Here is the report for our Fall Semester 2022 at Cumorah Academy. You will read about:
- Beginning of the Fall Semester
- Service Projects
- Cultural Nights and Social Events
- Successful Stories
Beginning of the Fall Semester:
Nervous. Excited. Happy. Worried. And much more. Even if these are distinct emotions, it is possible to feel all of them at once. Our students from the Fall Semester were feeling all these and much more as they stepped foot on the campus. Their young, excited, bright eyes were filled with dreams and longing for a better life.
They came from Spain, Nicaragua, Ukraine, the United States, Bolivia, Italy, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Greece, Romania, Venezuela, Moldova, Myanmar, Albania, Syria, and Belarus. Different countries. Diverse stories. Distinct goals. Some came to thrive emotionally, and improve their language and communication skills. Others came to make friends and ﬁnd better jobs. But all had one common objective: to embrace the Cumorah Academy spirit. Cumorah Academy helped these new students to join and become part of the legacy of education, faith, discipleship, and service.
Our students arrived on September 14th. Some arrived a day earlier, and others landed a few days later. Once they all were on campus the magic began. The students were divided into groups: Esther, Ruth, Isaiah, Nephi, and Moroni. The next day the courses began and the student’s schedule was now full of a variety of classes.
Besides working hard in class, our students learn the importance of serving others, wherever they are. Our teachers, mentors, and leaders are concerned about who our students can become. With principles ﬁrmly rooted in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, our campus schedule is ﬁlled with service projects that enable our students to willingly use their skills, talents, and love to support others around them.
Among the many projects, one that stood out was planting trees for the next generation. It was a remarkable moment on campus since it involved all students, and also taught the importance of having a vision for the future Our students gathered together at an appointed time in the Conference Room and received step-by-step instructions concerning the project. Even with a sprinkle of rain, they did a great job at planting trees for the next generation of Cumorah Academy students.
Cultural Nights and Social Events
We have good news if you love to meet new people and learn about their culture because there are more than 15 nationalities on campus. Students often find themselves using new words from a different language, such as Buenos dias, to break the ice and erase all cultural boundaries. Our learners not only live inside a classroom but they are also good at partying!
Each student during the fall semester had the chance to plan an event – we call it a cultural night – where he or she shared some of the cultures of their country. It could be a typical holiday, dance, folk music, or even a skill one has. For example, one of our students had mastered the ancient and underrated art of origami. He organized an Origami Night where he taught all students some tips to create their origami.
These nights increased the connections among students, boosted their respect among peers, and helped them to expand their social circle.
Furthermore, Cumorah Academy encourages its’ students to have a friendly atmosphere among them. They are asked to organize fun activities among themselves and get to know each other They also sing hymns and share spiritual promptings. We call these meetings “Home Evenings”.
One of the most exceptional characteristics of Cumorah Academy is that it is a place for learning with various mentors. Yes, mentors. They come from different countries, backgrounds, and professions. They have the ability to help young adults feel good about themselves and their futures.
A mentor, either a couple or just one person, stays for a whole week lying and interacting on campus and holding one-on-one conversations. These personal moments with students have the power to create strong, and life-enduring bonds. All mentors share their love for the students and youth in all moments.
Mentors are seen in all aspects of our culture. We see mentors in businesses, schools, and even fictional stories. A mentor is someone with experience and a desire to teach.
This fall semester countless students have had their lives changed because of the inﬂuence of a mentor. A Ukrainian student, at the end of the semester, went on a trip to the home of a couple of mentors. Another couple of mentors still keep in touch with the students they met during their time on campus. These are the kind of relationships they build at Cumorah.
Our amigo José
But let’s talk about the most incredible part that Cumorah Academy does: changing people’s life. Our friend José, is one of our most remarkable and successful stories in the Fall semester. He moved to Spain a few years ago. After a few moments of discouragement, he found that to progress he would need to learn English. He courageously enrolled at Cumorah Academy, in spite of the sacrifices it would take. He was concerned about his English skills at first, but after hard work and faith, he accomplished so much.
At the end of the semester, he succeeded in the final exam. So he will be able to return for another semester. He will also have the chance to join in the other courses this time around, including Leadership and Soft Skills.
“I couldn’t even say ‘you’re welcome’ when I first came in, and now I can clearly communicate in front of others.”José Herrera
More Success in the Fall Semester
José wasn’t the only success story from Cumorah Academy. Here are a few words from others:
Leslie, our amazing English intern says: “If I had to narrow it down and describe Cumorah Academy in one word, it would be transforming. Cumorah Academy has the potential to transform students to become lifelong leaders. And the students have the power to transform their lives and the lives of others through the connections that they create and the dedication that they give to their passions.”
Jessica, another wonderful English teacher, shares: “I will always treasure the opportunity I had to teach English at Cumorah Academy. I grew so much as a teacher and made so many friendships that I know will last a lifetime!”
Gabriel, a student from the Dominic Republic, was happy to tell us about his Elementary English classes: “It’s a great experience! The English classes at Cumorah have helped me a lot to get the most out of my potential and to improve my English both in speaking and understanding. It’s incredible what I’ve accomplished so far.”
Our business teacher, Chad Paxman, expressed his gratitude for this opportunity: “Cumorah academy was a unique experience learning from highly intelligent professionals, creating meaningful relationships, and practicing business all while having a great time.”
Polina, a student from Ukraine was happily surprised by the Leadership classes: “My time at Cumorah taught me valuable lessons about effective leadership, such as understanding and serving people, and helping them grow. I have since applied these lessons to my life and continued to develop my leadership skills. Also, I find great happiness in seeing the growth of those around me and contributing to their success. I am grateful for the experience and the lessons learned at Cumorah Academy.”
Trips in the Fall Semester 2022
“Friends that travel together, stay together.” Whoever said this, is a wise person. Cumorah Academy strongly encourages its students to build memories whilst they stay for three months on campus. And what better opportunity to construct good memories with your friends than traveling together?
We have had some outstanding trips. Let’s talk about three: Rafting in Prague, the Trip to the Freiberg Temple, and the devotional with Elder David A. Bednar in Vienna.
For those who don’t know, rafting means traveling down a river in an inflatable boat. It was the ﬁrst time rafting for many students. Students were divided into small groups and were told to cross the bridge towards the other side of the capital.
To help increase the faith of our students, they went on a trip to the Freiberg Temple. The excitement of students in making covenants with the Lord was beautiful to see. Some students had brought family names to perform ordinances. We took a picture with all the students and leaders in front of the temple. Those who were friends of the Church went on a tour of the city while the others attended the temple. Cumorah is intended to help students come to know the Savior and feel the Holy Ghost while pursuing their educational goals.
A few weeks later, in beautiful Vienna, our amazing students had an appointment with Elder David A. Bednar. We gathered at a stake center, waiting for the General Authorities to come. Our students shared their talents and performed two hymns for those who were watching, either online or in person. Elder Bednar kindly answered students’ deep concerns and questions about war, family, mental health, and others. All present were ﬁlled with love, meekness, and respect for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Fall Semester graduation
Well, as you may already know, the end is a part of the journey. After a semester full of adventures and personal treasures, our brave warriors reached the end. They will forever remember and treasure all they learned at Cumorah Academy. Our graduation took place on December 8th after the exams and presentations had come to an end. Two students, Polina and Fernando, shared a message with all the leaders and students. They shared their love and respect for those involved in all campus assignments.
Of course, a few students received awards for their performance in class during the semester. Our leaders also received their deserved recognition for their support and service, including staff members, teachers, and others.
Our beloved director, Iain Saunders ended the graduation with a powerful poem for all students so they would never forget all they had learned. He concluded: Go change the world.
We hope to see many more success stories throughout the following semesters. You can be part of it in too – for we believe that we rise by lifting others.
Join us and come to Cumorah Academy to be the next success story!