Cause Week

Cause Week

The week of November 7-10, 2011 was the fifth annual NHS Cause Week.  During the week, the National Honor Society (NHS) was responsible for the morning devotions and the assembly program.  This year’s theme was “Ally Against Anger: Stop Violence.”  Members of the National Honor Society recognize the tragedy violence has on the world, country, and their community and because of this, they are challenging their peers and community to join them in raising awareness to defeat the culture of violence.   


The week began with Dr. Duane McBride, psychology professor from Andrews University, presenting an insightful and practical discussion.   He encouraged each, as Christians, to live a peaceful life in Jesus.  He acknowledged that even in our relatively safe school and village of Berrien Springs that violence occurs.   According to research, domestic violence affects females more than any other type of violence and speaking to the young women, suggested that their boyfriend may be the most dangerous person they encounter if he is prone to violence.   “If he hits you once, he’ll hit you again,” was his wisdom for the ladies. He warned everyone in a destructive relationship to protect themselves by ending the relationship.   He also encouraged each to always be aware of their surroundings and to avoid dangerous situations.   


Dr. Karl Bailey gave a presentation Tuesday morning on the neurophysiological changes involved in watching violent movies or playing violent video games.    By looking at brain scans of research subjects who played violent video games, students could see the pre frontal cortex, involved in rational decision making, has less activity than the amygdala part of the brain which deals with emotional responses.  This results in the subject responding in more emotional (possibly violent) ways instead of using the rational part of the brain.  Another interesting study Dr. Bailey shared revealed that people who had just watched a violent movie at the theater were slower to help an injured person, compared to people prior to watching a violent movie.   A slower response may not seem like much, he pointed out, but the repetitive act of viewing violence has an additive effect causing brain changes.   Dr. Bailey challenged each teen to make wise choices during these years when the prefrontal cortex is developing and hence train their brains to make better lifelong connections with the goal of living their lives for Jesus. 


Tuesday morning assembly was presented by Joelle Ashley, an Andrews Academy alumnus and co-founder of Alendu Village Mission, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing various forms of security for orphans and widows in Alendu, Kenya. Ms. Ashley spoke about violence in global terms, pointing out that violence on such a scale is by design: Satan’s design. The desensitization of our world regarding violence works against God’s plan to sensitize us to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross – a most heinous and violent death to reconcile us to Himself. She challenged the students to search their hearts and behaviors for ways in which they unwittingly contribute to the culture of violence through their viewing, reading, playing and listening habits.


Because 90% of all violent deaths occur in third world countries, it made sense to the NHS members to choose Alendu Village Mission as their fundraising project for Cause Week. Ms. Ashley described where Alendu Village is in Kenya and quoted some of the regional statistics on sexual, physical and emotional violence. She explained that Alendu Village Mission works within their community center and with local residents to create a safer, healthier, more self-sustaining environment for the orphans and widows that are fed and cared for by the project.


The students rallied all their fundraising and competitive efforts for this project by conducting a “Penny War” with a twist. Each grade level competed to load up their class’ coin repository with pennies and bills while dumping as many nickels, dimes and quarters into other class’ containers as possible. The “winning” class total will be calculated by adding up all the pennies and bills and then subtracting the amount of money in silver that has been added by rival classes.  As you see in this picture the freshmen president, Grace Joo, tried to prevent a sabotage of silver coins against her class. Each day there was a report on the progress of the penny war.  Through the enthusiastic efforts of the students, along with the financial participation of several local businesses, this Cause Week has shaped up to be one of the most successful in terms of project support.


Dr. Brent Geraty, AU general council & AA school board chair, presented Wednesday morning’s topic: Bullying.  As a lawyer he naturally presented some of the laws that exist against bullying – none of which have been adopted in Michigan.  He implored students to recognize, however, that they should do everything in their power to stop all bullying, not because there may be laws about it, but because we are all children of God deserving of respect, love and watch-care.  Dr Geraty also raised awareness regarding the expression “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” He revealed that, in reality, hundreds of suicides each year result from hateful, cruel words stated by peers.  He emphasized that words are not only hurtful, but they can also kill.   Some of the effects of bullying continue through the teen years and into adulthood.   Dr. Geraty concluded by referencing the quote on Andrews Academy’s theme wall. He encouraged us to cooperate with each other and with God in “restoring in man the image of his Maker.”


Dr. Kuhn, professor of missions at the Seminary of Andrews University, presented the last morning devotions of Cause Week on Thursday. Having worked on three different continents while working for ADRA doing refugee work, Dr. Kuhn has observed first-hand the various forms of violence perpetrated in war torn countries. He sadly reported the violent acts committed not only between soldiers, but also toward women and children; the killing of families, the rape, and the movement of peoples from their land and way of life. As a result of the terrible trauma of violence, He witnessed hopelessness lead to suicide. Most importantly he encouraged each to have the Peace of Christ in our hearts, so that no matter what difficult situation we may face, His peace in us will help us through.


The students really enjoyed the penny war as seen by groups of students trying to put their money in after chapel and between classes.  A cheer for each day’s winning class erupted when they were announced.   The seniors won the penny war with $ 151. 53.   This, remember, is much less than what was actually given because any dimes, nickels, quarters that other classes placed in the senior’s box was held against them.    Although freshmen came in last, their class actually had the most money  ($416.91).   The community and students rallied together to raise $ 3,014.72!!   Of this Andrews Academy students collectively raised $ 1387.72 !   The Alendu Village Mission will be blessed with this money to help create a safer, healthier, more self-sustaining environment for the orphans and widows that are fed and cared for by this project.


We thank the NHS for putting together a very informative and interesting week of presentations that encouraged students to get involved in various causes.  It was a creative week that helped raise awareness and involvement.    We pray that each student will continue to be aware and be involved in Christian service to not only help humanity but point individuals to Jesus the true source of Peace.