community

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Help Us Welcome…

How is it possible that we are in the final two months of the 2018-2019 school year? Our students have had an amazing year. The growth we’ve seen in each of them is tremendous. We have loved each and every moment, the triumphs and the challenges.

As we look forward to 2019-2020 we have exciting news for our families. If you were at Town Hall you know that Mile High Academy continues to innovate when it comes to preparing your children for their futures.

One thing that always remains the same, our dedication to great education for every student on our campus. With that in mind, we have some exciting additions for next year. Please help us welcome the following teachers.

Joining 5th Grade – Mrs. Taryn Clark

Mrs. Taryn Clark comes to us with ten years of teaching experience. She has taught primarily in the areas of Mathematics. She has experience teaching in lower, middle, and upper schools. Most recently she taught at Campion Academy in 2016, however she has also been guest teaching since then throughout the Denver metro area, including here at Mile High Academy.

We wanted to find out a little bit about Mrs. Clark so we asked her a few questions and this is what she had to say:

MHA: Why do you love teaching?

Mrs. Clark: The most exciting thing about teaching is the kids.  Kids are so much fun to work with and they make every day new and exciting.  The things they say and do keep me entertained and feeling blessed all day long!

MHA: What is most exciting about joining MHA?

Mrs. Clark: I am excited to be on the MHA team.  I admire the staff and I love the culture of the school.  I am excited to be a part of something that is moving and growing in a positive direction.

MHA: Why did you choose to teach at MHA?

Mrs. Clark: I choose to work at MHA because of the Mile High Academy family.  I worked at MHA over 10 years ago and I love the people.  It is a great place to be for myself as a teacher on a great team and I’m excited for my kids to go to a great school. 

Joining Middle School Language Arts & Bible – Mr. Kyle Berg

Mr. Kyle Berg will be joining the Middle School team. He will be teaching Language Arts and Bible classes. His passion for education and our students is evident in all the classes he teaches. We know he will be as great an addition to our Middle School team as he was to our Upper School team.

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Welcome New Teacher!

Mrs. Gleason comes to us with over ten years of teaching experience. She received her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership in 2007 and has Teaching Certifications through both the North American Division of Seventh-Day Adventists and Colorado State Department of Education. She has taught in the Kindergarten through 2nd grade levels for several years.  

Mrs. Gleason comes to us with a passion for Mile High Academy as she has two boys that currently attend MHA. Her passion extends into the classroom having been a Parent Ambassador for the last couple years and a volunteer on our campus. Now she hopes to take her many gifts and talents further.

She wants to create a classroom environment where students can explore and discover learning every day.

We wanted to know more:

MHA: What is the most exciting thing about teaching?

Mrs. Gleason: I love thinking of new and exciting ways to make learning a fun experience. I am excited to start planning all the fun activities that we will be doing throughout the year.

MHA: What are you most excited about when starting teaching at MHA?

Mrs. Gleason: I am excited to be back in the classroom. The energy and excitement that comes from kids who are ready to learn is contagious and I can’t wait to be a part of it.

MHA: Why do you choose to teach at Mile High Academy?

Mrs. Gleason: As a parent of MHA students, I already love the school and the community.  I am excited to become a closer part of the MHA family and contribute to the great place that it is!

We are excited to have Jessica Gleason with us! Please welcome her as a new faculty member the next time you see her.

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Varsity to Regionals

On Saturday night, Boys Varsity Basketball won the 1A District Championship game against Denver Waldorf in what had gotten close going into the 3rd quarter.

It was an exciting game for more than just the win. This is the first year our Mustangs are in the 5280 league. This is the first year we have gone this far. This is the first year we are testing the waters of what we can do as a small school with big heart.

Team Captain Payton had this to say about the win, “We went in pretty confident because we’ve grown as a team. We work well together.”

And though Ryan says he just likes playing with his friends, the team spirit on the court seems to demonstrate there may be more to it than that.

So, now it’s been announced – Seeding for the CHSAA playoffs – Mustangs qualify for the CHSAA 1A Sweet Sixteen, this means we are considered one of the top 16 teams in the state!

CHEER us on at our next game Saturday night, March 2 at Northeastern Junior College (Sterling, CO) with a start time of 6:30pm.  Our opponent is still to be determined. Admission will be $8 for adults and $6 for students/seniors.

If we win on Saturday, we are qualified for “State” which means we are one of the top 8 teams left, and will then play Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of next week (March 7-9).  

Last Saturday night was exciting, but things are heating up this weekend.  Hope to see a lot of Mile High fans out at the game.

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VBS Uganda Bound

Over Spring Break, fourteen Mile High Academy students will be heading to Uganda on a Mission Trip. In the meantime, many arrangements must be made before the big event.

One important preparation has been Vacation Bible School. This student led project is part of a middle school Real World Learning class that will go live in Uganda. Students are developing curriculum, readying their songs and stories, assembling the materials needed for crafts, and packing it all to take with them.

In addition, the students are practicing their VBS program on our preschool and kindergarten students here at MHA. Facilitated by their teacher, Mrs. Christina Hernandez, students learn the art of enthusiastic storytelling. They collaborate on song leading. Finally, they adjust the curriculum where needed, making it just right for their audience of discerning little ones.

Eighth grader, Otim, is quick to point out that VBS is going to be an “awesome experience for the kids in Uganda.” He’s also anxious to use the teaching he’s learned on his real audience.

When I asked another Uganda bound 8th grader, Braden, what he’s learned from all of this he said, “It has been a humbling experience to learn that what I have taken for granted is going to be so exciting for the kids when we get to Uganda.”

We will keep you updated on this amazing experience.

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Student Pursues Real World Passion

We have Real World Learning as part of the curriculum at Mile High Academy. However, our hope is that once students have experienced the RWL model they will apply it in their own lives.

For one MHA student this meant pursuing her passion for law. A couple weeks ago, seventh-grader, Elise, applied and got into the Denver District Attorney’s Office Youth Advisory Council. Elise, wants to be a lawyer someday. Deciding it’s never too early to begin researching her future career, she decided the Council was a good way to go. The Council’s mission is “To discuss issues regarding juvenile justice, youth-centered public safety and ways to improve the system.”

Working directly for the Denver DA, Beth McCann, Elise is part of a group of young people ages 11-18 who come together to review policies, discuss current issues, and make their voice heard.

Elise is engaged in making change in her community because she cares. As she sees it, “it’s all of us coming together with different points of view, maybe seeing things from a new perspective, but with one purpose, to make change.”

When students see how engaging in real world learning means engaging in real world change they just may find a real world passion.

https://www.denverda.org/youth-advisory-council/
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MHA Pastor Round Table

It’s chapel day at Mile High Academy. This usually means there is a guest speaker on campus. Today, we are privileged to have Pastor Nash from LifeSource Adventist Fellowship leading our chapels. Which means that currently on our campus there are four ministry leaders roaming our halls. I can’t let this opportunity pass me by.

Chapel over, I gather them all together for an impromptu sit down. Seated are Pastor Andy Nash, Pastor Mikey Archibeque from Denver South SDA, Pastor Tony Parrish from Littleton SDA and teacher at MHA, Mrs. Rebecca Berg Chaplain and teacher for MHA, I explain that I’ve wanted to hear their perspective on something for a while. This is a heart to heart.

The question on my mind is, why do ministry leaders from all over the Denver area take time to visit our MHA campus? What benefits do they see in partnering churches, community, and schools?

Mrs. Berg is the first to answer, probably because she is a teacher and used to asking the questions herself. “The kids see the churches that support our school, they recognize the pastors that come onto campus, they start calling them by name, this is huge for our youth, it personalizes the message.”

Mr. Parrish jumps in next, notice he’s also a teacher. “Ministry is all about relationship. Pastors need to know the names of the kids before we teach them anything else.”

Now, the thoughtful pastors start chiming in, “Being with people, sitting down with them, talking with them, eating with them, this is ministry.” Pastor Mikey knows what he’s talking about, too. You’ll often see him in the Upper School commons just sitting at a table with a group of kids. He’s not preaching, he’s being.

The last to chime in is Pastor Nash, but his wisdom is for all of us, “Kids need loving adults in their lives besides their parents who will show them Christ. Teachers, chaplains, members of the church, yes, even pastors, that’s the family they need surrounding them.” He adds, “Youth don’t leave because their parents didn’t tell them about Jesus, they leave because no other adults around them showed them Jesus.”

Thank you, to all the leaders who take time to mentor our youth. It makes a difference!

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Alumni Shine at Union College

When Mile High Academy alumni go out into the world, we often wonder where they go on to college, where they end up working. Sometimes they come back to visit us for special occasions and we treasure those moments. However, sometimes our paths cross and we are pleasantly surprised to find ourselves staring into a familiar face.

Recently, our Principal was visiting Union College for meetings when she happened to be reading their publication, “The Clock Tower”. What a joy to see some of her own alumni looking back from the pages.

In her own words, “I’m sitting in the lobby of the Administration Suite at Union College and sitting on the table is “The Clock Tower”. As I skimmed the pages, I was delighted to see that two of the 8 or so articles were written by our very own alumni! It was a pleasant surprise, in the midst of a day of meetings, to see articles written by familiar faces and names. It’s so encouraging to see that as our students move on, they are investing and using their gifts and talents to enhance the communities they have chosen.”

It’s one thing to hear about all the great things that are going on in the lives of our students, but to see it right there in black and white, that is proof that our students are making a difference right now.

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Tribute to a Friend and Colleague – Mrs. Betty Wine

Today, Mile High Academy says goodbye to a dear friend. Mrs. Betty Wine was with MHA for many years. As far back as most of us can remember, she walked the halls helping students and staff, alike. We are thankful for her commitment and dedication to the students of Mile High Academy. We are grateful for the gift of her time.

“I remember when I was a child here at MHA Elementary. She was the school nurse at the time. She was so caring and loving to the students. She always smiled and worked with a joyful heart.” – Mrs. Lucy Werner, Preschool Director

“I never saw her without a smile on her face. Her passion for Christ, her family, and the students she served was inspiring. I will always be grateful I got to know her.” Principal Toakase Vunileva

“She loved the Lord, her family, her church, and she loved to help the kids connect with and enjoy books. Betty enjoyed helping others.” – Mrs. Maxine Gerst, former MHA teacher

Mrs. Betty Wine passed away on Tuesday, January 17, 2019. The family will share memorial details as they become available.

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True Christmas Spirit

On Friday, December 7, Middle and Upper Schools held their Christmas Program. Last night, Lower School had their Christmas Program. With choir, band, handbells, strings, and even a Preschool Nativity, the last week has really put everyone in the Christmas spirit. Family and friends came together to see students perform after weeks of practice. Up on stage, little faces beamed. In the seats, everyone had a smile on their face. If that had been the extent of the evenings’ events it would have been enough. After all,that’s why we came, to see our children, on stage, shine.

However, at one point during each of these evenings, there was a call for offering. Normally, these offerings ask for funding for the music department. And that would be fine, after all, our little musicians deserve it after all their hard work. This time, the offering call was of a different kind. Ms. Esther Aviles, Director of Music, asked us to think about our sister school in Paradise, California. She asked us to think about all they had lost, about what we were enjoying and how we could share. Our families came out to see an MHA Christmas program and in true MHA fashion, they brought the Christmas spirit to life. Our joy was not only on Friday night and Tuesday night, but today when we received the news that our families had given $1,347.95 to Paradise Adventist Academy. Thank you for giving unexpectedly!

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Hero in Your Own Story

Upper School language arts teacher, Jenni Eno, is taking her Real World Learners on a journey, asking them to find the “hero in your own story”. Only the story isn’t their own, but that of the 5th graders at Mile High Academy. Upper-school students are writing a graphic novel based on these real characters. This RWL assignment uses mentoring, leadership, writing, journalism, CHERISH values, and more to produce a final product that will have the ultimate authentic audience.

Mrs. Eno and Mrs. Little’s classes are partnering once a week so that their students can get to know each other through interviews and recesses. The students are getting to know each other and are finding out the likes and dislikes of their mentee and then taking this feedback and turning it into a Superhero character.

Little was quick to point out that the “kids look forward to playing with their older peers. It gives them confidence and assures them that playing is still okay even when they get older.” It’s mentorship projects like these that make a Preschool through 12th grade program so great. One 5th grader was so excited by the project, she had her own comments on the RWL, “I hope they give me a cape”.

The Upper School students are encouraged to find the unique in each child, asking questions that bring students out of their shells to be their genuine selves. When they start talking about their dreams and their real “super powers”, like kindness and sharing, the Upper School students start to see their story come alive. That is when they can go back and outline their plot and build their storyboards.

When they’re finished with their books, the students will present their projects to their mentees for critiquing. Seeing themselves through the eyes of their own heroes–that will be a special day.

Agape Hammond; text and photo

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