH: Well, we’re glad you’re there. You are an important voice in the conversation. So, it seems that as an African American and a police officer, it puts you squarely in the middle of the conversation on racism and policing. What would you say, in summary, are the important points that both sides need to understand?
RP: I think the big thing that I’ve seen come out is that both sides need to listen. We as the law enforcement community need to hear what those in the black community and other minority communities are telling us about their experiences. On one hand, I hope the message has been out there that the vast majority of police officers in this country, including myself, do this job to help their communities and do the right thing. They are not racist and they do not promote police brutality, and they do not do some of the horrible things that we are seeing in the media. It’s just the few officers out there that are involved in misconduct and brutality that make us all look bad.
But in that regard, what I think has happened in the law enforcement community, and I include myself in this, those of us who don’t have those thoughts and just want to go out and do a good job, I think we are sometimes dismissive of the voices in the community that say ‘Hey, this happened to me, this is how it made me feel, this is what I think motivated it’, whether it was racism or some other horrible trait that some person had. We tend to be dismissive. We tend to think, ‘Well, I don’t do the job that way, so I don’t believe that could happen, or I don’t believe that these people in this neighborhood experienced that because that’s not the way I am when I go there.’ And that doesn’t mean that that’s not true. It doesn’t mean that those same experiences haven’t happened to those people and that tragedy hasn’t happened. I think that is going to be a big cultural shift in law enforcement, and I think that changes are afoot not only here in Colorado but across the country.
But on the other side of things, we also need the community to listen to us. We are being asked to do a dangerous job. I don’t know of any other jobs where you kiss your family goodbye and you walk out the door knowing that this could be it; I might not come back. I might be asked to do something that puts me in harm’s way that could possibly get me killed. And so, we need the community to understand that, and understand the weight of that and how complex our job is.
More importantly, we have to have a conversation as a whole about the importance of complying with the police and what they ask you to do. A lot of these tragedies, and I’m not speaking of George Floyd, that was a horrific tragedy in and of itself, but a lot of these tragedies we’ve seen that happened across the country, including the one that just happened in Atlanta, that boils down to just complying. Do what the police are asking you to do. Let them do their investigation. There is a place and a time to complain later, either filing complaints at the department, fighting it in court, all of those things. So overall, it has been a very interesting journey for me in the last three weeks because, you’re right, as a Black male I have experienced racism in my life. Not to the degree that some of these others that we are hearing from have, but I’ve experienced racism from society as a whole, I experienced racism to a small degree at Campion with certain individuals, and I’ve experienced it as a young teenage black male from law enforcement. Knowing what I know now, I know that some of the contacts that I had were racially biased contacts. It’s been a turmoil of emotions from me, but I think at the end of the day, this all boils down to we need to come together at the table and we need to listen. We all need to listen to each other and understand the points of views and then figure out a way to do everything better.
JH: Well said. I listened to the introduction that you had there at the White House and you did mention also listening to ideas and that there is some room for improvement within law enforcement. What are some of those suggested improvements that were being discussed there at the White House?
RP: Great question Jill. First of all, the barring of chokeholds. And by the way, all of the things that we discussed at the White House, those were signed into executive order today (June 16), and that was a direct result of that meeting we had and from the input that we had from all the stakeholders there. That is important to know, but the first thing is the chokehold. I don’t mean some of the jiu jitsu holds that block blood flow to the brain and cause people to pass out, I’m talking about a literal chokehold where one person is choking and blocking the airway of the other person. Personally, I was shocked to learn that there were agencies that were still employing that in their use of force practices because in 27 years in three different agencies I’ve never been taught that here in Colorado. So that was a big one.
Secondly, is the database that they are working on creating so that officers who are fired for misconduct or excessive force will not have the ability to leave one state and go become a police officer in another state. Right now there is no database for tracking that, and it is really up to individual agencies to do background checks and some agencies do really good background checks and others don’t have the resources to do a really good background check. So, that is one thing that we supported one-hundred percent: the collection of data to track incidence patterns of practices and where certain agencies or officers might have ongoing issues with racially biased policing, and that is a part of this executive order. That is just an example of a few of the things that we embraced and are going to be great for law enforcement and help us do our jobs better and rebuild trust in our communities.
JH: Thanks for explaining that. So, thinking about us as a community, what can we do as regular citizens and maybe specifically as Seventh-day Adventists to support both our good law enforcement officers and the rights of people of color?
RP: First and foremost what I would say to that is, hold us accountable. Hold us accountable. If you are involved or if you hear of an incident that you believe is an incident of officer misconduct, report it. Go to that agency, file a complaint, go through that process to have that incident investigated whether it was something you went through, or something you heard someone went through. Hold us accountable.
I think right now the biggest thing that you can do for law enforcement in today’s climate is be loud about your support of them. Be just as loud as you are, as the communities are being, on the Black Lives Matter movement and the anti-racism movement. Please remember that, again, the vast majority of officers out there are just people like you who have answered a calling to serve and protect their communities. We know that the majority of citizens support us, but I think a lot of officers on the street right now are not feeling that. They are not feeling that, they are not hearing that, and they are having discussions with themselves and their families in regards to ‘why am I doing this?’ They think, ‘if everybody is going to hate me for something I had nothing to do with, why am I going to go risk my life and my safety to go do this?’ In regards to that, I think you can support law enforcement by just being loud, and showing your support on social media. Here in Loveland, it’s fantastic. I mean we’ve had so many people showing up every day at the police department with food and goodies and cards and thank yous and all kinds of stuff letting them know that ‘Hey, other people might not appreciate you right now, but we do.’ Those are the kinds of things that I think the kids and the Seventh-day Adventist community can do.
On the other side, I think you should be just as loud and supportive of the movement for anti-biased policing and anti-racism in America and the various different movements that are out there, and be supportive of that. I think that the Adventist community can probably be agents of change in helping us do what we’ve always talked about: bringing race minorities and various groups together and faith-based groups together to talk about the importance of this matter from both sides, the community point of view and the law enforcement point of view, so that we understand each other better, and we understand what each is trying to accomplish.
JH: Thanks. I think a lot of people feel like you have to pick one side or the other, but it’s not just such a separation, there is some unity within that.
RP: You’re right. Yeah, I’m so glad you said that. And I want to make this point to you because it’s important that some future law enforcement officers out there in the Campion world or current law enforcement officers hear that. You know, one of the things we’ve been battling lately is a cultural thing in law enforcement. Where people think ‘if you are standing with them and you’re saying that Black lives matter, and you’re saying that all these other things matter that you are against us’ and that’s just foolhardy thinking; that’s not true. You can stand for more than one thing; you can be supportive of both groups. And just because you are standing with Black Lives Matter and holding a sign supporting anti-racism, doesn’t mean that you are anti-police, it just means that you are supporting that group too.
Just so you know, I think a problem with that is, there are radicals in the Black Lives Matter movement and some of these other movements who openly and adamantly advocate violence against the police. So for a lot of officers in our country, that’s just what they hear. They hear that these guys want to hurt us, they want to shoot us, they want to kill us, ‘so I don’t care what the overall message is of everybody else in there, I just know they want to hurt us.’ That’s unfair because in the same manner that we are asking you the community, don’t judge us by the actions of a few, don’t hold us accountable for the actions of those officers in Minnesota or horrific things. We are being hypocritical saying that, ‘oh well, if you are the Black Lives Matter movement then you support violence and killing of police,’ and that’s not true. The vast majority of people that are out there protesting and holding those signs just want accountability and equality for everybody, and that’s the part of the movement that they believe in. So, you are absolutely right and thank you so much for asking that question because I forgot that. You can support both, and you can be advocates of both and you don’t have to choose sides in this. It doesn’t have to be a divisive issue and right now it is.
JH: Agreed. So, one last question for you. In our schools and our churches and specifically at Campion, what can we do better to educate our young people to improve racial relations and to do a better job at eradicating racism in our schools?
RP: That’s a deep question and I think it goes into a lot of different areas. Please understand, I went to Campion at a different time and a different era, and so we didn’t talk about it a lot. I guess that was my experience: that there wasn’t a lot of conversation which was kind of cool because there weren’t a lot of those problems. I think that is unique to Adventist schools in that you don’t have those same problems that you do in other schools with racism and people having biases, but it does exist, and I did experience it there and I’ve experienced it in the Adventist community. So I think the number one thing you can do is just openly talk about it.
That was one thing that we never did while I was there: we didn’t talk about it. Talk to those students of color, talk to those students of various viewpoints, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation, whatever it be, and have those tough conversations about what they’ve experienced and what you can do in the Adventist community, and what we all can do as just the human race to better that. Just have those tough conversations and openly talk about it. That would be the number one thing I think you could do. If you have those incidents on campus, and you have students feeling that way, as a staff you really have to evaluate, ‘ok what can we do better? What’s happening here that we need to address?’ But you can’t solve a problem if you don’t talk about it.
JH: Thank you so much for your advice. I know you are heading off to your shift tonight.
RP: Yeah, it’s going to be a long night shift tonight, but we are ready.
JH: Thank you. We are so proud to have you as a Campion Alum and thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today.
RP: You’re welcome. This is a super important topic; it really is. I think, like I said earlier, a change is afoot worldwide. Not just in Colorado, not just in our country, but worldwide. So I’m happy to talk about these issues anytime, and just know that I’m just as proud of all of you, and proud to say that I’m a Campion graduate. I love the work you are doing, and I believe in Campion Academy and know that it is going to continue to turn out good, productive members of society and future leaders. So thank you for what you guys do. I appreciate it.
On one of our last assemblies of the year, we were able to do a live interview with alumnus Stephen Scheffler, Class of 2002. Stephen is currently working in a hospital in New York City, fighting at the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.
This is a transcript of the interview, with some edits for clarity. The interview was conducted by Campion Principal Don Reeder and Director of Alumni Darcy Force.
Darcy (DF): We're excited that Stephen Scheffler can join us today. You (students) actually met him once before as he joined us for an assembly in person last fall. Now we're excited to bring him back through this live-streamed interview. As you can see, he's actually walking the streets of New York right now. To give some background, Stephen graduated in 2002 from Campion Academy and then went on to Union College to get his nursing degree.
So, Stephen, we want to jump right in and talk to you about what you're doing right now. You were living in Colorado just a few weeks ago. What in the world are you doing in New York City right now, especially considering all we’re hearing about the COVID situation there?
Stephen (SS): (laughs) Well, I quit my job in Colorado and I came out here. I felt like this was an important thing to do: a lot of people are dying, a lot of people need some help in this situation, and I felt like I've got some experience that kind of gives me a unique perspective. So, I figured I could come out here and try to help out, slow down the outbreak.
DF: Can you show us the streets a little bit there behind you? While we were waiting earlier, you were showing us how empty it is.
SS: Yeah, that's New York City right now (pans camera). This is crazy. I've been here several times before and it's never like this, ever.
Reeder (DR): So, Stephen, as you are talking about New York City, can you tell us how restrictive it is there? Are the rules more strict than what we've got going on here in Colorado?
SS: Actually, I haven't been in Colorado since some of these restrictions (were put in place) so I'm not really sure how they compare. When I first got here, the restrictions were very tight, and people were observing them very closely. There was a whole atmosphere of fear and trepidation. I think as the numbers have come down people are starting to kind of relax a little bit, you know. It is kind of a concern, especially with the days warming up. There have been a lot more people trying to get outside and enjoy the sunshine after having been cooped up for so long. We have a few restaurants that are starting to open at least, with to-go meals and so forth. I feel like a lot of New Yorkers don't even cook at all, as a lot of these apartments I looked at barely have a kitchen so going out to eat is a New York City way of life for sure. A lot of places have tried to stay open with takeout or delivery.
I just want to take a moment really quick while I'm right here -- all of you guys have heard of The Vessel? It's one of the biggest tourist attractions here. It's that structure right behind me. This place is an absolute mob usually and there's no one really out here right now.
DR: So, Stephen, could you share with us maybe one event that you were involved in helping somebody deal with this crisis.
SS: Sure. When I got here, I saw a lot of people were just dying. If they're in the hospital, they're pretty sick. I had the opportunity to work with a lady on her last day in the hospital. I didn't get to be with her during the really tough times. But I was able to catch up on her case and talk to her about everything that happened. She had come in at 34 weeks pregnant, so a few weeks early. She was experiencing shortness of breath; she was young and healthy. Younger than me actually. She declined so quickly, they had to intubate her, put her on oxygen.
But right before they did that, they were able to deliver her child via cesarean section and then she was out for about two weeks in a medically induced coma. She woke up; she recovered. I got to work with her on the day that she had her breathing tube removed from her neck. I was with her when she got to see her baby for the first time. It was so touching to see her reunited with her other kids and her husband.
It got me to thinking about the possibility of those kids not seeing their mom ever again. It's just amazing seeing the medical staff working hard and trying to save lives. It's a wonderful thing to be a part of. I guess on that note, it's really difficult for me to see things online about whether or not this is real. It is definitely real here.
DF: Stephen, you had mentioned at the beginning that you had prior experiences. I know that you were involved in the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. Tell us a little bit of it about that and maybe how that might have prepared you.
SS: For sure! Back in 2014, I guess as most of us might know, there was an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa: in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. It started off pretty small, but then it really blew up, and it had a very high mortality rate. It was scary, and it felt like it was about to get out of control. A lot of people were worried that it would go intercontinental. I'm a nurse, so I’m thinking to myself -- how can I help with the Ebola response? I sent my application to organizations like the International Medical Corps, Partners in Health, and Doctors Without Borders. A doctor from Partners in Health reached out to interview me. They asked about what experience I had. I told them that, going to Union College, I’d had the opportunity for several both long and short-term mission trips. I've been to Africa before, to Malawi and South Africa. I had been to Port-au-Prince, Haiti for the earthquake response. I also went to Nicaragua to work with the indigenous people in the jungles, doing some mobile clinics for areas that were very resource poor.
They said that was perfect because they needed someone who was able to deal with bucket showers and fix things with string and WD-40 and tape (he laughs).
So, I signed up for a six-week contract, and then I extended for another three weeks. I got to work with Ebola patients in the hot zone. I had to dress up in something like a moon suit; you know, head-to-toe plastic, rubber boots, mask and face shield. I signed up for another year, but then a couple of my colleagues contracted the virus, and they shut my clinic down. We were on the tail end of the virus at that point of the outbreak. They felt that, since our location was basically held together with twine and WD-40, there were other facilities better suited to keep open. I was out there for nine weeks with a very highly contagious illness, very deadly illness.
DF: That sounds incredible. So, some of your experiences in mission work while you were at Union College actually prepared you for that then.
SS: Oh absolutely! Union College gave me great experiences. When you're hiking five kilometers in the jungle with medications and assessments, the diagnostic equipment on your back, and you're making stretchers with sticks and a blanket -- you know you're prepared for some radical stuff here.
DR: Wow, so it sounds pretty stressful at times there, Stephen. We feel some stress here as well, but I don't think it's anything compared to the stress that you have with your job. Students, I want you to know that part of the stress for Mr. Scheffler right now is just being awake. He works nights, so we're in the middle of his night right now. We appreciate him messing up his sleep cycle to be with us. Stephen, could you share with us some of the things you do to deal with your stress that might be helpful to us right now?
SS: Absolutely! For me, knowing that you are never far away from God makes all the difference; that, in the middle of anything, you're just a moment from connecting to God. That knowledge is a huge benefit to me. I definitely feel like you can't replace that. I've also got loving family and people all over the world who are praying for me. Sometimes getting out and walking, trying to avoid the crowds, of course, really helps me a lot.
Of course, I have my favorite Bible verses. I think the last time I was with you guys at your chapel for assembly, I shared that verse in II Timothy: For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. We don't have to be scared.
DF: Stephen, do you know how much longer you're going to be there?
SS: Yes, I signed up for an eight-week contract and I'm in the middle of my sixth week. I have two and a half weeks left if they don't extend it. With relaxing the restrictions, they’re telling us it's pretty scientifically certain that we're going to have some kind of an uptick in the virus. I'm hoping that they're not short-staffed if it strikes again.
DR: I'd like you to think back for a moment to your days here at Campion Academy. Can you pull anything out that Campion did for you to help you prepare for your career and for your ministry?
SS: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like being at Campion I was shown a lot of grace, a lot of love, a lot of kindness. A lot of times the situations we’re in, in life, can be difficult and you've got to give yourself a lot of grace and forgiveness. Sometimes I feel like I can't do enough when people are dying, no matter what I try. Sometimes you've got seven patients, they’re asking for things, and they think you don't care because you aren’t responding fast enough, but you're just doing everything you can. It feels like your best just isn’t enough. But it is enough, and you've got to be gentle with yourself.
People have been gentle with me, and I really appreciate that. The work-class-work balance we learned at Campion was really important to me. I didn't have it that easy financially and needed to work. Learning to juggle more than one thing at once and adapt was really important to me. It taught me that whatever
situation pops up, I can deal with it to the best of my ability.
DR: I’m glad to hear that! Thank you! I tell you, we appreciate that you are still connected with us through our Alumni Association. Mr. Scheffler is actually on our Alumni Board. We are proud to have you on the front lines helping with this and you'll be in our prayers as well. We want to give our students a chance to ask some questions, so we will be reading those to you as they pop-up on our live feed.
DF: Stephen, how can people like us be supportive of people like you who are right in the middle of all of this?
SS: Honestly, I think the big thing is to stay at home and avoid going out. The less people getting sick right now, the less strain there is on us at the hospital. That means a great deal to us right now. Sometimes people tell me “thank you for doing what you're doing” but then they say they’re still going to go out as usual because they’re bored, or it is too stressful to stay home. It’s a sacrifice, though, that we need you to make. You can't underestimate the impact of you all staying home, washing your hands, and just protecting the people who may have some weaker immune systems. Whether it’s the elderly or someone with cancer -- you never know who you're protecting by staying home.
DR: Stephen, how about an idea… If somebody that we know is in the hospital suffering, how could we best support them when we can't go to the hospital to be with them?
SS: There are some things that we've seen done creatively to let a person know they're not alone. At my hospital, we provide iPads so they can connect with their families. We get cards written from local schools and local individuals here that tell us thank you but also encourage our patients. It might not sound like much, but it makes a difference. Some local businesses will sponsor food – families will pitch in and sponsor with the local business.
DF: Stephen, Weston, one of our students, wants to know where you're living.
SS: I live in Manhattan. I am in an area called Hell's Kitchen, which is basically West Midtown. This structure here behind me called The Vessel is in Hudson Yards and my apartment is about five or six blocks north. That’s where I've been -- it's a neat little neighborhood.
DR: Cade, another student, wants to know, based on your attending Union College and pursuing nursing, what advice can you have for someone who wants to pursue that career.
SS: I would say, if that's something you're interested in, Union is absolutely amazing. I was on the cusp of failing a couple times, related to some major personal stresses in my life. I was dealing with anxiety and depression. And they helped me through it. It's a small school but it's a quality school. The professors took an interest in me personally; they even helped me purchase some medications when I wasn't able to afford it myself. That's the kind of quality you get, the kind of love that you find at Campion Academy and at Union College.
Specifically, within the nursing division, there are just fantastic human beings who actually care about you. My mom tried to become a nurse when I was young and there are some situations out there where they just want to fail you, it seemed like. She was never able to get that second chance. That could have easily been me. I could have easily walked in the same footsteps as my mom in that situation but, because I was at Union, I was able to succeed. Based on what I was going through, some people may have doubted my abilities. But some people did believe in me. Come to find out, I'm an okay nurse (grinning).
DR: You are a very courageous nurse. We are inspired by your courage! Your dedication is inspiring to us, Stephen. I'm going to close our meeting with prayer but, before I do, was there anything that you thought that you wanted to share with us that we haven't covered?
SS: You know, we think of New York City as a special place, and it is. But human beings are the same everywhere in that we all have fears, hopes, and dreams. We all need help sometimes. That's why I wanted to come here. If it was Denver, or Loveland, that was so impacted, I would hope that some New Yorkers would come help us. We’re way more impacted spiritually and emotionally, than we realize, by this suffering. But we're are all in this together. Together, we will triumph.
#campionalumni #campionstrong #covid19 #frontlineheros
Many of our students and their families have been impacted by COVID-19. To learn more about how we're supporting them, please visit campion.net/give.
Dear Students and Families,
As we look forward to the new school year and educating students in a safe and healthy environment, we anticipate that some aspects of our school life will be different. A significant change will be with our 2020-2021 school calendar. Recognizing that the winter months are typically a time when viruses are especially prevalent, we have decided to begin the academic year one week early (August 9), and end the first semester at the beginning of Thanksgiving break on November 24. In addition, the February Homeleave will be taken out and Spring Break will be one week earlier than usual.
Campion’s administration, in collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Conference, feels these changes are an important part of a plan to keep our student body healthier and viruses to a minimum. Union College, Andrews University, and other colleges have announced they are following similar schedules.
Please take note of the following changes:
We appreciate your understanding of these necessary changes, and we are eagerly anticipating welcoming students back to Campion in August. If there are personal health concerns, please communicate with our administration. Other minor adjustments to the event schedule will be updated in Campion’s google calendar which is available at campion.net. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions and concerns.
In response to recent events, I want to assert that Campion Academy stands firmly against racist acts and racist speech. Our campus enjoys a culturally and ethnically diverse population. We consider that diversity as one of our strengths. We encourage the celebration of that diversity in providing ways for our students to share their culture and embrace their differences. It is with an especially heavy heart that we watch these current events, knowing it greatly impacts our students and alumni of color.
We understand that many of our students have been faced with acts of racism during their lives. We are committed to continue making Campion Academy a safe, respectful atmosphere for our students, regardless of ethnic background. Racism divides and is used by the forces of evil to keep the knowledge of God from reaching the world. It hurts His children, impacting their growth and success. We will not tolerate racism.
Campion seeks to follow the charge given by Jesus to go into all the world and lift up Jesus as stated in John 12:32, as well as the assertions in Galatians 3:28 and many other verses that we are ALL one in Christ. We celebrate being a part of the most ethnically-diverse Christian faith in the United States and will continue to teach our students to uphold those values for our brothers and sisters of all ethnicities.
In support of this commitment, Campion Academy will work with our African American students and alumni to hold ourselves accountable, and to ensure that our campus remains supportive in the ways they need. Please join us in doing all that we can to root out racism.
Principal, Campion Academy
After 16 years of dedicated service and delicious food, Dawn Fagan is resigning as Food Service Director. Fagan has been known as an incredibly hard worker and has contributed to Campion in many ways. “Dawn is one of the hardest workers I have ever known,” commented Sue Helm. “If there is something that needs to be done, she is either volunteering or had already seen that it needed to be done, so she just did it. She definitely had the gift of seeing the BIG picture of what needed to be done.”
Fagan was always sure to provide a variety of options to meet each student’s individual dietary needs. “Dawn’s passion to provide three meals a day as well as all the extras such as homemade daily bread is inspiring,” said Honali Marin. “Her desire and goal was for every meal that was served to not only be nutritious but also to look and taste delicious. She tirelessly worked countless hours to go above and beyond to make every student’s and guest’s dining experience pleasant and enjoyable.”
Fagan has contributed to the creation of many Campion traditions, such as the church and school joint potlucks, and special meals hosted by the international students. Her menu has been diverse and introduced students and staff to unique recipes. Some favorites were sofrito stew, falafels, and perogies. Over the years at Campion, Dawn and her husband John Fagan have also been faithful class sponsors were sponsors of this year’s graduating senior class. In addition, Fagan was a volleyball coach for 18 years.
All three of her children graduated from Campion Academy. In February, Fagan’s first grandchild was born to her daughter Elizabeth who lives in Montana. Spurred by the desire to have more flexibility to spend time with her grandchild, Fagan decided that it was time for a change. While the Fagans haven’t finalized plans for the future, it will be sure to include extra time with family.
Fagan commented that she would miss working with the students at Campion Academy. While Fagan is known for running a strict and efficient kitchen, she noted the importance of showing grace. “I have learned many things working at Campion Academy, but one of the most important continues to be that everyone has a story (past). We don't always know what has shaped them, how they have gotten to where they are now, or what they are going through. So many students have come from such sadness, brokenness, and setbacks. Many times, we are only aware of some of the issues, and often not until after the student is gone. We must love everyone like Jesus showed us when He was on this earth and continues to do. I repeatedly pray that I neither do nor say anything that turns others away from God,” Fagan reflected.
When asked about a favorite memory from her time at Campion, she said, “I have so many memories, I cannot choose one. I have memories of good experiences (cooking, class parties, banquets, baking, coaching, serving, alumni weekends, parents' weekends, class trips, picnics, music festivals, games, helping students, school/church potlucks, special international meals, etc) and bad ones (reacting poorly, snapping at someone, allowing myself to be overly stressed, etc). But all the memories are good ones because they have helped me (hopefully) become a better person. Thank you Campion Academy, I love you!”
Thank you, Mrs. Fagan, for the incredible years of service you have given to Campion Academy. You will be greatly missed.
Campion Academy was proud to celebrate the accomplishments of the 39 members of its senior class with a drive-in graduation on Sunday, May 24. The ceremony included speeches, special music, awards, photos, diplomas, and all the traditional aspects of a typical graduation despite the fact that the attendees were mostly regulated to their vehicles. “Campion came through,” affirmed graduate Naomi Boonstra. “They gave us the best graduation they could under the circumstances, and it was amazing. Certainly a day we won’t forget.”
The class sponsors and officers planned out many details to make the event memorable. Entering on the west side of campus, the graduates were greeted by a large banner and staff members who handed them their caps, gowns, sashes and chords. As the vehicles formed a line around campus, families could pose together for a picture in front of their cars. Then the vehicles were directed into Campion’s RV park for the outdoor ceremony, parking the smaller cars in front so everyone could see the stage. The graduates were asked to stand in front of their cars as the traditional Pomp and Circumstance was played and they posed for an aerial group photo.
Social distancing was maintained as class members and staff went to the stage for speeches, songs, and to receive their diplomas. During his address, class president Nolan Eickmann said, “I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know how this was going to look, but standing up here, this looks pretty awesome.” Nolan’s mother and Campion’s interim chaplain Wendy Eickmann was the keynote speaker.
Campion Academy’s class of 2020 is a high-achieving class. Between them, they were awarded a total of $2,785,750 in scholarship money from Seventh-day Adventist universities across the nation. With 39 graduates, that is an average of more than $70,000 per student. Nineteen of the students received College-preparatory or Advanced College-preparatory diplomas. Twenty-two students graduated with honors with a 3.5 GPA or above, and nineteen were inducted members of the National Honor Society.
The weather forecast had called for a high chance of rain, but thankfully it held off until the very end of the ceremony as students were receiving their diplomas. Confetti cannons were shot off at the end of the celebration, adding more decor to the wet cars. As the vehicles exited, the attendees were handed cupcakes and juice boxes through their car windows, so even the usual refreshments were included.
“The drive in graduation was extremely organized and very well thought out by the staff,” commented graduate Megan Michalenko. “I can tell how much the staff members cared with the planning and execution of the graduation. Everyone had a smile on their face!”
Another graduate, Bela Cinco, explained, “Honestly, it was so much better than I had pictured. In some ways it was better than a regular graduation, it was unique and fun. It’s a graduation we’ll never forget, and one that will go down in history”
Valedictorian: Weston Humphries.
Salutatorian: Ashley Herber
President’s Education Award: Ashley Halvorson, Ashley Herber, and Erick Maldonado.
The requirements for the President’s Education Award include: Having a 3.5 GPA or above, receiving a 85 percent on either the Reading or Math section of the ACT, and having a composite score of 85 percent on the ACT.
Female Student of the Year: Madeline Jordan
Madi has served as class secretary her junior and senior years. This year she has served as our student Chaplin and done a wonderful job. Musically, Madi has been 1st chair violin in the orchestra, and has helped to lead out in many worship services in our school and church. Madi’s love for Jesus and others shows in her life. She is motivated, a good student, genuine, and has a character of gold.
Male Student of the Year: Erick Maldonado
Erick has been a leader on this campus in many ways. He has led out in worship with his singing and guitar playing; he loves playing soccer and basketball; is a good student; has served as an R.A. in the dorm and is a role model for underclassmen. Erick has been a spiritual leader on our campus. It has been fun to see him grow while attending Campion.
Principal’s Award: Jeremy Matondo
Each year the Principal selects an outstanding senior who typifies characteristics of honesty, character, hard work, and general contribution to the school. Jeremy came to us three years ago from the Democratic Republic of Congo and quickly became an active part of our student body. Jeremy constantly strives to do his best in everything he does. He has been a quiet leader and served as an R.A. in the dorm this year. One of the most exciting moments was when we witnessed him giving his life to God in baptism. It is my privilege to give Jeremy a plaque and a reward of $100.
Caring Heart Award: Beverly Onsoe
The Caring Heart Award is given in recognition of leadership and personal commitment to witnessing and service activities. This award is sponsored by the North American Division and is accompanied by a Bible and a $500 voucher to the Adventist school of your choice.