Campion Academy was among the first high schools in the nation to reopen for in-person classes on August 9. Now, eight weeks later, they’ve completed the first quarter without a positive COVID case.
School nurse, Jenny Gann, was instrumental in developing the health and safety policies which have helped Campion manage the risk of an outbreak. For starters, mask wearing is required at all times, even outdoors. Gann commented, “As frustrating as they can be, I believe masks and limiting our students coming on and off campus have been the main policies which have kept our students healthier this quarter.”
Residence hall students have only been able to leave campus with immediate family members, and trips off campus have been vastly reduced, which has limited the potential for community exposure. While some of these restrictions can be draining on students, Gann says, “I appreciate that the staff and students have been cooperative, so that we’ve been able to stay open.”
Teachers have had to adapt as well to social distancing and to managing an in-person classroom along with students joining on Zoom. Anytime a student experiences any type of viral symptoms, he or she must stay home or in their residence hall and is able to join classes remotely through Zoom, until they’ve been cleared through testing and/or nurse approval to rejoin their classes.
Erin Johnson, Literature and Geography teacher, comments, “I think the challenge is trying to be creative with the restraints. I’m typically a teacher that puts students in groups, so I have to be creative in getting students to work together without being physically close.”
With all the added precautions and bumps in the road, has in-person education been worth the risk? “Definitely,” said Johnson. “The kids value our spiritual programming and having in-person help from a teacher. Just being able to see each other’s eyes face to face is valuable. It’s hard to have that ‘ah-ha’ moment, or connection, through a screen.”
Principal Donavan Reeder commented, "I am so proud of our staff, students and families. It has been difficult to navigate all of the restrictions. I am amazed at the creativity of our teachers in delivering education with these challenges. Students and families have been understanding and cooperative. Our Spiritual Life team has been faced with challenges for spiritual programming, but the efforts are worth it. We can see God's Spirit moving on our campus as we seek to Know Him and Show Him."
While Campion can celebrate this milestone, the administration recognizes that the fight is not over. Students were able to return home for a much anticipated break last week, but with that, the risk of COVID exposure was increased at the start of the second quarter.
Gann comments, “It is easy to let our guards down because we’ve been safe so far, but diligence in wearing our masks, washing our hands, keeping our distance, all of those difficult things, is extremely important right now.”
Principal Reeder further said, “I am grateful to God for His watching over us as he promised in Psalms 91, and we ask for everyone to keep us in your prayers for the rest of the school year.”
As students have returned from the break, Campion plans to continue the second quarter as they did the first: with diligence.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
UPDATE: With 10 days left in the semester, Campion has still had no COVID-19 cases.
Campion Academy’s brand new drama class, titled Illuminated, gave its first performance of the year during chapel on Wednesday, September 16. The class wrote and constructed every aspect of the play themselves, which was about trusting God, even amidst rough circumstances.
2020 has been a year of many disasters and disappointments, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Illuminated wanted to convey the message that through it all, God is with us and will always listen to us.
“I think the most important message we wanted to get across was to always communicate with God no matter what,” explained Sami Hodges, lead actress in the play. “I wanted the audience to understand that even though there are so many distractions, if they are able to keep connected with God, whether it’s through prayer or a spiritual conversation with a friend, it will make it much easier to navigate through life knowing He is always by our side.”
The drama students physically represented emotional struggles in the play with black boxes labeled with words such as fear and anxiety. At the climax of the play, Jesus, as portrayed by Francisco Cortez Echeverria, knocked away all of the black boxes piled around the main actress.
“The most important aspect of the play to me was the symbolism,” commented Daniel Garcia-Mencia, junior. “With the struggles that teenagers and adults alike may be going through, especially with all the chaos that is around us, we just have to trust in God and know He’ll be there to guide us through it all.”
Illuminated’s next performance will be in November and will be live-streamed on Campion’s Facebook page. The class is being taught by Erin Johnson this year which has been reinstated at Campion after a five-year hiatus.
Jayce Treat, Student News Team
Photos by Bentlee Barry
Campion Academy’s international students have faced a variety of challenges with returning to school due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Students from Brazil were able to return home during the quarantine period, but now are faced with closed borders and are having difficulties returning to the U.S. Students from China were not able to return home at all due to the travel restrictions that began in February.
Giovanna Balgamon, along with nine other students from Brazil, has started the school year online. She said, “Starting school online was discouraging. I think all of us hoped that things would be back to normal by now.”
Eager to return to Campion in-person, the Brazilian students have had to get creative in finding a way to fly into the U.S. Carol Silva, senior, along with Duda De Oliviera, junior, were able to get to Campion Academy in early August. In order to do so, they had to take a flight from Brazil to Mexico, and stay in Mexico for 15 days. After that, they flew from Mexico to Colorado. Silva said, “Although it was tedious and frankly very tiring, I am beyond grateful to be able to spend this year growing with God and being around all my friends. I am appreciative to all the staff and the students for following the rules to keep our campus safe.”
Seven more Brazilians are going through the same process as Carol and Duda. They arrived in Mexico on August 24th, and plan to be at Campion by the 9th of September. The remaining two students from Brazil will continue with online classes until the borders open.
Chinese students Gregory Lang and his brother Jarrod started at Campion last year and are now entering 10th grade. Jarrod Lang said, “I first heard about COVID-19 in February when the outbreak began in China. My family was then already prepared for us to stay here and sent over 400 hundred masks immediately. In March, the outbreak hit the U.S., my brother and I immediately began donating and handing out masks to Campions staff.”
Both Gregory and Jarrod Lang stayed with Campion’s Alumni President Codi Jahn and her family for the summer. Jarrod Lang said, “They are very good people and have strong relationships with God. I was never sad or depressed during this time. My brother and I both love the U.S. and are very grateful to be here. During the summer we were able to get more in touch with God, and learn about his grace. Codi and Caleb Jahn took very good care of us and my family is extremely thankful!”
Although new international students were not able to enroll due to visa restrictions, Campion Academy still has 17 international students coming from Brazil, China, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Japan.
Campion Academy welcomes new Acquainting Agriculture class instructor Doug Hoos, who will work alongside Program Director Russell Branham. Hoos’ gardening roots go back to 1973 when he attended a summer-long gardening course in Loma Linda, California. Now retired from a land surveying company, he likes to garden and relax in his free time.
“I was looking to get involved with more extensive gardening, but after my wife retired, we kind of discontinued that and had other plans for this summer. But COVID-19 came along,” Hoos explained. “So, I was praying for some place to do some gardening and saw the Campion newsletter come out saying they were re-starting the program at Campion. The timing seemed to be right.”
Hoos shared his goals for this program: “[I’d like] students to learn simple, very low cost methods they can take home or anywhere in the world to use to garden.”
Gregory Lang, sophomore, said, “During Agriculture class so far, I learned how to plant vegetables and how soil could change the development of the plants. It is a fun class. Mr. Hoos is a kind man, and he has the passion to make this class a good learning experience.” Acquainting Agriculture is open first and second semester to students in all grade levels.
Produce is available for sale to the community on a limited basis. Currently, the program offers zephyr squash, green beans, emerald okra, crimson okra and lots of basil. Carrots, beets, brussels sprouts and radishes are not quite ready yet. The Agriculture class will be growing mostly root type vegetables through the winter as well.
Campion Academy welcomed 142 students back to campus for the new school year on Sunday, August 9. Students and staff are wearing masks and social distancing both during the in-person classes and throughout campus. “I’m glad to be back on campus and see all of my friends again,” commented Sami Hodges, senior. “I’m thankful that the Campion Academy staff has made it possible for us to have in-person classes because having to do school online wasn’t ideal.”
Besides wearing masks and social distancing, everyday activities look a bit differently this school year. First of all, registration and move-in were by appointment and spread out over three days to avoid large groups together. All chapels and group gatherings are being held outside on center campus, and desks are spaced apart in classrooms. Even the cafeteria has spaced out their tables six-feet apart and is only accommodating less than 50 people at a time.
Despite all the regulations, students are feeling positive about returning. Haley Enochs, senior, explained, “Sure, it’s uncomfortable to wear a mask and not be right next to other people, but in the end it is worth it to get that face-to-face communication with my teachers and friends.”
Students were officially welcomed into the new school year at the not-so-traditional “Handshake” event. The Student Association (SA) officers provided cut-out paper hands on popsicle sticks for staff and students to use to “high-five” each other in the line that stretched out to circle the entire green on center campus. Classes still competed against each other in creative games that allowed for social distancing while building camaraderie.
During worship, Kylie Wehling, SA Spiritual Vice-President introduced the theme for the year: Rise. The theme was inspired by the verse Micah 7:8, “Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light” (NIV).
“Our SA team chose this theme because we want students to go to God to be able to rise above the circumstances we have this year,” said Tiffany Dien, senior.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
Russell Branham, husband of Director of Development and Alumni Relations Darcy Force, has been hard at work planting Campion’s summer garden as the new Program Director of Acquainting Agriculture. Branham took over the care of the garden and produce sales as a volunteer last summer through this spring, including maintaining a winter garden. After Campion Academy procured a grant from AdventHealth this spring, he has been able to manage the garden as a part-time employee.
Branham has had previous experience working in greenhouses and gardens and has a personal passion for agriculture. “Long before I came to Campion, one of my personal goals has been to help teach people how to grow food for themselves,” he explained. “Agriculture seems to be a dying skill, and I think we need to get back to our roots. I’d like to see the young folks learn about growing and becoming self-sufficient.”
Without students or volunteers in the program this spring and summer (or the promise of a farmers market), Branham has kept the garden at a smaller, more manageable scale, and he plans to keep produce sales to our school and church community. Currently, he is growing crops such as bush beans, okra, brussel sprouts, beets, carrots, squash, radishes, turnips, asparagus, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, and raspberries. He expects to have produce available for sale in mid-August. With a future sweet harvest in mind, Branham has also started a small peach tree orchard from seed with 35 saplings growing strong.
In early July, through the use of grant funds, Branham was able to purchase a BCS 739 walk-behind commercial tractor as a much-needed piece of equipment to increase his efficiency. The tractor has multiple implements and he is currently using it for tilling the ground and creating new rows for planting. He is working to improve the garden area overall for future harvests. “Right now I’m focusing on the health of the garden. It was very overgrown with weeds and I’ve been able to get that under control. I’m working on squaring off the sections we are using for growing and tarping off the areas around to reduce the weeds.” Branham uses all natural methods of weed and pest control without the use of chemical pesticides.
In the fall, he plans to work with students to plant winter crops both in the greenhouse and in the ground using simple row covers. Campion is currently still seeking a classroom teacher for Acquainting Agriculture in order to offer it as a class, but Branham will work with students in the field.
The grant received from Advent Health will cover the basic costs of employing Branham and a teacher for the program for the next year. However, the program will still rely on donations as it continues to get established. If you have an interest in helping the agriculture program please consider donating for the following needs:
High Wind Tunnel Kit - $2,800
Implement - Rotary Plow $1,495 (to be used with the new tractor)
Used livestock tanks (items to be turned into large planters)
Large water containers (used is also fine, as long as no chemicals were used in it. Food Grade.)
campion.net/give | 970-451-1513
Wednesday, May 20 was the last assembly of the year, and award winners were announced for music and athletics. Mr. Ottschofski put the event together and mentioned, “it has been an unfortunate couple of months, but I am glad that we can at least take time to recognize our athletes, even if it was just through an online format. Congrats to all the award winners.”
Ashley Herber, recipient of the girls Academic Athlete of the Year and girls Athlete of the Year awards, commented, “I am very glad all of the athletes were able to be recognized. Although it’s sad that my sports career at Campion is over, I’m thankful for all of the memories I’ve been able to make.”
Regan Brenna Garman
Campion Academy Outstanding Ringer Award
Campion Academy Orchestra:
Jeremy Mbuku Matondo
John Philip Sousa Band Award
Madeline Rose Jordan
National School Orchestra Award
Ashley Lynn Halvorson
National School Choral Award
Mountain Echoes Chorale:
MVP - Delanie Kamarad
Offensive Player of the Year - Julia Barber
Defensive Player of the Year - Kendra Eickmann
Most Improved - Bela Cinco
"Scrapper" - Ireland Anthony
Most Inspirational - Ashley Halvorson, Kylie Wehling
"Hustler" - Ashley Herber
Up and Coming - Regan Garman
MVP - Obed Barrera
Offensive Player of the Year - Erik Maldonado
Defensive Player of the Year - Austin Pedersen
Most Improved - Caleb Wehling
Heart and Soul - Jeremy Matondo
Up and Coming - Mark Zelaya
MVP - Ashley Reyes
Offensive Player of the Year - Ireland Anthony
Defensive Player of the Year - Fabiola Fabela
Most Improved - Lindsey Smith
Most Inspirational - Christine Eagan Savage
Best Manager - Obed Barrera
MVP - Obed Barrera
Offensive Player of the Year - Richard Bass
Defensive Player of the Year - Nolan Eickmann
Most Improved - Trent Kiefer
Most Inspirational - Cade Lukens
Hustler - Jeremy Matondo
Up and Coming - Nayblue Hser
MVP - Regan Garman
Offensive Player of the Year - Ashley Herber
Defensive Player of the Year - Milka Mendoza Sanchez
Most Improved - Madi Jordan
Spirit - Kayla Gonzalez
Christian attitude - Kylie Wehling
Up and Coming - Olivia Jordan
Female Athlete of the Year - Ashley Herber
Male Athlete of the Year - Obed Barrera
Male Senior Sportsmanship - Jeremy Matondo
Female Senior Sportsmanship - Ashley Halvorson, Madi Jordan
Chuck Cuny Memorial Scholarship - Nolan Eickmann
Male Academic Player of the Year - Weston Humphries
Female Academic Player of the Year - Ashley Herber
This past month, a few staff and student volunteers have been assisting the English Language Learning (ELL) students by taking time out of their week to have a Zoom meeting with the students so they can continue to grow their English skills. Sami Hodges, one of the student volunteers, described her meetings with Airi, who is currently in Japan, “Every Monday and Wednesday evening, I set up a Zoom meeting and we just talk for about 20-30 minutes. Sometimes we use sample conversation prompts, but other times we have just spent time visiting and getting to know each other more.” Despite not being paid anything for helping, the volunteers plan to continue to spend time faithfully with the ELL students over the rest of this school year.
Principal Don Reeder has been a part of this as well. “They (Victor and Yan) are improving their English language skills. It has been fun to talk with them even while they’ve been in Brazil. I am so glad technology can keep us connected.” Despite being thousands of miles apart, students can learn English with others as if they are in the same room together. This helps students retain their knowledge of English so that they don’t lose what they have gained over the time that they have spent in the United States.
Some of our ELL students only spent a few months in the U.S. before having to return to their home countries. Victor, from Brazil, is one of these students; “In the beginning I only understood what the teachers said, and I knew how to answer only the basics. With the conversation classes I learned to improve my English, and today I talk to students and teachers in a much more relaxed way.”
The Zoom meetings with volunteers have been essential in helping the students continue to make progress in English and will help them be ready for classes when they return to Campion in the fall. If you would like to volunteer in this program through the summer, contact Jill Harlow.
Theron Treat, guest contributor
Spanish students gain an appreciation for Hispanic culture at the Loveland Museum
Junior and Senior classes Spanish 1 and 2 took a field trip on Thursday to go see Chicano art at the Loveland Museum. They learned about the history of Chicanos, a term that many American-born people of Mexican descent choose to identify with. While there, they were able to view art, ask questions, and gain a deeper understanding of the struggles of Mexican-Americans.
“The field trip was so much fun! I learned a lot about Chicano art. The pieces that they had on display were very beautiful and it was interesting to see what stories they told and what the painter wanted them to do,” says Ashley Herber, Spanish 2 student.
While students looked around the museum, their teacher, Nate Marin, went to the grocery store to get canned mango, guava, and strawberry banana juice with conchas, a traditional Mexican pastry, for the students to try. They came to the cafeteria during lunch time to pick up the food. The day of activities helped students become better acquainted with Hispanic culture and gain a better appreciation for the language they’re learning.
Naomi Boonstra, Student Editor
Over the past few months, the world history and English sophomores worked on a big project about Ancient Rome. The nine groups, heads of states, patricians, plebeians, merchants, soldiers, Christians, women, slaves, and Jews, presented their work on parents weekend.
There are two major parts of this project, a skit and the newspaper. The groups presented their skits representing their group’s problems and lifestyles in front of their families and peers after parent conferences. Each also had to write three articles for a newspaper including, a historical article, a letter to the editor, and a story about life in ancient Rome.
You may ask, “Why do the sophomores have to go through all of this?” Well, the alternative to learning this stuff is to just sit in class and do homework. This is a way to learn things better with variety. You don’t believe me? Here are some quotes from some of the sophomores.
“I like it how we presented the skits in front of the parents and Campion. It helps me learn better… I think it was a good project,” commented Lacy Matondo.
“It was fun. I like the Rome setting and skits and stuff. It’s genuinely good at what it is,” said Clark Cinco.
Of course there are things to improve within the project. There are times in the project where researching, typing, and creating is tough and intense, especially with the deadlines. “We didn’t have enough time to do it. We should start at the beginning of the year,” explained Jaime Domingez. We did research on a website called “Noodle Tools”. This site is basically an “easy” way to keep your notes and where you got things from to avoid plagiarism. For me personally, this was one of the hardest and tedious part of the project.
Overall, the project was a good learning experience for the sophomores, and the audience enjoyed the show.
Noah Sturges, Guest Contributor
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