If I could find a time machine, I might be tempted to travel back to November 3, 1929, when the doors opened for the first day of school at the fledgling missionary school that would come to be known all over South America as “La Academia Alianza.”
The Alliance Academy International (http://www.alliance.k12.ec) has seen many changes take place its eighty years of existence. We are excited to be a part of this ministry during this time in which we have the opportunity to commemorate the past 80 years of academic school years that have taken place within the school.
The school began as many missionary schools do. A group of missionaries with the mission known as “Christian and Missionary Alliance” (CMA) were concerned about the quality of education that their children were receiving and wanted to start a school where their children could get the education they needed to attend a college of their choice. The couples organized a classroom atmosphere in one of the rooms of the Alliance Mission House on Cuenca street in downtown Quito, and that is how eight students became the first alumni of the Alliance Academy.
One of the interesting ways in which history comes full circle is that I (Cristina Meier) am currently teaching the great-grandson of the one of those first students. I taught him last year as an eighth grader in Computer 8 and now he is also in my High School keyboarding class as a freshman.
The school was known simply as the Alliance Academy back then. They occupied the Mission House classroom for 10 years until they were able to afford property across the street from another strong mission in Quito known as HCJB radio. For the next 60 years, they have been building, expanding and finding new ways to use the property.
One of the biggest changes the school faced was in the past 10 years. CMA decided to pull its foreign missionaries out of Quito and leave their projects primarily to their national staff. What this meant for the school was a huge turn over in faculty and staff. Those CMA missionaries who wished to stay on were required to find a new mission to support them. Some of those missionaries did that, while others decided to go home or another country to continue their ministry elsewhere.
The school itself was turned over to the Ecuadorian ministry of Education. This meant that the school was no longer exempt from Ecuadorian national laws and had to comply to their standards of education. The school also began to see a change in its student body. It is slowly becoming less of a missionary school and more of an international school with a strong Christian influence within its curriculum. More Ecuadorian students are now attending the school than ever before. More than 50% of the student body in the secondary school is from some Latin American origin.
The school also modified its name to be called “Alliance Academy International,” in order to move away from the mission name of Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Although many big changes have taken place, this is still the school that I remember attending from eight grade to my senior year. Some of the same lockers, furniture and equipment is still being used. Last year, I taught Journalism using the same textbooks I had used as a student. I was shocked to find the book with my own name still in it!
I was excited when we were finally able to purchase new Journalism text books this year that better reflect Journalism of the 21st century.
As the month of October draws to an end, I am looking forward to the special days of celebration to take place in mid-November. There will be a special chapel for all the secondary students on Friday, November 13. One of the former principals of the high school, Dan Egler, will be the guest speaker. He has a special place in my heart, because he was my principal during the years that I was a high school student at AAI. This will be followed by a weekend of alumni events. We are all hoping that many alumni will come back and reconnect with the school of their past.
And we are looking forward to many more years of academic success at the Alliance Academy International.