Wednesday, November 12

The past few weeks have been busy. Last Tuesday our Post-Secondary/College Events took place. I was responsible for the bulk of the planning. The event encompassed the entire high school with each grade involved in a different session or activity. The project was rather daunting at first, but in the end I was satisfied in how things went. There is always room to learn and improve, especially the first time, but the feedback I received was largely positive. The daytime event was focused around students with an evening session for parents. I gave three presentations to 11th and 12th graders titled: Narrowing your Post-Secondary (College) search, What are Post-Secondary Institutions Looking For?, and Resume Building and Marketing Yourself. I enjoy giving presentations, especially to student audiences, so they were all a blast. I was exhausted after it was all said and done prompting me to call it a day a little earlier then usual. It was a good tired. 

I took a few observations away from the day. The first, our students are truly extraordinary. All of them. Who they are makes them stand out. As someone who's job is based on trying to help them plan for the future it excites me to let my imagination wonder and think about all the amazing ways these students will impact this world. Even in the short term these students will bring excellent perspective to institutions they decide to join in America. Their presence will challenge their peers to impact this world as well.

My second observation. To these students the concept of selling themselves or being an applicant is extremely foreign. This makes things challenging. I've gone over in my head why this is and why the concepts coming out of my mouth are met with so many confused expressions. I'm still not sure, but I have a few theories. Its possible the culture they've grown up in is very non-competitive. Perhaps these students have never been or needed to be an applicant before and convincing someone they're good enough has never been necessary. Being someone who's had a job since he was 15 it's hard to remember a time when I wasn't in some way trying to sell myself or a product of some sort.

In some ways their ignorance in this area frustrates me. I'm standing here looking out over a sea of remarkable students with undeniable potential. Most speak several languages. Most have grown up in numerous cultures making them extremely adaptable (and marketable). Everything inside me is telling these students to set their sights for the sky, and a number of them are. Some don't seem to be overly concerned. I want to make sure they're aware of how competitive the college admissions game can be and how they need to prepare and become aggressive! So much is at stake! Or is it?

Part of me admirers the attitude these students hold. The whole concept of selling oneself can be ugly. While it is unfortunately a necessary part of survival, its sad to think these students will need to start proving their worth. A process that will start now and continue for the rest of their lives. These students have been taught God accepts them as they are, but unfortunately the world will not. 

I do find comfort in the fact that while these young students will soon be entering a more harsh and competitive world the God we serve is still sovereign. He provides for us regardless our ability to "sell ourselves" or in spite of it. 


Sunday, November 2


We just got back last night at 11:30 from a long drive to Italy with the BFA boys volleyball team. We volunteered about a month ago when they needed two drivers to drive 9 boys to Aviano, Italy for their end of the year volleyball tournament. The drive without complications is about 8 hours. On the way there we saw our first snow of the season as we drove through the Alps. It was beautiful until it stopped us in a tunnel for about 45 minutes. We arrived in Aviano searching for the Air Force Base in the dark. We got there Wednesday evening and were shown our sleeping quarters for the next 4 days... a high school classroom floor. One of the perks of the trip other than spending time with guys we didn't know, was that we were able to meet our good friends Tim and Rachel (and Blaine) in Venice for the day on Thursday. Before you think to yourself..."rough life as missionaries"...just keep remembering the classroom floor in sleeping bags with 9 boys. That should make you feel a little better:-) We had a fantastic day in Venice since it was the only sunny day out of all the days we were there. We spent all day Friday and Saturday watching volleyball and walking in the rain to various gyms on the base. The BFA guys won their second game on Friday but it wasn't enough to advance them to Saturday's finals. We had to stay overnight to the next day because one of the seniors was taking his SAT's Saturday morning. I had the enjoyment of watching two Italian teams- Roma and Aviano compete in the finals. It was intense! First of all, they looked like 30 year old men, not like high school boys. Secondly, the atmosphere was heightened because they all speak Italian and are very animated on the court which makes it entertaining to watch. Thirdly, volleyball is just more fun when you have names on the jerseys like Da Viao, Roma, Divitario, Sage and Peppe. We ended up having to load up the vans before the championship game was over so I still have no idea which Italian triumphed. At the end of the weekend as we were leaving to drive the 8 hours back home Luke and I were asking ourselves if the purpose of the the trip was really served. I mean, we did fill a need for extra drivers, but we didn't really get to know the guys that well on the trip. As we pulled into the last 30 minutes of our drive we stopped at McDonald's because everyone needed a little pick me up. After the guys loaded in the van they all the sudden started having conversation with us and asking us questions...etc. All we could do was laugh when we got home at fact that we had been with these guys for 96 hours and in the last 30 minutes they decide to open up and engage in some real conversation. So far most of my encounters with the guys here at this school have been like that...spend a ton of time and they might throw you a little nugget to hold on to for a while until your next opportunity for interaction:-) At the end of the day we had the opportunity to at least start to get to know 9 guys we hadn't had contact with before and that made it all worth it.