Khine Myint, Abigail Grunden and William Ramos after receiving their scholarship certificates during the Lake Union Secondary Leadership Retreat last fall. [Credit: Greg Edge]
Abigail Grunden and Khine Myint from Indiana Academy, and William Ramos from Wisconsin Academy won the draw for three $4,000 Consider a Career in Teaching scholarships sponsored by the Lake Union. This draw was open to junior and senior conference attendees who expressed interest in becoming teachers in Adventist schools. Upon their enrollment as an education major at an accredited Adventist college or university, Grunden, Myint and Ramos each will receive $1,000 yearly tuition assistance for four years from this Lake Union Conference initiative.
William Ramos, a senior, plans to major in theology. He can see himself teaching Bible one day at the academy level. He also is considering becoming a pastor. “I like helping people” he says, “and I’m pretty good at talking to people, especially one-on-one.”
Ramos is relatively new to Christian education. This is his second year at Wisconsin Academy, an experience he credits with being “life changing.” His previous education was in public schools where Ramos admittedly often felt isolated and “like the one weird Christian kid there.” Ramos identifies Artie Hamann, history, social studies, and physical education teacher at Wisconsin Academy, as one of his main inspirations. Ramos describes Hamann as “being like the dad we all want.” Another person that Ramos cites as being an important influence is Bible teacher Greg Edge. While working for Edge, Ramos began to sense that “I might like to do this.” Ramos hasn’t decided yet where he will attend college or university.
Abigail Grunden, a junior, has been considering a career in architecture or teaching mathematics at the secondary level. When she entered her name into the drawing for the Consider a Career in Teaching scholarship, she thought, “If I win, maybe this means that I’m meant to be a teacher.” She describes herself as “academically driven.” As someone who takes her studies seriously, she often “chooses homework over hanging out with friends.” She says that math has always come easily to her. "I always hear people talking about how hard math is, but that is mainly because of their mindset. I'd like to help correct the misconceptions that so many have about this subject,” Grunden says.
Grunden attended Cross Street Christian School in Anderson, Indiana, before enrolling at Indiana Academy. She credits Jordan Reichert, who teaches Bible, history and social studies at Indiana Academy, with being one of her most influential teachers. Grunden describes Reichert as “so giving in a spiritual way and wise with his words.” She adds that “he played a key role in the process of my baptism.” Grunden describes herself as “patient and a good listener and someone who truly desires to help,” all qualities that she feels will help her become an effective teacher. Grunden hasn’t decided yet where she will attend college or university, but she is certain that this funding will significantly help her meet her next set of educational goals.
In addition to carrying a full academic load, Khine Myint, a senior, is recognized by his teachers and classmates as a committed servant leader on campus. He is Student Association pastor, a resident assistant and captain of the gymnastics team, the Aerials. He also assists others in their roles wherever he can, contributing to the religious programming at school and at church. He frequently accompanies the praise team and other campus musicians on the cajon and guitar.
Myint describes himself as “not the most social person,” yet others observe that he regularly steps outside of his comfort zone, making it his personal mission to help everyone around him feel noticed and included. Although Myint’s earlier years weren’t characterized by spiritual devotion, the love of Christ has produced in him what one classmate calls a “180 degree turn.” Now Myint can be found preaching to his fellow students and church members as well as connecting with local public school students and friends at the Buddhist temple.
While still a student himself, Myint is already demonstrating many characteristics of a committed and caring teacher. Whether inside or outside of the classroom, Myint remains attuned to the needs of those around him, always ready to bear witness to the transformative power of Jesus Christ.
Beverly Matiko remembers winning first prize in an essay-writing contest sponsored by her home church. The assigned topic was “Reverence.” Matiko credits this affirmation from Adventist grade school days with strengthening her determination to “keep writing and keep going to school.” Matiko ultimately earned an MA and PhD in English, opening the door to a fulfilling career of teaching writing and related subjects in Adventist colleges and universities in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the USA.