Important Life Lessons: Service and Teamwork

Matthew 25: 35-40

"'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"

Hear What Our Students Said: 

“…It also has inspired me to help others. Maybe I will help others in my church’s pantry”
“We really worked together to make a difference. It was the work of God. I felt like Jesus helping the needy. Thank you for giving me this opportunity”
“Today’s experience at the food bank was amazing. As we were loading the oats into the bags, it made me happy knowing that the meals we were putting together were going to people who really need it…It felt great to make a difference. We worked for an hour and a half and ended up making 4153 meals. It was amazing to help out at the food bank and I would like to help again soon.”
“It inspired me to also make a difference. Someday I want to be part of something like this operation. I want to make an impact on people like the community service center does and to be able to see people become so happy because I helped give them a better life.”
“This taught me that helping others is very important. The church tries to help others too. When driving back I thought of all of the hungry people that I helped.  A nice lady told us that I helped about 69 people.  I reflected on how Jesus has helped others.  This has made me feel joy of helping others.”

Oregon has one of the highest food insecurity rates in the United States. When we look at the data, one in five Oregonians faces food insecurity, the inability to get enough affordable, nutritious food, on a daily basis. 

One in five. 

On February 15th, Tualatin Valley Academy's 7th-9th grade students were joined by Scappoose Adventist Christian School's students to work at the Oregon Food Bank. They spent an hour and a half packing oats to be distributed to people in need. It was an exercise in teamwork, as packing food at the food bank works something like a well-oiled assembly line, but it also opened students' eyes to what they themselves can do to serve others, just like Jesus did. 

During their shift, students packed 4 pallets of oats into 2 lb bags. They packaged 4983 lbs of oats in total, which is the equivalent of about 4153 meals or 69 meals per student. 

Students were amazed that a hour and a half of their time produced 4153 meals for people in need.

That afternoon the students headed over to Beaverton Seventh-day Adventist Church to continue the day of service and teamwork. Students were broken up into 5 groups, each captained by 9th grade students, and rotated through stations. The first station was the church's community center. Students learned about the local and global (ADRA) Adventist mission. The second station gave students the opportunity to journal about their experience, reflecting on what they learned and how they felt about the morning's activities. The remaining 3 stations were team building stations. Students did activities ranging from turning a tarp over with the entire group standing on it to building newspaper tables to support as many books as possible to doing a trust walk.

It was a fun day, and one full of learning and reflection. Students gained valuable life skills, and the experience is one they will not soon forget. 

Featured Class: 9th Grade Science

At Tualatin Valley Academy, we focus on teaching students as much by experience as we do from a textbook. That's why the Freshmen class headed out on a Marine Biology Trip in mid-September, led by Mr. Phil Kahler. Students had 3 days jam-packed with learning, including fossil hunting at the beach, engineering ROV's (remotely operated underwater vehicles), exploring mud flats, salt marshes and tide pools and taking a boat trip to whale watch and collect specimens to examine for their Marine Biology class. Students camp during this trip, and each evening closes with a campfire and student-led vespers. 

"It was amazing, a beautiful experience."

Mr. Kahler teaches Middle School and High School Science at TVA. When asked about his teaching philosophy, he answered "As a science teacher I don't want to just sit around and teach my students about science. I want my students to experience science and to do their own scientific investigations. I want my students to be scientists! To make this happen for our students, we must leave the confines of the classroom from time to time.

Our Marine Biology Trip is much more than another activity in the curriculum, it is an experience that I hope will inspire these students for a lifetime of exploring the wild and wonderful things God has created. There is nothing quite like breathing in the cool salty air as you hear the ocean waves crashing on the shore. It really does not matter how many books you read or how many documentaries you watch on TV; something as wonderful as a California Gray Whale will always be an abstract concept until you have seen one surface right next to your boat. You always knew whales were big, but this creature is crazy HUGE! And it is a breathing, living thing that moves and does what it wants."

The Freshmen science curriculum is Physical Science, made up of Marine Biology, Astronomy, Electricity & Magnetism, and an Introduction to Chemistry. The course is a hands-on laboratory based continuation of the integrated sciences covered in earlier grades. Students explore their world and gain a solid foundation for what they will study in Science over the next 3 years. 

Students on the Marine Biology Trip kept journals of their findings and favorite activities. One of the students' favorite activities was building ROV's at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. The class was divided into teams (girls vs. guys!) to craft their ROV's out of PVC pipe with a magnet attached to them. The girls dubbed theirs Charlotte, the guys, Tera-DACT-yl 3000. They then had a competition to see which team could collect more magnetic items from the bottom of a pool. A student reflected on building the ROV's:

"Making a submarine was the coolest, not knowing we were using engineering the whole time."

Another favorite memory across the board was the Discovery boat tour. Students studied creatures from plankton to whales and even got to try their hand at driving the boat! 

"When we were on the boat we got to learn more about the importance of the ocean, which made it much more interesting rather than just reading about it." 

"You could see God's majesty through His beautiful creation."

Building students' relationship with God was central to the trip. When studying science, it is hard not to see God's hand in all of His creation. One student commented: 

"...and seeing how beautiful the sea is and the life that lives there made me reflect on how perfect of a job God did in crafting this amazing world."

God's amazing world, indeed. 

For photos, links and more information, check out Mr. Kahler's Marine Biology page here!

A New Beginning

After a very busy and productive summer, we are excited for the beginning of a new school year! A brand new 50 year roof protects our school from windy and rainy weather.  Our front parking lot has been completely repaved with new curbs and striping.  A big thank you goes to our Home & School organization and all the students, parents, & friends who supported our Walk-a-thons the last two years! Their efforts have resulted in a parking lot that is safer and of which we can all be proud. 

Our teachers have been working to prepare their classrooms and are very excited to welcome students back for a new school year!  Our enrollment is strong with over two hundred students enrolled. We have two third grade classrooms this year and our ninth grade begins with eight students enrolled. 

We are very thankful for all the blessings and success we have enjoyed over the past year.  With faith and hope in God's continued blessing, we welcome our students and parents to a new school year!


Our school year is drawing to a close and our students are enjoying end of the year activities such as swimming, Field Day on Friday, June 3, and of course graduation.  Students will move up a grade, our eighth graders will graduate and go on to ninth grade and become high school students. We are proud of their growth and progress and wish all our students every success!

We learned this week that our music teacher, Ashlee Dollar Ferriera, will not be returning next year so that she can stay home with her new daughter, Sage.  We will miss her but we understand the desire to care for and be present with her daughter.  We have begun the process of looking for a new music teacher.

Our Walk-A-Thon brought in over $18,000! With some other donations we have achieved our match for an additional $19,000. We are now in the process of scheduling a contractor to do the repaving work on the parking lot! We hope to get it all done before school starts in the fall.  We are very thankful for all of the work and contributions that went into this effort led by our Home & School!

A second project we hope to complete this summer is the reroofing of our elementary building.  We are in the process of obtaining quotes for this work and getting it scheduled as well.

Change can be challenging but it can also be fun and rewarding.  We live in a world where growth and change are a daily part of our lives.  We rely on our friends and family when change is painful and we rejoice with them when change is the result of achieving our goals.  Let us celebrate with our students as they complete this year and move on to the next goal, the next grade in their education!

Tualatin Valley Academy exists because we want our students to achieve the final goal of living eternally with God.  The Apostle Paul tells us that “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”  That will be the ultimate change!  It will not be painful but instead will be joyful and exciting!  A new life in a world made new – that is the change we seek for all of our students!