When I examine my life and review what has fortified my Christian walk, I believe there are four key elements or pillars: a Christian home, regular church attendance, SDA education, and a SDA spouse. Each of these pillars has been essential for me, but in light of my reflection on Westwood Junior Academy, I would like to elaborate on this specific “pillar”.
I was home-schooled for first grade; however, I attended Westwood from 2nd - tenth grade. I look back on those formative years as being positive and hugely impactful to my character and values. Each day was started by a worship and prayer. Our classes were small, which made it easy for my teacher to keep a close eye on my progress. The things I learned in the classroom were reinforced at church. I looked forward to seeing my classmates at church, Sabbath school, and Pathfinders.
I loved learning about the history of the SDA church and the Bible at school. It was very affirming and exciting to be in church and hear the pastor preach on a topic that I had “just learned about in school”. As a young person, this consistency really helped to solidify my walk with God.
The students, being a smaller group felt like family to me. I felt valued by my teachers, the aides, and volunteers. I looked forward to events like Music Festival and Academy Days. It was fun having school plays, events, or other activities supported by my church family. It made me feel like part of a bigger whole. I remember being sponsored by people at church for school events like the Walk-a-Thon and Mad-Minute. When I saw those people at church – it made me feel even more valued and cared for.
As an adult, it gives me peace knowing something that played such a significant part in my life was grounded in strong SDA values. I am blessed to have found a SDA spouse, at church, while attending an SDA school. It wasn’t luck, but God’s providence through the direction of my parents who valued a Christian education from the very start!