I belong to the high school graduating class of 2021. Last year, I watched as people sympathized with the class that came before me, giving their heartfelt support for what the kids had to go through: the infamous global COVID-19 pandemic that struck in the spring. It robbed them of their ability to socialize and the opportunity to learn together in-person. It even took graduation away from them. Everyone expected it to end as quickly as it came, but it didn’t. When school started in the fall of 2020, a new kind of normal had to be defined. My class had to enter into our senior year — which they say should be the most fun and the most cherished — embracing the fact that it was most likely never going to return to the way it was before. But despite it all, I witnessed something remarkable. I witnessed resilience.
Twenty-seven teenagers huddled under a white tent, just big enough to shelter all of them and their supervisors, as the rain pounded on the tarpaulin roof and the cold mountain air left them damp and freezing. It was a sorry sight. The gas stoves in the tent were turned on to serve as a source of warmth and dryness for the shivering teens. Patiently, they waited for the rain to subside. It never did. Senior survival, an annual tradition of my school, was ruined. Amidst the apprehension, the natural playfulness of the boys in my class bubbled over. I sat on a cooler in a trailer attached to the tent and stared in amazement as they grouped into a circle and began singing in Spanish at the top of their lungs. A few of the girls joined along. With a good percentage of the class being Hispanic, the remainder of us watched their impromptu concert from the trailer. My fingers and my toes were freezing, but I smiled. Just a few minutes before, everyone had been quiet and watched the downpour with dread. We knew that our makeshift tents could have been torn down by the wind. We knew that the rest of our activities for the day would be affected by this setback. There was even a rumor that we would have to be pulled down from the mountain. And yet, here was Campion Academy’s class of 2021, singing like there was no tomorrow.
When the rain finally stopped and the news came that we indeed had to leave camp, the singing stopped and was replaced by tears and grumbles. We packed up our belongings, piled into a bus and a van, and returned to the campus of our private institution. The next day, everyone was cheerful and willing to make the best of whatever change of plans there were. Gone were the tears and the complaints. We sat on the stage of the school’s chapel, prayed for each other and sang praise songs. When the supervisors apologized for cutting our camping trip short, all that could be heard was, “It’s alright. We can still have fun!”
The rest of the school year looked like that. COVID-19 took sports and music away from us. It sent us on unexpected trips back home and had us begrudgingly take classes online for weeks. There were major hiccups in our plans and none of us liked them, but we swallowed the bitter pills and moved on.
Despite the grievances brought upon my classmates and I by the Coronavirus, our bond as a class grew stronger, and we did it with faith that God was in control of the situations we faced. This is how I would define resilience. We didn’t initially bear the uncomfortable changes with grace, but we wiped our tears away and got back up. We pressed forward with smiles on our faces and the belief that though things wouldn’t get better right away, we could still make the best of any situation. And as my class of 2021 graduates and enters the big world this summer, I know that we’ll carry this valuable asset of resilience into the unforeseen future.
Sharmaine Monreal, Guest Contributor
After much anticipation, Campion has welcomed back its select choir, Koinonia, and Orchestra as part of the music program. While bells and strings were still offered for the first semester, students are eager for the opportunity to join different ensembles.
“When I heard the orchestra was re-launching, I was actually pretty excited for it,” commented Noah Sturges, junior. “Even though we don’t have percussion or as many people, it still gives me nostalgia, especially because we are playing music from previous years.”
Koinonia and orchestra auditions were held in February and the classes will be held in-person for the duration of the fourth quarter. In order to maintain social distance in the rehearsal spaces, there are fewer students in each class: only 12 in Koinonia, making it more challenging to get accepted. In addition, Koinonia members wear specially designed masks for singing and in Orchestra, the wind and brass instruments use bell covers.
Melissa Clouzet, director of Koinonia, shared, “We are having to modify how we hear and what we do as singers in order to compensate for the masks we now wear, in addition to the spacing that we have to abide by. It will challenge us, but I believe it will be good for us in the long run to help us to both be more independent and build trust between each other.”
Music Program Director, Yves Clouzet and Melissa Clouzet and persevered in searching for a safe way to bring back the complete music program.
“It is our job to try to offer the best possible music education opportunities for our students,” elaborated Melissa Clouzet, noting that they began researching safety procedures to conduct ensembles during the pandemic last spring.
“As time went on, more and more findings about how to sing and play safely became available. I knew at some point the evidence from the research and examples of how other institutions were applying the research would be convincing enough to allow us to get back to singing and playing, which is such a crucial part of our student life and academic curriculum,” she concluded.
Haley Enochs, Student News Team
Navigating for an unknown future: Campion seniors share how the pandemic has affected their plans for college
COVID-19 will have left a significant impression for many high school seniors at a point in their lives where decisions are critical. Whether they like it or not, they have to adapt to the changing times of online education platforms, standardized testing, and college applications. The pandemic world has compelled many students to reevaluate their plans for college and careers.
Students like Sharmaine Monreal had already decided on a plan for college before COVID struck. However, things have not been so simple now. She explained, “I planned to go to college overseas but COVID travel restrictions would have made it difficult. So, this opened up a door for me to start looking into American colleges. All my plans have completely changed, but I managed to find a way around them with my parents’ help. I tried to stay positive and prayed a lot. Now I’ll be able to start college in the U.S. this fall.”
Several seniors are having difficulty making their final decision on college without getting to visit a variety of campuses. Ryan Bell was looking forward to visiting colleges in person as a way to get a feel for the right school. He said, "I’m still struggling with coming to the realization that traveling and visiting colleges just isn’t going to happen at this point. It’s disappointing not being able to have experiences that I was expecting before COVID began."
Some students were depending on acquiring a scholarship through activities, such as sports and music, which have been on hold for the majority of the year. Dominick Maldonado shared, “I really wanted to get a soccer scholarship. As a team, we were proud of each other because we went undefeated last year. If we had had a strong soccer season again, there would have been potential for scouts and scholarships. Then COVID hit, and we never got the opportunity to see whether one of us would have gotten even just a small scholarship. I feel like it brought down the team’s morale and whole mindset.”
Despite such challenges, the majority of seniors at Campion are still planning to attend college next year. Colleges are also doing what they can to help students make those decisions by holding virtual events, such as tours and fairs, and sending recruiters to visit our campus. In addition, most universities have waived their requirements for SAT or ACT scores and are accepting students and basing scholarships on grade point averages.
Several students in the class, such as Jayce Treat, are planning to go to Union College, which has been fully open in-person this year. “Even though we didn’t have college days for a big group of students, I was still able to visit Union during my spring break and get a tour of the campus. I’m looking forward to taking the next step in the direction of my career.”
Tiffany Dien, Campion Student News
Located in front of the administration building, a new bronze cougar sculpture now welcomes visitors to campus.
The sculpture was sold to Campion by George Ferrel, an auctioneer in town and parent of a Campion graduate. Due to the generosity of donors Dick and Ardis Stenbakken, funding was possible between Campion and the donors to obtain this sculpture.
In the next couple weeks, the cougar’s name will be finalized. The administration team is looking
for a name that represents our campus spirit and inspires campus visitors.
As the city of Loveland is well-known for its production of bronze sculptures, it has always been a dream of Principal Don Reeder to have a bronze cougar on campus. He commented, “To have God arrange this special gift when we’ve had many struggles with COVID and finances, told me that God is not done with Campion Academy. It gave me confidence that God is taking care of us in a tough school year.”
Tiffany Dien, Campion News Team
Light in the midst of darkness: Adventist teens share how the pandemic has affected their spiritual life
Voices filled the air, shoulders rubbed up against each other, friends linked arms and swayed back and forth; Hankin’s Hall was filled with high schoolers praising God. Before 2020 this was a Campion student’s everyday worship experience. Throughout a full year of living with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been unable to worship together in the same way. How can we help each other connect to God through a mask? How can we show our love for each other from six feet away? Despite all the restrictions, God has still been at work at Campion.
Milka Mendoza, senior at Campion, felt it was especially hard being separated from her friends. “COVID has made it a lot harder to stay close with God. A big thing for me is being able to worship with my friends. Because we have to be home most of the time, that has happened less this year.” Despite the circumstances, Milka has managed to stay positive. “Through this pandemic, I have felt God’s presence closer than ever. Why? Well, because despite everything that has been happening, He has still found a way to bless me and the people that I love. Waking up with good health is one of the biggest blessings.”
The pandemic aroused doubt in many people, including Jayden Anggormas, senior. “My spiritual life was affected a lot by this pandemic. There were a lot of problems and doubts because I was worried about how my life was going to turn out.” Jayden realized that he had to let go of his doubts and just trust God. “I started to notice others around me lose their faith because the in-person contact was gone. It was really tough, but I found it to also strengthen my faith. Despite the discouraging setbacks, it reminded me that God is stronger. He can work through situations that are even worse, and by keeping this close to my heart, I was able to become closer with Him.”
Teens may find themselves wondering where God is in the midst of the pandemic, but some have been able to use this time to gain a clearer vision of God’s kingdom. “It honestly feels a little difficult to understand why God has "allowed" COVID to happen,” explained Mark Zelaya, senior. “However, if the world was perfect, we wouldn't look forward to heaven. I think that maybe God is allowing this to happen because He wants us to see how messed up and cruel the world is, and the sooner we accept that the sooner we'll want to be reunited with Him.”
Jayce Treat, Campion News Team
Campion English teacher, Erin Johnson, was chosen as the winner of the Noosa Full On Grants Contest, receiving $2000 to use creatively in her classroom. She was selected amongst the top 10 nominees as showing the “best example of bold, generous, ‘full-on’ efforts that go above and beyond in teaching” and a creative use of the grant funds.
Johnson was not aware of the contest until she was notified of her nomination. “I hadn’t even seen this competition before,” she commented.”My friend found this contest somewhere and filled out an entry for me. She texted me saying, ‘I’m nominating you for this award!’”
Later when asked how she felt about receiving the grant, she said, “It was the most exciting thing that’s happened to me. It made me feel more confident because teaching is a career where we don’t necessarily get a lot of praise. It felt nice to see how my work has paid off.”
Erin Johnson is a teacher who incorporates unique and creative ideas into her classroom everyday. “I really like literature to be as hands on as possible, so I try to take things out of the book and make it come alive. I want to make the curriculum applicable to the class, and I’m trying to find an awesome unit I can reuse every year, but it’s really just trying to see what works for the students. The world is always changing, so the classroom should always be changing too,” she elaborated.
Johnson mentioned her own high school English teacher was a big inspiration for her teaching methods and how she still draws from some of his ideas. She plans to use the $2000 grant money for interactive projectors for each of the staff to use and for premium versions of online education tools.
Sami Hodges, Campion News Team
Head Dean of Women, Molly Santana has set aside time in her schedule as dean to lend her expertise in the classroom. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Special Education, Santana is now the highly qualified teacher of Campion’s Academic Support and Pre-Algebra classes.
After Patricia Torres retired in the fall, Santana was willing to take on the classes because she missed teaching and recognized the need for academic support. “Students who struggle have a place in my heart, often those are the ones who fall through the cracks. Especially in our Adventist school system there should be no excuse for that to happen. There should be someone to take the time, and let them know that someone believes in them,” she stated.
In the past, Santana has worked for a program for adults with mental disabilities and in a classroom for autistic students at a middle school. Santana said, “I love that God created us to be all so different individually, I believe it pertains to our learning. I like to find the way that they learn, empower them to follow that way of learning.”
Her husband, Carlos has also officially joined Campion’s staff doing supervision and working part-time in the cafeteria preparing dinner while he is working towards a degree in theology online. Carlos explained that he is happy to be working with academy students and enjoys “making connections and getting to know everyone better.” He further commented, “I know what it’s like as a teen and can relate to them in certain ways. I also enjoy learning from students and I hope they can learn something from me as well.”
Bentlee Barry, Campion News Team
Levi Meszaros, husband of Chaplain Nancy Meszaros, has been officially hired as assistant chaplain to finish out this school year. Pastor Joe Martin retired from teaching Junior Bible this semester, so Chaplain Nancy took over those classes, giving her a full class schedule. Levi has been instrumental this whole year in assisting with music and the sound system for spiritual meetings, so it was natural for him to officially take on the role of assistant chaplain.
“I am glad that I can work at this school, and it’s a blessing for me that I can work with my wife,” Levi reflected. “My primary role is the behind-the-scenes work. For example, during the week of prayer, I was responsible for the speakers, sound, worship team, and slides. In the future, I would like to be able to help students’ spiritual growth with better and more uplifting programs.”
Jayce Treat, Campion News Team
Last Sunday evening, the students of Campion Academy walked the red carpet through the gymnasium doors into a glittering awards venue. The area was decked out for the Oscar-themed 2021 Student Association (SA) banquet.
For the activities, SA had to get creative due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. Yves Clouzet hosted the event highlighted by kahoot and newlywed games, along with musical performances by students and the U.S. History teacher, Jonathan Boutot.
Airi Nomura, one of the student performers, commented that she fully enjoyed the evening. “It was better than I expected. I almost forgot about COVID because it was so much fun!” she exclaimed.
Oscar awards were handed out at the end of the night. Students voted on categories that included best dressed, most matching couple, and most cheerful personality. Kinsey Harrison, who won Best Dressed Female, said she was “shocked and surprised” that other students voted for her.
The SA team, under the creative direction of Erin Johnson and Darcy Force, put in many hours to transform the gym and began decorating Saturday night and continued into Sunday morning. Kylie Wehling, SA Spiritual Vice President stated, “It took forever to set up. I’m tired, but it was 100% worth it.”
The senior class, with the help of their sponsors, Teresa Johansen and Chaplain Nancy Meszaros, prepared the banquet meal. Seniors took shifts from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. “It was hard work, but we (seniors) were all together so it made it fun,” Carol Silva says.
Staff members also dedicated their time to working for the event by helping serve the meal and take down. Randy Ottschofski commented, “It was one of the best Campion Academy banquets I’ve been to yet. The creativity and time put into it made it great.”
Sharmaine Monreal, senior, guest contributor
Last week, Campion Academy virtually welcomed Pastor Janos Kovacs-Biro, who connected with the students from his home in England for Week of Prayer. The Romanian-born pastor taught students about strengthening their spiritual life and went deeper into the story of Abraham and his son Issac.
The meetings were held daily at the Campion Church. Senior, Francisco Cortez stated, “I was impressed with the stories that the speaker told us and I feel like he was speaking to us from the bottom of his heart, teaching us about God through Abraham and Isaac.”
The week helped students refocus their attention on Jesus amidst the unpredictability of the current world.
Each night, staff members shared their personal testimonies, showing how they grew and connected with God. Speakers included: Kent Kast, Teresa Johansen, Valerie Allen, and Jillian Harlow. Kast stated, “Sharing one’s own testimony is more impactful than sharing other people’s stories.”
Many would agree with this after witnessing how powerful each of the teachers' stories were. Blessing Simamora stated, “I felt closer to Jesus while I listened to the staff members speak. It helped me to understand how God has impacted each of their lives and can help me in my own life. I appreciated the time the speakers took out of their busy schedules to help us grow closer to God.”
The week ended with vespers deluxe, where after the main program, many students gathered to sing and enjoy snacks. Senior, Samantha Hodges stated, “The afterglow for this Vespers Deluxe was by far one of the most special nights this year. Singing in the chapel and listening to everyone praise God brought back so many happy memories of years past when we didn’t have to worry about COVID. During the evening, I was able to connect with a lot of people and it was a really good conclusion to our Week of Prayer.”
Brooke Eitel, senior, guest contributor