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Mount Vernon Academy Special Constituency Highlights Strengths, Needs
Story by Heidi Shoemaker
MVA student Tee Appiah shares a moving testimony.
More than 190 Mount Vernon Academy (MVA) stakeholders recently assembled for a special session of the Mount Vernon Academy Corporation, where the corporation reported on items such as current operations, finances, fundraising, a financial audit, Ohio Conference subsidies, demographic trends and future prospects.
Principal Robert Stevenson gave the first report, which focused on the Mount Vernon, Ohio-based academy’s many program features and the impact they continue to have on their students. Bie An Tija Fong (pictured), MVA’s business manager, then described the actions the school has taken to turn around their financial operations and stabilize fiscal operations.
Kimberly Westfall, from General Conference Auditing Services, informed participants that the academy had received an unqualified, “clean” opinion for the 2009-10 school year. Margaret Sutton, MVA’s development director, shared a five-year history of donations and expressed appreciation to the donors. Doug Falle, Ohio Conference treasurer, detailed the conference’s financial subsidies for the past five years, funds MVA has received from Ohio Advance and funds the academy owes the conference. Vince Waln, chair of the Ohio Conference Finance Committee and an MVA trustee, gave a progress report on appeals made on IRS issues.
Monte Sahlin, the conference’s director of Research and Special Projects, presented information pertaining to school-aged children, attitudes toward MVA and the percentage of families interested in a boarding academy experience for their children. Jay Colburn, superintendent of Education, gave additional demographic information. His summation: the low availability of eighth-graders for recruitment and the current number of MVA seniors present enrollment challenges for the next few years.
After acknowledging that the Ohio Conference and MVA administration, faculty and staff are doing all they can to keep the academy’s operation strong and viable into the future, conference president Raj Attiken appealed to attendees for specific areas of needed support. These areas, which will help the academy continue its ministry, include increased church support for Ohio Advance, increased giving for student aid and other areas of financial need, assistance in identifying and recruiting Adventist students attending public schools, assistance in marketing the academy, volunteering for special projects and paying bills.
“We have given full and open disclosure of the academy’s situation and appealed to our stakeholder constituents and constituent churches to now demonstrate their interests in MVA’s future,” observed Attiken about the meeting. “We will remain optimistic about our constituency’s commitment to this academy.”
The Mount Vernon Academy Echoliers added a spiritual tone to the session with their vocal presentation.
Bie An Tija Fong, MVA’s business manager
Robert Stevenson, MVA’s principal