Unification News for February 1999

New Eden Academy International: Where the Future Begins

Beverly Freed
Bridgeport, CT

When New Eden Academy International opened with 44 pioneer freshmen in Sept. 1997, the idea was to launch a program dedicated to meet the needs of a rising and growing "second generation." New Eden is a preparatory high school "committed to promoting both moral integrity and academic excellence." To achieve those twin goals is a major challenge.

Those first students proudly built a foundation upon which over 70 students in total enrolled in 1998-99.

True Parents visited New Eden on Nov. 20, 1998 during an international conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony held on the campus of the University of Bridgeport. The students excitedly lined the entrance way and sang songs, happily welcoming our True Parents. It was the first time for many of them to stand so close to Father and Mother.

The visit was brought to a beautiful climax when True Father wrote a motto for the school. With sweeping motions Father rapidly wrote a message in Chinese characters which translates into English as "The results [or flowering] of an adult’s life depend on the determination one makes as a youth."

Dr. Hugh Spurgin, headmaster of the Academy, has said: "I see the school building on its foundation each year. We begin with an incredible task before us: to establish a new school in only a matter of a few months. We converted an empty, rundown dormitory into a beautiful ‘home’ for our students. Here in Bridgeport we have an arrangement to use facilities such as the library, gymnasium, recreation center, cafeteria, and classrooms. Students can even take university classes; in fact, we are proud that our high school students have done so well in the university classes which they have taken."

The first year we created the physical plant, the legal work, recruited students and faculty, and created a mission statement and brochure. The second year we expanded our academic offerings and pulled together a solid academic curriculum and faculty. It is our hope that next year we can focus more on the third stage: developing the character education curriculum and sports program.

In many ways it is this final stage which will distinguish our school as an institution, for we must as Hyun Jin Nim said, "develop a systematic structure for passing on our heritage to the second generation." It is in the character education component that we must translate the ideals of the Principle into everyday life.

Our second generation must learn the practice of purity and morality, of unselfishness and love. To become model citizens of the world, they need a systematic approach to understanding the nuances of the life of the heart beyond the academic exercise of the mind.

Dorm life in this international and intercultural setting is rich in relationships in an environment where belief in and practice of a Principled life is both accepted and valued. Yet it is a challenge for teenagers to grow to become mature, responsible, loving adults who have the self-discipline to live a good life.

And on to the larger vision:

When we think of our international community of second-generation youth increasing in ever-growing numbers, we can get a vision of the future. The world needs young leaders who will go beyond the desire for wealth and power which today’s world has taught them. We can see a future world where the opportunity for education will be equalized by distance learning, where the children of national messiahs will be able to study from any country.

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