Largest Freshman Class in 15 Years Enrolls at Shenandoah Valley Academy
The largest freshman class in 15 years—54 of them—recently enrolled at Shenandoah Valley Academy (SVA) for the 2015-16 school year. The Class of 2019 is comprised of 32 girls and 22 boys. Eight are children of 10 loyal SVA alumni.
Story by Janel Haas-Ware, Shenandoah Valley Academy
Recruiter Gail Romeo testifies, “Throughout the recruiting season, I was amazed to witness God lead the families of this impressive class. It seems each freshman family has a testimony of God’s leading to share.”
Steve Retz, parent of a freshman, shares, “SVA is my son’s choice for high school. He wants to be here. Our decision to send Tommy is the result of many prayers. As my wife and I prayed, each obstacle to enrolling our son fell away.”
Many of the new families will also benefit from the commitment SVA administration has made to provide scholarships to better enable outstanding students to attend the academy. “A quarter of the freshmen test in the 80th percentile or above on the Iowa Test of Basic Standards and come to us with a grade point average of 3.75 or above, which qualifies them for the Zirkle academic scholarship,” reports Wendy Dean, registrar.
Recipients of the Zirkle scholarship who reside in the dorm receive $5,000 per year for all four years they attend SVA. Dale Twomley, principal, shares, “Zirkle provides an incredible opportunity to recognize incoming freshmen for academic achievement. … The depth and breadth of spiritual, social, academic, work and life experiences at SVA is well-suited to students who are seeking to gain more from high school than the typical core class work.”
Twomley adds, “Incoming students must be prepared to go above and beyond to master the curriculum, and to meet the challenges of holding a job and participating in a school culture where spiritual and social growth and development is highly valued and expected.”
Preparations to support this large class in their transition to Seventh-day Adventist boarding school culture have been well considered. Donald Short, principal-in-transition, says, “SVA student leaders are committed to mentoring and nurturing the freshmen students. We seek to solidify our school culture as a direct reflection of the SVA mission, to provide an education worthy of the next generation of Christ’s disciples. … We want to partner with freshmen and their families, not only to advance the school mission of making disciples for Jesus, but also to reach more young people and families who share SVA values and objectives.”
Before students arrived for registration, residence hall deans encouraged and prepared the resident assistants to intentionally extend friendship to new students, and to support them in their walk with Jesus. Kelly Menhardt, girls dean, says, “Most importantly, we are studying the Bible and praying for all our new students [while] focused on this year’s theme of ‘Friendship.’ We are committed to helping the young people grow in their relationships with each other and with Jesus.”