October 1, 2013
Online Journal - Ode to Adventist Education
T. Z. Cousins, Principal, and Mary Brooks, Teacher, Greaves Adventist Academy, Montreal, QC

Mary Brooks
Mary Brooks
Several years ago, a husband and his wife had a life-changing decision to make.  To which school should they send their six children?  Many public schools were available to them.  A few Christian schools were also available. However, there was only one Adventist institution. Often, they would hear people remark that Adventist education was quite expensive. They were not a rich family, but they were full of faith. These parents in question, Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Brooks, listened well and then they chose what they considered the best—the small church school.  Today the Brooks will tell you that "Adventist education does not cost a lot—it pays a lot!"
 
The Lord has blessed their investment, and their children continue to learn of the Lord. One child chose to study in the field of computer technology.  Here are the career choices of the others, some of whom are still soaring on the academic ladder: two are educators; one is a nurse; another is a youth counselor.  On May 11, the sixth child, Grace Brooks, graduated from Howard University Law School.
 
Throughout her studies, Grace experienced excellence having been in the top 10% of her class and maintaining the Dean’s List status several times. This Adventist young woman's life has been a testimony. She is steadfast in her faith and despite the many demands of the Law program, she refused to study on the Sabbath. Instead, she used this holy day to renew her faith and trust in the Lord.
 
Grace is the recipient of constant support from her family, along with the teachers who taught her at Greaves Adventist Academy. While a student at this school, she had mentors who provided outstanding guidance for her. She recalls that it was definitely a blessing to have had such an inspirational faculty who cared about their students and guided them in their future professional paths. One such teacher was Pastor Oneil Madden who planted in her mind the seed of studying law at Howard University.
 
Alumna and teacher at Greaves, Mary Brooks, also a strong believer in Adventist education, is proud of her youngest sister’s success.  As an educator, she sees the impact a Christian/Adventist environment can provide in a child’s journey to excellence. She is also proud that her eldest sister and her husband are continuing the tradition of choosing Adventist education for their children. Mary expects this habit to continue with herself and her other siblings.
 
Margaret DeRitter makes a salient point: "It's hard for some people to fathom why parents would pay good money to send their kids to Christian schools when public schools offer the same instruction for free. The thing is, it's not the same."      
 
That's right!  Once you get past the core subjects that all schools are mandated to teach, you must consider your own faith and worldview that you want the school to aid you in passing on to your children. In addition to this, keep in mind that in Adventist education, learning is infused with faith.  Let us consider this powerful description of faith and learning that Rasi (1993) gives:
 
          . . . A deliberate and systematic process of approaching the entire educational enterprise from a biblical perspective. Its aim is to ensure that students, under the influence of Christian teachers and by the time they leave school, will freely internalize biblical values and a view of knowledge, life, and destiny that is Christ-centered, service-oriented, and kingdom directed.
 
Not by a stretch of the imagination does public education nurture our children to show God's love, justice, and mercy as does a faith-based school that is preparing our youth for now and eternity.
 
We invite you to take a new position. Ask not how much Adventist education costs. Ask how much does Adventist education pay.
________
 
Rasi, H. M., (June, 1993), Worldviews, contemporary culture and Adventist education.                   
        A Paper Presented at Faith and Learning Seminar, Union College, Lincoln,
        Nebraska.
 
DeRitter, Margaret. “Benefits of Christian education come at a price -- and it's not just
        financial.” kalamazoogazette.com, 12 August 2010.