Category Archives: Featured Posts

Students Present Health Week


Health week took place during the week of February 10-14, but some people may have already forgotten what it was all about. Nathan Oakley said it was about “health.” Zach Hannah said “Health week was meant to raise our awareness of unhealthy diets and lifestyles.” They are both right. Health week was about that and more.

The students that presented for health week were from the 11:10 health class taught by Mrs. Butler. They presented all week but Thursday, which is when Daniel Greene and I gave our Appalachian Trail picture presentation.

Mrs. Butler focused the week-long program on the acronym C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. It stands for Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust, Interpersonal relationships, Outlook, Nutrition.

Two groups of three to four students delivered a prevention focusing on one of the letters per group per day. The second group to present was my group, and our letter was N for nutrition. We had students from each class come up and have a healthy eating contest of fruits and veggies. We then gave a short talk about how good nutrition is important. Other groups did skits or talked about their subject, stressing the importance of healthy living.

In the end, health week provided several examples of how to live healthfully and make good choices.

Black History Week Emphasizes Unity, Vision, Hope


Two Weeks ago Andrews Academy had the pleasure of celebrating Black History month within the span of a week.  The speaker, Richard Martin, enlightened everyone on the true meaning of Black History and how to See Anew, Stand Aright, Speak Aloud, and be Saved at Last.

Ms. Wright, the event sponsor, worked with student leaders to coordinate the program. AA and AU alumna Claudia Allen recommended Richard Martin after hearing him speak.

Richard Martin, originally from Tampa, Florida, became Valedictorian at Pine Forge Academy in 2007 and graduated cum laude from Oakwood University with a BA in Theology in 2013. Martin has a gift for preaching the word of the Lord and received the Moseley-Warren Homiletics Award, and was later inducted into the Academy of Preachers. He was one of the first three Seventh-day Adventists to preach at the Academy’s national festivals of young preachers. He currently is working on earning his Masters of Divinity at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs.

Each day of the week Martin would challenge the student body with a new phrase. Monday it was See Anew, Tuesday Stand Aright, Thursday Speak Aloud, and finishing strong on Friday with Saved at Last. As the titles indicate, each day’s message challenged students to live lives of integrity, purpose, honor, and hope.

“I wanted people to walk away thinking how far America has come and how enjoyable chapel could be,” said Daniella Saint-Phard, one of the student coordinators. “I didn’t want people saying ‘why do black people get a whole week/month?’ I didn’t want it to be a negative thing. I wanted everyone to walk away with something they liked from the week.”

The week had an unexpected break on Wednesday. Chapel and Assembly were combined to create international Assembly/food fair, which had been put off due to many snow days.

“I think the International Assembly had a positive effect,” said Avia Lowe, another Black History week student leader. “I think it added to the whole unity concept that Black History week had. Plus, everyone likes free food.”

When the week came to an end, many people had positive things to say.

“I really enjoyed it,” Alyssa Manke said. “I thought that the speaker had a very powerful message and I liked the music a lot.”

When asked what she wanted people to take from the week, Avia stated, “That Black History week is not only about the past, but also the present, the future, how far we’ve progressed as a nation, and what we can do to make things better.”

AA to Produce Biennial Play


Andrews Academy’s very own Literary Interpretations class, taught by Mrs. Sari Butler, will be producing the school’s biennial play late this fall. Entitled, Words by Fanny Crosby, this play offers a very good historical account of the life and spiritual journey of the famous hymn writer and poetess. “It’s definitely my desire to have the audience become part of Fanny’s hymn-writing experiences; to feel the depth of her words and to experience how the Holy Spirit moved her – to be challenged to be moved in the very same way,” expressed Butler. Because of the musical nature of this play, quite a number of Crosby’s hymns will be performed throughout the production by way of piano, organ, and voice. With the coaching of local teacher Mrs. Carrie Van Denburgh to guide them, a number of the class students will be serving as musicians, along with their acting parts. Despite the presence of music, Mrs. Butler firmly reiterates that “this play is not a musical.” In fact, music makes up less than one half of the entire production, intermission excluded.

With a cast and crew of only 10 students to match the 14 characters needed, the class is confident that their production of this play will be quite the success. Interestingly enough, Literary Interpretations is made up of female students mostly, with only one male student. Because of the amount of male roles in the script, Mr. Ben Shelley has taken it upon himself to act the parts of the 3 male characters alone. “I’m sure that I’ll be able to memorize all the lines in plenty of time, so long as I spend time working on it. But it isn’t just lines that I memorize: it’s adapting myself to fit the personality of each separate character. God has given me a very deep love for acting, so I’m positive that I’ll enjoy most all of it!” says Shelley.

The Andrews Academy School Play will be held during the evenings of Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24. With just over three months to prepare sets and memorize lines, the Literary Interpretations Class is pushing ahead full-throttle to ensure that their performance is as well-prepared as possible. In a short interview, Kayli Mattson gave her opinion of the play, “I’m glad that Mrs. Butler will be serving as our director. She seems to be a very musical person and it’s always nice to have another female’s perspective on things.” Even though most acting roles have already been filled, Mrs. Butler welcomes any non-acting help, such as stage and wardrobe management, scene artists, etc. Both Mrs. Butler and her students hope to see all AA Students, including people from the community, at either of the weekend productions and are eager to assist their audience in reliving the life of Fanny J. Crosby. More details concerning the play are to be announced.

Our Processed Food Pyramid

junk food (6)

Although it may seem that the lunch menu is nutritious, looks may be deceiving. “Some of the food is not thoroughly cooked and most is highly processed” says Ross Nelson, Sophomore of AA. At Andrews Academy, an Adventist school, which pyramid are we following? The FDA’s or the Adventist? Technically, we are following the Adventist Food Pyramid, yet, the vegetarian meats are on the menu more than the legumes or natural proteins. Cheese is a topic all in its self. Comparing the two pyramids, they are both the same, each having three servings a day. Looking at our lunch menu, we see that four out of the five meals each week contain a cheese product. On cheese pizza day, you hear comments such as Avia Lowe’s: “You can put like 10 napkins on it and squeeze, and grease just oozes out!”

The menu, as well as these comments cause some people to wonder what happened to Ellen White’s advice from her book Counsels on Diet and Foods. “Butter is less harmful when eaten on cold bread than when used in cooking; but, as a rule, it seems better to dispense with it altogether. Cheese is still more objectionable; it is wholly unfit for food.” In the end, the 200 or more students who purchase the meal plan still eat it. As Anna Rorabeck says, “Food is food.”

So for those of us here at AA, who are accustomed to our greasy grub, what’s the answer to this potential problem? The question is not how to change what the school offers for meals, but rather if we as individuals care enough about our bodies and physical/mental well-being to control what we put into our bodies. If we truly do, we’ll learn how to give our bodies something better. And this is not simply something that is recommended – it’s required. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, it says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” We see through this that God has commanded us to take care of our bodies (His Temple) for the glorification of God. If we are to follow God’s will for our life, we must choose to rise to a higher standard, even if that means giving up some of the things (and foods) that we dearly love. And by doing this, we’ll live happier, healthier, fuller lives of true enjoyment.

Caffeine: A Metaphor


A new trend has been recently pervading our community, one which people typically don’t give much thought to. But for others it might even be a personal circumstance. What is it, you ask? Caffeine.


As the 8:00 bell rings, students at Andrews Academy rush to their respectable classes, most with same sort of backpack and AA logoed shirts on their backs. But if one were to take a second look, they might see quite a number of hands holding a fresh, steamy McDonald’s Coffee.

“I love it!” Jacqueline Weiss says after being asked what her views are on coffee/caffeine. Answers similar to that of Jacqui’s were similar as teens here at Andrews Academy expressed their views. 12th grader Jordanne Howell-Walton says, “I know that caffeine is very unhealthy, and I do care about the effects, but I’m just so used to it! It’s hard to stop…In all reality caffeine is a drug, but because it’s so common people look to it as a quick fix, something to just get them through the day.” Other responses such as, “Caffeine is a problem for some people,” or “As long as it’s just one cup a day, it’s not a big deal. It doesn’t matter” were common in the interviews.

Moderation in all things. That’s what seems to be the motto engulfing this generation. But does moderation really work? Better yet, does moderation of sin work? Sinning deliberately each day won’t matter, so long as it’s in moderation, right?

“For me, caffeine is like candy. It’s not good for you, but you eat it any ways and it seems good at the moment.” Says Jacqui. This statement is comparable to the text in Romans 7:15, ”I don’t understand what I do. For what I do I do not want to do. But what I hate I do.” In this verse Paul is being very honest. Are the sins that we commit hated and do we care enough to think about it?
Too often the days spent are so little focused on the things of above, which is why no one notices when a day of “Quick Fix Sin” goes by.
An addiction to sin is inevitable. What will you do to change?

Christ’s Challenge to Young People

Young woman reading bible

Almost all of us, including young people, wish to serve God in some way or another, especially if we are truly connected with Him. And usually, when we think of serving Him, we immediately imagine traveling to a far-off land, living the life of a certain ethnic group, and witnessing to the natives. Fortunately, that’s not the only major way to share God with others. If we were to stop, before boarding the plane, and look around, we would see a desperate need for God here on our own soil. Many people in our country have either left God, or not had much of an opportunity to get to know Him. In my opinion, this calls us to be proactive even at home.

Teen-agers often pounce on the opportunity to visit another country, explore a different culture, and meet new people; all while serving God overseas. We definitely view this as encouraging, as we want our young people to serve God always. But they should also be encouraged to serve God at home, in their every-day lives. If we look at our surroundings, we can find hundreds of opportunities to serve Him where we live.

One major way to serve God at home, especially for us teen-agers, is at school. We hardly ever realize it, but there are people around us, at school, every day, who need God’s love shown to them. Obviously, God loves them always, just the same as anyone else. Yet, depending on what they might be going through at the moment, they do not always realize God’s love for them. This is where we, you and I, come in.

We can show God’s love to others through everything we do. What we say, how we act, where we go, and how we relate to others can all show God’s love to others. Unfortunately, they can all  hide  God’s love as well. We must choose how we’ll come across towards others, since our actions, in fact, can show or hide God’s love. Of course, if we choose to “hide” God’s love with our actions, that doesn’t mean that God’s love isn’t there or is weak. It just makes it that much harder for someone, especially one who’s struggling with life. So, as we can see, it’s important to choose our actions wisely. And remember that what we do and say, and how we act reveals what our relationship with God is like. Now this doesn’t mean to develop a relationship with God only for the sake of others. Developing a good relationship with God should be done for the benefit of ourselves, to become a true friend of our creator. Then, we will be able to share Him  with others easily.

This is what love is all about. God has challenged us, the young people of this generation, as well as others, to show others the love that He has shown to us. And once you start sharing this love, it will be easy to keep on sharing. So let’s get sharing! Talk to the new kid in school, invite someone shy to a party, buy something special for someone else; give of yourself to others. That’s the bottom line. And once we’ve accomplished this, we’ll be fully basking in the light of God, and reflecting it to everyone around us. I’m not sure about you, but I think that it’s worth all the trouble. God has asked us to do this. Let’s obey his commands by loving others. And if we can do this, we’ll do wonders.

PMC in Perspective

Pioneer Memorial Church of Seventh-Day Adventists.

You’ve probably heard, from one source or another, that Pioneer Memorial Church (PMC) is so large that it’s impersonal, cold, and unfriendly. You’ll find that most any student has this view, even if they haven’t attended PMC themselves. They say that, because of the number of people that attend, plus the physical size of the building, that church is too large to become involved in and to develop any personal relationships with anyone. As many have said, “PMC is impersonal, not warm or friendly. It’s a nice place to visit, but not a enjoyable place to become a member. People are not very quick to reach out and welcome you in. Plus, it’s so large you feel lost in it all.”

Many students will tell you that they prefer One Place (or possibly other church service locations), a newer and more contemporary christian worship service held on campus, over most any other church, especially PMC. As one student put it, “PMC is more for older folks, and One Place is more for the youth.” Many students from Andrews Academy, including other schools, enjoy attending One Place on a regular basis. Even though they’re both worship environments, PMC and One Place are drastically different. PMC is a more conservative, larger environment, while One Place tends to be much more liberal (Using drums, electric guitars, etc. in their services), relaxed, and smaller.

For me, the church experience at PMC has been the complete opposite. I have, through family visits, been exposed to this church my entire life. I believe that this serves as a major part of my love for PMC. I also know many of the staff members there personally, which allows the environment to feel more personal. Music also plays a large part in my comfort level at PMC. Being the traditionally-minded person that I am, as well as an organist, I truly enjoy the Adventist hymns sung there, mainly for first services. And if you hadn’t noticed, PMC’s organ is amazing! The environment is visually appealing too. All the accented lighting, the beautiful design of the platform and ranks of pipes, as well as the gorgeous stained-glass windows; it truly is a beautiful place to worship.

It’s also very possible to become involved in PMC personally. Many of the youth volunteer their time and are active in the PMC Youth Program and the media team. And I guarantee that, by volunteering your time, the staff members at PMC will be truly grateful to you. Plus, you’d be doing a service for God and for man. Once you’ve begun to volunteer your time, you’ll start developing relationships that will allow PMC to become a more personal place for you to worship.

So let’s give PMC a chance! Don’t judge Pioneer too quickly, especially if you’ve never been. It’s a great place, with great people. Try it out, and you may discover that you enjoy it after all! And remember that, as Mr. Baker says, “Attending PMC is ‘Dwight’ thing to do!”

My Shrinking Relationship with God


Zoning out of Bible study I think back to my childhood, when my family and I would have worship every morning and evening. One particular memory that caught my attention was a song that we would often sing, “Read your Bible, Pray every day,” a simple song of just two phrases. I remember stooping for the motions and “growing” every time I “read the bible” in the song.

Read your Bible, pray every day. How important is that? Growing up as a Pastor’s kid, I knew clearly the difference between right and wrong and what to do in order to have a strong relationship with Jesus, which is exactly what I did for the most part. Then high school happened. With every week that went by I was falling back in my commitment with God. At first it wasn’t really visible, but then I started noticing things about myself. Simple things: the way I received critical counsel, or just the manner in which I talked to my friends and parents. I would feel bad later but wouldn’t do anything about it. I suppose I was too lazy to commit. For a time, I blamed God for a lot of things that were going on in my life, and that definitely didn’t help my situation. Stress would often cause depression, and at times would envelope my life. Sometimes sleep was the only way that I could cope, or by snapping at everyone around me. Spiritual highs would come and go, but nothing seemed to stick. I needed help from someone, though I didn’t want my parents’ help. Perhaps it was my sinful nature that took over, but I didn’t seem to want any help from anyone who truly cared about me.

During my Junior Year, a student-led Bible Study group at my school was begun near the beginning of the first semester. At first I thoroughly enjoyed it, seeing my peers come and express their views on the Bible and openly discuss certain controversial topics. But unfortunately, that’s all we seemed to discuss – our views and how we interpreted the Bible. It’s true that we all as Christians must come to our own conclusions about the Bible, but we must also remember that it is to be our standard. When we begin to believe that the Bible should conform to our views, rather than conforming our sinful views and biased hearts to the truth that we discover by reading God’s Word, then something is seriously wrong. Perhaps it is because we as young people are not reading the Bible or spending time in prayer as frequently as we should, which results in the drawing of our own conclusions about God.

As I realized the significance of that two-phrase song, one that was sung so many times years ago, I finally began to understand (thank God) that the Bible is key in a good Christian walk with Jesus. By reading God’s Word and constantly talking with Him, we begin to understand the joys of being connected to Christ – something that I now truly love and cherish!

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