Zachary Erwin, FCS 2020 Valedictorian

What are your College or Post High School Plans:
I’m currently looking into moving into full time ministry. I’m still researching and contacting colleges, so the specific college has not been decided on yet.

What do you love about Faith Christian School?
I love that it is very easy to connect with other students. The school is not so big that you only see any one person a handful of times in a week. Rather, it allows me to talk to and see most to all of the high school every day. This is something that the seniors, in particular, should take advantage of as they can build better relationships with underclassmen that can impact and benefit them for the rest of their high school career.

What was one of your favorite activities, trips, or events at FCS?
One of my favorite field trips was in the spring of my sophomore year (2018). The former history teacher, Nicole Barnard, and former Bible teacher, Paul McMichael, took the freshmen and sophomore classes to New York City to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Met Cloisters. Though my all-time favorite would have to be when Mr. Brewer took my fifth grade class to Spruce Lake for three days (2012). That was one of the most fun and best bonding experiences I have ever had while on a field trip.

Describe one of your favorite teachers and tell why he/she is a favorite.
That is a tough one.
Two of my favorites were Donald Stine (history) and Brooks Brewer (fifth grade). They were kind and caring, but kept a good control over the classroom. They’re excellent teachers and up to this day, still remember my name and are always encouraging in conversation. However, my absolute favorite teacher was Paul McMichael. He was a very respectable man, but he was also young enough that he could relate with the high schoolers very well. He made a lasting relationship with me to the point that we are still friends, even past his time of FCS employment and past my time of graduation.

In what ways have you grown in your faith as a result of your experience at Faith Christian School?
One very predominant way in which this school helped me along in my walk of faith was just by simply having a chapel service every Thursday morning. Even before I understood the impact of a relationship with God, Faith laid down the foundation of always making sure to worship God. As teachers have come and gone, I have met fantastic mentors and teachers that gave me wisdom and encouragement through my faith and problems. Such teachers were Donald Stine, Paul McMichael, Deana Perry, Kathleen Thomas, and Andrew DeLorme.

The mission of Faith Christian School is to provide a unique Christ-centered education that instills character based on biblical principles and develops academic excellence for the purpose of preparing young people to serve and impact the world for Jesus Christ. How has Faith Christian School fulfilled its mission in your experiences?
This school has been an avenue to help me improve in skills that will be necessary for me to have in the field of ministry. Over the years, I have learned how to connect with people and hear their story before judging them. The school has also pushed me out of my comfort zone in my faith, and has improved my leadership and communication skills. During my senior year, I helped lead a boys Bible study and I spoke on a Thursday chapel during a three-part sermon series with David Magnin and Connor Brawley.

How do you feel that FCS prepared you for graduation, college/career, and life?
I feel that the school has done a great job in doing that. Besides the obvious academic preparation, many teachers have also given advice based on personal experience in their lives. The teachers are very encouraging and have done a good job in post-school preparation.

What opportunities did you experience at FCS that you don’t think you would have gotten to experience anywhere else?
Undoubtedly, one opportunity was to speak in a Thursday morning chapel at school. Another great opportunity that I had is that I was able to develop relationships and get to know everyone in my class and on my various sports teams.

What would you say to a prospective student considering joining Faith Christian School?
It’s probably a lot different than anything that you’ve experienced. Yes, the staff, student body, and facilities are a lot smaller than what you would find in a public school; but this gives a great feeling of having a family. From personal experience, and from talking to many first-time students, I know that transferring to this school from somewhere else will be a large adjustment. You may have some reluctance and doubt at first glance, but going to this school is a decision that few have regretted.

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