Articles from the August 1997 Unification News

The Principled Academy Victory Trip

by Kristina Seher-Berkeley, CA

How many of us are struggling to make a goal (bless 185 couples!), to make good spiritual conditions, to mobilize the spirit world, and to bring a victory? And each of us adults has many stories of overcoming obstacles and bringing victory in the final moment from our years of witnessing and MFT. is a story of some of our second generation kids doing just that.

Two years ago my husband urged me to teach my middle school math students some aspects of money management: how to make money, how to save money in a bank, how to keep records, etc. As I thought about my goals for the students, I wanted them to know the value of money-how hard their parents work to support them, so they would not waste things or money. I also wanted them to feel confident they could earn their own money whenever they needed it. I wanted them to feel they never need to go on welfare, but they can always earn for a good cause. So I encouraged the class to start a class business.

They started out with a bake sale, which raised $56 profit. They saved $5 to be used as change, and all trouped down to the local Bank of America to open a savings account, the Sunshine Middle School Fund-raiser Account (now renamed the Principled Academy...Account). After many discussions among the students and with various parents, it was decided to earn money for a class trip to Washington, DC. The nation's capital is something every American child should experience.

Their next project was for each student to painstakingly design Christmas and God's Day holiday greeting cards. Robbie Wackler kindly wrote all greetings in beautiful calligraphy. We met with several printers and came to the sad realization that we wouldn't be able to afford to print the cards (to make the project profitable we would have to print several thousand cards, and we only had $51 to spend). So we met with several copy store managers and found one who would color-Xerox the cards for a discount, giving us 30 days to pay. The result of the first month of sales all went to paying the Xerox bill, but finally we were making a profit. The students even had a spectacular MFT-type experience when one man was moved by the spirit world to make a $100 donation while they were selling cards at a WFWP conference-and he didn't even want any cards! I was moved to tears, telling them, "Heavenly Father wanted you to have this special experience, just like your parents had on MFT doing bar runs late at night!"

For Valentine's Day the students had a catalog sale, at Mother's Day they had a flower stand, and in between these there were occasional bake sales and hot dog lunches at the school. By the end of the school year they had earned $329 each-not enough to take a trip to Washington. Several days of intense discussion followed-should they take a shorter, local trip and spend all the money, or should they work for another year and make the grand goal of going to Washington? They finally decided to save for another year, to visit the nation's capital. I was proud of the decision.

So, the second year they arranged with the Principled Academy to serve a hot dog lunch at the school once a week, in addition to their catalog sales, greeting card sales, soda sales, bake sales, etc. Thanks to the faithful support of the school community, the class was able to make its goal. The airline tickets were purchased in February. The entire class (Chris Barker, K. Buscovich, Christella Hardman, Philaine Seher, Henry Bechtel, Julie Zingertal and Ariana Richie) had a fabulous six days in the nation's capital during May. And they earned the whole trip themselves!

We flew out of the San Jos頡 airport at 8:22am Saturday May 24, arriving in Baltimore that evening. We took a train to Union Station in Washington, DC and ate a leisurely dinner in a superb international food court. Most of us enjoyed new taste treats, but the boys settled for good old McDonald's burgers! The five-block walk to our hotel on a balmy spring night was filled with delights. We were wowed by the magnificent dome of the Capitol and the stately Supreme Court, all lit up. Our lodgings were in a Quaker dormitory run by the Friends on Capitol Hill for peace activists. It was a beautiful old home, four stories tall, with a living room, dining room, and seminar room where we had our morning services (complete with the Friends' guitar), as well as bedrooms and many bathrooms. The five girls and I roomed in one big room, and the two boys with Mr. Allen Wright (Mother Mary Ann Wright's son) and several other gentlemen guests, including a paleoanthropologist doing an internship at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and a wonderful Muslim scholar who has written a book showing how much Judaism, Christianity and Islam have in common.

We had our morning service and breakfast each day at our home, and then set out walking for the day's adventures. During the six days of our trip we enjoyed special tours of the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, Mount Vernon, the FBI, the Washington Times, and the Pentagon. We browsed through the Smithsonian Museums of Air and Space, the National Museum of Art, the National Museum of Natural History, the Museum of National History (where the girls and I especially appreciated a wonderful First Ladies exhibit), and the National Archives. We walked and wandered and read and thought through the memorials to the Vietnam War, the Korean War, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson. It was deeply moving to be at the Vietnam memorial on Memorial Day, May 26. We saw hundreds of mementos left near the wall, including flowers and letters written to the dead soldiers. The one which moved me the most read: "Dear Dad, here is the first photo of a sonogram of your new granddaughter (still unborn). I know she will get to know you and love you just as I have...." K. Buscovich said, "This is the best day in the whole year to be here."

Some of the most unexpected things were touching. We suddenly found ourselves facing the Hard Rock Caf頡 after leaving the FBI building, so naturally we had dinner there. After leaving the exciting atmosphere, we saw a unicyclist juggling away off in the distance. Upon reaching her, we discovered a wonderful plaza with an unprecedented view of the Capitol nearly a mile off in the distance. The stone floor of the entire plaza was engraved with quotes from U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries describing the beauty and uplifting architecture of Washington, plus original floor plans for various public buildings. We were moved by the quotes and the girls were inspired by the unicyclist spinning around to classical music coming from her boombox. They spontaneously began to dance and spin. The setting sun played on a beautiful fountain in the plaza and all felt right with the world. Later that same night we were walking from the Lincoln to the Jefferson Memorials, and stopped to ask directions from a trolley car driver. He called out, "Get in, I'll drive you there for free!" He asked us all about our class and our trip. We took a picture with him before he let us out at our destination.

One afternoon we met the middle school class from the New Hope Academy in Maryland. They toured the Supreme Court with us and then we sat on the grass in the shade of a spreading oak and celebrated Chris Barker's 14th birthday with a decorated chocolate cake and cold milk. Students from Maryland and California introduced themselves and shared together. Many exchanged addresses before we parted. We invited the Maryland students to visit us in California. They were inspired that the Principled Academy students had completely earned the money for their trip. Later that night we celebrated Chris's birthday again by dressing up and going out for a fancy dinner. Chris amazed everyone by devouring a 16-ounce New York steak, and then (while everyone else ate dessert, groaning about how full they were) Chris ordered and ate a whole chicken-fried steak dinner! I guess when you turn 14, you get really hungry!

We returned tired but happy on Thursday evening, May 29. It was a trip we will remember all our lives.

The trip was so successful that we are making plans for the next trip in May 1999 for the students currently in 5th and 6th grades at the Principled Academy. They began fundraising for their trip by putting on the last regular hot dog lunch of the school year, on June 11. Again, thank you all for your support of this wonderful project.

The Principled Academy is dedicated to character education, academic excellence, and partnership of home, school and community. We are currently enrolling students in preschool through 8th grade for the 1997-98 school year. Please call (510)293-0300 for enrollment information or fax us at (510)782-5315.

The Principled Academy is seeking a third grade teacher. Please call the school and/or fax your resum頩 immediately in order to be considered for the opening.

Table of Contents
Download Entire Publication in ZIP Format
Copyright Notice