Alumni Return to School in Different Role
Story by Heidi Wetmore
For academies across the Columbia Union, it’s that time of year when seniors can clearly see the finish line. No longer a fabled pot of gold at the end of the educational rainbow, but a real, tangible and fast-approaching deadline. While there are some who cannot possibly imagine life beyond the classroom, it’s safe to say that, for the most part, students cannot wait to move on to bigger and better things. While many go out into the world to make a positive impact, a number of former students and graduates have chosen to come back home and change the world in a much more familiar setting. Even if the building is different.
For the 2018–19 academic year, Chesapeake Conference's Spencerville Adventist Academy (SAA) has more alumni working at the school than ever before. In fact, it has become something of a running joke among staff members who have been here for quite some time that the school is now being run by students. In the high school alone, one-fourth of the teachers are former graduates.
If you look beyond the high school and extend alumni status to those who attended when it was a junior academy, SAA staff is comprised of eight former students in total. So then, with such a large number of the staff being former students, what makes SAA not only an important part of someone’s past, but their bigger and better as well?
Jarrod Lutz (’07), a high school English teacher since 2012, says, “I’ve been going to SAA since second grade. This place means the world to me. It was a dream of mine to work here, and I feel truly blessed to be making an impact at the school that made such a big impact on me.” Gregory Macalinao (’05), a P. E. teacher since 2015, echoes this sentiment. “It’s an honor and privilege to work here at my alma mater. It’s been a huge blessing to have been [teaching] here for the past four years, and I look forward to what’s to come.” Brittany Thorp (’07), business manager since 2015, captures the general consensus of all the alumni who work at SAA. Speaking of her position here and her love for the school, she says, “Being able to give back to the school and community that I have been a part of for my entire education is a dream come true. It’s truly something that I’ll cherish forever.”