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THEN and Now

posted Jun 12, 2010, 10:19 AM by Jason Quick   [ updated Nov 2, 2011, 5:32 AM by Sites Admin ]
Rachel (Mauk) Stevenson, '93

Faith Academy has two campuses—one in Manila and one in Davao City. How did Faith Academy Mindanao in Davao City start? Former superintendent Don Boesel writes this about the beginnings of Faith Acadmy’s southern campus:

In the late 1970s, a group of parents from Davao City came to Faith Manila and asked for Faith Academy to begin a school in Davao City. Though I had heard of other MK schools having branch campuses, I was not sure it was the best thing to do... I knew some were opposed to Faith doing it ... My suggestion: form a parent committee and start your own school. Faith would offer what assistance we could. After two years, if you still wanted Faith to run the school, we would talk again. This is what the par- ents did. The parents contacted Faith Academy again in 1982 and the school formally known as the United Christian Academy became Faith Academy’s second campus. The high school was added in 2008.

I arrived at Faith Academy Mindanao in September of 2005 to serve as middle school language arts teacher. Five years later, I substitute occasionally, but am mostly at home raising my two children. I was blessed to take time to research the school’s beginnings. I sat down and reminisced with four of Faith Academy Mindanao’s most beloved staff members to mine for jewels of insight. I asked them what makes this school what it is today. The answer, for each, was the people behind the process.

If you’ve ever been to Faith’s Mindanao campus, chances are you’ve met cheerful staff member Dexter Calixtro, better known as Kuya Dex. He and his wife Ate Joy have been at Faith Academy’s southern campus the longest. They even lived on school grounds for eight years. Kuya Dex has cared for the campus since it was one building. Now there are seven buildings, a covered court and a playing field. Ate Joy heads up the school lunch program, serving a delicious array of Filipino and international dishes. She certainly knows about student population growth, serving one hundred and forty students compared to the initial twenty-five.

“Teachers and students come and go, but I’m still here!” Kuya Dex says and smiles. “Now there are more buildings, more students. More.” But even as the facilities and student body grow, the spirit of Faith Academy and its mission to serve the children of missionaries remains strong. Kuya Dex shares that his favorite part of working at Faith are the people that he works with.
Steve St. Clair had words of praise to share about teachers and parents he has served with during his twelve years at Faith Mindanao. He especially sang the praises of Jewel Spoelhof and Doris Nichols.   

“Jewel Spoolhof—she was truly a teacher, the real thing,” Mr. St Clair said. He describes her as skilled and versatile, a team player. “Jewel could teach it all. Language arts, math, elementary. And she taught it well. Students respected her.”

Ms. Spoolhof served over twenty years at Faith Mindanao as teacher in elementary and middle school, head teacher, and even as principal for a time. She volunteered for sports and other outside of school activities. She was described by colleagues as encouraging and inspiring.

Steve also shares about the talented Doris Nichols who taught middle school science. “She had an agriculture background and her teaching was incredibly interactive. I’m talk- ing about bringing cow eyes back from the market to dissect,” Steve explains. He tells of how there was not even a room or much equipment for Doris to use to teach with when she arrived. “We built her a cart to store the science equipment. What she made out of the situation was amazing...Students received high grades in their future science classes.” In a short log of the early years of Faith Academy Mindanao, Doris is described as professional and personable.

Mr. St Clair is quick to praise others, but if you walk down the hallways and ask students what teachers have made a difference in their lives, chances are Mr. Saint is mentioned. It is his warmth, truthfulness, and approachability that make Mr. St Clair outstanding. Faith Academy Mindanao owes much of its growth and heart to this great man.

“I think a lot of solidification has happened this year,” says Alan Farlin, acting principal of Faith Mindanao for 5 years. Mr. Farlin previously served as principal at Mindanao International Christian Academy (MICA), now the Faith Academy high school. “The merger has made us a complete school—providing a complete education for our children.” He expresses great joy in the quality teaching staff, newly implemented academic programs, and continued campus improvements. “I see us continuing to stay focused on our primary purpose of caring for MKs.” He looks forward to continuing to strengthen communication between campuses and learn from each other.

I am also thankful for Faith Academy’s southern campus. It provides a chance for students to receive quality education while staying with their families. There are outstanding teach- ers and staff calling students to true relationship with God. The future of Faith Mindanao is certain as long as the leadership and students continue to pursue love, truth, and high standards. Thank God for this community.