The #starsofcampion shone brightly Sunday during the annual Alumni Scholarship and Scholars Brunch. Inspiration for the morning’s theme came from both Colorado’s beautiful midnight sky and the stars that shine so radiantly at Campion in the form of students and alumni. Fifteen students received scholarships, funded by the generosity of Campion alumni. Sixty-seven students were honored for their academic achievement of a 3.5 or higher GPA for the first semester of this school year.
More than 200 students, parents, and alumni came together to celebrate these student achievements in the Campion Academy cafeteria, during Senior Recognition Weekend. Many of the alumni donors of these scholarships were in attendance to share the inspiration behind their gifts and to present the scholarships to the deserving students. The alumni stories spoke of family legacies, commitment to Christian education, and pride in their school.
A new scholarship was added to the growing list this year. Family and friends of Art Brown established a scholarship in his memory. Brown was a science nut, according to his students. He taught at Caltech, Cal Polly, and Andrews University. He then walked away from that illustrious career to start a greenhouse program at Campion Academy. During his time at Campion, every student had to take one year of horticulture and one year of greenhouse management to work for him. The scholarship is given to students showing academic achievement in science and showing a desire to work hard at a job to help do their part in paying for their tuition.
Local veterinarian and Campion Academy alum Dr. Amy Gane (1986), who worked for Brown as a student, helped set up the scholarship with the support of the Brown family. “He taught us to WORK!,” Gane remembers. “We worked hard in the greenhouse and it impacted my success in knowing how to work hard through vet school. Art Brown believed in Christian Education. He mentored dozens of students over the years.”
While parents and families looked on, additional awards were handed out. Sixteen seniors were inducted into the National Honor Society and 12 juniors recognized as provisional NHS members. Four students shared short speeches about the meaning of scholarship, service, leadership, and character.
Darcy Force, Director of Development and Alumni Relations
Chinese students from Campion Academy’s international program hosted an open-house celebration of Chinese New Year at the Loveland Museum on Sunday, January 26. Families and community members of all ages interacted with the students at a variety of stations at the event including: learning about the Chinese zodiac and making an animal mask, trying on a traditional lion dance costume, writing their names in Chinese calligraphy, watching portions of this year’s Chinese New Year television special, practicing chopstick skills, and sampling dumplings and spring rolls.
“It was fun sharing about our culture and I’m learning also,” commented Ensen Cai, a senior high school student from Guangxi Province, China. “Maybe 20 years ago, people didn’t care about learning about China, but now it’s become an important country and people are interested. It’s a good feeling to be able to share my culture.” The students who hosted the event are from various provinces in China and are completing high school at Campion Academy, a Christian boarding school in Loveland.
The Loveland Museum plans to partner with Campion Academy's International Program again in the spring to host a Festival of Cultures on Sunday, April 19. The Festival of Cultures will include performances, activities, crafts and food from China, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
This past Friday night on January 24, the senior class of 2020 uplifted each other. In past years, the staff talked about the students, but the senior class decided to have the students each speak about one of their classmates. Each senior was given someone in the class to recognize and talk about in front of friends and family in the sanctuary. This gave the seniors a chance to reminisce about all the memories they’ve had and say what they appreciate about each other.
There have been many memories and stories made between this class. Weston Humphries, a senior, gave his input on this special night as well. “I enjoyed senior recognition because it was fun to hear the stories about my classmates and see how we have changed over the years. I also liked how we chose not to follow the normal path and we had the privilege of talking about our classmates instead of the teachers about us.”
Campion Academy is not always an easy commute for many of the parents of Campion students. The seniors were glad that many of the parents were able to come and hear the kind things that were said. “We were so proud watching Campion’s senior men and women speaking from their hearts about their friends for vespers. It has been a privilege watching them grow. Some of them from the early years of grade school, into the amazing men and women they are today,” said parent Tristan Bergondo.
The juniors, as well as the underclassmen, were even blessed by the speeches that were given. A junior this year, Dominick Maldonado commented, “Well the whole thing was actually a lot more memorable because the students talked about each other and it made it more special. I’m guessing it made the bond between the class even stronger than it was before.” This shows that it went far beyond only touching the seniors.
The senior-focused weekend continued on Sabbath at church with class members leading out in all aspects of the worship service. The class invited Merlin Wehling, father of senior student Caleb, to be a special guest speaker. Wehling shared life stories which encouraged students keep God at the top of their lives.
Hunter Bergondo, guest contributor
The senior class of 2020 put on the annual talent show last Saturday night. There were 11 acts as well as a bake sale and student auctions. The winner of the talent show was Airi Nomura, an international student from Japan, singing “Part of Your World”. Kendra Eickmann, a sophomore, said, “I love Airi’s voice; she sings so well!” Other acts included piano solos, gymnastics, videography, and vocal performances. Mr. and Mrs. Helm and Mr. and Mrs. Fagen worked with the class officers to put on the event to help fundraise for the senior’s class trip to Hawaii, raising over $3000.
Ashley Herber, Student Editor
Over this past weekend 149 high school age students from across the Mid-America Union convened at Glacier View Ranch for the Rocky Mountain Conference youth department’s “Greater Summit.” The youth event had previously been known as “Teen Prayer Summit” but was changed to “Greater Summit” with the emphasis of living a greater life. The weekend’s theme was “Fully Alive” and was split into three main events: encounter (at the meetings), engage (during discussions), and enjoy (the fun activities). Everyone was excited for a weekend filled with worshiping and having fun.
The first official meeting began Sabbath morning with a worship talk from Pastor Jennifer Woody from Washington. She talked about J.O.Y., J standing for Jesus, O standing for obedience, and Y standing for yield. She explained what it is to truly have joy in your life. After each meeting, everyone took part in discussing what they had just learned from the message. They looked into scripture and got to discuss where J.O.Y. was found.
“It was just an amazing weekend. Just being able to spend time with my friends and listening to Pastor Jennifer was a huge blessing,” exclaimed Milka Mendoza, junior at Campion Academy.
The activities of the day were a lot of fun including sledding, the Kulicup Cafe, where snacks and drinks were served, board games, and a raffle. In the wake of the tragic loss of a Mile High Academy student, they also were able to hold a tribute to Mya Pena and anyone who felt the need was able to participate and write letters.
The meeting continued Saturday night and Sunday morning, with each worship talk hitting more powerful than the previous one. Woody talked about finding dead areas in your life and how to bring it all to God. She talked about how it is important to come to God as you are. Sunday morning she told her testimony and how shame was a huge factor in her life. She slowly learned to get rid of the shame through the help of God and people who truly loved and cared for her. During the engage session everyone was able to discuss the shame they feel in their lives and were encouraged to give it to God.
“I enjoyed the people around me and the new things I got to experience,” commented Melody Mambo, freshman at Campion. The weekend was filled with friends, fun, and food, but was also powerful in helping youth grow stronger in Jesus.
Bela Cinco, Student Editor
During assembly this past Monday, the school celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by watching the American Literature classes perform plays based on their reading of A Raisin in the Sun. A Raisin in the Sun is a play about the struggles of a 1950’s African-American family that is trying to move into a predominantly white neighborhood, the ostracizing they face in the process, and the struggle to achieve their dreams.
The juniors wrote and produced their different plays; A Cracker in the Sun and Una Pasa al Sol. A Cracker in the Sun was about a African-American family whose daughter comes home with a Caucasian boyfriend and the family does not approve. Una Pasa al Sol was about a Latino family whose parents have died and one of the brothers wants to go to medical school, but can’t afford it.
The juniors enjoyed the process of producing and performing the plays. “The plays were so much fun to work on! My favorite part was seeing all the hard work come together to make a great performance,” said Ben Maxin.
“I was really nervous to perform, and I did forget my lines a little, but it was fun being able to perform with my friends and remember what today was all about,” commented Milka Mendoza.
Weston Humphries, guest contributor
At Campion, we were deeply saddened to hear of the tragic death of a student at our sister-school, Mile High Academy, in Denver on Tuesday, January 14. We ask our community to lift up her family, the staff, and the students of MHA in prayer in the wake of this tragedy. The following is a statement issued by Mile High Academy.
It is with profound sadness that Mile High Academy confirms the loss of one of our students last night. Our hearts go out to this family. We want this family to know that they are in our thoughts and prayers. MHA has been working closely with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department as they continue to investigate this tragedy. Mile High Academy will have grief counselors on hand to help our students, staff and families with this loss. Prayers for our students and staff are appreciated. Thank you for respecting the privacy of our school community as this time.
Campion's school nurse will also be available for meeting with and counseling our students who have been affected by this loss during the day on Thursday.
“Growing up, the only family I knew were my parents and sisters.” Patricia’s family has always been very important to her, but all of her extended family live overseas in Indonesia. “Not being able to meet my family is a huge challenge for me. Every night I would pray to God to keep them safe because prayer was my only connection to them.”
A few years ago, her uncle died in a motorcycle accident. “My heart broke when I found out because I never got the chance to formally meet him. I had a lot of questions for God and went through a lot of grieving over someone I didn’t really know.” God found Patricia in her questioning, though, and called her closer to Him.
“This experience reminded me of faith,” she says. “I need to have faith in someone I can’t physically see.” Patricia learned how to care deeply for people who she can’t be near physically, and was able to find a touch of faith through a difficult experience.
During her time at Campion Academy, Patricia felt herself drawn closer than ever to God during a week of prayer. “During the Friday night vespers, the pastor spoke about how Jesus died on the cross for us. It really moved me and made me feel a spark of the Holy Spirit in me. It was a feeling I will never forget. That night, I chose to give my life to God.”
Last year, Patricia was faced with a new challenge. “I had back surgery to fix my scoliosis,” she says. “Surprisingly, this surgery helped me grow my faith in God. I was in so much pain afterwards and felt like God was not there to ease the pain. Later on, I realized that He was. He was there when the people who visited me prayed over me; He was with the hands of the surgeons who operated on me, and He was there with every hug from my family and reminder of how strong I am. Now, after having the metal in my back for a year, I feel like a brand new person spiritually and physically.”
Patricia Simamora with Naomi Boonstra, Student Editor
Last Saturday night the Campion varsity basketball teams headed down to Mile High for the annual game. This year, however, both schools decided to meet earlier in the day for a joint sundown vespers. Not only did the teams get to cheer each other on, but the whole school was bussed down to Mile High to enjoy the game. The girls varsity played first, trailing by only a few points in the first quarter but eventually losing to the Mile High team. Next was the boys varsity game, and although they lost, they fought hard until the buzzer and closed the gap significantly in the fourth quarter. Milka Mendoza, a junior and player on the girls varsity team, said, “Yeah losing isn’t fun, but I love how our team always brings each other up. Now we’re preparing for the next game!” This year’s basketball season is just getting underway; so far the girls are 0-3 and the boys are 2-1.
Ashley Herber, Student Editor
Growing up in a country plagued by gang-related violence, Francisco Cortez was eager to reunite with his mother in the United States. Even though he found out his new life in the United States wasn’t perfect, he learned to trust God through it all.
Francisco was born in a small town in El Salvador and was raised by his single-mother until he was nine years old. At that time, his mother successfully applied for political asylum in the United States, but had to leave her son behind. Francisco then moved to live with his aunt and uncle in San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, known for having many dangerous gangs. In eighth grade, he shared that the gangs tried to get him to join. After a few hard months of interactions with the gangs, Francisco’s mother was finally successful in applying to bring him to live with her in Denver.
“I was happy to be here, but I missed my friends and family in El Salvador. Everything was different, the food, the language, the buildings. The thing that stressed me the most was the language. I couldn’t even say a sentence in English. I knew nothing,” Francisco explained.
Growing up, Francisco had many religions in his family that included Catholicism, Jehovah’s Witness, and Adventism. When searching out his own beliefs, Francisco appreciated the views his Grandma had about Adventism. His Grandma would share teachings of the Bible with Francisco which helped him to find his faith. In 2017, while he was attending the North Glenn Hispanic Church, a pastor made an altar call for baptism. Francisco felt the need to finally commit himself to God and raised his hand. Francisco shared, “I was struggling before I was baptized, and I felt like it was time to get back to Jesus.”
Francisco heard about Campion Academy through his church after he moved to Denver. He began attending Campion his freshman year, but despite the positive changes that had happened to him, Francisco soon found that his new life at Campion wasn’t without it’s challenges. When he arrived, he didn’t speak any English and struggled with the different educational system. During his first year, his English improved rapidly while primarily taking ELL classes, but he was hit hard by the full academic load his sophomore year.
In the fall of his sophomore year at Campion, Francisco was a starting player for the men’s varsity soccer team. Francisco has always loved soccer, so he was extremely excited to get to have a starting position. He shared frustration that when his grades began to slip, he wasn’t allowed to play and missed most of the season. “I did all my homework at first, but I wasn’t used to studying for tests that much, and I had some low grades. After they kicked me out of the team, I got so depressed that my grades just started going down more and more.”
Although this was hard for Francisco, it helped him realize that he needed to trust God. He shared, “I had bad communication with God my sophomore year. The only time I prayed was to question God. I never said thanks; I just asked, why me? Everytime I would question God with what I was going through, things just seemed to never improve. Now I have realized through the Bible, that I need to be thankful through the bad times and the good times.”
Francisco appreciates all the opportunities there are at Campion to worship God. He says that this has been something that has improved his relationship with God. Something else he appreciates is the love he can see through the teachers at Campion. He says that through God and his time at Campion, that he has found his purpose in life. He dreams of becoming missionary pilot. Francisco expressed his gratitude by saying, “I am very thankful to be here at Campion.”
This year has gone more smoothly for Francisco. He has been working hard in his classes and while academics can still be a struggle, he was happy that he never missed a soccer game this year due to grades. “The only thing that keeps me positive is God. That’s a big difference for me from last year. My Bible class this year has helped me a lot through journaling. Now I say thanks for what I have and just ask Him for help,” Francisco shared.
Megan Michalenko, student editor, with Jill Harlow, Communication Director
Photo credit: Bela Cinco