Monthly Archives: November 2011

Inaccurate Clocks Confuse Students


Here at Andrews Academy teachers are sticklers for time. Yet being on time is becoming quite hard since it seems that nearly all of the clocks at AA are inaccurate. Whether it was caused by a partial electrical failure or a distortion in time and space, the messed up clocks are confusing students and staff throughout the school. As of today, here is the status of the awry time-trackers:

Music Room – slow by 15 minutes.

VanDenburgh’s Room – slow by 10 minutes.

Sanchez’s Room – slow by 10 minutes.

Anderson’s Shop – slow by 55 minutes.

Wing A – Stuck on 12:55.

Banks’s Room – slow by one hour.

As to why these clocks are off, Mrs. Quinty stated that an electrical failure during Thanksgiving break caused the set-backs.  She and her team are in the midst of restoring the clocks to their correct readings.

Local Law Enforcement Encourage Students to Stay Away from Drugs

Andrews Academy hosted three presenters for a special assembly focused on drugs and how they affect both one’s life and body.

Jerrett Pate, Captain of the Andrews University Campus Safety, with his trusty canine, Wyatt, kicked off the  program. Jerrett said that the facility where he works decided to get a canine in 2008 and were soon looking for the right type of dog.  Only dogs with specific temperaments can be police dogs. Wyatt, a German Shepherd, was trained in German, but knows a few commands in English. He trained with Jerrett at Mid-Michigan Kennels-Police K9 training facility where he learned to recognize narcotics by smell. This type of training involves placing a toy or a treat of some type in a box with the narcotics.  This then trains the dog to believe he will be rewarded if he finds the narcotics.

Pate also talked about another dog he knows that was trained to be a bomb dog.  Bomb dogs are trained to sit next to a trigger or point to the bomb. Wyatt was trained a little differently: scratching and barking when he found drugs. After further training,  he points and puts his paw on the area that contains the drugs. This is helpful because, as Pate explained,  if the dog scratches at the area containing the drugs, property damage can occur. Pate also told us that police dogs must go back for re-certification every year.

Dr. John Rorabeck, chief analyst of the Berrien County Forensic Laboratory, presented after Pate and  said that according to a recent study that appeared in the October issue of  National Geographic, teen brains are getting better at what they need to do. New evidence indicates that the teen brain is more developed than previously thought.

The final speaker was Rojelio Castillo, Operations Lieutenant at AU’s Office of Campus Safety. He told of personal experiences in different fields of police work and the military.  He clearly had the background and experience to assure students that the best plan is to stay away from drugs.  He also reassured students that the police aren’t out to get them, but simply want to do their part to ensure a safe, healthy environment for the public.

Tracy Vu Leaps into Life at Andrews Academy

Tracy Vu

She’s standing at the top of the jump-off point. Her harness is set and her cable is secured. She looks down at the ominous drop below her feet. Taking a deep breath, she leaps – freefalling until her bungee cord catches and the rush is over.

Who is this fearless girl who has completed such a stunt not once, but twice? You’d never guess it from her shy countenance, but she’s an adventurer and her name is Huong Thanh Vu – or as you might know her, Tracy.

Tracy was born in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, and has lived there her whole life until she moved to the United States for schooling.

She arrived in the US this August, excited and ready for a new start in a new country.

“I believe in fairytales,” Tracy stated. “And I believe that America can help me make my fairytales come true.”

While the promise of fulfilled dreams and an ideal learning environment were definitely big motivators in her decision to come to not only the United States, but Andrews Academy, Tracy had other reasons for attending.

She had hand-picked Andrews Academy because of her attraction to the proverbial melting pot that is Berrien Springs and the pure desire to learn about the religion of the school. She hadn’t been a Christian before and was anxious to learn about this God that the students seemed to love so dearly.

Taken aback by the friendliness and open attitude of the student body as well as the great amount of help from the teachers and staff, she finds that she feels she is going to fit right in.

“The people here are so open, clever, and funny,” she remarked. “Their faith is very strong too.”

While the sociability of Andrews Academy is astounding, Tracy herself is surprising as well. Though she doesn’t look like a risk-taker, she certainly is. Not only does she enjoy the thrill of bungee-jumping in places such as Australia and Malaysia, but she also goes parasailing whenever she can.

On the days when she’s not conquering dizzying heights or gliding through the air behind a boat, she also enjoys fishing with her family for her brother’s lakeside restaurant in New Jersey.

What are her plans for the future? She excitedly explained how she intends to finish off school by going to a university here in the United States and then manage her own hotel or restaurant, just like her brother.

Tracy has quickly felt right at home here at Andrews Academy and has shown some improvement as far as becoming more comfortable and interactive. Upon observation, anyone can see that she no longer hesitates to jump into conversations where she might have something to add, or to laugh out loud when she is amused.

If you ever get the chance, you might want to pull aside that quiet girl in your class and get to know her. What she has to say might surprise you, or even inspire you.


Play Class Debuts Our Town

The Our Town cast takes their bow.

Mr. Baker’s Literary Interpretations class has done it yet again, pulling off a polished performance of Thorton Wilder’s Our Town.

With only three to four months of practicing in the afternoons as well as a couple hours in the evening, the hardworking students managed to perform the rendition of the classical play tremendously.

Our Town is a three-act play about the everyday lives of common people of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, in the early 1900’s, particularly the lives of George Gibbs – a young baseball player without a clue in the world – and Emily Webb – a love-struck teenage girl with only thoughts for George. The spectators watch as the romance blossoms but is then cut short by a tragic ending only shortly after the couple’s wedding.

The play is a unique one among many. Specifically, the interesting use of meta-theatrical devices by Thorton Wilder to engage the audience. The cog of these devices is the Stage Manager (played by AA’s very own Dillon Zimmerman) – a character supposedly a figment of the viewer’s imagination but also the “guide” into the world of Grover’s Corners. A second interesting aspect of the play was the lack of set – another contributing factor to the involvement of the spectators.

Despite these vast differences from past Andrews Academy plays, the presentation was well received with applause, laughter and tears in all the right places.

And it wasn’t just the audience who enjoyed themselves.

Several members of the cast remarked afterwards how much fun it was to perform on stage and yet lamented that the bittersweet ending marked an end to a enjoyable period of the semester.

One cast member commented, “[Being in a play is] one of the best ways to get to know someone – you spend a lot of time with them and realize that you have to get along in order for the performance to go well.”

While this may be Mr. Baker’s very last play he directs, one can hope for even more superb literary interpretations by Andrews Academy in the near future.

Visit our Imgur page for photos of the production: Our Town Photo Gallery.

When Holidays Blur


What is it with the blending of one holiday into another?  October pumpkins perched on porches clash with white icicle Christmas lights hanging from eaves.  Stores begin stocking their shelves with Christmas decorations in early November, long before the Thanksgiving dinner roast is even cold on the table.  Can’t we celebrate one holiday at a time, or must commercialism take over every holiday, bringing cheer to an untimely and sudden death?

A generation ago, Christmas decorations would not be displayed until after Thanksgiving. Now we hear Christmas music playing in stores in early October and late into December. We also have year-round Christmas stores that sell ornaments, fake trees, and other things that put you into the Christmas mood anytime of the year.

And Americans are especially in the mood to spend this time of the year.

Black Friday sales went up in 2011 by 7% over 2010. Low prices during Black Friday sales even incited some shoppers to violence. A recent cartoon circulating on Facebook depicts two stick men. The first one states, “Don’t you think it’s ironic that Americans spend the most money on new things the day after they say they’re grateful for what they already have?” The second stick man replies,  “NO.”  Ironically, the day of giving thanks is barely finished when people go out and focus on commercialism.

Will Labor Day be next? Will we need all year to meet the expectations of Wall Street? Will we need all year to pay off the debts incurred trying to meet others expectations?

What is Christmas about to you? Can you separate the marketing hype from your own world view and set your priorities in order, regardless of the insanity of others? Will you let God have His rightful place in your life, celebrations and bank account?

Students Gear Up for Finals

Final exams are the last hurdle before Christmas vacation.

With Thanksgiving break over, students set their sights on the end of the term and finals week.

The Thanksgiving holiday has long been the signal that Christmas is just around the corner, but before students can bask in the warm company of kith and kin there is one last hurdle: final exams.

Exams begin on December 14 and conclude with an early dismissal December 16.

AU Jr. Cardinals Win Ohio Tournament


On November 17, 18 and 19, the four Jr. Cardinal teams traveled to Dayton, Ohio, to play in Spring Valley Academy’s Youth Rally Basketball Tournament.

This was the first time that the Andrews University Jr. Cardinals has been represented by four teams in a tournament. But it wasn’t the first time the boys and girls varsity teams have made it to the championship game.

The boys varsity, led by Captains Andrew Simpson and Brandon Vondorpowski, led their team to victory over the Spring Valley Academy Stallions 47-37 in the championship game. The boys ended the tournament with a record of 4-1, their only loss to Spring Valley Academy on a Friday afternoon game that had no impact on who would go to the championship game or not.

And while the boys were handling business on their way to the championship, the Lady Cardinals varsity were handling some of their own business.  The girls went undefeated in the tournament. With an outstanding record of 4-0, they too went to the championship game and beat Mount Vernon Academy for the trophy.

If you are interested in boys and girls varsity scores and stats throughout their ongoing season, go to MaxPreps and type in Andrews Academy in the search bar.

Advisors and Advisees Share Breakfast

Bethany Puffer and Hayley Lofthouse enjoy a Thanksgiving breakfast.

Students and teachers gathered in classrooms for a pre-Thanksgiving meal Wednesday morning.

The breakfast is an opportunity for advisors and advisees to not only celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday together but to also get to know each other better – beyond the scheduled Advisor/Advisee Devotions.

In addition to traditional breakfast favorites, some pretty creative options make the menu.  Sophomore Aaron Keiser cooked up Swedish pancakes, while Mr. Reichert and Mr. Sherman combined efforts to put on an omelette making show reminiscent of Benihana.

The day starts later than usual, with breakfast from 8:15-9:15.  Regular classes resume at 9:20 and conclude at noon.  With such an usual start, however, the day is rarely “regular.”

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