Birthday Perspectives...

How Dorothy M. Otter and her husband, Gordon found themselves in Casper, WY is a mystery to me.  A returned missionary from Africa, Mrs. Otter brought a touch of elegance, class and worldliness to my 2-room school.  Her carved elephants marched regally across the bookcase and were evocative, to my mind, of a continent brimming with adventure.  Today - I too - have carved elephants (though they are from India) on my bookcase in an attempt to pass on to my child a love of the world outside our North West door.

Patiently, Mrs. Otter labored (and LABOR it was – trust me!) with my 3rd grade mind and the concept of long-division.  In a classroom of about 15 1st through 4th-graders, remarkably, the days always seemed to run smoothly.  To me, the highlight was the after-lunch story.  I will never forget the story of Shoes for Daniel.  It had a formative effect on my life as I contemplated how I would have helped Daniel if I would have been in the story.  The annual Music Festival event was such a thrill as Adventist schools across the state gathered at our location to work on musical numbers in unity and new friends were made.

Seventh-day Adventist Education has been around since 1872.  And, consistent with the reality that the Seventh-day Adventist church is a world-wide movement, the first international schools were similarly established over the next few years.  By 1896, the schools established in India were already teaching the young church about important concepts like cultural differences.

Today, there are over 852 schools – including elementary, secondary and colleges and universities – around the world that teach over 76,000 students!  I have worked with colleagues who graduated from Adventist university in India and who are now successful IT professionals in Fortune 500 companies.  There are lots of university-age students who choose to attend a year abroad at SDA schools in Europe, whether in England, Italy or elsewhere.  

Given this context, it is an especial privilege to send our children to Tualatin Valley Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist educational institute that is celebrating 100 years this year.  This year alone - the school is brimming with committed teachers, STREAMS programs and loads of after-school options.  What must the programs have looked like in 1916?  

We are just a small piece of an overall educational framework that still considers every child, all over the world, of the utmost importance.  And - to be honest - we are just the latest families to benefit from a legacy of education that Tualatin Valley Academy has fostered over the last 100 years.  I am certainly grateful for that.  What about you?

Laura Eng - Home and School