An Alumna Speaks Out

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by Michaela Parker

As a student living in the area, I experienced French Camp Academy differently than people who live in the homes. FCA may have been  the place where I attended high school, but it was so much more than that.  I received a great education, but more importantly, I was cared for, loved, encouraged, and pointed to Christ.

I graduated in 2013 with a grand total of 28 classmates.  Having such a small class was so much fun because I was able to know and befriend everyone in my class.Allie Pendleton on air (3) copy I loved the small school scene and decided to further my education at Mississippi College. I graduated in 2016 with a degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations and journalism.

In high school, I was the girl everyone tried their hardest to avoid. Why? Because I was on the yearbook staff. I constantly carried my camera with me to events and school hoping to get that perfect picture. I served on staff for all four years. Most of my time after school was spent at WFCA Radio where I worked all four years of high school. That opportunity was one like none other, and sitting behind a microphone is where I discovered my love for communications.aaaMexico group

Mission trips were a big part of my high school experience. FCA is  unique in that it gives students the opportunity to participate in mission trips to Mexico, New York, Texas, and Wales. For three consecutive years, I served on mission teams to Fort Worth, Texas and aaa Mexico Mission Wales. Most young people are not given the opportunity to serve on a mission team until college. Because I had that opportunity while in high school, it helped me build my foundation on Christ and gave me a heart for the lost during my teenage years.

I will always value the staff members at FCA. During my four years in high school, I developed so many relationships that are still in my life today. They were influential figures to me as a teenager, and now as a young adult, they are great friends to me. I felt comfortable enough to discuss different challenges I was facing, and I expected to receive wisdom in return – which I always did. Even now, I know that I can go to them with anything and they will help me in the blink of an eye.jocelyn-hannah-o-with-camera

The love, encouragement, and support that was so graciously bestowed upon me while at FCA was very beneficial in my life. The Lord used so many staff members to show me what a young, Christ-like lady should look like. For my entire high school career, I was prayed for and invested in. Even though I did not live on campus, they still took the time to invest in students like myself. I can’t properly express my gratitude to them for being some of the most intentional and genuine people I’ve ever met.boy contemplating

The one thing that I love and value the most about FCA is the commitment to giving students a solid foundation built on Biblical principles. The Lord’s teachings are interwoven in the lessons taught in the classroom. Each year, I took a different academic class that was built around the Christ’s teachings and principles. Two of my favorite courses were Christian Family Living and Christian Worldview, both which I took during my senior year. The information that I learned in those classes I still apply to my life today. Defending my faith and recognizing healthy, Christ-centered relationships were two things that I had to deal with while in college, and FCA helped me with both of those.a-cassidy-reading-to-marcus

FCA is not like any other place I’ve ever experienced. I’ve seen so many people be changed for the better, I being one of them. The love that I have for FCA has only grown as the years have gone by. Even though my time as a student has come and gone, I am still a part of FCA through frequent visits, and most importantly, through prayer.

The Lord has tremendously blessed this ministry and the young people who come into FCA’s care, and I am confident that His faithfulness will be evident in the years to come.a-3-girls-in-church

They say that French Camp Academy is “One Fine Place.” Well, they say that because it’s true. A place as special as this can only come straight from the Lord, which in my books, makes FCA one fine place.

Priceless

By Sylvia Dickson

 Our seniors have graduated with pomp, circumstance, and joy. The closing of this chapter in their lives mandated the tossing of hats in the air, hundreds of hugs and congratulations.

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CharlotteFor the past several years I have helped conduct our Senior Exit Interviews. This is their opportunity to give us a report card. Each area is rated and commented on: home, school, sports, activities, and work. All, except for a couple, gave us an A.

The prevailing comment in all areas was that we care. What does that look like? We want them to succeed. We spend time with students; we listen to them; we tutor; we know their names; we follow up; and, we provide a safe, welcoming community—a family atmosphere.

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God entrusted these young people to us for a season. Now He has opened new chapters in their lives, continuing their stories. We pray for them; we have high hopes and trust they will remember the many priceless things they have learned at FCA—mainly, that each one is priceless in God’s eyes.

One of the Proverbs says that we are to train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. We have countless alumni contact us, or come back to campus and tell us that the scriptures, the Christian role models, the healthy emotional and spiritual input have shaped their lives. Things they learned in Bible classes, Christian Worldview and Christian Family Living still speak truth in their lives today.joe-richards-boy

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 Our students are very important people. God made a place called French Camp Academy, and made a place for each young person who comes here. They are part of the hidden treasures and’ riches stored in secret places* God is calling us to value, cherish, and prepare for His kingdom.face-painting

These young people are precious. We tell them that. We give them High Fives and Atta’ Boys for jobs well done. When correction is needed we tell them, You’re too precious to act like that. When they are sad, we tell them God is always with you and will never leave you alone. When they are anxious or confused we pray with them and tell them, God knows you inside and out and will answer you, because He loves you.

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*Isaiah 45:3

Hatchala Chadashot – A New Beginning

by Holly Bol

Bol in IsraelI recently had the opportunity to travel to Israel. When I came back the question most asked of me was, “What was your favorite part of going to Israel?”

There are many memories that I love and will always cherish. Walking where Jesus walked definitely brought the Bible to life for me. But my favorite event was going on a boat out on the Sea of Galilee. The further out we went, the stronger it got… The feeling of Strength.     Power.      Awe. Israel.pngThe further from the shore we drove, the more intense the feeling became until I could not handle it anymore. The tears just started streaming. I had sunglasses on, so I leaned over the rail and looked out on the sea to hide the fact that I was crying. Why did I hide? Because if someone asked me why I was crying, I could not tell them. I did not know why. All I knew was that this intense power was seeping into me. Consuming me. Overwhelming me. And yet, I liked it.  pottery bird and girl

I did not want this feeling to end. I wanted to stay out on the Sea all day, soaking in this feeling. This feeling that I had never experienced before. This feeling that I could not describe, yet seemed to fulfill an unknown longing within me.

The captain cut off the engine, and we just sat. Drifting. Taking it all in. It was beautiful. I stopped tearing, wiped my face, and looked back toward the boat. Two men were on their knees, almost sobbing. Three other men were standing along the rail doing the same thing I had just been doing – they too were leaning over the rail to hide the tears that I could see rolling down their cheeks. 

1boy on horseSomething was happening. It wasn’t just me. It was Him. His Spirit was moving. Out here, on His Sea. He was moving. I did not want this feeling to go away. I thanked Him for the gift of His presence. I asked Him to keep that memory alive and vivid in my mind. My heart. My soul.

 He gave me new eyes that day. Eyes to see new things, new hopes, new beginnings. Many of our students come to FCA, seeking a fresh start. No matter their past or their background, they are given just that–A new beginning. 4 together

As you enter this New Year, may you too, accept Hatchala Chadashot. The gift of A New Beginning.fca-new logo

 

Mid-life Parenting

Two students at FCAThere was a popular song by the group, Point of Grace, called “How You Live” which  I adopted as my theme song for that season.  Its heartening message was to live a life without regret and to embrace and enjoy, as much as possible, each and every moment. Yep, the good, the bad and the ugly.  The laughter, the tears and the fatigue.

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Beginning Mid-Life (Hand in Hand: Parenting the Second Time Around)

French Camp Academy is a wonderful place to grow!

Beginning Mid-Life

by Susan Donald

So who begins parenting again when they are middle aged?  Apparently more people than you may realize.  In this country there are 5.8 million children being raised by grandparents.  That’s more than double the entire population of Mississippi.  And nearly 3 million more are being raised by other family members besides grandparents or their biological parents.  Each one of these families has a back story, one that probably contains a lot of heartache and maybe some hope as well.  Continue reading