The Rapidian

The Education miracle: school wins $50,000 in construction services

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

San Juan Diego Academy has experienced the miracle of human generosity, its students the miracle of learning.

/San Juan Diego Academy

Underwriting support from:

Miracles happen frequently at San Juan Diego Academy, if you know what to look for.

Construction trades give SJDA students lessons in science and math

Construction trades give SJDA students lessons in science and math /San Juan Diego Academy

Many gathered to vote for SJDA in the Erhardt contest

Many gathered to vote for SJDA in the Erhardt contest /San Juan Diego Academy

During the summer, San Juan Diego Academy (SJDA) participated in the Erhardt Construction 50th Anniversary Building Our Community Campaign. Very few people thought that SJDA could win such a contest. Winning an online voting competition is a challenge for any organization and the school had additional obstacles.

The contest began in mid-June and ran through almost the end of August. Fifty-nine non-profit organizations in West Michigan entered. For a small school in southwest Grand Rapids to compete against much larger organizations was a challenge in itself. That the contest was in English and online while many constituents that have a vested interest in SJDA speak little English and have limited access to computers made the challenge even greater. Worse, the school's most vested audience, the students themselves, were out of school for the summer and being under the age of eighteen, were ineligible to vote.

But the miracle of human generosity emerged. The message that San Juan Diego Academy needed essential repairs to its concrete foundation was communicated and understood throughout Michigan. People that didn’t understand English understood the need and voted for SJDA. People that didn’t know of SJDA before the contest voted for education. Protestent and secular organizations in the neighborhood along with Catholic organizations and educators statewide banded together to vote and asked their friends and colleagues to do the same. Ultimately all of those votes succeeded in making San Juan Diego Academy the grand prize winner and the recipient of $50,000 in much needed construction services.

As important as receiving a huge financial benefit is to SJDA, it pales in comparison to the lessons that students are learning from this past summer’s experience. It became apparent to students that miracles are happening all around them. They learned that with hard work, miracles do happen. They learned that education matters to enough people that they would take the time to vote for it. They learned to appreciate the opportunity that they have been given to them.

The new school year is beginning. During the next nine months students will learn about the miracles that are all around them. The will learn of the miracles of nature, the miracles of science, and the miracle of education. Hopefully, they will also learn that they are their own miracle and will use that miracle to be their best and to benefit others.

Summer vacation at San Juan Diego Academy this year provided many opportunities for learning. Some of the learning was formal lessons during summer classes. Some of it was life lessons. Some of it was lessons in humanity. The ability to learn is the miracle.

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