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
The international student program at Campion continues to grow with the arrival of new Brazilian students. Four students started this week and three more are expected to come by the end of the month. The students all come here from Seventh-day Adventist families and schools in Brazil for the purpose of learning English this semester before continuing on to earn their high school diploma at Campion.
Zeca Santana, who is a native speaker of Portuguese, was instrumental in recruiting these students and making arrangements for them. “I have felt an affinity towards Brazil for many years,” Santana commented, “and I thought culturally that it would be good for Campion because Brazilians have a vibrancy of life and I wanted to bring some of that here.”
The new students were greeted warmly by mentor students at Campion. The mentor students help new international students make friends and integrate into our campus culture by walking with them to classes, eating meals with them, and participating in activities with them during the first few weeks after arrival.
In addition to the new students, a college-age volunteer from Brazil has also joined the staff at Campion for this semester. Erika Faria is a senior college student at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro where she studies Music Education. Here at Campion she will be assisting in the Music Department, the ELL classes, and in the Girl’s Dorm. “I needed an experience to improve my English and I chose Campion Academy because I saw an opportunity to improve my English and work with music in a Christian environment,” she explained.
We are thankful that God has blessed Campion with these new students and volunteer. Welcome to the Campion Family!
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
Campion's cafeteria is featuring international food this week, with a special meal on Wednesday prepared by our ELL students. They selected their favorite recipes from home and are excited to share them with the school.
These students, along with their student ambassadors, are helping the kitchen staff make eggs, rice, 3 different kinds of salad, and over 440 vegetable dumplings!
On Saturday night, May 21, 2016 at the annual awards program, Campion Academy recognized its 9 international students from 5 different countries (China, Japan, Nepal, South Korea, and Taiwan.) The international students were reminded, “At Campion Academy, we are a family. We want to make sure that you know that we consider you a part of our family, and we are so glad that you are with us!”
For the past 4 years, I have represented Campion Academy internationally by making 4 separate trips to South Korea and China with the intent of developing relationships with students, parents, and agents from those parts of the world. As a school we are developing an intentional international program to bring other students from around the world to our campus. We currently have 2 ELL (English Language Learner) staff members who are developing a strong program to support the international students, most of whom are coming to learn English.
In short there are 3 main reasons why we are actively developing this program:
1. An increased enrollment, which helps the financial aspect of the school.
2. An evangelistic effort to bring non Seventh-day Adventist students, and in many cases, non-Christian students, to our campus for 1 to 4 years, where they are daily exposed to Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and worship opportunities. A number of international students in the past have been baptized and go on to attend Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities. This is fulfilling one of the missions of our church and school to “go into all the world … “
3. An opportunity for our U.S. students to learn about other cultures and interact with other students from around the world.
On a Campion Academy sponsored trip during the summer of 2015, Campion ELL teacher, Patricia Torres and her husband, Mike, along with Chezney Barry (now current senior) and Gaby Joya (Campion graduate in May 2015) were able to go to China for nearly 3 weeks to experience the Chinese culture first-hand. While there, they were hosted by Shijiazhuang No. 24 High School, which has expressed interest in becoming a “sister-school” to Campion Academy. In addition to sightseeing opportunities, they lived, socialized, attended classes and made many friends with the local Chinese students. Mrs. Torres was also able to teach a number of specialty classes throughout their visit.
Chezney loved it and didn’t want to leave, but realized she needed to return to finish high school. However, Gaby Joya, who had just graduated from Campion a week before leaving for China, liked it so much that she decided to stay and continue her education there!
Gaby recently told me, “My experience in China has been life changing. It has opened my eyes how God has a specific plan for each and every one of us. I never would have thought I would ever go to China, let alone live and go to school here. My experience has been a great blessing, and a true testimony. I believe God has been planning this for a while. Every little detail was taken care of and I'm truly in awe. It has now been a year since I came, and my experience has been truly amazing. I have amazing Chinese parents whom I love and am truly grateful for. I get to help send students to Christian schools, and I get to learn and experience the Chinese culture. I believe God has a plan for everyone … we just need to say, yes.”
During my recent visit to China in March 2016, I was able to spend 2 days with Gaby and her Adventist host family and saw a spark in her eyes that was truly inspiring. Gaby has been studying Chinese for this past year and has been recently accepted into a leading business school in Shanghai. She plans to major in international business.
Plans are in the initial stages to send another group of Campion students to China in the summer of 2017 so that they too can be exposed to the same type of experiences that Chezney and Gaby enjoyed and are continuing to experience. Until then we will continue bringing other cultures to our campus to share with our students.
Dean Helm is the V.P of Finance at Campion Academy