Student Life


College Course Lifts Rising Student

Abby Fleming is a rising star of sorts.  Rising from a small class at Belleville Mennonite School, her small hometown of Allensville and her small family of three, Abby is using her gifts to achieve greatness as an incoming senior at BMS.  This summer she joined 24 students from across the country from July 7-14, to take part in a 7-day Summer Scholarships Program from the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University in St. David’s, PA. 

Abby was awarded a full scholarship to the seven day program after submitting a 500-word essay about Wisdom versus Information.  Only two students received the full scholarship.

The program which provided 2 college credits is described on Eastern University’s website as being designed for intelligent, gifted young men and women who aim to become not just successful employees, but fully human persons, as God intended.

The rigorous college-level program taught by the Honor’s College doctorate-certified professors, engaged Abby and the other 24 students with writing tutorials, guest speakers, cultural events and lecture times.  The program focused on the J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and delved into the morals and virtues possessed by the books’ characters. Abby remarked with a giggle, “I tried to read the books when I was in middle school but couldn’t finish them.”  She explained, “There were discussions on every possible aspect of the book at camp. We had group discussions and the professors would throw out a question.  Students argued opinions and we worked ourselves into topics.  It was a giant growing discussion and it was really cool to be able to broaden my mind.”  Abby said, “I thought deeper than I had in a really long time. Those discussions took what I thought I knew and made me dig way deeper in and suddenly I knew more.”

Abby discovered the charm of Eastern University even before she learned about the camp.  Last summer on a trip to the Eastern Shore, Abby and her parents, Jim and Jill Fleming, stopped to check out the university in hopes of learning more about the higher educational opportunities that existed there.  “It is really, really beautiful there.” She continued, “On that trip the tour guide explained how amazing it was and I learned about unique opportunities that were there.”

This past spring, Abby received an email with information about the program. “I’m really glad I went (to camp),” she said. “It’s going to be very hard to stop me from going there now that I’ve been to the camp!”  Abby continued, “It was really, really good socially. I loved all of the people that were there.  That’s why I want to go to Eastern; because I want to reconnect with all of the people I met.”

Students were housed in dorms and were able to taste what college life is like.  Each day they took part in prayer and devotions, classroom sessions that included writing and discussions, lectures, and study and leisure time. “Going to the camp was a great way to ease me into college life,” Abby said. (Abby is pictured in this July 2016 photo with the cast from the Stone Arch Players performance, "The Audition.")

Abby also talked about her desire to attend a Christian college. “One of the reasons I looked for a Christian college to go to was because I went to BMS.”  She continued, “A Christian college will be a great way to ease me into the world.”

The incoming high school senior feels that BMS has prepared her for relationships, the world, and the challenge of college.  She described her small class of 12 by saying, “I love how we’ve been able to grow together and even when we’ve taken in new students, we’ve still been able to retain a character even though we’re all so different.”  “I love my class,” she said.

“I’m thankful for my involvement at BMS over the years. I’ve been able to be in the play and choir; no one gets turned down for wanting to be involved here.”  “And I love knowing everyone’s name,” she said.

Abby’s involvement at BMS is pretty extensive for a youth of her age.  She is a member of the National Honor Society, manager of the BMS boys’ basketball team, sings in the Concert Choir, serves in the Student Senate, took part in District Chorus and also performed in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” “A Seussified Christmas Carol,” and “The Talent Showcase.”  In fact, Abby wrapped up a community theatre performance in "The Audition," at Stone Arch Players, Lewistown, PA, this summer!

In addition to Abby’s eagerness to be involved in drama and choir at Eastern and to continue her activities this coming school year, she also loves taking dance class, which she has done for the past 9 ½ years.  “I definitely want to continue to dance at Eastern,” she added.

Abby is also heavily committed to volunteer work with Backyard Ministries, an organization that reaches into the lives of children and families in low income communities across Central PA, and also volunteering as a counselor at Mega Sports Kids Camp, and as a teacher at her church’s Vacation Bible School.

Abby told the story of why her service with Backyard Ministries inspired her to commit to studying Spanish with the hopes of becoming a Spanish translator. Abby said “I’ve chosen that because of my involvement in Backyard Club when the director of the ministry, Kevin Dellape, had me translate for him.” She told the story of a mother wanting her child to join the ministry’s children’s activities, but she didn’t know English. Abby was able to translate her desire to Kevin which lead to having the child take part in the Christ-centered education and fun that the ministry provides.  Abby said, “It was satisfying to help that family.”  Abby believes serving as a Spanish translator will help her connect to more people and serve them.

As Abby finishes up her educational experience at BMS, the teachers and staff wish her all the very best with her time at college and pray that God will use her in many powerful ways. Abby’s parents also have faith that God will use her for his good.  Her mom, Jill, who has been a learning support teacher at BMS for the past 10 years, had this to say, “I'm excited to see how Abby's gifts and talents are used in the future.” Jill continued, “I pray as she moves on to college she is able to make the connections she made at BMS and continue to pursue her gifts.” 

God be with you, Abby, as you rise to God’s great plan for your life!  We pray this for you…

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”   II Peter 1:1

Student Life at BMS provides all students the opportunity to grow in faith, engage in service experiences, and take an active role in the community life of the school and local community.   It seeks to live the mission of the BMS by nurturing high schoolers with the talents of each student through leadership roles in such areas as student life officers, class officers, club officers, care group leaders and many more.   

Elementary students have the opportunity to take part in basketball and soccer programs, fun events like a Fall hayride, numerous field trips to zoos, orchards, farms, and drama performances.  

“But, you be strong and do not lose courage, for there is great reward for your work in heaven.”  II Chronicles 15:7 

Congratulations to the BMS Envirothon team - the 2016 county champs!  Jenna, Emily, Jacob, Hannah and Jay will be competeing at states at Susquehanna University in May!