Training young minds is like watching a miracle unfold every day.

Up to the Challenge

Joy Deurksen
, Champion mountain bike racer, PE teacher

How many teachers do you know who have calf tattoos exactly the size and shape of a mountain bike disk brake? Meet Joy Duerksen, United States National Champion Mountain Bike Racer (women's expert class, 2007, California Champion in 2006 and 2007).

Joy is PE teacher at Redlands Academy, an Adventist school in California, where she teaches girls in grades 6-10 along with additional classes in health and geography.

“She's the best teacher I've had,” says one of her students. “She's hard on us, but we all know she really likes us!”

“I can't imagine riding as many miles as she does each week,” says one of her fellow teachers, “but one of the best places to find Joy is somewhere up in the mountains near Big Bear-riding lickety-split through the trees.”

Joy rides 150-200 miles per week, plus races. Though she has raced with Specialized for the past several years, in 2009 she's racing as a PRO and is on a new team racing for Trek Bicycles-and riding a fancy new Gary Fisher bike. Though most of her racing is on mountain bikes, she's recently added a number of road races to her schedule-and has just won the Boulevard SW 3/4 in Southern California.

“Amazing!” Joy wrote after the Boulevard race. “Hardest day on the bike I can remember. My race was in 36-degree weather with steady heavy rain with standing water. It came down to an uphill 5-mile finish with one girl and me going back and forth. But with 200 m to go I sprinted to clinch the win.”

Best Job in the World

Tonya Wessman
, Teacher

It's exciting to see students master a new concept, perform a play or song, fluently recite a poem or scripture verse, or just read a book. Children's minds are amazing.

My job requires long hours and lots of energy. There are frustrations. But it's worth every bit of it. The reward of seeing a child learn and the love I receive back from the kids makes me excited to get up and go to work every single morning. I have the best job in the world.

Scholarships Turn Dream into Reality

Jaime Rodriguez
, History professor

I remember being an academy senior. I thought it would be my last year ever at an Adventist school, because I didn't have the money to pay for an Adventist college education. However, I met with Lorne Glaim, a history professor at the nearby Adventist college.

When I walked into the room to talk with him, I saw the face of someone who cared about my education and my future. I had seen this face many times in my Adventist education, from Carolyn Hayes in first grade to Walt Meske, my academy principal.

Glaim listened to my plans and told me not to give up on Adventist education. He said he had watched me grow as a student, and he had seen great potential in me to be a history teacher-or even a history professor.

A few months later, I won two significant scholarships and was able to make plans to continue my education at an Adventist college.