In spring 2018, five seniors at Spencerville Adventist Academy in Spencerville, Md., were all candidates for the title of class valedictorian. Lauren Butler, Hannah Castillo, Owen Faehner, Eric Inae and Andrew Remmers had all performed at extremely high levels academically, achieving 4.0 GPAs in addition to their involvement in extracurricular activities.
When it became apparent that the school’s decision to choose just one valedictorian would be quite difficult, the five candidates talked among themselves. According to Andrew, “We unanimously decided [to share the position]. We were just extremely happy and honored to share this memory with each other. The administration later told us that this would be the last year they would have so many valedictorians so we felt extremely blessed.”
All five marched as valedictorians on graduation day. And then, through individual decision-making processes, all five chose to attend Andrews University.
Eric, who is double majoring in Computer Science and Music, made it a matter of prayer and consulted with trusted mentors while considering Andrews. He feels he made the right decision. “I really enjoy life here . . . all the faculty and other students have made me feel at home, and I’m thankful for all the new friends I have made.”
Lauren, a freshman Biology major, chose Andrews because of its strong pre-med program, the chance to go to school with her sister, and the overall atmosphere. She says, “The school as a whole is a great community. I like that there are so many clubs and other functions that are great ways to get to know other people.”
Owen, also a Biology major, was attracted to Andrews because of the challenging courses in preparation for medical school, the community and spirituality. “I like how it isn’t hard to maintain a good relationship with God here, and I think that will really benefit me in the long run. I hope that some of the connections I make here can benefit me once I get into the real world, as well.”
Andrew, majoring in Accounting, believes Andrews will prepare him for a career in management. “I want companies and businesses to look at me as a potential benefit . . . Andrews can help me strive for these goals by improving my networking skills and training me to be the best, godly businessman that I can possibly be.”
Hannah, a freshman Chemistry major who was drawn to the Andrews science programs and the available emphasis on forensics, emphasizes her desire to stay in an Adventist school. “I think it’s important that you’re surrounded by people of the same faith who are going to support you if you go through rough patches — especially during this time of our lives, I believe it’s important to stay connected to God.”
As they enter their university careers, all five of these individuals seek to find ways to grow their faith and to advance themselves personally and academically — opportunities that Andrews strives to provide.
Photo credit: Courtesy Owen Faehner
Photo caption: Spencerville Adventist Academy 2018 Valedictorians, L–R: Hannah Castillo, Eric Inae, Owen Faehner, Andrew Remmers, Lauren Butler