Houghton Academy’s Global Impact Through New Technology Courses

Houghton Academy’s student-to-faculty ration of 7:1 offers the advantage of creativity in class structure.
Houghton Academy’s student-to-faculty ration of 7:1 offers the advantage of creativity in class structure.

By Jennifer Lamey

Houghton Academy’s beautiful 25-acre campus in Houghton, NY is educating the future leaders of the world with a solid Christian foundation. The preparatory boarding and day school for grades seven through twelfth with students from ten countries and three continents boasts a 100% college acceptance rate. Houghton Academy’s mission is to Live Authentically, Learn Deeply, Lead Globally, and Love Boldly for the Glory of God.  Head of School John Nelson and the faculty strive to honor the history, founding principles, and mission statement while helping each student grow both in spirit and mind.

“This year the Academy’s academic offerings have expanded to include two dual-credit computer courses: Introduction to Computers & Applications and Computer Science I. Both classes are being offered through Roberts Wesleyan College and are taught by the Academy’s Technology Manager, Dr. Anthony Petrillo” reported Andrew Roorbach, Houghton Academy’s marketing coordinator.

Houghton Academy’s student-to-faculty ration of 7:1 offers the advantage of creativity in class structure. “The courses are designed to function much like a work environment.” said Mr. Roorbach. Both classes have a term project and a number of presentations such as Internet safety and building a website throughout the semester. In class, similar to a team workspace, each student is responsible for one aspect of the term project. “Dr. Petrillo serves as the supervisor, while several students serve in leadership roles such as classroom and project managers, with the goal of giving students hands-on learning experience.” Mr. Roorbach explained. Structuring the class this way enables students to dig deep into their research and develop strong skills in their area of study. This approach to developing strong life skills in students is seen in every aspect of Houghton Academy. Houghton is not just interested in achieving high test scores, they want each student to succeed, not just academically, but as a person throughout their life. The student’s response to this classroom style is highly encouraging. Dr. Petrillo jokes, “the kids don’t leave the class!” They are excited about the material they’re learning and motivated to do the best job possible. Many of Dr. Petrillo’s students are beginning to explore their options for a career in the technology industry after high school.

“The main project for the apps course is for the students to produce a book for the computer program – Inkscape. Inkscape is an open-source graphics editor that can be used to create or edit vector graphics (similar to Adobe’s Illustrator.) Titled Inkscape In My Own Words, the students will write the manual in both English and Chinese, publish the book, develop a website to promote the book, and create a demo video highlighting one of Inkscape’s features. Upon publication, the class will donate their finished book to the mission organization TEN3, which is led by Dr. Petrillo.” Mr.  Roorbach explained.

TEN3 (Transformational Education Network) was started by Dr. Petrillo while doing educational research in Nigeria as an SIM missionary. The ministry that combines discipleship with computer literacy training founded the ECWA Information and Computer Science Institute in 1993 has graduated more than 9000 thousand students. The goal of this ministry is to “expose (teachers and administrators) to thinking deeper about how computers work. Providing Godly use of technology skills” Dr. Petrillo said. Since then a number of schools have been established offering diplomas, technical certificates, and bachelor degrees along with a strong Christian foundation. Mr. Roorbach explained, “TEN3’s mission is ‘to develop knowledgeable leaders who, equipped with a thorough Christian worldview and the love of Jesus Christ, can bring hope to the next generation of Africans.”

“The Houghton Academy students have received from Africa because they have learned how to develop their book from a TEN3 textbook” Dr. Petrillo said. Now the students at Houghton Academy are able to take part in this ministry by providing a resource to the educators of Africa and ultimately the young students beginning to explore the field of technology. “We believe this is a unique experiential learning opportunity for our students that will provide not only valuable work environment experience, but also an opportunity to use their talents and knowledge to give back, while helping instill a lifelong desire to serve others” Mr. Roorbach said.

Houghton Academy’s dedication to showing the love of Christ and providing a solid academic and Christian education for future leaders is now reaching far beyond their school walls and into the lives of educators in Africa. To learn more about the school and application process please visit their website at www.HoughtonAcademy.org.

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