TAA teachers and staff prayed earnestly: the goal was $6,500.00, enough to defeat a debt. The fanfare began at Tulsa Adventist Academy’s 2022 Talent Show & Silent Auction with a powerful devotional about Christian education from a man deeply impacted by it: Pastor Jim Landelius, pastor of the Sapulpa and Sand Springs churches. His story of childhood poverty and the kindness of benevolent strangers who helped him to attend Ozark Adventist Academy, Southwestern Adventist University, and Andrews University, is a testament to evangelism in the school house. But that wasn’t all.
TAA students sang in two choirs; cartwheels (one and two-handed) raced across the stage; the piano was played; a violinist played “Allegro”; and suddenly, everything changed. Anonymous donors schemed and a match was announced that lasted for only 30 minutes. That match raised $4,000.00 alone.
Generous donors also gave goods and services such as flower bouquets, photography sessions, organic produce baskets, a handmade wooden tie, and other items to add to the donations. But that wasn’t all.
Between silly and serious classroom skits, Tulsa’s Adventist Fellowship pastor, Nic Coutet, performed theatrics on the piano (he plays a mean “Memories” from the Broadway show “Cats”) and then implored the crowd to raise $1,000.00 in two minutes. And they did it! Ten people stood up and donated $100 each, starting with TAA's interim principal Peggy Fisher. But that wasn’t all.
As the events were winding down, the hoopla was winding up! TAA Home & School leader Silvia Berumen came to the stage to announce that just over $12,000.00 was raised in all which not only canceled the debt but adds to the Home & School budget for improvements desperately needed. But that wasn’t all!
The finale of the evening was when a TAA student got to shave the beard of Ronald Arroyo-Watson, TAA’s science teacher for grades 7-12. “Mr. A” had promised he would shave his beard if the fundraising goal was met. Upon Ms. Berumen’s announcement of surpassing the goal, his fate was sealed by the hands of a 15-year-old. His thick, full beard fell whisker-by-whisker to the floor until his face was smooth as a baby's!
At TAA’s Spring Awards Ceremony, grades 7-12 math teacher, Larry Seery, will let his hair be cut since he made the identical promise. (Photos are on Facebook at Tulsa Adventist Academy and on Instagram at #tulsaadventistacademy.)
TAA teachers and staff praise and deeply thank our donors and students for their best efforts in helping us continue our mission since 1916: to prepare students for heaven and earth!
By Caroline A. Fisher