Presidential Snapshot

Life can be hectic. As adults, there seems to be no end to the people, places or things that require our time and attention. Jobs, family, friends, church offices and events, vacations and personal pursuits all demand their share of our 24 hour pie. It seems the older we get, the busier we are, and the slices keep getting thinner. Well, before we start feeling sorry for ourselves, may I suggest that some of us have forgotten how busy our kids are?

Not many months ago I joined the growing community of Facebook. Through it I have reconnected with friends and classmates that I’ve not seen or heard from since high school. Those contacts, many with profile pictures, prompted me to dig out old yearbooks. As I reviewed the summary of activities for some graduating seniors I was truly amazed. Many were involved in band, vocal music, the debate team, a wide variety of sports, school publications, and drama just to name a few. For some, those activities were in addition to maintaining GPA’s that earned Honor Roll and National Honor Society recognition. The way we live has changed over the years, but the dedication, vision and drive of our young people has not. Particularly for the students who choose to step up and accept leadership positions.

Kaelyn Earl attends Columbia Adventist Academy. Her classmates elected her to the office of Class President for this, their senior year. The class of 2010 wanted to present a gift to the academy, a long standing tradition at CAA, as it is for many schools. CAA has gone through an extensive upgrade and expansion over the last 18 months or so. Vice principal and senior class sponsor Debbie Hendrickson, along with her husband Scott and the senior class, chose to enhance those upgrades. Early in September the seniors tackled the building of the amphitheater which now stands directly behind the new administration building. In addition to the hours of labor Kaelyn and her Dad provided, she also accepted the responsibilities of organizing work shifts and recruiting the personnel to fill them. Twelve hour Sundays came and went on the job site. A number of parents supplied helping hands as well as lunches for their hard working kids. On school days the seniors were allowed to use study halls, lunch hours, and even a few class periods for their labor of love. Cement landscape blocks were put in place for seating, irrigation lines were installed. Ground was prepped for planting, grass seed was sown. Sod, trees, shrubs, ground cover and bark dust all found their places. By the end of October they were finished.

The seniors not only attacked the physical project, but the financing as well. They had one third of the projected cost in hand from funds they had raised over previous years, but would need to raise an additional $20,000. Once more, Kaelyn and her classmates stepped up. Working with Debbie and their other class sponsor, Larry Hiday, she helped organize student and staff fundraising events. One cold October day found a team of 24 tending Kelly and Gayla Rogers’ cider press. The group sorted and prepped the fruit before it was processed, then bottled and loaded 1000 gallons of cider to be sold. Other fundraising activities included a dinner theater, Christmas tree sales, solicitation letters, and a service auction.

The senior class is also responsible for hosting CAA alumni weekend. Kaelyn will be scheduling students for set up, decorating, and giving tours during the event. As class president she will be giving a speech during commencement exercises, but what about the rest of her year?

Kaelyn was a member of the girls volleyball team, records stats for both the boys and girls basketball teams during their games. As a member of the choir, she will be going on music tour in April. She works as a reader for one of the academy math teachers, will accompany her classmates on their senior trip, and is participating in a mission trip to Peru during spring break. She recently took part in a phone-a-thon and will be attending University Days this spring. One other thing, she maintains a GPA above 3.5.

Our kids are smart. They have vision, drive and a purpose. Are you grateful for an education system that builds leadership skills, work ethics and citizenship in a Christian atmosphere? Spend some time with our young people. Allow them to step up. And don’t forget to tell them, and their teachers, “Thank you!”

By Matt Ballard