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NAVIGATING THE FUTURE Designed by: Raegan Williams (‘15) & Hanna Schlotthauer (‘14)



RIO REPORT | Winter 2013


A Message From the Principal

Probably the greatest challenge of my life is raising my children. My wife and I have found that in order to do that job well, we must always communicate with each other. This ensures that we have a thought-out plan, and nothing is left to chance. Too often, schools have allowed teachers to work in silos, independent of one another. While this has allowed for autonomy, it does not have the students’ best interests in mind. The teachers at Rio Lindo have been working to break down the silos in an effort to create a culture of collaboration that assures that no student falls through the cracks. While collaboration between teachers is essential for the success of our students, we understand that collaboration outside of ourselves will bring an added dimension of excellence to our program. Rio’s alumni can add that dimension. In an effort to collaborate with alumni, Rio is starting two new programs this year. One is a summer mentor/work program for our students, and the second is a summer retreat for alumni. I need some bold alumni to help start these programs. The idea of a summer mentor/work program is exciting. I was talking to a graduate a couple of months ago, and he offered to be a summer mentor for a student. One of the cornerstones of Adventist Education is a belief in teaching young people a strong work ethic. Rio is no exception. Rio continues to employ students during the school year, but it is a challenge for our students to find summer jobs. We need your help. Are you willing to mentor a student for a few weeks or more this summer? This program will help our students earn money for their school tuition, learn about a profession, develop skills in the workplace, be productive during the summer, and also develop a work ethic needed to succeed beyond Rio.


RIO REPORT | Winter 2013

We would like to share Rio’s campus with alumni. Rio is located on some of the greatest property in Northern California. People come from all over the world and pay hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to visit this area. I want to make Rio available to alumni that are willing organize a retreat for their classmates. If you have a desire to reconnect with your high school friends and are willing to organize the gathering, Rio will provide the location free of charge. If you are interested in helping Rio pursue either of these ideas or if you have an idea of your own, please contact me at for details.

Doug Schmidt

Designed by Amanda Musvosvi (‘15) and Jazmyn Henry (‘15)

Contents FEATURES 04| NEWS & UPDATES Find out what’s been happening at Rio throughout the past year.

06| A CHANGE IN THE CLASSROOM What motivated Rio’s teachers to begin the journey to education reform? Find out how the classroom has changed in the last five years.

Open Tab

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10| ALUMNI WEEKEND RECAP Hundreds of alumni, former faculty, and friends of Rio flocked to Rio’s campus on April 5-6 this year to celebrate Rio’s 50 year legacy through music, golf, and storytelling. Read more.

Peru 2013

EDITOR Rika Meyer| Marketing and Development ASSISTANT EDITOR Brad Benson| Alumni Director

12| ALUMNI WEEKEND 2014 Find out about announcements, meeting times, and the guest speaker at next year’s alumni reunion, taking place on April 4-5, 2014.

WRITERS Simeon Good| English Teacher Pastor Krystalynn Martin| Pastor Rika Meyer| Marketing & Development

15| NEWS NOTES Where are they now? Updates from friends and classmates from 1963 until today.

20| SERVICE AROUND THE WORLD Rio’s legacy of service continues to live on. Read about what Rio’s students do today on mission trips and how several graduates have served around the world.


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22| NAVIGATE THE FUTURE Rio students don’t wait until the weeks before graduating to think about their futures. Find out about the program that challenges students to consider future options as soon as their freshmen year.

DESIGNERS Marcelo Silva Keith Mccoy Michael Vasquez Jared Threatt Hanna Schlotthauer Raegan Williams Jazmyn Henry Amanda Musvosvi Elena Chen Ella Cornell

o class wh n g i s e D o c Graphi of the Ri e u s s i s i th designed Report.

RIO REPORT | Winter 2013


THE REPORT The Rio Report is a publication produced by the Alumni & Development department at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy. The goal of the magazine is to continue to foster relationships with our Rio family. If there is an article that you would like to see in an upcoming Rio Report, or if you know of a Rio alumnus that is doing great things, please contact us to let us know.


After much planning and work, Rio students and faculty successfully hosted the 3rd Russian River Mud Run right here on campus. We had over 1,500 participants, plus spectators and sponsors come out. Although the day was quite cold, student volunteers Students volunteered for the Russian River Mud Run then ran the race in the cheered and helped afternoon. runners get through with a total of 46 leaders, with two obstacles throughout joining midway through the week. the morning. Right after lunch the This year’s spiritual theme is “Not thick clouds parted and the sun Alone”. Pastor Krystalynn Martin, came out just in time for students to along with student leaders, spent an run through the whole course. The hour each afternoon of the week with Santa Rosa Press Democrat covered student small group leaders, training the event and you can see the story them how to lead and facilitate small and photos from the event on our groups of students. Pastor Krystalynn Facebook page. The funds raised go said, “There were so many who, towards student scholarships and the because of the challenge of having community service program, Open to lead a group of their peers, grew Table. closer to God. I had so many stating how they never knew God could STUDENT WEEK OF PRAYER become so real to them, as they During the second week of the trusted in Him to lead through them.” school year, Rio students engaged in a Week of Prayer. Rio had the most student leaders for small groups ever









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Forty six student leaders led small groups throughout this year’s Student Week of Prayer.


This year, Rio faculty and staff are spending more time with alumni. In October, Mark Tamanaha, Patti Velez and Rika Meyer visited alumni in and around the Pacific Union College area. The goal for the visit was to listen and connect with Rio alumni and see how they are succeeding in university life. Junior DeSilva, who graduated in 2010 and will be graduating from PUC with a degree in psychology said, “The entire feel of Rio is love and care. I always recommend the school to my home church and encourage students to think about boarding school.”

Want to find a classmate?

Visit our website for updated News Notes, or contact our Alumni Department by contacting Brad Benson at or calling (707) 431-5100 ext. 121.



Recent Rio graduates visited with former teachers and staff at Pacific Union College (left) and La Sierra University (right).

Recruiter D’Andre Campbell paid a visit to students attending La Sierra University in early November. Bringing t-shirts and pens, he made sure Rio alumni felt the love. We will be making trips to visit alumni throughout the next year. Stay tuned, because we’d love to see you in your area.


Any student who has taken a P.E. class remembers the gym locker rooms. The smell, the paint, the old chipping lockers. This year, Principal Schmidt and staff spend much of the summer’s staff week wrecking the locker rooms to make way for a new, clean, purposeful design. The bathrooms were finished just in time for Football Weekend 2013.



You can find up-to-date NEWS NOTES, Alumni Reunion information, and class news on our website? The alumni page of the website is updated regularly by information provided by former students and faculty. Make sure to submit your updated News Notes to Brad Benson so we can post them on our Alumni Website. You can also find out more specific information about your upcoming class reunion, keynote speakers, lodging information and more on our alumni web page. Send notes to


For current news updates, pictures, and a walk down memory lane, visit our Facebook page. Presently, we have about 1,400 followers on our facebook page but we’re aiming for much more! Comment on photos and share them with friends! If you have photos from your times at Rio, you can also upload them onto the page and tag classmates and share stories from your experiences at Rio. To find our official Facebook page, search “Rio Lindo Adventist Academy”.

after Staff and maintanance workers Rob Riddle and Jim Renslow spent much of the summer and part of the school year completely restoring the gym bathrooms and locker rooms.

RIO REPORT | Winter 2013


A Classroom

Change in the

Elevating Thinking to Deeper Learning: Rio’s journey to reform education By: Rika Meyer

Design by: Michael Vasquez, ‘16 Keith McCoy, ‘14

Walking into the Algebra 1 class, any visitor can sense an unusual kind of math atmosphere. Some students are sitting on big, colorful exercise balls with their desks turned around, other students are standing up, and there’s a constant conversation between teacher and students. The day’s lesson is about inequalities. On the board, Mr. Tamanaha draws out a chart with x and y and fills in each side with numbers. “Solve for x,” he says, then steps back. Immediately, the students start shouting out numbers, and Mr. Tamanaha furiously starts writing on the board, fitting each suggestion into an equation. “Nope, that doesn’t fit,” he says, then starts writing down the next suggestion. Three students shout out numbers for him to try out. “Wait! I know!” yells one of the students on the bouncing ball, a freshman named Joey.


RIO REPORT | Winter 2013

“It’s got to be two, because it fits!” Joey exclaims wildly. Mr. Tamanaha writes the number two on the board, then the class solves for the rest of the series of equalities. “Alright, let’s try and stump Joey,” he says, then stops for a minute to think before quickly writing down more numbers under x and y. The class begins to chime in with ideas and answers, almost at the edge of their seats. Joey, smiling at the challenge, begins to work out the problem on his paper. Mark Tamanaha took math at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy fifteen years ago then continued to study math education in college. He remembers thinking that there must be a better way to teach and learn math. The frustration he felt over and over stemmed from the traditional view of education as memorization and repetition, then pulling facts out and spitting them back out onto the test. He knew that neither he nor his classmates deeply understood math and only gathering enough surface material to get by on tests. Deep, meaningful learning wasn’t happening. As one educational researcher put it, “Knowing mathematics, really knowing it, means understanding it. When we memorize rules for moving symbols around on paper we may be learning something, but we are not learning mathematics.” After six years of teaching, Mr. Tamanaha began to change his method of teaching. Instead of teaching straight out of the textbook, he researched national math standards, and began basing students’ grades on whether they really learned those standards by the end of the year or not. For example, on every assessment he gives to his students, he writes problems that have a multi-step process that include complex problems learned throughout the year so far. Each test is comprehensive, building on previously learned math problems. Homework is worth very little credit, and students can get an F in the class if they don’t fully know the concepts. Mr. Tamanaha knows that his class isn’t easy and he has high

expectations for all of his students. “Getting a D or C isn’t good enough. My students know that they need to be proficient. I want all my students, when they leave my class, to be equipped with the ability to think and bring in everything they have learned to be able to solve problems,” Mr. Tamanaha says. Mr. Tamanaha’s class isn’t the only one that is re-visualizing learning. Teachers across campus have undertaken the challenge to enable students to think for themselves, rather than just giving answers or steps to follow. The emphasis on student learning expectations and teacher follow-through has given teachers a window into knowing their students better, and has empowered teachers to customize each class according to the variations in student learning. Teachers are able to teach based on previous knowledge and connecting new lessons to that knowledge. Last summer, many teachers met together during their summer vacation to study the book “Making Thinking Visible” (Ritchhart, Church, Morrison, 2011). Throughout the course of the study, teachers discovered new ways to engage students better in the classroom and train them to become independent learners, through the book’s case studies, research and examples. According to “Making Thinking Visible,” “When we encounter anything new, we make connections between the new and known, drawing on our past experience. These connections help us link ideas and find where the new ideas fit within the subject area and out.”

Engaging the Common Core

A national trend in education today is the Common Core Standards. These standards, which have been adopted by 46 states so far, were created to improve learning and achievement across the board in public schools. Because Rio is a private Seventh-day Adventist School, it has not formally adopted national educational standards but instead has relied on the denomination’s standards. Last year, however, Rio made a decision to begin implementing each year portions of the Common Core Standards into the curriculum. One of the main differences that these standards address is that the Common Core Standards focus on deep, high-level thinking instead of focusing on memorization. Students, like in Mr. Tamanaha’s class, learn through hands-on activities and critical thinking skills. The hope for establishing these new standards at Rio is to raise the level of learning to higher learning and prepare graduates for their future education. Standards implementation didn’t happen overnight. Last school year, teachers spent time learning the processes of unpacking standards to prepare for the first section of standards that were released this year. During pre-week in August, teachers were challenged to apply literacy standards into their classes.

To accomplish this task, teachers created a oneweek “learning experience” for their upcoming curriculum that engaged two literacy standards, and three content standards of choice. The learning experiences were creative, engaging, and were assessed at the end to find each students’ achievement. Instead of filling out worksheets, for example, students might create a news report in history, researching and presenting both sides of the Battle at Gettysburg. Another project asked students to rotate around a table, adding to each others’ ideas about how church works and what a healthy church looks like. Students begin to use skills such as inference to read between the lines of texts and assignments. Over the next couple of years, Rio will implement more standards-based classroom learning all subject areas. Across campus, English teacher Jeni Schmidt teaches her sophomore English class. This classroom too feels different than the traditional classroom. Instead of rows of desks, students sit in small round tables, with three or four students at each table The discussion is lively. Mrs. Schmidt asks, “What are the elements of an

“Getting a D or C isn’t good enough. My students know they need to be proficient.” argument?” Hands fly up around the room. As students begin to fill in the missing pieces to the argument puzzle, they also fill in notebooks with ideas for writing their own arguments. Together, students proofread each other’s argument papers, comparing each point and coming up with counter points. The discussion continues for a few more minutes, then Mrs. Schmidt calls for quiet and asks the students to begin rewriting their own argument papers. In traditional instruction, the teacher stands in front of a class behind a podium and lectures the day’s lesson. Today, teachers walk around, speaking to each student. There’s an air of collaboration and teamwork among students as they sometimes break up into smaller groups to work on projects. Excitement and energy is in the air, and students seem to enjoy the challenging questions.

The Journey of Reform

This pleasant picture wasn’t always how the classrooms looked at Rio. In 2009, Rio underwent an accreditation review. The teachers and staff who worked on the academics portion of the WASC accreditation report were startled by much RIO REPORT | Winter 2013


collaboration, with the hope that teachers would motivate and affirm each other to draw in and engage students in deeper learning, through sharing ideas, research and better practices in the classroom. According to the book, “Collaboration for Professional Learning,”, research clearly demonstrates that on-site, long-term professional development gives the power back to the teachers and enables them to draw on their own knowledge and experience to transform educational practices. In nationwide studies, it has been proven again and again that collaboration leads to positive reform in schools.

Teacher Collaboration

of the educational lingo and questions on the report. At that time, there simply wasn’t an emphasis on continually improving the quality of the education in the classroom. Through reporting on current academics, it became clear to these teachers that they needed to bring rigorous academics back to the forefront of Rio’s program. About a year later, a data specialist reviewed many surveys from students, parents, and teachers and found a pattern that also supported those findings. While hands-on learning, a stimulating spiritual atmosphere, and the independence of dorm life were always woven into the culture, teachers and students lacked challenging, focused learning in the classroom. That same year, the Commonweal Foundation partnered with Rio as a School Enhancement Program participant and issued a grant to enable Rio to create a state-of-the-art school improvement plan. Rio’s teachers and leaders knew that the organization and leadership of the plan had to come from within. The question asked then by Rio’s leadership is “How can we make our school the best that it can be?” Rio has been working with several educational consultants who consult regularly in other schools around the country. One consultant, Mary Helen Spiri from the Chesapeake Coalition of Essential Schools, has been working with Rio for three years. Together, with school leaders, she helped examine Rio’s educational program and brainstormed ideas of better ways to function as a school. The most important change is emphasizing the importance of the academic program while not diminishing other school priorities, such as spirituality and service. Reflecting on Rio’s change over the past three years Ms. Spiri said, “The aspect that I’m proudest of is the willingness of Rio’s staff to ask hard questions of themselves to try new things and be open to possibilities.” One key area the leadership zeroed in on was teacher


RIO REPORT | Winter 2013

In an almost empty classroom, seven teachers sit around two round tables. Lead teacher Mrs. Schmidt asks the teachers to share how they have assessed their students within the past week. On Post-It notes, each teacher writes down what he or she has learned about the value of assessing students, and questions that they have about creating and analysing student assessments. After the sharing exercise, math teacher Ms. White shares that she is relieved to find clarity in giving and reading assessments to help her learn exactly what information each student in her class already knows. Small groups of teachers meet every two weeks to talk about issues in education and work together to find solutions for issues in the classroom. These groups also enable teachers to help each other with particular students who might have learning challenges or a different learning style. Numerous students have already benefitted from this collaboration this year. Through teachers working with the school counsellor, deans, and tutors, students in need of more extensive help with classes are able to get the help they need. In the week following Mrs. Schmidt’s English class’s argument assignment, Sofia, who had worked for weeks on her argument, handed in her paper and said, “You’re going to like this paper; its gold!” Mrs. Schmidt reflected that the pride Sofia felt as a student is more frequently being felt among the teachers as they continue to improve their teaching. As more faculty take risks outside of their comfort zones, focusing on student learning and engagement, they become like students again. “Our ultimate goal here is that everyone, faculty and students, are excited about learning new things, sharing resources, and helping each other. That’s what collaborative learning is; helping each other,” she said.

featured alumn: Dr. Robert Ford ‘64 As the son of a missionary, Robert Ford grew up in Central America, living very frugally with little electricity and often with no running water. His childhood days were filled with swimming among the colorful reefs, sailing in clear blue waters, and fishing and Robert grew up loving both the local people and the surrounding nature. As a high school senior, Robert moved to California to attend Rio Lindo Adventist Academy. Throughout his time at Rio, Robert was inspired through the influence of several teachers; Howard Hardcastle in English and Spanish classes, Harold Clark in history, Herbert Greer in Bible class, and Elder Will (principal) who helped mentor him and other missionary kids to better adjust to American culture. Robert vividly remembers where he was when JFK was assassinated and this event stirred a strong interest in global politics and the international relief efforts that President Kennedy initiated through the Peace Corps. Because of his formative years growing up in other countries, Robert was exposed to the vast need for missionaries and international relief professionals to truly understand cultures of people in other countries before trying to help them. Robert studied anthropology at Loma Linda University after learning of the possibility of becoming a social scientist and then furthered his studies in public health to learn additional practical skills that could be immediately applied in developing countries. He received his master’s degrees in both Social Anthropology and Health Education. Robert finished his education at the University of Robert Ford worked in 2012 in the California with a Ph.D. in Cultural Geography. Democratic Rebublic of Congo, Throughout his career in nations across the globe, Robert varied his research and studies which photographing and tracking the last 27 include studying drought and famine of West Africa, serving as a Senior Natural Resource Policy Advisor remaining zebra in the country. for USAID in Washington DC between 1999-2003, he researched biodiversity status in Honduras, advised the UAE/Abu Dhabi Environmental Agency, and worked in the Congo for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International as well as the Frankfurt Zoological Society. One of the most defining experiences of Dr. Ford’s career was the two and a half years of research that he did in the Sahel of West Africa during a ten-year drought. Dr. Ford’s research in a very isolated sub-desert region took a terrifying turn when his 3 ½ year old son fell ill. At that time, Dr. Ford and his family had been living in the area for nine months and medical care was sparse. A surgeon in town advised the family to return to the US. Ford’s wife and son left Africa and found the son’s condition to be a milk allergy. Dr. Ford stayed behind to finish surveying farmers and writing his 750-page dissertation on how the local people adapted to droughts. Using two assistants to communicate in the various local languages, Dr. Ford came to know and better understand many of the local tribes. At first, Ford conducted field research in the many locals were wary of this Upper Volta, Africa, gathering data about subsistence farming. Temperatures reached Christian researcher, but came up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. to accept him after learning that he didn’t drink alcohol or eat pork, which is customary according to Muslim law. Throughout his time in sub-Saharan Africa, Dr. Ford witnessed people who lived peacefully, despite radical differences in lifestyle, language, culture, and politics. “God has influenced all peoples and our task is to find the good wherever we find it and fight evil wherever it is, recognizing no one culture or religion is perfect,” says Dr. Ford. Today, Dr. Ford lives in Rockville, Utah and continues to work as a consultant and photographer and enjoys research, travel, humanitarian relief, hiking and piecing together puzzles about culture, geology, and infrastructure. If he could go back in time and speak to his 17-year old self, Dr. Ford would advise him to not worry, Ford trained local rangers how to use GPS to collect data in the Kundelungu National Park in the Congo in late 2012. roll with the punches, and be more appreciative of his teachers and mentors, recognizing how vital they are for setting his sails of life.

You can find out more about Dr. Ford’s life and continued research on his website: www.

RIO REPORT | Winter 2013


rio alumni w


On April 5-6, Rio Lindo Adventist Academy alumni, former faculty, and students celebrated Rio’s 50th anniversary. Almost half of Rio’s first graduating class, the class of 1963, came to Rio to celebrate the momentous occasion. The weekend’s events started off with the first annual Fritz Classic Golf Tournament, named for Rio’s longest serving teacher, Mr. Gottfried Fritz, who retired at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Ninety-five players teed off and braved the wind and rain to play a round of golf together. Golfers from the classes of 1963, 1964, and 1988 competed for the best score, alongside Rio students, who both volunteered and played in the tournament. The Fritz Classic raised more than $20,000 through community sponsorships, green fees, and mulligans, which directly benefits student scholarship. To register your team for next year’s Fritz Classic or to sign up as a corporate sponsor, please email Rika Meyer at On Friday night, Rio hosted a special multimedia vespers event in the church, celebrating the rich history of Rio’s legacy. Former principal Albert Miller (2001-2006) interviewed key members of Rio’s history including Dudley Galusha, who was the lead contractor in building Rio’s campus in the early 1960’s, Mr. and Mrs. Wilhelm, who were original staff members when

Fifty-year alumni Bill Moon, Ed Dower, Ken Martin and Jim Perrin played in Friday’s Fritz Classic Golf Tournament alongside teams of sponsors, faculty, alumni, and students.

Rio opened. Miller then interviewed Berit von Pohle, who told stories about when she worked as a student worker in the office of the original principal, Elder Will, and how she was in charge of tracking down students who were in trouble. Ms. Von Pohle also brought the perspective of a former superintendent and overseeing much of Rio’s development in the early 2000’s. Lastly, former faculty kid Elisa Campbell shared about her childhood growing up on Rio’s campus with both parents working as faculty members and what it’s like now being married to a faculty member and raising her own children. Together, the stories brought life and energy and created one harmonious portrait to the lives and legacies of the Rio family. Alumni were greeted at church the next morning by a mass choir comprised of current and alumni Lindaires. The choir performed several favorites that were requested ahead of time through Facebook. Alumna, Rochelle HolmanBoyl (’91), performed the solo for “Here’s One”. Rio music director, Rochelle White said, “It was such a great feeling to be a part of a tradition of music that has been a blessing to hundreds of people over the last 50 years. I really enjoyed the experience of making music with our Alumni and I hope they had a chance to relive some good memories.” At church, the congregation sang a rousing Members of the class of 1963 join together for a group photo. Over half of the class came back to Rio for rendition of “Rejoice Ye Pure in Heart,” then was the 50th year reunion gifted to hear a song by professional musicians RIO REPORT | Winter 2013





Diana Dokos Hergert (’73) and her husband, Don Hergert. The audience welcomed former chaplain and current president of Southern Adventist University, Dr. Gordon Bietz. Dr. Bietz told stories of his time serving at Rio, including some of his worship stories, playing sports with students, and starting a family at Rio. The alumni listened intently as Dr. Bietz spoke about his fond years at the beginning of his career in building relationships with students as school chaplain. Throughout the afternoon, alumni reconnected with classmates and spent hours sharing memories and stories of their time at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy. Classes met in their old classrooms and pointed out photos of old friends on the walls of the Ad-building. Ten-year alumna, Kim (Calderaro) Wells reconnected with classmates at art teacher Patti Velez’s house on Faculty Hill. “I enjoyed seeing friends and staff members that were there when I attended. I also enjoyed seeing all the changes and improvements made to better the school.” she said. Rio’s first fifty years have had their ups and downs, but most who come back remember their fond memories, friendships and teachers who made a pivotal change in their lives. As a whole, Rio Lindo Adventist Academy still desires to provide a safe, educationally enriching, spiritually uplifting experience for generations of students.


50 Years

Former principal and current senior Bible teacher, Albert Miller interviews original staff members Mr. and Mrs. Wilhelm about what it was like working in the brand new school.

Alumni Lindaires joined the current Lindaires for a morning concert and performed favorites throughout the decades, with guest conductor and former music director, Harlan Miller.

Former principals John Collins, Dennis Plubel and Albert Miller joined current principal, Doug Schmidt and shared several laughs, speeches, and prayer on stage at Friday’s vespers program.

Classes met in classrooms throughout campus to share their life updates and old memories about their times at Rio. (pictured: Class of 1968)

You are cordially invited to attend

Alumni Weekend APRIL 4-5, 2014 Schedule of Events Friday, April 4

8:30 am.......Golf Tournament Registration 7:30 pm.......Alumni Vespers at the Church

Saturday, April 5 9:30 am.......Registration 10:30 am.....Church Service 12:30 pm.....Lunch provided by Rio Lindo 1:45 pm.......Class Meetings on Campus 8:15 pm.......Basketball Game Rio Girls’ Varsity vs. Rio Alumni 9:45 pm.......Basketball Game Rio Boys’ Varsity vs. Rio Alumni

2014 Honor Class Contact:

1964 Bryan Breckinridge - Jeni Spoo Crane - (559) 410-8661 Also see for updates. 1969 Claudia Millar - 1974 Steve Nicola - (707) 395-0057 1979 Daphanee Dahuna 707-838-8984 1984 Susan Fleming - (530) 692-2898 1989 - Please check the website for updates 1994 - Please check the website for updates 1999 - Please check the website for updates 2004 Nelson Ernst - (707) 315-4503 2009 - Please check the website for updates Note: If your class does not have an organizer yet and you would like to volunteer, please call Brad Benson at (707) 431-5100.

Visit for updated class organizers, News Notes, and visitor information.

Keynote Speaker-Doug Tilstra, ‘74

Our keynote speaker for the weekend is Pastor Doug Tilstra, who graduated in the class of 1974. Some of his fondest memories from Rio include room checks and hauling buckets of rocks for an unmade bed, Gordon Bietz holding 300+ teenagers’ undivided attention each Sabbath while aromas of Sabbath lunch wafted through the open chapel windows from the cafeteria next door, ringing bells to signal class start and stop times, lights out at 9:45, hikes on Fitch Mountain and along the Russian River with friends, teachers who mentored and guided students (and some who did not), track and field days, Bible Conferences at Wawona, extension of 1973’s Christmas Break because someone predicted an earthquake would make California drop into the Pacific Ocean on Jan. 3, 1974 (and several weeks of school on Sunday to make up the missed class days), friends that have remained lifelong friends, the awakening of his spiritual life and early steps in a developing relationship with Christ, dorm worships, singing “In a Little While We’re Going Home” each night before a home leave, learning about destructive relationships (and not learning), color-coded gym shirts for levels of fitness, canoe trips on the Russian River, bike trips to town, Fall Festival, and Alumni weekends when the 20 year alums seemed to his 15-year old perspective as dinosaurs- and now it is 40 for the class of 1974! Needless to say, He is looking forward to reconnecting with classmates of 1974- many of whom he hasn’t seen since he has graduated. Listen as Dr. Tilstra shares these memories and many more as he speaks for the church service Sabbath. Find Dr. Tilstra’s update in the News Notes section of the magazine.


RIO REPORT | Fall 2012

Dr. Doug Tilstra in his graduating class photo in 1974, and today. Dr. Tilstra serves as the director of the Outdoor Education department at Southern Advnetist University in Collegedale, TN. For more updates, visit the News Notes page.










Fritz Classic 2nd Annual


APRIL 4, 2014

REGISTRATION BEGINS AT 8:30 AM Windsor Golf Club. Windsor, CA

Join us this year for Rio Lindo Adventist Academy’s second annual Fritz Classic. Named for Rio’s longest serving teacher, Gottfried Fritz, the tournament provides scholarships for students to pursue excellence in their education. Player package includes continental breakfast, green fees, golf cart, range balls, and a catered lunch.

To register contact: 707.431.5100, Ext. 112

GIVE THE GIFT THAT WILL CHANGE A LIFE One of the most creative artists to recently emerge from Rio’s art department is a sophomore named Hannah. Hannah’s place of solace is sitting hunched over the pottery wheel, letting her hands mold and form bowls, mugs, and plates. She doesn’t think; she just relies on instinct alone. “I think pottery is fun, and it’s really relaxing for me. I have complete control over what I’m creating and can make it however I want it-big or tall or short and fat, however I want. And I like the end product of course,” Hannah says. Although Hannah has always been creative, she had no idea she had the talent for ceramics. Today, she works for Ms. Velez in the art department and helps teach other students how to work the wheel. She also uses her spare time to create pottery to sell to raise money for an upcoming mission trip. Outside of the art room, Hannah is a star athlete. This season of flag football, Hannah played wide receiver and was seen throwing herself through the air to catch any ball that came near her. Her kinesthetic ability on the field transfers to her detailed work on the pottery wheel. Hannah always knew she wanted to go to Rio. As the youngest of four, Hannah watched her older sisters and brother leave for Rio one by one. Each break, they would come home and tell her about the fun times they had, the friends they made, and the excitement of boarding school. Hannah knew from the time she was in 3rd grade that she would be at Rio someday too. Because her parents had three other students in Adventist schools, they gave Hannah a choice when she was in fourth grade; either continue going to an Adventist school, or attend public school and then go to an Adventist school for high school. Hannah chose to attend public school so she could one day go to Rio. Today, both Hannah and her older brother are attending Rio and will graduate one day because of sponsors like you. Your gifts for scholarships make the difference in families choosing between a public school and Adventist education. Hannah doesn’t take your gift lightly, and she’s determined to make the most out of what she is learning at experiencing at Rio. “Thank you so much! You’re making a huge difference and you’re preparing me and lots of other students for the real world, and it’s such a great opportunity and I wouldn’t be able to be here without your generosity and I’m really grateful for everything,” she says with a huge grin, then melts in a fit of nervous giggles in that Hannah sort of way.

“You’re making a huge difference and you’re preparing me and lots of other students for the real world...” -Hannah, ‘16




Contact our Alumni Department by contacting Brad Benson at or by calling (707) 431-5100 ext. 121 to update your new phone number, e-mail address, or mailing address.


Please mark the attached envelope with the area you would like to help improve. All gifts are tax-deductible. For your convenience, we offer auto-withdrawal and Online Giving at:


news notes

Please note that some News Notes were edited to save space. Full updates can be found online at


‘64 Lynn C. & Shirley (Van Veldhuizen, ‘63) Miller - We will be celebrating fifty years of marriage this year. I am semi-retired and Shirley is fully retired. We spend much time with our adult children and grandchildren. We are planning two trips for our fiftieth anniversary to Costa Rica and Disney World. Both Shirley and I have worked in people helping services throughout our careers, Rio Lindo Academy and the wonderful staff was a big factor in those choices. We are blessed for the experience, all our best to the classes of “64” & “63”, Lynn and Shirley

‘64 Deanna (Robinson) Peterson Blazen - Greetings! I think often of my friends and classmates from ‘63/’64. I can’t believe we are talking 50 years. I live in sunny, smoggy Loma Linda, CA with my husband Ivan. I love and enjoy my bonus family having sadly lost my first husband to a heart attack in ‘87 and my son and daughter in a car accident in ‘88. Life can offer up some very hard knocks which is why we must embrace our daily joys and blessings. I am retired from administrative work and various occupations having yet to decide what I will do when, and if, I finally grow up. My goal currently is to attend the big reunion in April for the class of ‘64. See you all there. It will be great fun. ‘65 Cheryl Orser - After 40 years of teaching (16 for the conference in the USA: 10 on the Malamulo Mission in Malawi, Africa and now 16 more at Laurelbrook Academy in Dayton, TN. ) I decided it was time for me to retire in August, 2010. I certainly felt that Jesus would come before this would take place in my life. I have many pleasant memories of my life and make scrapbooks of many great moments. Now I am working part-time in the Laurelbrook nursing home. I help feed and do “one-on-one” visits in the rooms which is greatly appreciated. For example I feed one totally helpless 95 year old lady who calls me “Miss America” and we sing “You are my Sunshine.” I could tell lots of stories about my work in the nursing home. God Bless! ‘65 - B J (Stearns) Bannister - My husband, Reginald, and I have moved from Wickenburg, Arizona to a small town closer to the “rim”. The elevation allows for two or three freezes during the year and thus allows for fruit trees, like apples, which need the freeze to “set”. This move requires us to wrap our citrus trees for a short time each year. We are very pleased with our new home and large garden. We invite you stop

Life updates from Rio Alumni from 1963-2013.

by if you are ever in Congress, AZ.

‘66 Brenda Butka - Doing well here in Nashville! I continue to support my husband (after many years of the other way around!) and our farm project, Sulphur Creek Farm. We have two young farmers and several part-time helpers, and this year have had three weddings, a couple of square dances, and a Hops Festival. Our three daughters are everywhere: one doing a PhD in Princeton, one in med school in Florida, and one teaching kids science and outdoor skills in Washington. Gary might not respond, but he is still practicing in Brownwood , Texas, with a grown-up daughter, 7-year-old triplets and a baby boy. ‘66 Julia (Aitken) Schmitz-Leuffen - Dear fellow Rio alumni - and in particular the class of ‘66. I am still living just outside of Geneva, Switzerland; both boys are grown and out of the house although neither is yet married (hmmm... my dad was slow, I was slow, my husband was older: think there’s a pattern here?). Be happy to hear from any fellow alumni and - for those who might be interested - I started a blog this spring: http:// ‘67 Nancy (Coon) McCoy - I retired June 30, 2013 after 40 years in education. Larry and I moved to Ooltewah, Tennessee in August to be near family. We purchased a home in a senior development near Larry’s parents. I am enjoying retirement.

‘67 Sherry (Hamman) Miller - I have lived in Battle Ground, Washington for the past 21 years with the man I was dating when I was attending Rio. We are happier than we ever have been and we like everyone to know it’s totally due to getting really connected with Jesus as a unit of one, in the One. I have two small ministries that the Lord placed in my heart to help reach anyone that might be seeking a more meaningful and peaceful life. I send out “To Begin the Day of Rest” on Friday and “Enhancing Your Marriage” on Sunday mornings. My email address is if anyone is interested. I thank Chris Sissons and Karl Duffield

for being my good and faithful friends when I needed support. Prayer throughout my life has sustained me through all trials. God seriously cares! ‘68 Bonnie (Pumford) Reilly - Hello, Dear Friends. In the last couple years I have taken up a new “hobby”-Quilting! I truly enjoy it-a very creative outlet and my all-time favorite:). I’m a member of the Wiregrass Quilters’ Guild and my first quilt (Twisted Bargello) has been in two quilt shows here in South Georgia. Now I can’t sew fast enough-haha! My husband Bill is very supportive and even enjoys an occasional stroll through a quilt shop to help me find just the right fabrics. Sweet! My e-mail is gonecoastal2@ Would love to hear from you :). ‘68 Dan Hurst - It’s hard to believe it’s been 45 years since the “Class of 68” graduated. Dianne and I have really been enjoying our retirement. We enjoy spending time with our five grandchildren and working on our hobbies. During the summer we spend time at our camper in the North Georgia Mountains with several of our retired camper friends. The Lord has truly bless us and our family in so many ways. Hopefully I will make it to a reunion one day.


‘70 Chris Mathisen - I have been employed at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana for about the last 16 years in nutrition and have started to think about ‘retirement’......UHOH!!! I live already where I want to spend the rest of my life, so that won’t be any problem. Some of you might have known my brother, Curt. He was retiring as a dentist and he was in Peru doing volunteer work for those people when he suddenly had a heart attack last June and died at 62. Such a sad loss and far too young. ‘71 Richard Stewart - I wanted to let you know that I’m not enjoying “old” age. Yes, I may have a few health issues which I need to take care of but there are two things that are driving me bats: I don’t recognize my friends very well and it seems like everyone is sick or dying. This last Sabbath, I went to church in Carson City. Afterwards, I asked the pianist where she came from. She was Laurie Walla Gunby and attended Rio. I didn’t have any trouble recognizing her. I find it most

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annoying when I cannot recognize my friends! ‘71 Randall Beaida - For the most part, life has been good to us up until June 22 of last year. On that day, I saw my doctor who informed me that I had throat cancer. The next few weeks included numerous doctor visits, x-rays, probes, examinations and surgery. After that, I began 35 radiation sessions combined with chemotherapy. Essentially I drank nothing but Ensure and completed my chemo and radiation in September of last year. In January I had a Pet Scan with positive results. No cancer remaining in my body. My wife Etta and I were ecstatic and relieved. I still can’t taste food but it is better than the alternative. I have put some weight back on, regained my hair and have returned to the gym. At this time I am still in remission. We are extremely thankful to my daughter Kristie, our family and friends for support and prayers. My wife has been a godsend in that she went to every appointment, chemo and radiation treatment from start to finish. Sadly the day after we got my good news, we found out that our granddaughter, Teagan age 5 had Leukemia. She is currently still in treatment and making good progress. She and I now have an even greater bond. We are hopeful and praying that all will turn out well. During one of her most recent weekend visits we played monsters. When she got caught she said and I quote: “You don’t want to eat me cuz I am FULL of chemicals!” in her very matter of fact manner and then laughed so hard it almost made us cry. ‘72 Dave & Veronica (Millward) Crockett - We are doing well. Dave is busy with church activities going into sixth year as pastor of the Sandy SDA church. Veronica is busy as a hospice RN case manager and added new responsibilities as Clinical Services Director. Our oldest daughter Allison is an RN in Portland, Jessica an RN in California (with her husband and our two grandsons), Ben a dentist in Sisters Oregon (with his spouse also an RN), and Abe an RN training to be nurse anesthetist in Portland, Maine. Really sad we missed our reunion due to commitments, we still remember Rio and all the friends, and love to hear everyone’s news.

professor now! As a Residency Faculty he now adds teaching as his main job. He still doctors patients too, but that is secondary to teaching at the Family Practice Residency in Chattanooga. I am retired, gramma (GA-GA) and mom and it is fantastic. I am running a Stampin’ up business that is growing. If anyone is out this way, we have a guest room that is available! ‘72 Welcome Faith Church-Shipp - Hello Rio Friends!! At Rio I worked for Miss Lester in the Register’s office and I would float through the school and pick up attendance slips. I would see what each of you were doing that day in class ...sooooo I will give you an opportunity to float through my life...and get a glimpse of what I am doing...Married to Jim Shipp for 38 years, mother of three sons - Jeremy, Joshua & Jacob, taught First Grade & Kindergarten for over 25 years, conducts workshops for students, teachers and parents, author of childrens’ books (Express Books), creator and participant of Shippsails. com, lives in Loma Linda (Come visit!), soon to be a Grandma in May of 2014 - Yippee!!!! ‘72 Dan Tilstra - Still living in Orlando, still running my art business creating artwork for Hospitals and universities. Also, took on the job of homeroom 8th grade teacher at our local SDA elementary school. With boys all out of the house, I had extra time, they lost their teacher just before school started, so, when asked, it seemed like a good fit. Life does have its surprises. Karen finished her PhD about a year and a half ago and has applied the knowledge by opening the Florida Hospital Innovation Lab, a space dedicated to solving problems and challenges that face hospitals everyday.

‘72 Tom King - My wife Sue Ann Smith and I are still residing in Portland, Oregon. She is a neonatologist practicing at Oregon Health Sciences University. I chair the Oregon Board of Medical Imaging and independently provide emergency management services for large scale events in the Seattle Area. In November of 2012, I was deployed to Superstorm Sandy as part of a Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) providing emergency room like services. Although we slept in tents, the experience was highly rewarding. I do want to race Margo up the steps to Coit Tower next time we’re in San Francisco. :-) Overall, I have fond memories of Rio. If any of you are in the Portland area send me a message.

‘73 Jim Roy - I went to Beirut, Lebanon, in October after accepting an invitation to speak to 160 teachers on the concepts of choice theory. A principal of one of the SDA schools in Beirut read Soul Shapers, a book I wrote in 2005, and wanted teachers in the region to hear more about non-coercive educational strategies. The amazing thing is that more than half of those in attendance were Muslim. Effort is being given now to provide each of the 160 teachers, representing approximately 2,000 students, with a copy of Soul Shapers. There is so much they are doing right. Yet, they recognized their tendency toward an authoritarian approach, an external control emphasis, and wanted to learn more about teaching students the importance of internal control. I learned so much about the history of the Middle East. My heart goes out to my friends there as they navigate the increased tension and violence as a result of the recent bombings.

‘72 Mike & Lynn (Gibbs) Shepherd - Mike and I will have been in TN for 2 years this next March! We are loving it. Both our kids and their families live in town now. Our daughter is due with our second grandchild in March, a boy. Mike is a

‘74 Doug Tilstra - After 11 years of teaching in Southern’s School of Religion, I’ve made a bit of a turn in my teaching ministry. For the past 2 ½ years I’ve been the Director of Outdoor Education and Leadership at Southern.


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Lorraine, my wife, jokes that I’ve finally reached my lifetime goal of being a forest ranger. Each year I do teach a graduate class in the Boundary Waters (between Minnesota and Ontario, Canada). We paddle, camp, and discuss environmental, leadership, and spiritual issues each night around the campfire. Other than that, I work with teachers to learn to use the outdoors as a classroom, introduce children to God through nature, and teach the Bible alongside the natural world. It is a change and a challenge to stretch into new areas at this point in my life. ‘72 Neil Allen - I moved to Colorado about 2 1/2 years ago, because I lost my job in Washington. I was the Administrator of a medium size, group practice where the doctor-owners split into two camps with one group starting a new practice. I got caught in the middle. However, after just a few weeks, I was hired by a practice here with much better pay! I couldn’t have planned this any better! I thank God for what He has done and is still doing with my life. ‘74 Leslie (Horton) Briggs - Time seems to go by so quickly these days! So here is the briefest of updates. Since our last reunion, I have moved from Santa Rosa to Modesto, to Milton-Freewater, Oregon where I am the principal of Milton-Stateline Adventist School. I’ve been here six years now. Since I’ve been here, both my children have married, my daughter is making me a grandparent in February, I bought my first home in April of 2013, and in 2012, I got my Master’s degree from Walla Walla University. ‘75 Tracy Green - In my free time from my hectic career and getting Ph.D, I support and volunteer at multiple legal clinics pro bono and multiple charities. ‘75 Cynthia (Pryhorocki) Walker - I thought I’d bring you up to date as to where life has taken me over the past 18 months or so. I was living in Rancho Cordova, CA and working at Delta Dental of CA as a contractor for HewlettPackard. Since then I’ve moved to Keizer, OR and now work for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) DMV division in Salem as a Senior Programmer Analyst supporting their mainframe system. I’m married to my soulmate and best friend Edward as of April 2000. My two sons David, 34 and Jason, 32 both live in Washougal, WA. I have two granddaughters... Scarlett, 7 who lives in Gerber, CA and Faith, 6 who lives in Washougal, WA with her daddy David. ‘76 Betsy (Stimpel) Mayer - My husband’s ministry, Keep the Faith, has a branch in the South Pacific that operates Highwood Health Centre. In addition to running a residential CHIP

program, it also provides depression recovery and lifestyle counseling, as well as community health programming. I spent a month there last year volunteering and will go back again for a month in Nov/Dec this year. If you are interested in getting involved in a rewarding mission experience in a beautiful setting in Victoria, Australia, contact the ministry on their webpage ‘77 Dawn (Lindquist) Holbrook-Tim and I loved having our missionary son home for the summer. Among other treats, we spent 3 weeks cruising the Tennessee River on our small sailboat. We have moved into what we hope is or permanent home at the foot of the Cohutta mountains and I have been able to transition to a position in the county hospital of our small community. I hope it will lead to ministry opportunities, and I can’t beat the 5 mile commute! ‘78 Gary Arnold - My family & I have been invited to a little town above Marysville, Ca. There is a lot going on in this town that we want to take part in. (Health retreat, home schooling, and other events plus country living.) ‘80 Steven Johnson - I’m still living in Antioch and working at the Public Defenders office in Martinez. It was great seeing everyone at the 50th reunion last year. I’m keeping busy by being the Head Deacon at my church which keeps me busy. See you at Alumni in 2014.


‘80 Gina (Devine) Wahlen - Is the new editor of Mission quarterly magazine for Adventist Mission, promoting 13th Sabbath Mission Offerings. She loves traveling and meeting people as she collects mission stories from around the world. Recently, she traveled to the Adventist University in Bucha, Ukraine, where she met with many students, including Anna and Benjamin (pictured). For stories, pictures, and videos, visit ‘81 Shari Nash Smoot -In June, 2012 we finished our time in Africa and moved back to the US from Kenya. Living in Nairobi and Nouakchott, Mauritania were fabulous experiences. Recently divorced, I’m working full time at Andrews University as the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of University Advancement. I’m also taking classes to finish my BS degree. My oldest daughter will be graduating from Union College in December.

My younger 3 children are at Andrews Academy, one graduating in May. While life has definitely thrown me a curveball, I still have a positive outlook and believe that everything works out in God’s plan and in His time. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our next honor year -- could that really be 35 years? ‘81 Wendy (Davis) Cramer - I am working for UCLA working on the electronic medical record system that is being implemented. I just returned from Madison, WI for further training and certification. Since being in southern CA, I don’t get to see my girls or grand kids as often as I like. I head north every 6 weeks or so for the weekend. My husband Jay is still living in our house in NCal so I don’t see him as much either, but we manage to make it all work out. Crystal is working for First Student, which is a school bus service, as a driver and a trainer. Mandy also works for First Student but only as a driver, she is kept busy with my 9 year old grandson. Karrie is doing well also, she is currently the assistant manager at the Healdsburg Goodwill and is looking at becoming a manager of her own store sometime next year. She is kept real busy with my 3 year old granddaughter. With all of Trinity’s medical issues, we still feel that we are blessed to have her. ‘84 Rene (Hicks) Williams - My husband, Wayne and I still live in Dorena, Oregon. Both of us work for the hospital in Eugene which is about 40 minutes from the house. We have a mini farm with chickens and lots of fruit trees, I love to paint and can fruit in my spare time. I also volunteer with a 12 step family support group, it has been really wonderful to see the changes in someones life. The past 30 years has been full of up and downs I am thankful for the wonderful friends and staff at Rio for their love and support. ‘84 Scott Griswold - We’ve gone from Thailand’s tropical beaches and mangos to the snowy fields and blueberries of Berrien Springs, Michigan. It is a bit of an adjustment! I am now working as associate director for ASAP Ministries, the organization that supports development and gospel work in Southeast Asia that we first went out to Cambodia with. We are involved also with refugees in America. We have four children at four stages--elementary, high school, college, and married! I would love to hear from old friends. You can contact us through either of our websites; or Hope to see you at the 30th--2014! ‘88 Lysa Wright - I have wonderful news! The infection I was struggling with for 3 years, in my brain, is finally healed! After 3 brain surgeries (the first for tumor removal), I am finally cured, and healing well. My hair is growing longer, again, and my strength is returning. Praise God! I have moved, now to Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, and got a job working for Deloitte. I love my job, and the area where I live. The kids (Thomas 15, Becky 13) are having fun doing online school. There are many things to be thankful for, and I AM thankful. ‘88 Karen (Gomez) Vega - God is really blessing us. We started a non profit organization-Ocala

Autism Support Network, Inc. 2 1/2 yrs ago. We provide free autism services to families. We have been meeting at our church, restaurants, and bowling alleys but thankfully received funding to open an office and look forward to opening our doors very soon! We hope to raise more funds to open an autism center in the next 5 yrs. Two of my sons have autism and have been the inspiration for the work we do. If you are interested in following the work we are doingplease “like” our page on Facebook (search for Ocala Autism Support Network). ‘88 Carol Putz Zinke - My oldest son died last year which was very unexpected. We moved to Loma Linda to a great job. ‘89 Laurie (Franklin) Parson - I received my Master’s in Nursing from Ball State University in December 2012 and am currently an Assistant Professor in the Nursing Department at Pacific Union College.


‘91 Erin (Jacob) Blubaugh - Hi Rio family! I’m happy to announce that I’ve finally fulfilled my life dream of publishing a book. My good friend and co-writer Kristen Capps and I have been enjoying motherhood, teaching in alternative education and collecting funny stories about what makes life so wild! Our book is Candidly Speaking: Just Between Us Girls. It’s a little racy, so buyer beware! ‘91 Motonori Sozu - “Party on dude!” See you guys next reunion. I live in Tokyo with my wife, Uzuki and 2 young daughters - Hazuki & Mizuki. ‘92 Ray Austin - Living in Redmond, Oregon and loving life! Expecting a second daughter November 18, 2013. She will join her big sister Abby age 5. ‘94 Dusty Clemons-Hargis - I’m looking forward to our 20 year reunion for 1994. It is with a sad heart that I lost my husband on Sept. 9, 2013. I’m still living in American Canyon and am thankful for my strong support system through this time in my life. ‘95 Emily (Thomsen) Simmons - I’m still living in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. Just over a year ago my husband and I bought a multitherapist massage practice and I am slowly turning it into the world-class day spa I dream of owning. (Can we say huge learning curve?!) If any of you are ever in the area, I’d love to have you! ‘95 Benjamin Cooke & Janette (McMillin) Cooke - live in Aliso Viejo, Ca. with their sons Patrick (6) & Connor (2). ‘96 Ira (Waworuntu) Ocampo - I’ve been married to Jerome Ocampo for over 5 years. We have been blessed with two children, Jaden, 5 and Leila, 2. We moved to Texas 3 years ago and I currently help my husband by manage our dental office. Even

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though we are happy living in Texas, our goal is to eventually move back to Southern California to be close to family and also to have our kids grow up in a strong SDA community, like we both did. ‘98 Abraham & Michelle (Pennington) Villasante - We have a new daughter Marlow Belén, she is 7 months. And my oldest just turned 3. We live in Elk Grove California. My wife Michelle and I met at Rio and are still together and happily enjoying our family.


‘06-Rose (Swendson, Barber) Grant-Rose lives in Columbus, OH, where she works as a party planner and event coordinator with her husband, Chris, and her newborn son, Wyatt Ulyssus. She came back to visit Rio on October 14, and enjoyed seeing all of her former teachers. Rose wrote a childrens book in 2011 called, Right Where You Need Me. ‘09 Stephanie Moningka - “Hello, to the future successors of this Nation! I am proud to be a Rio Alumnis and am happy to inform you all, that my high school experience has introduced to me a lifetime ride of adventure. Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Army, completing my active duty contract in Fort Bliss, TX has brought me back to the homeland of San Bernardino, CA. I am now a full time student studying Pre-Health in Nursing at La Sierra University. In addition to that, I graduate talent school, Barbizon of Hollywood, in January! They have welcomed me to so many new opportunitiesattending the American Music Awards was one of them! I had the honor of sitting next to Shamar Moore, a star actor in the show “Criminal Minds”. GO RIO! :D” ‘10 Stephen & Alicia (Privat) Weston - Hey all from the class of 2010, we have been married for two years now. This past year we have moved to a little place on Bailhache Avenue in Healdsburg. Stephen is working at Cable Car which is right down the road from Rio and Alicia is taking classes at the Santa Rosa Junior College for a web design certificate. ‘10 Jonathan Riddle - I am currently finishing my second year at Southwestern Adventist University; my favorite of the Adventist colleges


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I have tried. In December I will graduate with a two-year Associates degree in General Studies. When I graduate I will return home to Rio and look for a job. ‘12 Kathleen Thais - I am about to finish my 1st semester of Law School in Brazil. ‘12 Josh Carpio - I hope all my classmates, and friends are doing well. I wish you all luck in whatever you are doing in your life

Former Faculty Wilmer & Janet SnyderWe have been enjoying life in Jefferson, GA since our retirement from Leoni Meadows the end of 2005. We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in 2010 with all of our immediate family together t! We do get to CA at least once a year since two of our sons Ryan ‘88 and Wilmer Jr ‘82 and their families live in CA. Monte and wife are in MS at Keesler AFB. Jamie ‘79 and family are in Lincoln NE. We celebrated our 50th class reunion from Andrews University September 2012 and our 55th reunion from Adelphian Academy in MI in October 2012. We have very fond memories and lots of friends from our 11 years we were on the staff at Rio. 1969-73 Hans & LaDonna Krenz - We’re happily retired in southwest Florida and keeping busy playing on the beach, swimming in our pool, bicycling, sailing, boating, and being active with the local region of Porsche Club of America. After over 38 years in Seattle drizzle, it was not difficult at all to adjust to warm and sunny weather. And we really don’t miss work at all! 1986-2013 Gottfried & Cheryl Fritz - We are adjusting to life in Washington state. This often includes a layer of moisture sometime during the day. Having a wonderful time being close enough to be in the lives of our 4 and 1 and half year old grandaughter’s lives. Cheryl is still working on getting the house like she envisions it should be, and Gottfried is teaching a two-day a week session of basic chemistry during the second quarter for the 6th through eighth grade at the Adventist Junior Academy. He also is a volunteer docent at the nearby fish hatchery on the Cowlitz River. After the first of the year he will start a development and mentoring in beekeeping service for interested homeowners and gardeners in the area. May God bless all of you and direct the future of our school. Jason Foster 2006-2010 - Rio Lindo is one of the best places I have ever worked. I love the people, the program and the location. I count it a blessing to have been a part of it and feel pity for those who never have been.



Please help us keep our records up to date with your current contact information. To update your own email address, phone number, or mailing address, call Brad Benson at (707) 431-5100 or email: Our website has a list of lost contacts. If you see anyone on the list and have contact info, we would appreciate some sharing. See our missing contacts at: WWW.RIOLINDO.ORG.

At Rest-

A special good-bye for now to those we have loved, grown up with, and learned from as they sleep in Jesus.

‘62-64 Elder Marvin Seibel (former faculty)- died on August 15, 2013 in Gladstone, Oregon at the age of 88. He was born July 31, 1925 in Canada to Jake and Lydia (Zweigle) Seibel. Marvin graduated from Pacific Union College in Angwin, California (near Napa) with his degree in Theology in 1953. Marvin served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II. Marvin met and fell in love with Eva Nelson. They were married on September 1, 1946 in Mt. View, California. Marvin worked for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hawaii where he was Head of the Education and Youth Departments and the Temperance War Commission and built the youth camp on Oahu. ‘62-76 Gladys Will (former faculty)-passed away March 24th, 2013 after a short illness. She was 96 years old. She had continued to live in her home in Loma Linda, California after Elder Will’s death in 2008. She was Rio Lindo’s first, First Lady living at Rio Lindo from the first day it opened in the fall of 1962 until the graduation of the class of 1976. Gladys and Elder Will continued to live in Northern California for several years after leaving Rio before retiring in Loma Linda. She is survived by her son, Dr. Larry Will (class of 1963), daughter Nyla Keller (class of 1967), along with grandchildren, greatgrandchildren and many friends. ‘63 Glenice Stanford- Died of heart failure while having emergency surgery on March 23, 2013. She was buried in Kansas next to her mother. ‘67 Mary (Kelly) Prince - Died October 30, 2012. ‘67 Judie (Wagenleitner) Squires died on Dec. 13, 2012 of colon cancer. By the time it was discovered, it had metastasized significantly with Stage 3 and 4 levels of intensity. They gave her 15 months at that time, so it was a blessing that her life was extended a few more precious months. She will be sadly missed. She died in West Virginia because her younger son, Mark, ran an assisted living place - so she was there for just a couple months. She was sick for less than 2 years.

‘68 Regina Arline (Jeffreys) Westerling -Died July 28, 2012. ‘69 Sandra (Smith) Jones - Died April 27, 2013. ‘70 Dr. Charles Lamont Millar- Died July 21, 2013. He suffered a heart attack at the age of 61 in his home in Hidden Valley Lake, CA. He was preceded in his death by his wife, Dava Bauer Millar (Rio Class of 1971). He is survived by his mother, Dorothy, his brothers, Scott and Brett, his son, Matthew and family, and his daughter, Jacqueline. In Dr. Millar’s memory, donations may be made to the Kahili Adventist School, P.O. Box 480, Lawai, Hawaii 96765. ‘70 David L. Tigner- David L. Tigner passed away December 11, 2012. David L. Tigner was a bass-baritone of great versatility familiar to audiences across the nation. Over a lifetime he delighted audiences with his impressive voice and musicality in addition to being a highly sought after vocal instructor. David Livingstone, at age 61, passed away on Tuesday, December 11, 2012. The cause of death was chronic renal failure with congestive heart failure. The last few years of Mr. Tigner’s life were burdened with health issues that kept him from singing and teaching the way he wanted. But his powerful performances and his booming voice will be remembered by audiences worldwide and his legacy of kindness and musical excellence will live on in the lives of the hundreds of students he has influenced. He leaves to mourn his passing to his siblings Linda Tigner-Weekes, MD (‘66), Joseph Tigner (‘68), Jonathan Tigner and Lois Saunders and his nephews and nieces Juma Tigner Ford, Jhamillia Weekes, Jhana Weekes, Kimberly Tigner and Rachel Tigner, Aunt Bessie Tigner Renfor and loads of cousins. To read more about David’s life and career please go to the Alumni tab and then Alumni at Rest at www.riolindo. org.

discovered George had a brain tumor two years ago and his battle with that ended in October. George’s wife shared that his most fond memories of his teen years were those at Rio. He often spoke of his friends from that time in his life. George is survived by his wife, Jeannie; children, April, Alicia, Charles, George, III, and Derrick, along with 10 grandchildren. ‘80 Peter Stimpel-After a brief battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Peter August Stimpel went to sleep in Jesus on Monday, January 21, 2013. Peter was unusually bright, talented, and restless with the status quo. His intellectual curiosity made him a challenge for teachers and authority figures. He wasn’t really a rebel, he just had a knack for finding their vulnerable spots— intellectually or philosophically—and demanding better answers. “Because I said so” didn’t work for him. Peter was an extreme extrovert. Peter possessed both an inherited and cultivated trait of seeing value in things that others often overlooked. He saw value in people who were marginalized and lonely. He reached out to people who didn’t fit in polite company and was a loyal friend when things got tough. Peter and his wife Patty had two children—Paul and Paige. In 2001, Paul died suddenly from a rare autoimmune disorder that no one knew he had. He was nearly 16 years old. A part of Peter died with him and for those of us who knew him, he was never the same. He too is now resting, waiting to be reunited with Paul and the faithful of all ages at Jesus’ soon return. Peter is survived by his wife Patty, his daughter Paige, his brothers, Earl and Jim, his sisters, Betsy Mayer and Kathy Smith, and his mother, Helen. To read more about Peter’s life go to Alumni at ‘81 Kurt Kendrick - Died January 5, 2013 ‘85 Eric Lundin - Died March 16, 2013

‘72 George Demitry Alikin, Jr. - Born in San Paulo, Brazil January 22, 1954, passed away October 19th, 2013. After having suffered a stroke in 1996, George lived in Portland with his loving wife Jeannie. The doctors

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Service Around I recently sat down with Pastor Krystalynn Martin who has been on more mission trips than anyone I’ve ever known. She explains why missions are so essential to the Rio experience and why service never goes out of style.

RM: What mission trips have

you gone on since you’ve been at Rio? PK: In Trinidad & Tobago, we built a Playground, a Retaining wall, and did VBS. In Peru, our group built a Medical Round House in the Amazon Jungle and did Dental Clinics. In India, we built a Church, a playground, did VBS at an Orphanage, held Dental Clinics, and volunteered in Mother Teresa’s Orphanage & Home for the Sick. In Mozambique, Africa we built two Churches, a Playground, VBS and Dental Clinics. In Mexico, we built two Churches, did VBS and Dental Clinics. In Thailand, we worked with ADRA & the local people of Northern Thailand to build a gravity-fed water source to their village; VBS; and Dental Clinics. On 2nd trip to Thailand, built a playground for ADRA’s Keep Girls Safe House. Last year in Peru we drilled five fresh water wells for villages and families in Iquitos and the Amazon Jungle villages, we did VBS and Dental Clinics. On our second trip to Peru, we rebuilt a church in a remote village on the Amazon River.

RM: Where are you going this year?

PK: This year we’re doing

something closer to home. We’re calling it the “Love Does” mission trip and it’s all about the concept of what does love look like in our own backyard? Does a mission trip always have to be to some place exotic? Although these mission trips are fun and we learn and


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give a lot, what does it mean to live a mission in our own country and culture? So we’re taking our trip down through California into Mexico and building a house for a family through Amor Ministries. On the way down to Mexico, we’ll be stopping at different organizations and helping them out. Places like SF Impact (a mission in the heart of the tenderloin district in San Francisco). Also keeping our eyes peeled for any ways that we can BE love in real time. That might mean stopping to pick up trash under an overpass. Or maybe painting a house. Or maybe cleaning up a playground and park. We’re excited to see what love looks like in the every day places when we truly open our eyes.

RM: Why do you think mission

trips are important for students? PK: Mission trip are important because it gives students a perspective of real life outside of the bubble they live in. When students were in Peru, for example, they couldn’t believe that people actually live like that (in huts with no toilets and no warm running water, and electricity runs off of a generator that they have to turn on every day, powered by expensive gasoline). And yet these people are so happy and give so much to the students. Even though they seem to have nothing, they actually have way more - things like generosity, happiness, time to play, gratitude for small things. The students get this perspective and it challenges them, especially as they come home to a culture where they have so much and where society tells them they need more to be happy. They now have a different reality that most people never get the chance to experience. In turn, the people that we interact with get the money to build a building, or a fresh-water well, or a


playground. With the money that we raise to go overseas, this money could do so much more for the people if we just sent it. But our students are really the ones who are ministered to, and with their eyes open, they get a perspective that will change the way they view the world, God, and their purpose for being alive at this time in history.

RM: What happens to students with

missions after they leave Rio? PK: Many students have continued to pursue missions. We currently have 5 students out serving right now. They have learned that it is definitely more fun to give than to receive, and that when we live a life of service to others and doing what we can to change the world, that there truly is no greater adventure!


I t a t N v d s a t a I p l s R w h N m


Students dug to install water systems in Thailand.

Rio Missions

the World By Pastor Krystalynn Martin & Rika Meyer

Layout & Design by Elena Chen (‘14) and Ella Cornell (‘15)

Ashley Riddle, Assistant Girls Dean I attended Southwestern Adventist University in Texas last year and I felt convicted to take a year off and gain some perspective on life. I’m now an assistant girls’ dean at Bass Memorial Academy. Every question that these girls ask me helps me search for the answers. God has been working on my heart and showing me the answers that these girls need to hear. I get questions from “Dean Ashley, do these shoes match my dress?”, to Dean Ashley, “Why did God let my mom die?” and having to answer those questions not only brings me closer to God while searching for the answers, but also brings questions up about my life and things that have happened to me. My relationship with God has become stronger than I ever thought possible. I think a lot more about what I say, how I act, what I wear, and the kind of media I watch, read and listen to because these girls hold me accountable. There is no room for me to have 2 personalities, one where I’m on duty, and one where I’m off. I have changed for the better and I intend to stay that way. This job as showed me that I have no control in God’s plan for my life. I don’t really have plans for my future because I know that God will show me the path to take. Rio taught me to listen to God’s voice. It taught me (even though I didn’t see it at the time) that my future is in God’s hands no matter how much I tried to fight it. I miss Rio, especially being at another Ashley Riddle serves as a girls dean at Bass Memorial Academy. boarding academy, Rio will always be home for me and I’m trying to make Bass that for these girls.

Evan Salter, Youth Worker

I don’t have just one reason for why I wanted to leave, it was a mix of three things: a desire to make a difference, a hunger to travel, and the knowledge that an opportunity like this might not come again easily. My job is awesome. I am the youth worker at Garden City Fellowship SDA Church, in Christchurch, NZ. I lead teen/youth Sabbath School, plan social nights, bible studies, and vesper programs. I assist leaders of Pathfinders and other youth trips, and do all I can to keep the youth active with the church. I have learned heaps of small life lessons, among the most important are heavier reliance on God, and truly turning to Him when I’m tempted or stressed. I’ve also had to work to overcome my procrastination habits, you have to get stuff started way in advance or else it can blow up in your face badly. I was planning on going into some sort of pastoral ministry, but this year has pointed me towards youth ministry, because honestly that is where I feel God leading, and where I know I’ll be the most happy and fulfilled. This year of service is just giving me real life training for my future career. Rio honestly was the foundation of it all, if I hadn’t have attended, I likely wouldn’t have been a theology major at Southern Adventist University. If I Evan and his youth group in New Zealand. hadn’t of been at SAU, I wouldn’t have made connections with the people in NZ, and I wouldn’t be were I am today. The time and offices I had at Rio started my journey in ministry, and gave me the confidence to continue forward.

Scott Griswold, Missionary to Cambodia & Thailand

Scott Griswold, ‘84 served in both Cambodia and Thailand with his family. They taught English and started new churches along with enjoying the incredible beauty.

I graduated from Rio in 1984 and spent much of my life since then overseas. My wife and I worked among the poor in the slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia for 6 years, helping locals have jobs, teaching sanitation and health, and helping them know Jesus. Later we went back overseas to work in Thailand for 10 years. I was the director of the Center for East Asian Religions. We wrote health and Bible materials in ways that made it easier for Buddhists to understand and appreciate. We helped start ministries and churches in different areas where there were no Christians. Our whole family loves Southeast Asia, the great fruit, wonderful beaches, but especially the kind people. The easy-going spirit, peaceful friendliness is really nice. It was meaningful to have my children grow up over there. There are plenty of problems that the people have to, but that is the challenge and joy of connecting them with God and His practical help! After being around so many people who don’t know God, I feel really privileged to know Him and share Him. The joy He brings to suffering people is amazing!

RIO REPORT | Winter 2013


g n i t a Navig

e r u t u F the

By Simeon Good

att, ‘16 Design by Marcelo Silva, ‘15 and Jared Thre

Throughout history, humans have always found creative ways to get from one place to another; ways that would help guide them. Years ago, sailors used the stars to guide them while they were at sea. Early astronomers realized that some constellations, such as the Big Dipper, were only seen in the northern part of the sky. Knowing where north was helped travelers figure out what direction they needed to head in order to reach their destination. It helped them get back home if they became lost. During China’s Qin Dynasty, scientists and engineers created the compass, which helped save many sailors lost at sea. Even slaves used the “drinking gourd” (the Big Dipper), which pointed to the North Star, to help them escape to freedom. Today our technology has advanced with Mapquest and GPS enabled phones. Directions are easily accessible with just the click of a mouse or the tap of a screen. With such devices, it’s difficult for anyone to get lost, no matter how murky the water or cloudy the sky. But even though such technology can get us to the next location, it cannot direct us to our destination in


RIO REPORT | Winter 2013

life. While it can help us dodge traffic jams and find the fastest route, it cannot guide us on our way to success in school, the work force or in relationships. Our students need more than what our technology provides. And this is where Rio Lindo Adventist Academy comes in. Rio has a compass for its students in the form a program called “Navigate”. Navigate was developed as a tool to provide students with mentors that would help them maneuver their way through spirituality, relationships and the sometimes scary and uncertain years of high-school. I’m not sure I can put my finger on it, but there is something special and rewarding about sitting down with a student and talking to them about their family, spiritual development or how to build better study habits. Sonya Cruz, assistant girls dean and college/career counselor, and Renee Brassington, school counselor, spearhead the program. Other mentors include Brad Benson, Israel Peralta, and Joshua Nwosu. Each mentor is assigned a group of students for the school year and is responsible for meeting with students

“...there is something special and rewarding about sitting down with a student and talking to them about their family, spiritual development or how to build better study habits.” - Simeon Good

Task force volunteer, Joshua Nwosu speaks with sophomore, Luis Diz about life and study habits.

periodically. In this school year, Navigate is focusing on freshmen and sophomore students. I’m sure many of us remember our first couple of years in high school; the doubt and uncertainty, the desperate yearning to fit in. Looking back, I wish I had a teacher or school counselor to help me make sense out of a confusing time; someone to show me effective study techniques, or the healthy way to approach a relationship with the opposite sex; someone to take an interest in my future, someone with experience to help me avoid the pot-holes on the road to success. Navigate focuses on three major areas which are academic development, Long-term goal setting and spiritual development. 1) Academic Development Mentors help students struggling with certain classes by providing them ideas and resources. This includes carving out better study times, better note taking and tutoring if needed. 2) Spiritual Development Mentors help students think of health as a holistic process. Health not only includes physical and mental, but spiritual as well. Mentors provide spiritual guidance however each student needs it. 3) Long-term goal setting Mentors help students set long-term goals. They help students recognize that doing well in high school is the first of many necessary steps they need to take in order to chart a successful course in life. Goals include college/career awareness. One of the tools we are using as part of Navigate is a computer based program called Naviance. Naviance is a college and career and readiness platform that helps connect academic achievement to post secondary goals. Students, educators and parents can also use Naviance to understand specific student learning styles, which enables all parties involved become better equipped to help students learn and continue to learn. In closing, a few weeks ago, a freshman girl

came to me, paper in hand, and asked if I could read the story she had just finished writing. I plopped down in my chair and poured over the words. My heart fluttered, my pulse raised and a small tear appeared in the left corner of my eye. Her story was incredible and touching. Sensing this could be a mentoring moment; I sang her praises and encouraged her to consider getting her story published. “Do you really think it’s that good?” She said smiling from ear to ear. “It’s better than good.” I replied. Over the next few days, I provided resources for her to get published in a few well known teen magazines. I hope to guide her through the process and encourage her along the way.

School counselor, Mrs. Brassington asssists Michael Li with the Naviance computer program in the computer lab.

“I wish I had a teacher or school counselor to help me make sense out of a confusing time”-Navigate counselor, Simeon Good.

Simeon Good, who teaches freshman English, discusses Naviance profile results with freshman Matthew Weed, asking him about his future career plans and high school goals.

RIO REPORT | Winter 2013


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RIO REPORT | Winter 2013

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