A few days ago I received the email below from a staff member at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York. As many know, we have been offering a degree program for a cohort of women at the facility. The first cohort is about finished and we hope to start another next year. Faculty love teaching there because the students are so engaged and interested in studying and improving their lives. Students in the program are effusive in their thanks that we provide this program and allow them to see a better life...
I have opportunity to visit with a lot of prospective students during the year. I always mention our mission and how it impacts us, mainly due to the size of the school.
We know each other.
It is hard to convey to people who are just looking for a good place to get an education what a difference it makes to be in an environment where people know you personally (not just your name) and care about you (not just your grades).
We just completed the first chapel of the semester. It is so encouraging to have students back and engaged in our lives.
We talked a bit about the world we live in and how it is increasingly negative, but that here, we can create an environment that is positive and supporting.
After chapel two young men approached me (separately). One indicated that he had encountered several deaths of loved ones during the summer and that he needed to be with family. He then clarified that, "I needed to be here with THIS family." The second young man said that he had been thinking about the same things and that he wanted to work together to make our culture and experience here positive and uplifting for everyone. What a great heart.
Last Friday we were blessed to feed one of the women's athletic teams at our house. At the end of the evening the coach asked the girls to share a hero, an inspiring moment and a hardship they had to endure. The hardships they shared were poignant and revealed the pain that this world is inflicting. I listened to stories of mental illness, abuse, loss of fathers and mothers, physical injuries and a host of other situations these young women have endured in their lives. Their courage and desire to find something better for the future became my inspiring moment.
Going away to college for the first time (or the second in the case of transfer students) is an emotional experience for families. Probably more so for parents. Each year at Parent Orientation I talk to incoming student's parents about some of the challenges they and their student will face. Here are the top 12 tips I always tell parents on the momentous day when they will drive away and leave their students behind...
The baseball team "snuck" into the regional playoffs of the NAIA World Series this week by a tremendous showing at the KCAC conference tournament. LaRee and I were able to go to Oklahoma City to watch them play. We won one game and lost two, so we are home now.
This was initially a disappointing season for our perennially strong program. We struggled to stay above .500 on the season. Through our placing in the KCAC tournament we were able to win the second spot in the playoffs from our conference.
Today was the last chapel. Keeping with tradition, it was praise chapel where we just sing for the entire chapel and end with a prayer. Since we have assigned seating in chapel, students are given a moment to move wherever they like before we start singing. It is a "fruit basket turnover" to use an old phrase. For a few moments there is bedlam before things settle down and the singing starts.
Today something unique happened. I often try to sit down front during praise chapel because the singing is so beautiful and there are fewer distractions. Today was especially meaningful because it was our last chapel and our last praise chapel. One of our seniors came stood next to me on the front row, which was otherwise all faculty and staff members. She stood between Dr. Mountjoy and me. She said she just wanted to spend the last chapel beside us. I was touched and honored.
Four times in the last couple weeks I have had people share thoughts about their YC experience. What they had in common was a bit surprising. One of the four was a recent alumnus and the other three were current students, one of whom will graduate this Saturday.
All four said that growing up, they had few rules. Three came from broken families and they were now mature enough to see that their parent(s) overcompensated by giving them few restrictions. When they came to York, they initially chaffed at all the "stupid rules" we have here. One indicated that they usually went out to have a few drinks after a game before they transferred to York. It was easy not to do that here because of our rules, but that it was unusual and unexpected. Another student talked about their father being incarcerated and how they usually did whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Both of these students continue to struggle with habits they acquired before coming to York, which they thought were the norm.
What a great weekend we had for Panther days. Lots of high school students checking out the school as well as alumni here for the President's Council. This year's Songfest was a phenomenal show and a great success.
This semester at the President's Council, we asked a few students to come and informally answer questions and interact with alumni. The intent was to show alumni that the "York Experience" was still intact, in spite of a different current culture and much more diverse student backgrounds.
I noted today that Jake Sola has been named baseball player of the week in our conference (KCAC). Jake is a transfer who came to us in the fall. He is one of those who immediately fell in love with YC and started to get involved. He was baptized last semester and actually spoke in split chapel last week. Quite a journey in a short amount of time.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.