A secretive group has been inundating Campion’s campus with positivity. The Underground Encouragement System, the UES as they call themselves, has been doing “ding-dong-ditch” encouragement. They have been going to all the staff member’s houses on campus and leaving a little something for the staff to be encouraged by. There have been sidewalk chalk notes, notes on the door, and little bags of goodies. “It’s awesome, because they know who God is, and they know what God wants them to do. It's a spontaneous thing, and they have a good picture of who God is,” said Sue Helm.
This UES group has been going out two to three times a week to uplift people in this uncertain time. Some of the encouragements include sidewalk chalk notes that read “Thank you for your service, God cares”, positive notes on the door, and little bags of Hershey’s Kisses with notes that read, “Since we can’t do hugs, this is our social distancing hug.”
“It’s really cool to know that people are out there finding joy in helping others,” said Kent Kast. “I know it’s the little kids on campus and knowing that they are having a blast doing it is just blessing me as much as they are being blessed.”
Don Reeder shared, “It encourages me that the young people are looking for ways to do service. That is the main mission of our school. It’s exciting to see that what Satan thought was going to be bad, the young people are turning it into something good. And it feels good to be encouraged.”
Bela Cinco, Student Editor
Campion Academy is excited to welcome Nancy Meszaros as the new chaplain for the upcoming school year. Nancy was born in California but calls Ohio home, which is where she lived most of her life. She attended Andrews University where she started off as majoring in Pre-Med and Religion. During her second year, through the influence of her friends and family, she felt God was calling her to be a teacher and chaplain. Meszaros reflected, “Everyone was telling me that I was called to be a teacher and chaplain. I love the Bible and explaining it to others. I decided to switch my major, and I have never looked back.”
Meszaros comes from Armona Union Academy in California where she also worked as a teacher and chaplain. After visiting Campion, Meszaros shared, “I love how the student body was excited, energetic, and friendly. I could feel excitement in the air for learning about God.”
When asked about her goals as chaplain for Campion Academy, Meszaros explained, “One goal I have is to become a cohesive unit. I want to make sure we are all able to work close and well together. I want to see us all grow as a campus. I am excited to create events that bring solidarity and enjoyment for the students.”
She is married to Levente Meszaros who grew up in Romania. He is a professional opera singer and shares her love for ministry. They both are looking forward to moving to Colorado. “It has always been a dream for my husband and I to move to Colorado. The mountains are beautiful and the air is fresh and clean. I am excited to enjoy going hiking,” she said.
Some things Meszaros loves include music, being with youth, puzzles, and escape rooms.
Campion Academy is looking forward to having Meszaros as a part of our campus. Principal Reeder shared, “I was impressed with Meszaros’ desire to be a servant to other people. She loves to teach young people through Bible class, and we are excited to have her join us at Campion.”
Megan Michalenko, Student Editor
Nate Marin has announced he has accepted the position as principal at Central Valley Christian Academy in Modesto, California. Over the past 15 years at Campion Academy, Marin has taught Spanish, Geography, Personal Finance, and U.S. History, and he has served as a Student Association sponsor and Campion’s Guidance Counselor. His wife, Honali, also served in the cafeteria, assisted as an S.A. sponsor, and led small groups for students.
In a letter to students, the Marins shared, “My family and I are excited for the new opportunity and sad to be leaving all of you. It has been an honor and a privilege serving as your teacher here at Campion for the last 15 years. I have strived each year to improve and offer each of you the best education possible. I want to thank each one of you who have taken on the challenge of joining me in my classes. You have been and will continue to be more than my students; you are my friends.”
Marin’s forward thinking and passion for education has impacted both students and staff at Campion, and he and his family will be greatly missed. While we are sad to see them go, we also want to congratulate Marin as he moves into the administrative level in Modesto.
Several students and staff members shared the impact that the Marins had on their lives.
“I appreciated working with Nate Marin on so many levels—I admired his passion for the students, he cared that they did well academically, but more importantly that they left Campion knowing Jesus better. I admired his constant desire to improve as a teacher, always seeking ways to adjust and tweak his classes so they were better the next go around. I admired him as a colleague because he would seek me out, never shying away from asking for help but also willingly offering any help he could provide. He had my back, and that will be very missed. I wish him all the best wishes and prayers on this new chapter in his life.” Lindsey Santana, Teacher-Librarian
“Marin is not only a teacher to us, he’s a friend. In his classes, I learned so many lessons that I will continue to use my whole life. I learned about having a growth mindset and how to push through difficult situations and not give up. Most importantly, in Marin’s classes, I learned how to grow my relationship with God. I am so thankful to have had Marin for a teacher.” Ashley Halvorson
“Something I appreciated about Marin was that he always believed in me. In his classes, he expressed that he wanted me to do as much as I could without any of his help. Even then, he was always willing to help if I needed it. He had valuable life advice in every one of his classes. Outside the classroom, his door was always open. Some of the best memories I have of Campion are of playing strange card games with friends at Marin's house. To me, he was a teacher and a friend.” Erick Maldonado
“Marin has pushed me to take responsibility for who I am. He has challenged me academically and mostly how to look at my spirituality in a positive way. He will be greatly missed.” Jeremy Matondo
“Mr. Marin has not only been one the most influential teachers in my life, but also one of my closest friends. He has helped me learn and grow in my education and my spiritual life, and has taught me so much about working hard, challenging myself, and not giving up. I will miss him a lot next year, and am super excited for his new opportunity!” Grant Velbis
“Marin has been so much fun to have as a teacher. You can tell that he genuinely cares about his students in the way that he interacts with us and has fun with us. Not a month went by without Marin asking me why I’d never gone to his house for board games. He made Spanish one of the most spiritual classes I’ve taken. During weeks of prayer, he never gave us homework, he just gave us spiritual things to reflect on. Everything he does is so intentional. I’ve never had a teacher ask me my preferred learning style before Marin. Sorry for killing your praying mantis, Marin!” Naomi Boonstra
“Mr. Marin possesses an understanding of education that inspires me. He can see the big picture and every step to take to get to the big picture. He loves to collaborate with colleagues in planning and executing programs. But his most endearing quality is his care for each student. He has taken students under his wing to help them during their high school career and beyond. Mr. Marin has set a high bar for all of us.” Don Reeder, Principal
“Mrs. Marin shares her husband’s care and concern for each student. Her voluntary programs have been a great example of how to assist students in their journey. Her untiring support in the cafe will be missed as well. She is always willing to help Mrs. Fagan with food service for our campus.” Don Reeder, Principal
“Honali has been an invaluable asset to the cafeteria ministry, keeping students accountable and tasks running smoothly. Honali cares deeply for the students and their spiritual, emotional, and educational well-being (don't let her no-nonsense approach fool you). She has been a blessing to me, always willing to help where needed, and will be greatly missed.” Dawn Fagan, Food Services Director
Campion Academy is saying farewell to Melissa and Arlen Mekelburg in June. For the last four years, Melissa has been the Head Women’s Dean while Arlen has taught Algebra I and Anatomy and Physiology. They are taking jobs in the public school system in Kimball, Nebraska. Arlen will be teaching Junior High School Science and Melissa will be teaching Kindergarten.
Arlen has a passion for teaching science and was seeking out a full-time position; however, Melissa says she had no intention of moving until she clearly saw God opening door after door. “We truly have felt God leading us there, and we couldn’t say no to God,” she reflects.
The Mekelburgs have blessed Campion Academy during their time here, and they will be missed both in the classroom and the dorm. A few students and staff shared the impact the Mekelburgs have had in their lives.
“Having Dean Mekelburg as a dean for all four years of my high school career, I’ve learned many things. But one thing that will stick with me is how she put others before herself. Being a head dean for 50+ girls, you have to sacrifice a lot of time and energy into them. She has always been my family, away from family. I’ll always be grateful for Dean Mekelburg. I’m going to cherish the memories that we made together as a team.” -Patricia Simamora
“Mr. Mekelburg always made class fun by bringing us food at our morning labs and coming up with fun trivia questions.” -Megan Michalenko
“Dean Mekelburg taught me to always have a smile on my face because it brightens other people’s day.” -Duda De Oliveira
“Getting the opportunity to work in the dorm as an RA wasn’t something that I ever thought would happen because I had never lived in the dorm before. Dean Mekelburg taught me so much about how to handle different situations that I’d face not just in the dorm, but in life as well. Dean Mekelburg helped me flourish at Campion and for that I will always be appreciative.” -Abby Segovia
“Dean Mekelburg is one of the most inspirational women I’ve ever met and she’s taught me so much in my four years at Campion. Working for her this year has been one of the best experiences of my life. I’ll always be grateful to her and I’m going to miss her so much but I wish her well.” -Kayla Gonzalez
“Mr. Meckelburg was one of my favorite teachers here at Campion. Mr. Meckelburg was always willing to stay later or help me with any questions I needed even though class was over. I’m definitely going to miss Mr. Mekelburg because he was a great teacher.” -Julia Barber
“Mr. Mekelberg loves to teach. He works diligently to prepare for each class. He is passionate about students' success.” -Don Reeder, Principal
“Dean Mekelberg loves her girls. She is dedicated to caring for each one. It has warmed my heart many times to see her reach out to troubled students to help any way she can. I have always loved how she has cared for the physical building. She was instrumental in getting new beds and mattresses in the dorms.” Don Reeder, Principal
“Melissa plays many roles in my life. She is my mentor, teammate, counselor, and friend. We have been through many obstacles together and she has always impressed me with her Christ like love and kindness towards all people. Only someone with that kind of attitude and heart can last 25 years as a Girl’s Dean. She’s one in a million.” Erin Johnson, Assistant Dean of Women
-Compiled by Jill Harlow
When I was young, I lived in El Salvador, where there were massive rain storms. Every once in a while, it would get so bad that church would be canceled, and we would have church at home. My family would put on our own mini church service with a sermon, offering call, and everything. Of course, that was before there was such a thing as online-church. Now, it’s a lot more convenient to have church at home. However, it still takes a lot of work to make it happen, and there are many dedicated individuals who have put in the work.
Many churches already have a media team and a live streaming system in place, but there have been other obstacles they have had to work together to overcome. Since outreach is such a huge part of the Adventist church's mission, it has become a major goal for pastors all over the world to make sure that they can still reach out and connect to their church families and the community. The church staff and members have been doing things like driveway visitations (while still respecting the parameters of social distancing), calling to pray with people, spirit weeks, and Instagram take-overs to name a few. Church leadership is encouraging people to get creative and find even more new ways to stay connected.
There are many volunteers who have also contributed and are making an impact. Sabbath School teachers record sabbath school lessons for kids. Whole families have joined together to provide music for Sabbath Schools and for the main service. Pastor Micheal Goetz of Campion church says, “We have seen an increase in individuals and families who are coming up with their own way to care and show ministry to other people. And that's really what the church has dreamed of being about.”
Many Campion Academy students have stepped up to help in their home churches. Ben Maxson, a junior at Campion Academy, says, “I run the video camera and help with sound and slides. I also help the associate pastor with the church’s social media presence. I also go with my parents when we visit people’s houses and just stand outside and talk. I love that I can stay active and help out my community.”
Many other students including musicians, Andy Obregón and Kylie Wehling, and speakers, including Robyn Quillin and Erick Maldonado, have all been involved in Campion Academy Friday night vespers. Campion Academy is also planning to have an online week of prayer the first week of May, hosted by the senior class.
Social distancing may have physically separated the church members, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still gain a blessing by worshipping together at a distance.
Ashley Reyes, Guest Contributor
Campion Academy has hired Jeff Kluchesky as the new Plant Services Director starting in July. Kluchesky comes to us from Gem State Academy in Idaho, where he has worked as Plant Services Director for the past three years.
Kluchesky’s father was a pastor, but even though he moved around a lot growing up, he considers himself an Oregonian from John Day, Oregon. He attended Gem State Academy where he met his wife of 21 years, Amy Kluchesky, in the cafeteria. Kluchesky has two children, a boy named Leslie who will be a freshman in the fall and a daughter named Portia who will be attending Walla Walla University. He enjoys working on cars, fly fishing, motor cycles, and watching hockey.
Since high school, he has had many interesting jobs. He worked at Pacific Press Publishing as a binder operator, he owned a general contractor construction company, he was a small engine mechanic, he was an officer at the state penitentiary, he has worked as a firefighter, and he was the Plant Services Director at Gem State for three and a half years before accepting the job at Campion. When speaking about being a Plant Services Director, he commented, “I have always wanted to do this job ever since I can remember. I have been able to experience a wide variety of skill sets to be able to do this job. When the opportunity came, I snatched it up as quick as I could.”
When asked about what he is most looking forward to, he said, “It’s always fun working with students and seeing how they go through all four years and how they grow. Being part of that is awesome.” The Kluchesky’s will arrive at Campion in June, and we want to welcome them to the Campion family.
Ashley Herber, Student Editor
Greetings fellow Campion students! As you may know, my name is Grant Velbis, and I am a Senior at Campion Academy. It has now been weeks since we left school. How many exactly, I’m not sure. I sort of lost track. I do know, however, that it’s been a very, very long time! As a means to hopefully provide you with some entertainment, news, and encouragement during this period of isolation, I have been tasked with writing an article for this newsletter. I thought very hard about what I could share with you all, and then it hit me. What could be better for a newsletter than an interview! Get some people together and ask some tough questions. Unfortunately, because of the quarantine, there weren’t many options. So, I gathered everyone I could think of into my storage closet, and began the following interview:
Grant: “Hello Campion Academy, my name is Grant, and here in my storage closet, I am joined by Grant and Grant. How are you guys doing?”
Other Grant: “Meh.”
Another Grant: “I’m doing fantastic!”
Grant: “Wow, there’s a big difference between the moods of the two of you! This has certainly been a trying time for all of us, and I can easily understand your response, Grant. Tell me, why are you so downcast?”
Other Grant: “Well… It’s been hard, you know? This whole quarantine business has been so stressful. All of my family has been crammed under one roof and there is hardly any space. I can’t even find time to think. Someone in my house is always being loud or obnoxious. Also, I miss my friends. I miss going places. I get so bored and lonely, I just don’t know what to do. Not knowing what is coming in the future has me worried, as well. Who knows what could happen in crazy times like this!”
Grant: “I see. You definitely have some valid points there, Grant. It’s very easy to become sad, lonely, frustrated, angry, and all of those negative emotions. Now, despite all this, Grant, you are smiling, happy, and look like you’re doing great! I understand that you are in the same boat as Grant, as far as being cooped up at home with your family. How are you so joyful in the midst of all this?”
Another Grant: “Well, Grant, I’m glad you asked me that! See, I completely understand where Grant is coming from. With all the discouraging things happening, it can be very easy to slip into negative thinking. But, despite all the bad things, there are so many good things that have occured because of the quarantine!”
Other Grant: “What do you mean, Grant?”
Another Grant: “Well, for me, I’ve gotten to have so much quality time with my family! Whether it be games, movies, reading together, or going on walks, we’ve been able to connect in so many ways we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to! With all the extra time on my hands, I’ve been able to dive deep into the Bible! Reading God’s word is the best way to be encouraged during tough times, and with the quarantine, I’ve had so much extra time to do it! You see, there are always ways you can flip the negative and turn it into a positive! As far as being lonely, and worried about the future, God promised to always be with us, especially through the hard times. He will guide us through. We may not know the future, but he sure does, and He will take care of us.”
Grant: “Wow. That was so inspiring, Grant.”
Other Grant: “I know! I already feel better, thank you!”
Another Grant: “You’re welcome, guys!”
Grant: “Well, with those profound words from Grant, I think it’s time to say goodbye. But before we sign off, I’d like to share this Bible verse with you: God says to us, ‘And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ Matthew 28:20. Thank you all for joining me, and goodbye!”
(P.S for everyone wondering, no I haven’t gone crazy.)
(P.P.S at least not yet.)
Grant Velbis, Senior, Guest Contributor
For most of us, self isolation means staying home with family, but that is not the case for many of Campion Academy’s international students. Before last Friday, there were 14 international students staying in the dorms, two girls and 12 boys, as well as some others staying with local host families. Thanks to the help of friends in Brazil, the Brazilian students were all able to go home over the weekend. Duda De Oliveira, a sophomore, said, “I feel really excited to go home, but at the same time I’m sad to leave the deans that were taking care of us.”
There are now only three Chinese international students staying in the dorm. To help pass the time, Rain Li, a senior from China, said, “I play video games with other people, watch videos, and have class.” Mrs. Fagan cooks for the students and they are able to go outside on center campus to enjoy some fresh air.
Gregory Lang, a freshman from China, stated, “It is definitely weird because you never see anyone. We have to clean every day. We have breakfast, lunch, supper, and online classes and a lot of homework.”
Being away from home is especially hard right now. Before she left, Duda De Oliveira reflected, “It’s really sad. Everyone else is with their family. We are here with the deans, and the deans are taking care of us really well, but I miss my family and I wish they could take care of me. If something happens, I won’t be there. My mom is a nurse and she has been in contact with a doctor who had the coronavirus. I thank God she had no symptoms, but it's hard and I wish I could be with her.”
Yan Silva, a sophomore from Brazil, told me before he left that “it’s sad and hard because I miss my family so much.”
Jarrod Lang, a freshman from China, said, “I miss home and I’m feeling homesick.”
The Chinese students don’t know what this summer will look like, if they will be able to go home or have to find housing. Some students are still trying to get a ticket home where they will have to be quarantined. Other students who were able to go home, like Airi Nomura, a sophomore from Japan, are now having to do online school with a huge time difference. Please keep these students and their families in your prayers during this difficult and uncertain time.
Ashley Herber, Student Editor
Being outside can provide a nice break from being locked in during this long quarantine. Fortunately for neighborhoods across America, kids are finding a new reason to venture outside.
“Bear Hunts,” as they’re called, involve placing stuffed bears in windows visible from the street. Kids can then walk through the neighborhood and attempt to spot them all. It adds a little bit of interest to walking around the neighborhood, especially since that’s all they can do outside now.
“I noticed bears in windows around my neighborhood, and I thought it was cute,” says Naomi Boonstra, a senior at Campion. “I looked up what they were for and decided to get in on it. Now, I see the kids in my neighborhood stopping outside the house every once in a while to point at my three little bears in the front window. It’s a nice way to stay feeling like a community when we can’t see each other as much.” Throughout this pandemic, we’re seeing more and more people finding creative ways to draw together.
Walking through his own neighborhood, Ben Maxson, a junior at Campion, noticed a sign on a house that read, “We love the senior class of 2020!” Then, he saw another one. He noticed that the neighborhood was full of them.
“I think it’s really cool that people still want to show their excitement for the graduating classes this year,” says Ben. “It’s a small act, but it shows big character.”
Although the pandemic has forced us into isolation, it’s nice to see the spirit of unity among communities around America. Together, we can shine a little bit of light on a dark situation.
Erick Maldonado, Guest Contributor
Right now, it seems like everything is being cancelled. Along with the cancellation of the things we looked forward to, though, we were also let off the hook for some more stressful commitments. Our busy, overbooked lives have been put on hold. In the midst of our non-stop monotony, we’ve been given a chance to breathe.
It isn’t an ideal situation. My heart goes out to everyone who’s in crisis right now, but amid the crises, there are people taking up old hobbies, calling up old friends, and being relieved of manic schedules.
It took a global pandemic to do it, but a lot of us are living a little more simply now. If you’re lucky enough to not have lost a job or a loved one, or your own health during this time, take a moment to breathe. You’re okay. Your world hasn’t ended; it’s been put on pause.
When social isolation rules relax, I think that I’ll value the time I have with people more, knowing how much I would miss them if this happened again. I think that we’ll all commit ourselves a little more sparingly after having the freedom of so many fewer commitments.
I never could have expected or prepared for everything that’s happening right now, but I’m trying to see it as a blessing. Classes are shorter, I’m not commuting, and I don’t have any real distractions. I have so much time to spend the way I want, and so much time to breathe.
Naomi Boonstra, Student Editor