Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Pine Forge Academy 1971 Honor Class Mentors Class of 2021

Story by Tracey Jackson

This year, Allegheny East Conference's Pine Forge Academy (PFA) Honor Class of 1971 wanted to connect with the graduating Class of 2021 in a direct and specific way prior to graduation weekend.

Through the collaboration of PFA’s Career Readiness Program and the Alumni Association Student Enrichment Team, the two classes met via Zoom during a monthly Senior Night to spark new relationships, network and share ideas. The Class of 1971 members provided invaluable mentoring for the 2021 graduates, as several Senior Night meetings had Q&A sessions.

“It was interesting to learn what Pine Forge was like 50 years ago,” remarks Brenda Johnson, Class of 2021 president. “Even with all the differences, in many ways it’s the same. We were able to receive the ‘big picture’ about the different paths to success.”

Larry Jackson (’71) says, “The thing that sticks out in my mind was the interest one of the students had in electrical engineering. It reminded me of the excitement I had for the field at that age.”

Senior Night also offered opportunities for PFA students to network with students from other schools interested in similar fields of study. Joseph Caleb Williams (’21) shared his horizontal networking experience with Ghedion Beyen, another high school senior who is pursuing a career in mechanical engineering. Beyen, who attends the Forest Park High School in Baltimore, as well as The Governor’s School @ Innovation Park in Manassas, Va., has been featured on The Today Show and NBC Nightly News. CEO and founder of the Free and Accessible Technology Initiative, he was recently accepted into Harvard University (Mass.).

Beyen shared his application process with Williams, and the two young men discussed likeminded goals and dreams. Williams, who is pursuing a career in electrical engineering and has been accepted into Oakwood University (Ala.) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says about the meeting: “I learned that you have to take full advantage of all opportunities presented to you because there are people on different paths with various opportunities. If you take full advantage of the opportunities presented to you, and work hard within them, you can achieve any goal that you set your heart and mind to.”

This year the Honor Class of 1971 began a tradition that will prayerfully last into the future and provide another arm to PFA’s Christ-centered mission of preparing students for service to God and man.

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