My Serve Day Experience

IMG_8518By Heather Kurtz, Class of 2015

Serve Day is one of my favorite times at George Fox. Every year, we dedicate an entire day to serve others around our community. Students, professors and faculty come together and work to bless others, and in my case this year, to be blessed by others too.

Three of my friends and I partnered with a team leader and Faith in Action (a local non-profit organization) to help seniors in their homes for the day. The tasks we did for these people included washing windows, cleaning carpets, weeding and hooking up a TV. We helped three individuals, and all three were so appreciative and friendly, but Marilyn stood out most to me this year. When we were weeding her garden, she chose to stay outside and talk with us while we worked, telling us stories about her kids. It was nice to serve her with our actions, but also through conversation.
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Meet the Class of 2014: McKenzie Wolfe

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Hometown: Newberg, Ore.
Major: Accounting

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: My experience at George Fox is one that I will always treasure and look back on. While at Fox I have been pushed and pulled in all areas of my life, shaping me into the person I am today. This was an amazing place for me to grow as a student, an athlete, as a follower of Christ and as a friend. I don’t think there is one person from Fox that I could attribute these to or who has had a distinct impact on my life. Rather, several professors, coaches, teammates and friends have all had a hand in influencing my life. That is one of the things that I learned during my time here; no matter how long your relationship may be with someone at Fox, they could have a huge impact on your life.

Not only was I able to focus on my studies at Fox, I was also able to participate on the women’s basketball team all four years and travel to Europe for Juniors Abroad. One of my favorite memories was definitely having the opportunity to participate in the championship game of the Division III National Tournament. It was an amazing experience – to reach your goal and see the fruits of all the hard work we put into the season. Every year I’ve participated on the basketball team has pushed me and shaped me into becoming a better leader, friend and woman of God.
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Meet the Class of 2014: Andrew Janzen

Andrew JanzenHometown: Portland
Major: Engineering (concentration in electrical)

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: My Fox experience has been an amazing growing process. It went by very quickly. Much of my time was spent in the lab or working on homework; I loved it. Being at Fox has equipped me with the knowledge and skills to do effective engineering design and has given me a structured framework to learn new information.

There are a few people who have made a significant impact on my life while at Fox. Dr. John Natzke, George Kirkwood, Dr. Ed Godshalk and Joe Stupak have been amazing mentors who have gone out of their way to make me not just a better engineer, but a better person. They have worked with me on building circuits, gaining a deeper understanding of the engineering I was doing, and challenging me to do my best. I will forever be grateful for their support.
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Meet the Class of 2014: Crystal Colella

Crystal ColellaHometown: Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Major: Social Work

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: My experience at George Fox has been a transformational journey. Painful at times, but necessary in order for me to begin to understand my vocation and calling, and where God is calling my heart. I came here as a stubborn independent woman (and still hold some of those traits) but quickly was blown away by a community that embraced me fully and relationships that challenged me greatly. I met my soon-to-be-husband, Jake Larson, my sophomore year, a life-changing experience in itself, as we both acted as catalysts in each others’ lives for huge changes with God, including totally new life and career goals and different majors. I met two particular friends who have changed my heart and life forever: Megan Armentrout and Allison Meade. I was blessed to journey deeply side-by-side with Kayin Griffith. And I was given a heart for social work, social justice, and shown what passion for the Lord looks like by my professor Debra Penkin. I cannot thank these people enough, integral aspects of my community, for what they have shown me.
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Meet the Class of 2014: Nolan Staples

NolanStaplesHometown: Newberg, Ore.
Major: Music

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: My experience at George Fox has been one that is rooted in community. When I graduated high school I was unsure whether I would attend Fox or a music school in Boston. I felt God leading me to go to Fox for at least a year, but I didn’t know if I would stay longer than that. By December of my freshman year I knew that I would stay at Fox, mostly because of the people. The many wonderful memories of the last four years are all so meaningful to me because of the people that I experienced this journey with. My life has been greatly impacted by my tennis teammates and coaches, several professors and mentors, and so many amazing friends that I have had the blessing to live in community with through the last four years. My strongest and fondest memories of my time at George Fox will not be the times when I was responsible about my schoolwork; they will be of the times when my friends and I dropped everything we should be doing and went out to do something random and ridiculous together (and then I had to stay up even later writing whatever paper I was supposed to be writing). I have learned a lot of important lessons about how to work hard and persevere even when things seem to be beyond my ability. More important than everything that I learned related to efficiency and success in academics, though, is what I learned about the importance of building strong relationships with those around me. I have come out on the other side of four great years at Fox with so many friendships that I will always cherish, and those friendships are what has defined my experience at George Fox.
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Meet the Class of 2014: Jahnathon Larson

Jahnathon Larson-2Hometown: Antioch, Calif.
Major: Biblical studies (minor in Christian ministries with a concentration in missions)

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

I came to George Fox after spending six years in the military and an additional five years working construction. Being an older student with some life experience, the first word that I would use to describe George Fox would be “hopeful.” One of my professors, Brian Doak, often explains that personal growth occurs through a process of orientation, disorientation and then finding new orientation. I have had the privilege of watching this loss of naiveté and the resultant struggle for meaning, first in a world without the ever-present light of Christ, then here at George Fox where Christ is proclaimed. To see how people find new orientation in these different settings has illuminated the universality of the human condition, the power of hope in God, the hope that I have lost, and what it means to trust in God again.
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Meet the Class of 2014: Yixuan Pan

IMG_0314-2Hometown: Changsha, China
Major: Art (studio arts concentration)

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: Two years ago I transferred here as an exchange student from China. George Fox made Oregon become my second hometown. I thought it would just be an adventure – to taste and check out different things and go back home. However, my experience here has definitely been richer than that. The first week of school, my professor Mark Terry says, “Artists are very special, there is a hand of God that has touched them.” … I guess that was the first time I felt the Holy Spirit. … At that point I decided to know Him and learn about Christianity. Last semester, I accepted Jesus Christ with joyful tears.
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Meet the Class of 2014: Kacee Woods

Kacee WoodsHometown: Federal Way, Wash.
Major: Art (concentration in fashion merchandising)

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: My experience at George Fox has been both enriching and fulfilling. I have learned a lot about myself and what I can contribute to the world around me. I have grown spiritually and love the atmosphere and the ability to “Be Known” on campus. I have met some people who I consider to be lifelong friends and am grateful for the space Fox provides to grow relationally. Above all, I will remember the people and the impact they’ve had on my life – my roommates especially. Whether it’s holding each other accountable, laughing for no reason at the crack of dawn, or having intimate conversations at 3 in the morning, I have been extremely blessed by the relationships I have built with my roommates. I am truly grateful for the opportunity Fox has afforded me to be surrounded by some amazing people.
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Meet the Class of 2014: Zach Hegelmeyer

heg--1-3Hometown: Crescent City, Calif.
Major: Organizational communication (minors in entrepreneurship and management)

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: When I look back at my time here, I see a multitude of amazing people I got to know and countless memories I will always cherish. However, many of these moments began as challenges. I came to Fox to play baseball for a highly respected program. Although my classes have been awesome in preparing me to succeed in the future, my four years as a player on the George Fox University baseball team have forced me to come face-to-face with adversity and prevail over it. One of my assistant coaches, Randy Rutschman, taught me how to embrace these challenges with a confident and positive mentality in order conquer them. Life has a way of throwing curveballs, and after bouncing back from two severe injuries that I was told would end my athletic career, I had to find a way to win. That seemed to be the theme while I was here. Not that winning was most important – it was more about the character I built along the way. On the baseball team here we call each other family, but I have also felt this same characteristic extend to the university as a whole. With the support of some amazing professors, loyal friends and very special mentors, I can enter into a new chapter of my life with the confidence to excel at whatever I choose to do.
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Lacey

Meet the Class of 2014: Lacey McNay

LaceyHometown: Quincy, Wash.
Major: Elementary education (endorsements in middle school science & ESOL)

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: Looking back, my experience at George Fox has formed a colorful and unique tapestry with relationships, fun and learning patched together with the red thread of Jesus weaved throughout it all. There are so many great memories that l will remember from my time here, including: going on walkabout, being the RA of Pennington 2, hiking up to Multnomah Falls at 11:30 p.m. with friends the Thursday before finals week, traveling through Europe on Juniors Abroad with some of my best friends, and getting to spend my senior year here with my sister Libby, who is a freshman!

Some of the people who have had the biggest impact on me would definitely be my professors. I admire the ways they have challenged me and offered me their support as I have learned about and tried my wings at teaching. They never hesitated to remind me to think critically and to try something new, whether it was a new way to teach a concept or to integrate technology into the classroom. There were times I would try something and it would completely flop and yet they would be right there asking me how I could tweak it to make it work. They never gave up on me, and that is a gift I will always cherish!
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