AT News Team, May 6, 2015:   Ron Halvorsen, Jr., president of the Ohio Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, sent a letter to conference members describing recent activities at Mount Vernon Academy (MVA) as well as explaining the steps ahead as the school prepares to close.

MVA hosted an Academy Fair on March 22 to assist current MVA students find a new academy home. Janesta Walker, MVA vice-principal, explained she planned the event in order to help students “see what other schools have to offer so they can continue their journey in Adventist education.” Thirteen Adventist academies from across the country participated, putting together generous offers to help students attend their respective academies.

According to MVA principal Dan Kittle, an estimated 1,400 people attended the Sabbath of the final alumni weekend held at Mount Vernon Academy. Halvorsen said he addressed alumni during a business meeting Saturday night, explaining the process that led to the decision to close.

In March two committees were established to guide the closure—the MVA Property Oversight Committee and the Secondary Education Visioning Committee. Both committees are making progress. Current MVA students who are members of the Ohio Conference have been informed that the Ohio Conference Finance Committee has approved a Secondary Education Scholarship for them. “Depending on the type of academy they choose for the 2015-16 school year, amounts awarded will range between $2500 (day academy) and $5000 (boarding academy) per student,” Halvorsen revealed.

Similar plans are being discussed for current Ohio Conference 8th grade students who wish to attend an Adventist academy. “Out of such a tragedy, our dream is to increase the percentage of Ohio Conference students to receive their secondary education from Adventist Christian schools,” said Halvorsen.

Another Special Constituency Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, August 23, 2015, at 10:00am at the Worthington Adventist Church. Delegates invited to this meeting are the same as those who attended the May 2014 and January 2015 constituency meetings, Halvorsen explained. “This special meeting is the final step needed for the Ohio Conference to be able to address the future of MVA property and holdings as a nonprofit organization in the State of Ohio.”

Halvorsen also shared that community leaders have taken note of the school’s closing. “After meeting with Mount Vernon community leaders this week, including the mayor of Mount Vernon, I received offers of assistance for those faculty and staff impacted by the closing of MVA who plan to remain in the area. These leaders have appreciated the positive relationship our school has had on this community for more than 120 years. Many have expressed relief that our Mount Vernon Elementary school will remain open,” he said.