Teachers Continue to Learn in Summer

Mile High Academy teachers spend the school year teaching our students in a Christ-centered learning environment. 

So, come summer it’s only to be expected that they take a little time off to refresh for the new year.

As Mr. Brian Howard put it, “Making my students a priority means I need to go out into nature and take on some adventures to really come back refreshed.”

That may be Mr. Howard’s way of getting back into the school spirit, but we’ve noticed that each of our teachers has a different way of making sure they are ready when school starts back up in the Fall.

New middle school teacher, Mr. Christopher Morris, has been packing and moving to town, along with visiting the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia for some learning and inspiration. Mrs. Taryn Clark, 5th grade teacher, and Mrs. Jessica Gleason, 2nd grade teacher, spent time with their families but made sure to get some training sessions in with mindSpark Learning ®.

Then, we had Ms. Esther Aviles, music and spanish teacher, who went on a mission trip to Dangriga, Belize to teach music to 60 kids in that community. She explained excitedly, “They had never sung in a choir or had any formal music training, so it was fun watching their reactions as they tried to mimic my vocal warm-up exercises.”  

Every one of our teachers has a story to tell about how they shared of themselves or learned in the summer. 

One thing is for sure, we’re ready to see our teachers again!

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Mile High Academy Reaches Debt-Free Goal

When Mile High Academy opens its doors to a new school year, it will welcome students, staff, and families to a 100 percent debt-free campus.

“It was truly a community effort,” said Jocelyn Aalborg, MHA’s VP of Finance. “Something that wouldn’t have been possible without God’s guidance and the support of our generous alumni, staff, families, churches, and businesses. We can’t say enough to thank our donors for their role in helping MHA become 100 percent debt free.”

MHA relocated to its current Highlands Ranch, Colorado campus in August 2015. With this move and unforeseen operating expenses, the debt totaled $4.7 million. Since the move, the focus has been on relieving this debt, while continuing to provide an excellent Christ-centered education to more than 200 students annually. The total $4.7 million has been donated or pledged with a small number of pledges still to come.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the people who rallied together to pay off 4.7 million dollars of debt Mile High Academy. A great big thank you to the leadership at MHA. Praise God!” said Ed Barnett, RMC president.

MHA principal, Toakase Vunileva expressed her appreciation of the blessing the school has received. She commented, “Praise God for doing the impossible. Thank each and every one of you for the way that you’ve given and prayed, and the time you’ve shared to enable Mile High Academy to be debt-free.”

During 2019/20 budget discussions, an anonymous donor brought to the table a proposal to eliminate the debt. A strategic campaign was launched. This campaign sought contributions from current families, school board, faculty and staff, alumni, churches, hospitals, and businesses. The funds started to pour in. By the evening of July 8, MHA’s VP of Finance was able to report that the school was 100 percent debt free.

“I won’t deny there were times of doubt,” said Aalborg. “However, God opened hearts in ways we never would have imagined. The outpouring of generosity speaks volumes to the exceptional “family” that supports the current students and future generations of Mile High Academy.”

(article first appeared in RMC News Nuggets)

— Karrie Meyers with Jocelyn Aalborg; photos by Agape Hammond

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Why Private Christian Education?

More than a century ago, in February, 1894, Ellen G. White was inspired by the Holy Spirit that true education should be: “the harmonious development of physical, mental, spiritual and social faculties” of our young people. This is still our goal as Adventist educators. However, as families and friends we must evaluate our mission and values often. Is Christian Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) education still important? And why are so many families still willing to sacrifice in order to send their children to our Christian Seventh-day Adventist schools?

With over 1,000 schools in North American and more than 83,000 students, the SDA education system offers elementary through post grad education. It also employs over 10,000 educators across all levels of education. (1)

Mile High Academy, in Highlands Ranch, CO, with 230 students from Preschool through 12th grade is one of the 1,035 schools represented. We are proud of our mission to “provide an excellent, Christ-centered education that empowers young people to excel” but beyond that the wider mission of our education system “to enable learners to develop a life of faith in God, and to use their knowledge, skills, and understandings to serve God and humanity.” (1)


1. Our educators provide your student with healthy role models

The world around us provides enough negative influence. We want those around our children to be the best of the best. The formative years are a critical time in your child’s life for establishing relationships with healthy role models. Ensure your student is surrounded by Christ-like individuals who want to invest in their lives. These healthy role models from teachers will put them on a more stable path than their peers who lack such relationships. The more positive influences in your child’s life, reinforcing Godly values, the better.

2. Proven academic advantage

Private Christian schools not only offer small class sizes, highly educated and caring teachers, and top-notch electives, they also have been scientifically proven to provide academic advantages. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) states: “Students who attend religious schools score at an academic level about 12 months ahead of their counterparts.” They also state, “For students from the lowest quartile of socioeconomic status (SES), the advantage of having attended a private school was even more pronounced. Those students were nearly four times more likely than their public school counterparts to have attained a bachelor’s or higher degree.”

3. Values-based education

A Christian school is not just for learning, it is a place where children can solidify their morals and values. It’s the ideal environment for learning the truth of Jesus Christ during key years. Studies have shown that what a child believes by the time they are 14 years old is often what they will believe for the rest of their life. If you can set a Biblical foundation for your child as early as possible, you are setting them on a path for both academic and relational success.

4. Behavioral benefits

The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) also states in the summary of their report, “Although academic performance was a key focus in the report, the study also examined student behavior and found an even larger advantage, or effect size, for religious schools.” As Jeynes told CAPE, “Students who attend religious schools have fewer behavioral problems than their counterparts, even when adjusting for socioeconomic status, race, and gender.” What does this mean for the classroom? It means safer schools, healthier students, and better outcomes overall for their future success.

5. Individualized attention

Small class sizes combined with excellent educators allow your child to have the kind of individualized attention that simply can’t be found in a public school. Your student isn’t a body in a room, they are an individual. Each child is a human being with unique gifts and talents that will be carefully nurtured in the classroom environment. 

More Reasons:

All of these reasons are why our families choose MHA for their children. It is why our donors choose to support Christian Seventh-day Adventist education. And then there are the more eternal reasons:

  1. 40% of the young people who attend SDA schools remain faithful to Christ, and they are more likely to become active lay leaders or full-time workers in our churches.
  2. A typical Adventist Church is open for about 7 hours a week, an Adventist day school is open for 40 hours, and an Adventist boarding school 168 hours.
  3. Where our young people go to school often determines their careers, spouses, faith, and even their eternal destiny.
  4. Adventist schools are “cities of refuge” for many of our young people living in a broken world full of moral decay.
  5. Adventist education prepares our young people for this life and for the life to come. Our young people learn about the kingdom of God.
  6. In the book of Acts, chapters 4 and 5, the story of Peter and John at the beginning of the Christian church after Christ had ascended to heaven. Acts 4:13 states “when [the people] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” They stood out in their families, neighborhood, and communities. Their master, Jesus Christ, had transformed their lives, their purpose and their mission. There is no doubt that Peter and John were on fire for God in spite of being “unschooled ordinary men.” The common and ordinary men had become extraordinary. (4)

Let us make extraordinary people for the future!

    Works Cited


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June Giving Campaign!

Thank you for your generosity. You got us to $142,000!

With just $28,000 left to our $170,000 Debt Free Goal, we are making one last call. We have until July 5, an extension was granted, to get there. We know we can because we’ve come this far. Our school board, our staff, our community, our churches, our alumni, they are all coming together. The mission is a school with no debt, a school that can go into the future with the students always first.

Thank you for your generosity so far. Consider giving one more time.

$28,000, 4 days, YOU and ALL of us together!

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MHA Camp Counselors

One of the things we love about summer camp at Mile High Academy is having our Upper School students working as camp counselors and alumni working as teachers. This year we have several of our Juniors taking on counselor roles. We also have an alumnae of MHA who currently attends Union College, Maddie, working as a lead teacher.

Seeing students taken on leadership positions makes us proud to say they are MHA students.

Each week, campers get to meet their counselors, learn a little bit about them, and then participate in group activities where their counselor works closely with them to see projects completed.

We love having students on campus during the year and in the summer!

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Summer Camp at MHA!

School may be out, but summer at Mile High Academy is still an active and exciting time. With Kids University Summer Camp in full swing, our days are full.

Starting as early as 7:30 in the morning, you will see staff on campus greeting our campers. At 8:30am, worship on the upper school deck starts the day off right. By 9am our campers are off and running. Every week a special activity in the morning keeps our campers engaged in movement and play.

The afternoon is dedicated to hands-on-learning that incorporates STEM, literacy, and outdoor activities developmentally appropriate for each camper.

The classrooms may be closed, teachers may be off learning and taking much needed self-care breaks, but here in the MHA upper school building, the energy is high through the summer weeks.

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MHA Students Enter Laboratory of Life

Wednesday, May 15, the Mile High Academy fifth grade class returned from their science learning trip. They spent three days, two nights at the Keystone Science School. 

Dedicated to hands-on science and adventure, the science school exemplifies the type of learning we value at MHA. 

Fifth grader, Eden, came back full of stories about all the different ways they spent their time in Keystone, “We went on a hike on the second day and it was really fun. We told riddles. We walked for one mile. The kids really loved it.”

The fifth grade divided up into two learning group. Students were asked to journal their ideas at certain points to encourage their engagement in the material. 

Topics ranged from the ecological impact of fires on the environment, the life cycle of a star, and the growth pattern of plants after natural disasters. 

While on the hikes, students learned to identify certain native plants and trees, naming them as they went along. 

Learning trips like this one are part of the experiential learning that takes students out of the walled classroom and into the laboratory of life.

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Exhibition Night 2019

The annual Exhibition Night is about bringing our community together to see some of the Real World Learning projects our students dedicate themselves to doing throughout the year. Exhibition Night is specifically intended for our students to present their projects to a live and authentic audience. 

RWL is dedicated to engaging our students in meaningful projects that demonstrate mastery of learning. On Exhibition Night students present this mastery to their friends and family.
Our students present their work with deep understanding and communicate how projects relate to themselves as well as to their community.

Highlights of the event included Middle School yearbook, where students took you in a journey through the writing process, photography lessons, and s walk down a hallway of their best work. Upper School held an exhibit on “Hero in Your Own Story”, graphic novels written and illustrated by upper school students about fifth graders. In the Lower School, third graders walked guests through “5 Loaves” displays. Here, visitors could see yeast in action, taste bread, and hear the story of Jesus’ miracle feeding of the 5000.

There were many more exhibits but you have to come see for yourself next year!

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Explore The World!

On the 3rd of April, a group of upper school students from Mile High Academy embarked on the trip of a lifetime. Their destination, England and France. This biennial trip is part of the language arts program led by Mrs. Jenni Eno. The goal is to place students in the spaces where literary greats once walked, experience the places that up to now students have only read about. Twenty-three students and several chaperones set off to immerse themselves in history.

Why does MHA value learning trips? Mrs. Eno has been doing this trip for years and knows first hand what it means for students to see where Shakespeare’s plays were performed. Mr. Brian Howard who went on the trip this year as a sponsor sees many benefits to exposing students to travel, “Experiencing different cultures, getting students outside their comfort zones, seeing new and different ways of thinking about the world, these are the opportunities that truly change our students.”

Photos Jenni Eno and Brian Howard

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Remembering Mr. Roger Brodis

Mr. Roger Brodis touched so many lives during his own life and teaching career. Hear from some of those close to him.

Check out the video we created with his family and friends to commemorate his life.

You can find it here –

Or here –

You can read his original Tribute HERE.

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