Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Dave Pate, project manager; Shaun Lazarus, school principal; Rick Bianco, conference education superintendent; Katie Swackhamer, school board chairperson; Kojo Twumasi, Toledo First church pastor; and Bob Cundiff, conference president, take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony

Toledo Junior Academy Opens New Gym

Story by Francis Tuffour

Toledo Junior Academy (TJA) recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open its new gymnasium and building expansion.

In his welcome address, Shaun Lazarus, school principal, acknowledged various guests and introduced his team of co-workers. Kojo Twumasi, pastor of the Toledo First church, welcomed the guests, including pastors from nearby churches who attended the event. Ohio Conference officers Bob Cundiff, president; Oswaldo Maga.a, executive secretary; and Roy Simpson, treasurer, attended the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Gerald Marsa, Finance Committee chair for the Toldeo First church, shared a vision for the academy and expressed an appreciation for the school’s support. Still, he encouraged people to continue to give so that needed additions could be made to the facility.

Rick Bianco, conference education superintendent, emphasized the importance of education that goes beyond academics. He said, “Today … we can celebrate the whole child. Toledo Junior Academy … gives them the experience of what it is to truly be educated fully on a daily basis, not only spiritually, which is first and foremost, not only academically, not only socially, but also physically.” He also commended each person who contributed to the project.

On behalf of the Ohio Conference administration, Simpson presented a $100,000 check to Toledo Junior Academy for its expansion project.

Katie Swackhamer, school board chairperson, thanked the school board, building committee and others for their immense contribution to the building project. Dave Pate was honored for his exceptional leadership and dedication to overseeing the construction of the building.

After a slideshow highlighting the groundbreaking of the project, Mike Fortune, former pastor of the Toledo church, delivered the dedication message and focused on the foundation of Christian education. He stressed, “It’s the cross of Christ and the love of God that is on full display that forms the foundation of Christian education. So, more and more students, parents, members and guests will be drawn closer to Jesus because it’s Jesus and the teachings of Jesus that matter, that are foundational and still worth sharing.”

Following the ribbon cutting, Cundiff invited all the children to join him as he offered a prayer of dedication. Guests then toured the new space, comprised of a gym, classrooms, offices, a warming kitchen and restrooms.

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