Unification News for June 2001

New Eden Academy Graduation

by Joy Garratt

On June 1st nineteen students participated in New Eden Academy's commencement ceremony. (Eighteen graduated last year.) It was a moving and beautiful ceremony attended by 150 guests, family, friends and members of the Bridgeport community. Diplomas and academic awards were presented by Dr. Hugh Spurgin, the principal, and Dr. Kyung Hee Chin, the chairman of the Board.

Chi Yun Breland and Oojin Mudgett were the co-valedictorians. Chi Yun is also the first NEA student to receive the honor of becoming a National Merit finalist. Other students who graduated in this "Class of 2001" were Jennifer Barry, Nari Baughman, Kim Buchanan, Andrew Burch, Robin Fiala, H. Gehring, Romin Johnson, Lym Chang Kim, Tamayo Kumagai, David Lee, V. M., Miko Nakai, Tadanari Nakata, Juhan Oppenheimer, Yemi Pickard, Karilee Rogers, and Hyo Ja Tully.

NEA is proud of the accomplishments of our graduates. Some of those participating in the graduation were juniors who had earned enough credits to graduate. By providing a larger course load, NEA has been able to help some students graduate in three years, saving time and money where possible. Many NEA students plan to spend part of their summer overseas attending a Religious Youth Service (RYS) program; others will attend summer workshops.


This year New Eden initiated a new program for seniors who had already fulfilled most of their requirements for graduation. Four students attended the autumn semester of school and then worked on an internship program during their final semester in the spring. Each of the four students worked out an individualized program which included 12 to 15 hours a week of voluntary service either for a church or elementary school. They also worked on a part-time job, and where necessary they completed an English class by correspondence. Volunteer work was evaluated and intern students were given a choice to either keep a journal or write an essay on their experiences.

Students, parents and teachers were happy with this new program and NEA will continue to develop it in future years. Teachers felt it helped deal with the common malady, "senioritis," which often hits graduating students in their final semester. In plain English, it means they are tired of school, have most of their required credits, and have lost motivation to do traditional schoolwork.

College Scholarships

H. Gehring received a substantial, four-year scholarship from Ithaca College. Jimi Baughman, a graduate from last year, and Gabriella Kirkley, a former student at NEA, each received a full, four-year scholarship to the University of Bridgeport.

Most of the new graduates have been accepted to colleges or plan to attend a university in the future, but not without a one year stint on Student Task Force (STF). Spending a year on STF has become for many of them a traditional next step.


During the last few weeks, we have had several significant victories, which offer us a more secure future and some interim opportunities:

On June 4 our school received state approval from the Connecticut State Department of Education. The websites, science displays, and PowerPoint presentations of our students were particularly impressive during a site visit by state officials in May.

The most immediate result of state approval is that we can now apply to the I.N.S. to admit foreign student and issue I-20 forms, enabling us to recruit international students beginning as early as January 2002. We our in the process of setting up an English as a Second Language Program for those students who need it.

Plans are being made for a twenty-day, summer English language program for middle school students from Korea from July 23 until August 10. So far 18 students are signed up to come. This summer program has the potential to be a regular event every winter and summer.

Information about NEA:

Classes for the 2001-2002 school year will begin on Monday, August 27th. For further information, please contact Dr. or Mrs. Spurgin at (203) 260-6801, 334-3434, or 334-8651 for a fax. Our email addresses are neweden@erols.com , hspurgin@newedenacademy.org , and joy_garratt@hotmail.com

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