Louisville’s Baptist Fellowship Center youth tour Campbellsville University

Louisville’s Baptist Fellowship Center youth tour Campbellsville University

For Immediate Release
The Baptist Fellowship Center hosted a Day Camp at CU where students were encouraged to stay in school. From left to right: First row -  Rashad Reed, Crissy Eskridge, E’lishay Richardson, and Justin Shell, Jr. Second row -  Anyiah Scales, Sanya Bledshaw, Makayla Conn, Makayla Bledshaw, Jordan Snider, Rev. Matthew Smyzer, executive director of the Baptist Fellowship Center and a CU Board of Trustees and CU Church Relations Council member and former chair, and Dr. DeWayne Frazier, associate vice president for academic affairs. Third row – Angel Woodson, Kellyn Dailey, Jamaya Anthony, Kevin Dailey, Cecil Price, Joel Laffoon, James Thompson, Jurni Woodson, Malachi McDaniel, Reagan Jones and Hanna Deaton. Last Row – John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president of Campbellsville University, Tony Young, Campbellsville mayor, Jammie Stone, Wanda Washington, Jerry Snelling, Dale Smothers, admissions counselor, Jeannie Laffoon, Ja’naya Richardson and Martha Deaton. (Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker)

By Drew Tucker, communications assistant

A rainy day didn’t stop a group of Louisville area students from coming to Campbellsville University to learn about education and staying in school.

Rev. Matthew Smyzer, executive director of the Baptist Fellowship Center and a CU Board of Trustees and CU Church Relations Council member and former chair, hosted a Day Camp at CU as a step in encouraging them to stay in school, excel in school, and plan on going to college.

Wanda Washington, executive director of Greater Campbellsville United, welcomed the students to Campbellsville University before lending her jacket to a cold student. She explained that some people were here to talk to them about school, and then welcomed John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president, to the podium.

“College and education are very important,” he said, “even in the rain.”

Chowning hoped they’d stay in school beyond high school, whether that is in college or some kind of training.

“Anything is possible,” he said. “Think big and do your best,” he told the students.

He told them that their generation will change jobs frequently, but with an education, they can develop a career path.

“Stay close to God and follow his lead,” he said.

Tony Young, mayor of the City of Campbellsville, said if they are determined to do something for themselves, they will improve themselves.

“If you give up, you get nothing,” he said, “but if you keep trying, good things will happen.”

He asked them what character meant. One student said it was what described you, another said it was a person in a book and another student said a personality. He agreed with their definitions, before adding: “It means doing the right thing. Telling the truth and being dependable.”

Young said years ago he wanted to better himself.

“I graduated from college the day after my oldest son did,” he said. “Four years later, I received my master’s degree here at Campbellsville University.”

Dale Smothers, CU admissions counselor, asked the students which of them was going to college. All hands were raised. He then asked why they should go. Not many responded.

“To get a good education,” he said, “To get a good job, to make money and one day even become a mayor.”

When asked what the difference between a job versus a career was, a student named James Thompson responded.

“A job is something that you’ll have a lot of, but a career takes a very long time to work at.”

Smothers agreed. “Try to find something you love to do,” he said, “and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

He told them about scholarships, and how it’s free money for school, but they would have to get good grades for them.

“You have a job already,” he said, “Know what it is? School.”

“You’re never too young to start thinking about college,” he said.
Washington told the students part of her job at Greater Campbellsville United was to ensure equality and opportunity.

At the beginning of her presentation, Wanda Washington lent her jacket to cold Jurni Woodson. (Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker)

She said equality and opportunity are important to everybody because it means that everyone is equal to everyone and they all have the same opportunities. She had the students say the phrases, “I can,” “I will be” and “I am” with them adding in variations of the words they had just learned.

“Figure out what to do on this walkway between equality and opportunity,” she said.

She had 13 students line up holding signs with a word on each one. The first sign said “Happy.” She asked the student how that relates to him.

“I am happy,” he said.

The next sign was “Excited,” and the student chose to do a dance. After that was “Respectful.” When asked what that means, the student said it was about making good choices, and by being there she had made a good choice.

“Creative,” “Prepared” and “Opportunities” followed, with each student describing the words in some way.

The next student was holding “Believe in Myself,” with the student describing how he will become a very good athlete.

“You can become that by working hard and staying in school,” Washington said.

The next student had “Dedicated,” with her describing about her dedication to church.

“It’s okay to change your mind” said the next sign.

Washington agreed, and said they will be changing their minds a lot during their lives, and it’s okay to do so.

The next student accidentally had his sign upside down, before revealing the words, “Make Good Choices.”

“It’s okay to have your sign upside down,” said Washington, “people will try harder to read what it says.”

All of the students turned their signs upside down after hearing that. Washington laughed.

“It’s all about good choices,” she said, “and that was a good choice.”

The final student held up the sign, “Look out world, here I come!”

Washington had the students recite this but replacing “I” with their name. She then told the teachers, speakers and other attendants to do so as well. After several times of saying this phrase, she handed over the floor to Dr. DeWayne Frazier, associate vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of political science.

“I feel like I’m at home because I have an elementary school at home,” he said, noting that he has six young children.

He said he was the first in his family to graduate high school, and the first in his family to go to college. He received a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and eventually a doctorate.

He said he was from a small town and had never seen someone from a different culture before, until college, where he roomed with an international student.

“God had such a big plan for me,” he said.

He then showed the youth a picture of his six children. Three were adopted, with one named Safari. He asked the students what they thought that meant. One said an adventure. He agreed, but said that in Swahili it actually meant “traveler.”

“Do you know why I know that?” he asked, “Because I received an education.”

From Belize to Malaysia, from the rain forest in Africa to the desert in Arabia, he was able to go to those places because he received an education.

“It’s important to know where people come from,” he said while showing off a globe to the students, “especially if you’re a Christian. God made all of us.”

He said by receiving an education, they could have the whole world in their hands; they just had to work hard and the possibilities would open up.

“You need to make sure you do your best,” he said.

This was the second year that the students visited CU as part of a month-long summer educational enrichment program. Each student received a certificate and scholarship commitment of $500 if they choose to enroll at CU once they reach college age.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.

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