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Four Alumni at Indiana University: How WCGS Prepared Them

03.09.18 | School heritage

Four Alumni at Indiana University: How WCGS Prepared Them

    Hear from 4 WCGS alumni who are in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University as they reflect on their time at WCGS.

    When parents weigh the choice of a Christian education for their children, they often base their decision on the hope that a Christ-centered curriculum and culture will influence their child in years to come and pave the way for a successful and God-honoring future. We tested that theory when we connected with four WCGS grads, each of whom attends Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. We asked Jonathan Anderson ’10Ryan Beck ’10Stephen Myers ’10, and Jeffrey Bradford ’12 how WCGS prepared them for life on a large secular campus. Did Christian education really make a difference for these grads?

    On the academic side, Jonathan, Ryan, Stephen, and Jeffrey all concurred that WCGS had indeed prepared them well for high school and college. Business is generally ranked as one of the top five most popular college majors, and the Kelley School at IU is highly rated. Reflecting on the rigors of the IU program, Jeffrey noted that he appreciated the discipline of the strong study habits he learned at WCGS. Ryan mentioned how the emphasis placed on the skill of writing across all grade levels and content areas thoroughly prepared him to write succinct, logical arguments for papers in high school and at IU.

    Stephen Meyers and Jonathan Anderson during their time at WCGSBut the four grads didn’t stop there. Each reflected on the substantial influences of a Christian community, solid friends, and the intentional spiritual training that prepared them for life on a diverse campus where Christians are often in the minority. Dealing with exposure to other worldviews is a daily reality, and each of the grads mentioned the challenge of being a Christian on a secular campus. Jonathan explicitly mentioned that his spiritual preparation at WCGS was foundational: “One of the most important aspects of a sustaining faith in God is an understanding of the root question, ‘Why do I believe what I believe?’ The truths instilled in me at WCGS allowed me to build my faith on a solid foundation and resulted in my life being a light to nonbelievers on campus.”  

    Jeffrey added that WCGS taught him the importance of having spiritual leaders in one’s life to help guide you. When he first arrived on campus, that is exactly what he sought out — a spiritual mentor. Opportunities are readily available for discipleship and growth, but students must be proactive and intentional in seeking them out. For Jonathan, one of the benefits of a large, secular university is the opportunity to encounter other people also intent on following Christ. Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) and the local church have proven very helpful for these grads as they continue their walk with the Lord.  

    Stephen commented on the continuing influence of solid Christian friends made during his Grammar School years that still have an influence today. “Being a shy freshman in high school, having strong friendships from the start helped me become comfortable until I was ready to open up and break out of my shell. Of my four closest friends today, two are from WCGS!”

    Jeffrey has had the opportunity to rub shoulders with lots of unbelievers. He noted, “Not every conversation needs to end in a conversion. It is best to build a relationship as a friend first and let your actions be your testimony to those around you, instead of judging others for what they do. I have found this most in my time at IU through friends I have in a student organization. These friends have various backgrounds of Christian, Catholic, Jewish, or atheist. It’s encouraging to me that by respecting them and loving them, they respect my beliefs and don’t push me in ways they know I don’t want to go. I reciprocate that by loving them and not judging them for the things they do.”

    These young men were quick to point out that treating others with respect and investing themselves in relationships — values they learned at WCGS — have paved the way for healthy and productive interactions on the university campus. Much of that understanding is based on examples they saw in abundance at WCGS. Whether playing 8th grade soccer for Mr. Painter, participating in Connect Group with Mr. Burgess, playing wall-ball before and after school, attending chapel, building friendships, or receiving a phone call from a coach following a game, they are grateful for their experiences at the Grammar School that helped shape their lives. Ryan said it well: “I personally believe the level of investment that WCGS faculty and staff members have in the students is unparalleled in education.” 

    Jonathan experienced the depth of WCGS community in a profound and meaningful way when his older brother, Matthew ‘08, was diagnosed with cancer.  He remembers families circling his house to pray, classmates placing their hands on him and praying for their family as they traveled to Seattle so that Matthew could receive treatment, and the tears and sorrow when he arrived back at school after his brother passed away.  

    We are excited about the future of these young men. As they prepare to enter the business world, each wants his faith to impact the workplace. Stephen knows that his faith is essential to who he is. Jonathan’s faith informs every decision he makes and looks forward to sharing Christ with his coworkers. Ryan knows that the most effective way to encourage people to consider Christianity is to lead by one’s personal behavior. Jeffrey concurs with that; he wants his actions to be a testimony to his co-workers. We’re thankful for these graduates and look forward to learning more about how the Lord will use them to impact their world for Jesus Christ.