On Sunday February 21, Campion hosted the annual scholastic awards’ program, Campion Acclaim, following Senior Recognition weekend. The administration acknowledged students with excellent grades and awarded scholarships in front of classmates, staff and parents. Junior and senior students with GPAs of 3.5 or greater, who demonstrated qualities of scholarship, leadership, service, and character, were nominated into the National Honors Society. Seniors inducted into the NHS were given a red cord and gold pin to wear at graduation.
Campion's awards and endowed scholarships were also announced. These scholarships are often given in memory or appreciation of alumni and former faculty. Alumni and friends continue to give every year to recognize students, in honor of their loved ones, who exhibit good citizenship, hold a job to help pay for their tuition, maintain strong academics, have financial need, and demonstrate appreciation for their education experience.
One such scholarship is in honor of Viola Goldsmith Rhodus who graduated in 1943. According to her children, Ed and Venita, she had many wonderful stories about her time at Campion. "Her eyes would light up when she talked about Campion Academy to us," daughter Venita shared.
The whole event is an opportunity to celebrate the legacy of Campion - hard work, excellence, and the network of support. Brooke Eitel, senior, stated, “It is a huge honor to be recognized for all of the hard work I’ve put into academics the past four years. Hopefully being a part of the NHS will help me get scholarships so I can continue my education at a college level.”
Kent Kast, Vice Principal of Academics and NHS sponsor, explained, “I believe it is meaningful to the students to be recognized for their achievements. When we are recognized it makes us want to be even better. It is also a good example to other students of the satisfaction that comes with a job well done. The students are also eligible for scholarships in college that they might not be able to get without a membership in the National Honors Society.”
Campion Acclaim was led by Darcy Force, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Sherry Hay, Registrar, and Kent Kast. Since COVID restrictions are still in place, the event was held in the gymnasium instead of over brunch in the cafeteria to accommodate social distancing. Although the pandemic didn’t allow for as many people to attend, each student being honored could bring two guests to celebrate their accomplishments.
During the service, the Campion staff selected four seniors to speak and light a candle symbolizing the four pillars of NHS. Tiffany Dien spoke about scholarship, Sami Hodges touched on service, Dominick Maldonado talked about leadership, and Andy Obregon finished it off with character.
“I never really thought about being part of the NHS until I came to this event,” said Dien. “It felt surreal to be actually lighting a candle, speaking, and getting our red cords and pins. It means a great deal to be recognized for my achievements and see my hard work pay off.”
Haley Enochs, Student News Team
The majority of the seniors were actively involved in the annual Senior Recognition Weekend activities from leading out in worship services to organizing the Saturday-night games. Even with uncertainties due to COVID restrictions, the seniors were able to bring two family members to celebrate the events together.
Friday night, staff members shared memories and advice for each senior. Class sponsor, Teresa Johansen, explained, “It was a night that some of the best advice was given to each senior from the staff at Campion.”
Saturday morning, Bentlee Barry, Tiffany Dien and Ireland Anthony led out Bible Bowl, an interactive Bible trivia game, during Sabbath School that riled up the gym full of competitive students. Senior Spiritual Vice President, Mark Zelaya, commented, “Even though we had to remain socially distanced, the Sabbath School portion of the morning service was really interesting. I noticed all the students were engaged and having fun, especially during Bible Bowl.”
Pastor Jorge Zelaya, father of Mark Zelaya, was the guest speaker and gave advice to the senior class on Sabbath. Sharmaine Monreal and Jynaya Wright performed one of the special music songs accompanied by Melissa Clouzet. There was also another piece sung in Spanish by Milka Mendoza Sanchez, Dominick Maldonado, Nelly Salinas and Andy Obregon. The song held a special connection to the four students because it was a part of their culture that they shared with the school.
On Saturday night, students released their energy and enjoyed each other’s company during competitions of Kahoot, Tic-Tac-Toe relays, Red-light Green-light, and dodgeball, a personal favorite of the students.
Danny Garcia, junior, was relieved to create this new experience with his fellow classmates and said, “After weeks of being apart it was a relief to have the whole school together for an activity and finally be able to spend time with friends and enjoy a night of laughter and excitement.”
Nelly Salinas, guest contributor
This past Sabbath, Campion’s church service was filled with colorful flags, greetings, and songs in different languages. Students and church members paraded in a variety of flags from countries all around the world, with many wearing traditional cultural clothing.
The congregation sang in six different languages and students read Bible verses in other languages, too. Airi Nomura, an international student from Japan, said, “It was very hard but fun to sing in many different languages. I really liked when everyone was trying to say “Jesus loves you” in Japanese.”
A group of Indonesian students performed for special music. “I loved how I could speak to God in another language and sing for Him. I was able to express my culture in a way people could remember,” commented Blessing Simamora. “This International Sabbath was definitely worth performing for and it’s something I will cherish for a long time.”
Continuing on the global theme, the academy’s international club created a special evening activity for the dorm students. Students rotated to four stations representing the home countries of the international students. In the gym, the Brazilian students organized a game of taco, which is a Brazilian form of cricket, and Carnival mask painting. Also, the students from the Democratic Republic of Congo held soccer games and hosted a drum circle.
In the Student Center, the Chinese students offered games of ping pong as well as learning to write the Chinese character ‘love’ for Valentine’s Day. In the chapel, Airi hosted Japanese karaoke and origami. Throughout the stations, students could win traditional Chinese red packets with a raffle number for their participation. Five winners received a free take-out meal. The night ended with sparklers and fireworks in celebration of Chinese New Year.
Sophie Baez said, “I really enjoyed how we could all come together and share our cultures even though we are from different countries. I liked the evening games because we learned new things and games from other countries.”
Tiffany Dien, Student News Team
Classes still begin at their scheduled times, but that is about the only thing which has stayed the same for teachers at Campion Academy. Having to jump back and forth from in-person learning to a virtual classroom, and sometimes a mix of both, teachers are having to adapt in more ways than one.
Campion teachers have had to keep up with constantly updating safety precautions and remain flexible with sudden changes to their everyday routines. One day they could be giving a lecture in the classroom, and the very next day, they may find themselves leading class from their kitchen tables.
One thing is certain: teachers have to be prepared for the unexpected.
Even when classes are in-person, with COVID precautions, there are usually students who have to join virtually due to minor illnesses or potential exposure. Jill Harlow, Spanish and English teacher, described a little bit of what her days look like: “When I walk into my classroom, I’m running around sanitizing the desks, trying to switch on Zoom while students are walking in, and thinking to myself, ‘Ok what am I doing in class today, and what can I do to engage those one or two students on Zoom?”
This pandemic has challenged both new and experienced teachers.
Cindy Santana, who has been teaching at Campion since 2005, has come across many obstacles in the jump between virtual and in-person education. “Just using Zoom was a learning curve,’’ Santana commented. “Teaching for nine hours, grading, and doing the prep on top of all that makes for long days. When everybody’s here, you are a team; you have readers and other teachers to bounce ideas off of, but when we’re all on Zoom, we kind of operate in a vacuum. Sometimes, you feel like you’re going it alone.”
Campion’s chaplain and Bible teacher Nancy Meszaros, in her second year of teaching, has learned to use a variety of presentation tools to keep students interacting, but still recognizes the challenge the socially-distanced classroom presents. “I feel like sometimes my creative juices are no longer there. I want class to still be fun and engaging, but with so many regulations that always change, it’s hard to keep track and can be really draining.”
As the director for spiritual activities on campus, Meszaros added, “Another thing that has been difficult with this pandemic has been trying to find creative activities and programming to reach students spiritually. A lot of activities require mingling and close interaction, so we can’t do those things anymore.”
In spite of all the challenges, Campion teachers have chosen to stay positive and try to make learning as engaging as possible. Harlow elaborated: “God has blessed us through everything. All of us have learned to adapt. Students are still learning, and we teachers are still forming positive relationships with them. Even online, we can laugh or have deep spiritual conversations that bring us together. And there is light at the end of the tunnel; we are all looking forward to being back on campus together in the coming weeks.”
Sami Hodges, Student News Team