In celebration of the year's achievements, teachers and staff presented awards for excellence in all areas. This year, the music department provided added entertainment by interspersing performances with the awards. Parents, students, and staff alike enjoyed listening to familiar yet musically challenging pieces such as "The Avengers" performed by the Campion Academy Orchestra, and "Let it Go" performed by Teh Campanas. To conclude the evening of awards and music, Jordi Morales, senior yearbook editor, presented a year-end review slideshow. The weekend continued on Sunday with Sports Awards and the final S.A. Picnic.
It’s Wednesday evening and, at church, a mixed group gathers around a game of dominoes. In the gym, a group of teenagers are rock climbing with teachers. In homes all over campus, members of our community mingle to learn Chinese, new cooking skills, juggling, painting, outdoor survival skills, Bible studies, and more. In fact, all over our neighboring communities, and at various times during the week, Campion church members and new friends are gathering together over a shared interest and creating a deeper sense of community. Known as Grow Groups, these gatherings have helped members feel more connected with each other in their journey of faith, as well as reach out to their neighbors.
During the spring semester, the Campion Church and Academy developed nearly 50 different Grow Groups, spearheaded by Pastor of Discipleship, Michael Morss. “In churches, there are many groups that focus on either study, affinity, or outreach,” he explains. “Our belief is that each of these are essential for growth; therefore, every group leader is committed to creating opportunities to connect with Christ, other members, and our community.”
Connecting to Christ in Fellowship
Strengthening faith and developing the bonds of fellowship among our community of believers are the primary goals of Grow Groups. Bela Cinco joined an art group which fostered artistic talents with a spiritual focus. “It’s such an impactful thing to be able to get into a small group with people of the same interests and do something you enjoy while growing closer to God at the same time,” she reflected. “The first night we made prayer jars. We decorated mason jars to put next to our beds, so at the end of the day we could write down a blessing we received, or a prayer request we had on a piece of paper and put it in the jar.”
Patricia Torres, a teacher at Campion, led out a group called “Something Better,” and taught students about natural remedies for improved health. Kevin Perez, a student who join the group explained, “Learning about the natural remedies that God created to be special and unique helped to show me that there truly is someone out there that created all these things for us. I got to know to people I don’t normally talk to on a regular basis, and we had a good time laughing together and enjoying each other’s company.”
Connecting to our communities
The positive impact of the Grow Groups has reached beyond church members and has drawn interest from the community. “A vision born to connect our growing church through smaller circles has become evangelistic in nature,” commented Morss. “It's exciting to see 150 church members participate and grow in Christ and the community, but it's even more exciting to see more than 20 non-Adventists connect to Christ through the new Grow Groups.”
A focus on a shared interest makes it less intimidating to invite non-church members to participate in a group. The group leader of “Crochet for Christ,” Carey Jordan, shared that their group was able to complete 50 hats and several small preemie blankets for infants who don't survive after they are born. "When we are not meeting as a group, several members have taken their new-found craft to work which has resulted in two non-Adventists joining our group," Jordan reported.
Focusing on developing groups to meet for a term, rather than indefinitely, also made the idea more manageable and appealing to potential group leaders. Group leaders were recruited and trained in November, and in January, church members were able to read about the focus of each group and were inspired to sign up. The groups then met officially from February through the end of April, ending with a final celebration at the church. Following the positive reactions and success of the spring groups, the Campion Campus is looking forward to reviving the groups in the fall with new options including: effective prayer, photography, scuba diving certification, and many more.
“Growth is essential to life,” reflected Morss. “At Campion, we are highly committed to providing opportunities for spiritual and social growth, and we believe one of the best ways to foster that growth is through Grow Groups.”
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
In this article, a student shares how it feels to battle anxiety everyday, and a staff member relates to struggles with depression.
“What is anxiety? It’s that feeling you get when you see your crush, or when you are just about to ride a rollercoaster; that’s anxiety. But imagine having that feeling most of the day. Your heart racing, your mind going a million miles a minute. When I feel this way, I can’t focus and I lose my appetite. Sometimes I can’t sleep. But the worst part is, that becomes your normal life. Eventually, you don’t see how anxiety has impacted you, and it just becomes apart of your routine,” (Anonymous student).
Adults and young adults alike experience anxiety and depression. Here are some ways you can help the person in your life experiencing depression, anxiety, or any mental illness:
And finally, a staff member shares a beautiful insight:
“Depression runs in my family. My father has it. My paternal grandmother had it. And three of my four siblings have it. So it's definitely not a big elephant in the room that no one talks about. We're open with what new medications have worked, which ones don't, the trials of living with the side-effects of the medications (which are many), and the struggles of being one's most authentic self while still struggling to just live.
“This is how it feels to live with depression: you wake up and immediately want to go back to sleep. You overanalyze comments you made, interactions you had, emotions you feel. You live with people who don't understand that you need to take medications just to be nice to the rest of the world. And when you slip (which happens often) and let that undercurrent of anger and impatience seep through and reveal it's head, you fall deeper into depression because you hate yourself for hurting those closest to you. And hurting those closest to you feels as though it happens on a daily basis. So it's just easier to sleep and not hurt.
“It's easy to hide depression. I'm good at laughing. In fact, one of the greatest joys and feelings of accomplishment are when I see that something I've said makes others smile or laugh. Because at least then I know they're not hurting in that moment. I've brought joy to someone else. I'm good at covering the ugliness inside by dressing the outside in cute clothes and fun shoes. I'm good at listening and asking questions of others just to deflect any chance individuals will catch a glimpse of the load I bear. It’s not exactly healthy behavior, but it's what I do to survive.
“That, and I pray. Every day. God help me to be kind. God help me to curb my tongue. God help me to have the energy to face a new day. God help me. Amen. After the prayers, I get up and notice the world around me. The dressy-pink petal-soft trees, the greenness of fields everywhere declaring new life after a winter death, the robin parents busily building nests for the little ones soon to come. And I think to myself: This is what God is doing in me. I am petal-soft, new green, baby small. And he's helping me to unfurl into something beautiful. Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus," (Anonymous Staff Member).
Compiled and edited by Faith Paden, Student Life Editor
Sources: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/seven_ways_to_help_someone_with_anxiety, https://au.reachout.com/articles/6-ways-to-help-a-friend-with-depression, https://www.rebekahtisch.com/Anxiety
On May 3-10, Campion Academy and Campion Church collaborated to hold SPARK: a youth-led tent revival on our campus. Seven youth (six from Campion Academy) preached the gospel and Christ’s teachings at every evening session. The Holy Spirit spoke through each speaker and His presence was felt in the tent. A baptistry (inflatable jacuzzi) was setup up by the stage and seven people were baptized throughout the week. A total of 25 people made decisions to follow Jesus through baptism.
Cade, a junior at Campion, was one of the students who answered an altar-call during the week and was baptized on Friday, the final night of the series. “This week of prayer really showed me that no matter who you are, not matter what mistakes you’ve made, no matter how many times you’ve strayed away from God, you can always come back to Him and give your life to Him,” he reflected. “Personally, I want to thank all the speakers for being willing to let God use them to help me know who I am and where I stand with God. They had a huge influence on me.”
The seven teenager speakers on this year’s SPARK team (formerly called Wildfire) shared their personal testimonies while explaining the Biblical basis for their beliefs on salvation, the second coming, baptism, the state of the dead, the law, the Sabbath, and heaven. Delanie, a junior at Campion, spoke for the last night of the program. “Through-out the week, everyone was on a spiritual high. It was nice having some HMS (elementary) students involved and being baptized during the week. Watching the younger students encouraged the high school students to rededicate themselves and be baptized. We had baptisms every night, and on the finale Friday night, we had 11 students come forward to dedicate their lives to God.”
The Spark team will continue their work for God over the summer at four different churches including VBS and evangelistic series at Campion, Chapel Haven in Thornton, Estes Park SDA Church, and the Grand Junction SDA Church. “I’m blessed to be able to work with this team because they are so dedicated to God and they are willing to sacrifice their summer to go and preach the gospel,” shared Pastor Esequias Perea who leads the Spark team.
Thinking about spending the majority of summer away from home actually made Delanie turn down the job when it was first offered to her, but God had other plans. “Originally, I went through the interview, and I said no, but I regretted it because I felt God was telling me I needed to do it. Eventually someone else dropped out and I got re-offered the position and took it. God had to tell me twice that this is what He wants me to do, but now I’m ready to listen and share my experience with others.”
Adventure was around every corner for our sophomore class as the five-day Biology trip to Moab was filled with hiking, rafting, touring ancient ruins, and laughing with each other around the campfire.
Mesa Verde National Park was the first stop on the journey. Jayce Treat, one of our classmates, said “It was fun learning about the native peoples of Mesa Verde and how they lived.” Touring the ancient cliff dwellings and visiting the ruins provided an amazing historical viewpoint for the trip and an appreciation of what the ancient Puebloans built.
Friday was action-packed. The first day in Utah, our class had an unforgettable experience rafting down the Colorado River, doing tricks into the ice cold water, and spending the evening browsing the streets and shops of Moab. Afterwards, everyone settled into camp and enjoyed relaxing around the campfire. The evenings together were a special bonding time for the class. “My favorite part of the trip was the campfires because I felt like that was the time when I talked to people the most,” commented Nelly Salinas.
For worship throughout the trip, Mr. Kast walked us through the week of Creation, and day by day, we got to see up close the beauty and magnificence of God’s nature.
On Sabbath we took an excursion to Arches National Park, and the sophomores really enjoyed hiking to Delicate Arch as well as seeing the fascinating places the Park had to offer. After walking and hiking all day in the hot sun, some of us took part in a hilarious mud war on the river bank to cool down which made the day all the more fun!
Overall, the trip to Moab was a really good time for the class. “I learned that you shouldn’t be in your room all day on your phone,” says Milka Mendoza. “While I was in Moab, being able to just talk to my friends and enjoy God’s nature was way more fun than being indoors all the time. At first, it may be hard to get used to, but it’s definitely worth it because you make some amazing memories with your friends. Even though our class is already close, getting to spend time in God’s creation, and making lifelong memories with classmates and sponsors brought us all even closer. Moab was definitely a highlight of sophomore year!”
Article by Samantha Hodges, Sophomore, Guest Contributor
Photos by Cindy Santana
If you’ve been on Snapchat recently, you’ve seen a few new filters about “Mental Health Awareness” month. On average, one in every five people experience a mental illness. Mental illness not only includes depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders, it also includes addictions. It may be affecting people closer than you realize. This month, students and staff alike have agreed to share their stories on how mental illness has affected their lives.
Right now, depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. One of our students shared her story on how depression has affected her personally.
“I was around ten years old when I got told my mother had depression. At the time, I thought depression was just a mood. I didn’t know too much about it, other than the fact that my mom was just really sad. Every time she would get into this 'mood,' I’d have to take over and be the mom. This situation confused me, since I didn’t really know what was going on. Fortunately, she eventually overcame depression because of prayer and her perseverance.
“But while I wish that was the end of the story, it isn’t. Not too long after she overcame depression, I was diagnosed with this same disorder. That’s when I realized that depression is far more than just a mood. It’s awful because it feels almost as if it changes every bit of character that defines you.
“Each day is different. I definitely have good days, and I am very appreciative of them. I’ve learned how to cope with my depression, which doesn’t make getting through it day-to-day any easier, but learning these coping skills definitely strengthened me. My friends are a big help, and although it’s hard to kneel down and pray at times, I still do. When I pray for healing, I am reminded that with God anything is possible.
“Over three million people are diagnosed with depression every year in the US alone, and that’s the reality of it. None of us ever know what someone is really going through. Kindness may seem hard to give out at times, but trust me, your kindness could be the only positive thing about someone’s day. Even something as simple as a smile."
If you know someone who suffers with depression, get them help. It’s important to remember that we are not alone. There are many adults and teachers on our campus willing to help or listen, even some of our friends. You just need to be willing to ask.
Article by Faith Paden, Student Life Editor
As the end of the year is approaching, the senior class was more than ready to hop on a plane and head to Puerto Rico for their class trip. Although Campion life has its share of fun as well as a steady hustle and bustle, the students were ready for a new adventure.
The seniors experienced a variety of activities including horseback riding along the beach, paddle-boarding up rivers, exploring old San Juan, snorkeling in the Caribbean waters, as well as relaxing on beautiful sandy beaches. Jordi, a four-year Campion senior stated, “I really enjoyed paddle-boarding up the freshwater river and jumping off the trees into the water. At first, the height of the jump was intimidating, but when I finally jumped, my adrenaline started flowing!”
Conner, a three-year senior, expressed his favorite adventure saying, “My favorite part about Puerto Rico was going horseback riding with my best buds. We rode our horses through the rainforest and on the beach and enjoyed seeing all of the plants and wildlife God created for us.”
As the Seniors returned from their trip sunburned and tired, they were reminiscing about the memories that were made. Josie, a two-year senior said, “Even though we did all kinds of cool activities, some of the most fun memories were made in the hotel’s pool every night. We would pull people in until everyone was in the pool and then laugh until we cried having handstand contests and chicken fights.” The trip was full of great memories with great friends.
Text and Photos by Caleb Belleau, Senior, Guest Contributor