Briercrest takes college experience to local high schools

Posted: June 2, 2011

By Julie Cole

Dr. Brian Gobbett speaks to students at Regina Christian School. Submitted photo


College and Seminary recruiter Ken Pike has designed a way to give Grade 12 students a sample of the college experience in the comfort of their own classroom.

The idea was born out of conversations Pike had with high school students and administrators as he participated in different college tours throughout Canada.

“(The students at college fairs) often get bombarded with the sales pitch and don’t really get to experience college,” Pike said. “We can’t assume people are looking inside the walls of this school to see what we’re doing here. We need to take the steps to go outside of our walls. The alumni do a lot of work for us to spread the word but we can’t assume the full responsibility falls upon their shoulders. That’s (the reason for) the idea of making sure we have visibility outside of our community and nearby.”

As a result, Pike asked several Christian schools in Saskatchewan for permission to come to their campuses with a bite-sized college classroom experience for the Grade 11 and 12 students. This year Pike took the college day presentation to Saskatoon Christian School, Valley Christian Academy and Regina Christian School. Cornerstone Christian School and Caronport High School attended a college day presentation at Briercrest.

“Relationship can’t be one way,” Pike insisted. “I see my role as building relationship. It’s mutually beneficial. It’s a two-way street. I start by reconnecting — knowing the leadership and how a school functions and (then complementing) what they’re already doing with what we have to offer.”

Several Briercrest professors accompany Pike to these “college days” and give a sampling of several classes they teach. This year’s participants got a chance to experience classes such as history, spiritual formation, hermeneutics, worship leadership, psychology and youth ministry. Pike also presents the students with an overview of Briercrest and its mission along with the benefits of studying there.

Pike says the Briercrest faculty is excited about the opportunity to “get out there” and share with other high school students. Susan Wendel, Briercrest’s assistant professor of New Testament, taught hermeneutics — the science of interpreting Scripture — at the college day presentations in Saskatoon.

“One of the things that’s really fun (about college days) is you have Grade 12 students who are thinking about their future.” Wendel said.

Wendel chose to teach on a passage of Scripture that deals with Moses’ calling and his feelings of inadequacy because it could reflect some of the same emotions the high school students are facing in their own decisions. She says she challenged students to look at the text with “fresh eyes.”

“(The students) engaged in that process and as a result they saw things (in the Scripture) that they hadn’t seen before,” Wendel said.

Pike hopes that this exercise will also encourage high school students to look at their own futures.

“(Some students in Christian high schools think) ‘I’ve had a lot of Christian experience already and I’m ready for university,’” Pike said. “But there’s a depth of learning they can get when they continue on (with Christian college) that can take them to the next stage of maturity and study.”