Better Than Best
"How do you think the school has improved?" the imposing accreditation board asked us. The accrediting body, EASEA (E.A Sutherland Education Association), is interested in schools like ours, whose primary goal is finishing the work of Jesus, the Lord of the harvest. Several of us students sat apprehensively in a classroom facing the people who would decide if our school was worthy of accreditation. One could cut the silence with a knife. I sat in my squeaky desk thinking, "What could be changed?" I thought of our out-of-date buildings, small dorm rooms, squeaky desks, and terrible internet connection. Those things could be changed. I forget what I told those people, but fortunately, a couple of months later we were accredited on one premise: campus improvement. Our school was applauded by the accrediting body for its family atmosphere and positive staff/student interaction and relationships. Other strengths mentioned were its excellent academic program and the redemptive way in which disciplinary issues are handled.
In the last couple of years, Oklahoma Academy has made strides towards creating a more up-to-date atmosphere. We recently equipped every student with a Chromebook which they use to receive assignments, textbooks, check grades, and talk one on one with teachers.
As a part of the accreditation process, we have added new training in our vocational areas. Every workplace whether it be the cafeteria, grounds, canvassing or office, focuses on teaching the skill sets needed to become competent in their vocation. Many students take on a couple different vocational assignments simultaneously in order to diversify their skills. Underclassmen participate in one of four Sunday morning vocational classes, learning valuable skills such as gardening, cooking/baking, care of the home and vehicles, sewing, and how to use media to uplift Christ.
Recently, we have experienced a huge answer to prayer. For years, OA has searched for someone to lead the flight training program and last year God brought Clifton Brooks, a licensed flight instructor and experienced mission pilot. He started with a ground school class. Unfortunately, we had no plane! For an entire year, we campaigned, advertised and prayed for a plane. This summer, God provided a beautiful little Taylor craft. On August 30, 2019, Mr. Books triumphantly flew our new trainer into our little grass runway. He now has 4 students training in the Mission Aviation Program (MAP).
I have never been more proud of my school. When I first arrived, I felt trapped here. Student life at OA seemed not to have changed in the last twenty years while the world had rapidly modernized. Now, I see change. I feel change. I feel it when the staff asks students questions about their thoughts and opinions of the school, during student council meetings and when I sit with my friends and check my assignments on Google Classroom. I hope that after I graduate, Oklahoma Academy will continue to improve and grow as God blesses them to be better than their best.