Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Mount Vernon Academy Assets Help Ohio Schools

Story by Heidi Shoemaker

After months of meetings, committee work, research and visioning by Ohio Conference staff, another chapter of Mount Vernon Academy’s history is coming to a close.

The Assets

Last October Ohio Conference school leaders visited the Mount Vernon Academy (MVA) property to bid on or request items for their schools. Many schools obtained much-needed equipment at little or no cost. Several smaller churches later received a variety of items for their congregations. Conference leaders then put up the academy assets for auction.

Two hundred and fifteen registered attendees participated in the first auction in December. The proceeds of $46,306.42 will go toward MVA debt reduction. Participants purchased items primarily from the cafeteria, dormitories and classrooms. The “auctioneers were pleasantly surprised at how many attended and how much money was received,” commented Karen Senecal, conference treasurer.

The 70-plus acre property parcel deeds were clarified last fall, and the remaining assets, along with the property as a whole, will be put up for auction after mid-April. During the August constituency meeting, Halvorsen noted that this “unique type of place will take a unique buyer.” Local government officials agree, and Knox County officials partnered with the conference, local business leaders and potential investors to hire a consulting firm specializing in advancing communities. Earlier this year, the group held a public meeting inviting Mount Vernon residents and businesses to share ideas and hear about potential uses for the property, which will be included in the study by the consulting firm.

After the sale of the MVA property and assets, conference committees and leadership will outline a plan for how monies will best be used to continue the vision and mission of the conference—of which education is a cornerstone.

“It is important for us to remember the (total) value of Adventist education, and not only the cost,” says Ken Knudsen, education superintendent.

Education in Ohio

Education continues to be a priority for Ohio Conference leadership, who held a joint workshop in February, encouraging collaborative practices in teacher and pastor relations. Education staff continue visioning and exploring new uses for technology. Three Ohio elementary schools have already implemented the APLE (Accredited Programs for Learning Environments) through the North American Division Office of Education and Griggs International Academy, which allows them to offer high school grades in their schools.

Conference education and youth department leaders are actively collaborating to most effectively reach students in areas without a school. As part of this, “Mentoring by Design” youth gatherings will debut this spring. During the events, conferences leaders will explore how best to use technology to connect Ohio young people—both “virtually” and in person.

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