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Orlando Junior Academy: Catching the Eyes of the Community

posted on November 30, 2012, under Education by

Orlando Junior Academy (OJA) is not the same school it was when first established in 1906. With a steadily increasing enrollment that encompasses Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade, OJA exhibits a learning environment that is drawing students and catching the eyes of the community 107 years after its beginnings.

Edible School Yard

Photos: Brad Jones

Every class at OJA participates in our school garden. The teachers integrate what they are teaching in the classroom with what they are doing in the garden. The students are learning about different foods, how they are grown, and how they are beneficial to everyone. Students are provided with opportunities to taste different foods both in the garden and in the grades 5-8 cooking classes. —Amy Sorensen, grade 1 teacher

We are right at the top in our garden and kitchen program. We are intentional about creating a garden culture, and our students are growing and benefitting from this tremendously! —Janet Braga, grade 4 teacher

A member of the RoboJags team working with Lego Mindstorms NXT robots. (Photo: Carianna Farfan)

The Robotics Team
For the fourth year in a row, the OJA Robotics Team, RoboJags, will participate in the Adventist Robotics League Southern Challenge hosted by the School of Computing at Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee. This site is one of 560+ to host the annual worldwide robotics tournament. OJA will join more than 200,000 students, age 9-16, from more than 60 countries in exploring the topic of aging and how it may affect a person’s ability to maintain his or her lifestyle. The RoboJags will research obstacles and then suggest ways to improve the quality of life for seniors.

“I really feel that when I am trying to solve the tasks in robotics, I am helping to make the world a better place,” shares Alex, a fourth-grade student. —Carianna Farfan, grades 5-8 teacher

Mini-Jag Podcast
Students produce a weekly podcast, Mini-Jag, with news, inspiration, and class events. The computer and writing teachers introduced this communication tool in an effort to teach students how to collect news, write scripts, and announce the material.

OJA places a strong emphasis on teaching leadership and presentation skills. These podcasts are one fun way to implement this effort. —Leanne Andino, parent

Adventist EDGE School of Excellence Award
OJA is the 14th school in the southeast to receive the Adventist EDGE School of Excellence Award from the Southern Union Conference Department of Education. The award represents the highest achievement possible for schools within the Southern Union.

“We are so proud of Orlando Junior Academy,” says Sandra Doran, Florida Conference Associate Superintendent for Education. “This school makes a unique impact on the community with their emphasis on gardening and healthy living. The EDGE Award is a symbol of the countless hours of hard work and the tireless dedication of the entire faculty and staff.”


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