March 9, 2023
Today we are bringing you stories from Thunderbird Christian Elementary (TCE) in Arizona and Pacific Union College (PUC). TCE students are learning to serve in a myriad of ways as well as treating veterans to furry cuteness! PUC is working alongside other Adventist colleges and universities and setting aside their competitive tendencies to further the mission of Seventh-day Adventist education.
Thunderbird Christian Elementary
Learning to Serve
Based on Matthew 23:11, “The greatest among you must be a servant” (NLT), TCE’s theme this year is “Service to God and Man.” So far, it’s been a great experience for all students. Acts of service began at the start of the school year with the beautification of the building entrance by pulling and tossing weeds. Other ways students have served the community is by collecting food for the underprivileged, collecting socks for the homeless, and their latest endeavor—raising over $1,500 for the American Heart Association. The later was dear to the hearts of all those involved because a TCE student has experienced heart surgery and several families have struggled with heart health issues.
Along with the schoolwide activities, the Arizona Conference GIVE initiative (Growing Innovators through Vital Experiences) helped TCE install a career-based STEM Lab. One of the modules of the lab is digital video production. A group of eighth-grade girls have been learning how to utilize green screens to create videos and are currently working on a promotional video for the school. Beyond editing, they have learned a bit of photography. Keeping this year’s theme in mind, they’ve been so inspired that they want to continue serving the school as yearbook editors.
This is just the beginning. Students are looking forward to finding more creative ways to serve TCE and community.
At TCE, they celebrate Veteran’s Day by having a Pet Parade. The celebration begins weeks earlier by making cards for veterans. They then invite all the veterans from local churches and the community to join them on campus for an adorably furry parade of the cutest pets around! Dog, cats, ferrets, birds, lizards, ponies, and even stuffed animals are led by the parade’s Grand Marshall—Thunderbird Academy’s grounds manager.
It's an inclusive event where students, parents, and community take part in the celebration. While the judges are choosing the best-behaved pet and the cutest pet trick, veterans are honored with cards, a pin, and a flag.
Pacific Union College
Better Together: Adventist Colleges and Universities See Rise in Enrollment Through Joint Efforts
PUC and Seventh-day Adventist higher education as a whole, is facing many challenges.
Lack of affordability. Mounting student debt. Emerging college alternatives. These are just some of the unprecedented difficulties colleges and universities nationwide—not just Adventist ones—have been grappling with in the last few years.
“Then the pandemic hit,” said Tony Yang, vice president for strategy, marketing, and enrollment and chief communication officer at Andrews University.
But leaders at Adventist colleges and universities are working to change that, setting aside their competitive differences to further the mission of Seventh-day Adventist education.