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Attend an SDA school?


Should I go to a Seventh-day Adventist school even if their academic program isn't good?

Steve Answers:

It all depends on how smart you are
It all depends on how smart you are!

Some people who do well academically want bigger challengesthan a relatively small school can usually provide; they want advanced classes.Others who do poorly academically want remedial classes, which bigger schools are more likely to provide.

But there are some educators who prefer to put all students together in one group to "mainstream" them, rather than separate "smart" peoplefrom "dumb" people. They've found that these labels aren't very helpful most ofthe time.

Hopefully you're smart enough to know that there's more to school than just academics. Some people think academics are the most importantthing to consider when selecting a school. I certainly don't. Of courseacademics are part of the picture, but I wouldn't rate it first priority. Myprimary interest is in character development. So that's the question I'd askfirst when it comes to choosing a school.

Allow me to rephrase your question: Should I go to a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) school even if their character development program isn't good? My answer would be no! But then I'd want to know more about why you think the SDA school isn't strong on character development. Most of the ones I've been in contact with give it number-one priority.

Your question reminds me of the worldly priority of selfishness that takes the form of getting the best for one's self so you can climb higher, achieve the most, and get more than anybody else. Christ's disciples had this attitude, and here's how He responded to them:

"You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:25-28, NLT).1

Another way of saying it is, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33, KJV). A paraphrase of that verse says, "So don't worry at all about having enough food and clothing. Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenlyFather already knows perfectly well that you need them, and he will give themto you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to"(Matthew 6:31-33, TLB).2

So when it comes to selecting a school, choose one that puts God ahead of academics, and the academics will take care of themselves. It's important to realize that putting God first doesn't result in poor academics. By putting academics in their proper place, you can actually do better academically than you would otherwise. If I were you, I'd be concerned about an SDA school that put academics first, because that's not a smart thing to do based on God's counsel.

Excellence comes from God, not from one's self, even though it takes all you've got as well. But the purpose of excellence is service, not selfishness. So choose a school that puts God first and deals with you as a whole person, not just your mind.


1Verses marked NLT are taken from the HolyBible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 60189. All rights reserved.

2Verses marked TLB are taken from The LivingBible, copyright 1971 by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Ill. Used by permission.

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