With Summer break just starting the only people already thinking about getting ready for back to school are the parents with wishful thinking, asking if it’s September yet. For myself it has me thinking how I got to where I now am.
I’m currently taking online classes year round which I will talk more about later on. First I want to reflect on the fact that I almost didn’t graduate High School. For someone who likes to fancy himself a writer, I failed 9th grade English and would of failed 12th grade English and not graduated if not for my teacher. I loved to read and write stories and angsty teenage poetry, but I didn’t enjoy book reports and homework so I just didn’t do it.
My senior English teacher saw that I was reading the books, but just not doing the work. He also saw potential. I was sitting on the bleachers in gym class the final week of school and Mr. Mahoney walks in and tells the gym teacher he needs to see me and escorts me back to his class room. He then tells me that I’m not stupid and refuses to see someone so intelligent fail due to laziness. At that point I was seated behind his desk and told not to get up until I was ready to hand in my book report. I couple hours later I handed in my paper on Gulliver’s Travels, and a few days later I graduated high school part of the class of 2000. After I got my diploma Mr. Mahoney was there to shake my hand.
After I graduated any plans of going to college mostly disappeared. I tinkered with the thought every once in awhile, but I barely survived high school and wasn’t really looking forward to more classes and more reports. It would be over 15 years before I would return to school although not the brick and mortar building of the normal college.
About two and a half years ago I started attending Millville Community Church (now called Restoration House). I would go on to become a part of the leadership team of the church, the social media co-manager, and youth leader. I would listen to the sermons, do my bible reading, and say my prayers, but something was missing. I wanted to know more, and not just the basics. I had a yearning for knowledge and the want to share that knowledge with others once I obtained it. So in the summer of 2016 I started considering going back to school. I worked full time so where would I find time to go to classes, and where would I get the money.
My pastor heard about an organization called Christian Leaders Institute, a school that provided free online education that relied on donations. At first I was skeptical with the belief of you get what you pay for, but upon further research I saw there courses were full fledged classes taught by certified teachers via videos I could watch at my convenience. The reading materials were all provided online for free and each course could be completed at your own pace with a 6 month time limit, but if you finished in a week you could move on to the next classes. I could also choose how many classes I took at once, what order I took the classes in and what certificate or degrees I wanted to focus on.
CLI also encourages working directly with a mentor in your local church to help further your education hands on outside the class room. So in September 2016 with the support of my pastor Steve Harris and my friends I was back in school. In 9 months I’ve completed 3 courses and working on my 4th with a 3.58 GPA. I’ve still got a long way to go, but the best part for me is I already see myself starting to pass on things I’m learning to others.
I hope to use this website and an eventual book to pass on not just what I’m learning in my schooling, and through my interactions with the church, but my current and past dealings with every day life.