Unification News for July 2000

First Class Graduates New Eden Academy

Nora SpurginBridgeport, CT

Eighteen bright shining faces, eighteen royal blue caps and gowns, eighteen diplomas in blue covers inscribed with "New Eden Academy, International, Class of 2000", told everyone New Eden Academy was graduating its first class! The commencement for the graduating class of New Eden was a moving event for everyone. Tears often glistened in the eyes of graduates, parents, and even speakers as 18 young graduates were honored for having completed their work at N.E.A.. Now they were being challenged to take responsibility for their new freedom. Commencement speaker Mr. Neil Albert Salonen, new president of the University of Bridgeport, challenged the graduates to be like the boy in the parable of the loaves and the fishes in the gospel; the boy's simple act of giving touched the multitudes and was recorded in history.

Co-valedictorians, Kazuko Nakamura and Mari Yasutake spoke of their years at New Eden as pioneer students of this new school. They had been participants in each of N.E.A.'s developmental stages. The commencement ended with a presentation of awards and a candlelight ceremony and a pledge read by Senior class representative Lynn Choong Kim:

"As the first graduating class of New Eden Academy, we pledge to direct our lives toward the will of Heaven. Let the light that is ignited here represent the light we will forever carry in our hearts with a deep commitment to love and service."

The select chorus, the full High School chorus and the High School Symphonetta (instrumental group) provided music.

It had been a full year. In May, ten high school students (mostly second generation) joined university students to stage a very well executed performance of Grease, while others joined U.B. students in an excellent dance performance, "Soul Beat". Five students completed an English course that focused on the publication of a beautiful yearbook and a manual of how to make a yearbook. Art students presented the N.E.A. dormitory and recreational center with a series of murals depicting various nature scenes. A production class with Kevin Pichard produced a video.

All graduates plan to attend college in the Fall or after one year on the Student Task Force. Many of the graduates plan to return to the University of Bridgeport campus to continue their education.

Of the 18 graduates, 6 students graduated after only 3 years of high school. At the beginning of their Junior year we noticed that they will have fulfilled nearly enough credits to graduate. Being a small school, we had enough flexibility to offer an extra U.B. English course and whatever else they needed, allowing them to graduate early. This was a great savings in tuition for their parents and gives the students an extra year to go on S.T.F. or attend college early.

This year's graduates are:

Jimi Baughman, Christa Berndt, Lym Choong Kim, Takami Koya, Sanghoon Mudgett, Kazuko Nakamura, Tadayoshi Nakamura, Mika Nakata, Megumi Osa, Jin Ozaki, Chris Stein, David Tallakson, K. Tomeda, Kozo Tomeda, Akira Washino, Mari Yasutake, Tim Yasutake and Donna Archer (who will receive her diploma after completing a summer course).

As one might expect, at each year's end we evaluate and plan for the new year. We want to inform readers of some of the changes for the coming year. Even though we will continue our fundamental goal to provide an excellent character and value-based educational program, revisions have been made in the academic program to reflect our True Parents' desire for a broader, non-sectarian school -- open to students of all religions and faiths. Students will continue to be offered four university courses per year for which they will receive both college and high school credit. The changes will allow us to apply for financial benefits and grants from the broader community and build a day student (as well as an international) population. Thus, our continued growth is not limited solely to residential students.

One of the benefits of our closer relationship with the University of Bridgeport is the opportunity to issue student visas for international students. In a cooperative effort with the English Language Institute at U.B., international students will be able to study English at a younger age, move into the academic program of the high school when their English permits, and have their English polished by the time they are ready for college.

The academic program (which will have close ties with U.B.) and the residential and religious aspects of student life will be two distinct areas. Unification religious traditions and education will take place before and after school -- not during the school hours from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Students who are ready to enter ninth grade or above are encouraged to apply. They must be willing to sign a code of conduct agreeing to various dormitory and school regulations such as: no smoking, alcohol, drugs or sex.

Classes begin on Monday, August 21, 2000. For more information and an application form, please contact us at:

New Eden Academy, 400 Linden Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604

Please telephone us at: (203) 334-3434 during business hours or call our home phone/fax (203) 366-5799

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