Laguna Niguel Jr. Academy Begins Robotics Program
Laguna Niguel Jr. Academy (LNJA) has begun a new robotics program. Jacinda Gonzales, the sixth- to eighth-grade teacher, was excited to see her first robotics team rise to the challenge. After picking up the equipment, they learned the necessary programming and programmed a robot to do various tasks in just two weeks. In addition to programming a robot, the students worked on a project for a robotics competition. They earned four awards despite having limited time to learn and execute everything.
Currently, Gonzales uses robotics as a whole class, in-classroom experience. "My aim is to give each student an opportunity to be part of the program," she explained. She introduced robotics, HTML, and python programming to her classes because she felt they were necessary skills for her students' future.
She began making connections with the Adventist Robotics League team and soon received the equipment necessary to start from a school in the Southern California Conference.
After seeing how impactful the robotics program was, Gonzales worked to recruit as many SECC schools as possible, introducing the program and its benefits to them. She also loaned the equipment to other schools when her students were not using it. She invited teachers from other schools to learn about the program and acquire the skill necessary to implement robotics in their schools.
Thus far, the program has been greatly successful among students. Parents are also grateful that their students have this opportunity. Within a year and a half, robotics in SECC grew from 12 students to 85; she hopes that number will continue to increase. “I hope to see all students in SECC and other conferences (K-12) have HTML and python as part of their daily activities, much like handwriting or mathematics," said Gonzales.
Congratulations to Jacinda Gonzales for her innovation and creativity in educating her students and preparing them for a bright future.
By Ezrica Bennett
Three SECC Schools Unite to Promote Seventh-day Adventist Education
During the 2022-23 school year, Escondido Adventist Academy (EAA) hosted three events for eighth-grade students from Oceanside Adventist Elementary (OAE) and Murrieta Springs Adventist Christian Academy (MSACA) to encourage them to attend EAA in the new school year—since EAA is the only K-12 school of the three.
Over the last two years, the pandemic has limited any joint social activities. Recently, teachers at EAA, OAE, and MSACA were inspired to reconnect students from all three schools.
“Our small Christian schools feel like big families,” explained Brooke Lemmon, principal at OAE. “Planning events for all the schools was a great way to reconnect the students. And if they choose to attend EAA next year, it’s a chance to learn with friends in an environment where teachers exemplify Jesus’ love daily.”
Last November, the families of students enrolled at OAE and MSACA were invited to join the eighth-grade students at a campfire and worship experience on the EAA campus. This created both a community-building experience and an opportunity for parents from all three communities to interact with one another and fellowship.
“If our students attend EAA, they continue on their spiritual journey with support from dedicated Christian educators and staff,” said Lemmon. “They will be more equipped to lead in their home churches than if they attend a local public or charter school.”
At an Academy Day event hosted by EAA, teachers highlighted the school's classroom activities and extracurricular activities to show prospective students a day in the life of a typical Escondido high school student.
Lemmon believes one of the advantages of attending a smaller high school like EAA is that students can get individualized attention in the classroom. Students aren’t just another face in the crowd; rather, they are well-known by teachers.
“The events our schools have co-hosted to encourage students to attend EAA are not only about recruitment,” explained Lemmon. “EAA is intentionally leading an effort to create an environment where eighth-grade students from neighboring Adventist schools can have fun, build friendships, and worship together.”
Gail Hall, International Program Coordinator, EAA, agrees with Lemmon. “Most importantly, friendships are forming that will last much longer than the end of the eighth-grade year,” said Hall.
By Danni Thaw