Archive for April, 2009

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Tim Tebow

April 18, 2009

 Tim Tebow

If you’re a sports fan, you’ve probably heard of football quarterback Tim Tebow. Besides being an outspoken Christian athlete, Tebow is a homeschool graduate. Although he did not attend public school classes, he played on the Nease High School football team which won the 2005 State Championship. In his freshman year at college, Tim joined the Florida Gators, the team that won the National Championship in 2006. As the starting quarterback, Tim has been leading the Gators to victories ever since. On January 11, 2009, Tebow announced that he would return for his senior season at the University of Florida rather than making himself eligible for the NFL draft.

Tim grew up in a close but competitive family and athletics have always been a big part of his life. At five years old, he was begging to play organized sports. Like his other siblings, he was homeschooled until college. Fortunately for him, in 1996 legislation was passed in Florida allowing homeschooled students to compete in local high school sporting events. This Florida law allowed Tim to play baseball, basketball, and football, and he received numerous county and state awards for each sport.

Tim’s parents, Pam and Bob Tebow, have been called “homeschool pioneers” because they began homeschooling in 1982 before this form of education became popular. Teaching their children to honor God was the main reason for their decision to homeschool. “If I could get my kids to the age of 25 and they know God and serve God and had character qualities that pleased God, then I knew God would be happy and I would be happy,” explained Bob Tebow. “The only way I could do that was to do it myself, commit to God that this is my job,” the senior Tebow continued. “Traditional academics had to take a back seat to God’s Word and character building.”

In addition to family values and character training, the Tebows focused on each child’s individual learning styles, interests, and goals. All five of the Tebow children went on to receive college scholarships. Tim was the first underclassman ever to be awarded the Heisman Trophy for most outstanding player in collegiate football. He earned the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top football player twice. He also won the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s best quarterback, and the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s most outstanding amateur athlete in any sport.

Tim remains humble in spite of all the national attention he has received for his accomplishments. Tim credits the Lord, his family, his coaches, and his teammates for his success. Although football is important to him, his first priorities are faith, family, and academics. A favorite verse from the Bible that he often quotes is Philippians 4:13, which credits the true source of his strength, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Just like in the movie, “Facing the Giants,” Tim’s main goal is to give glory to God.

The Tim Tebow Bill

Football season may be over for now, but Tebow is still in the news with an Alabama Senate bill named after him. Senate Bill 305, a.k.a. the “Tim Tebow Bill,” would allow homeschooled students to participate in public and non-public school athletics. Kentucky and Arkansas also have Tim Tebow bills in the works. Similar legislation is currently being proposed in the states of Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

At least 24 states already have laws allowing homeschoolers equal access to athletic activities. These include: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming.

Despite the fact that the Alabama Education Association and many high school principals are opposed to the idea of homeschooled students playing sports without being enrolled full time in public school, the Tim Tebow bill seems to be gaining acceptance in the Alabama legislature. State Senator Hank Erwin, the bill’s main sponsor, said “We’re moving the ball forward. It’s slow, but … we’re moving it down the field one yard at a time.” On April 22, 2009, the Senate Education Committee will vote on this bill, in what will be their third attempt.

Tim has spoken in favor of homeschool students being able to play on public school teams. Tebow’s father said that if Florida law had not allowed homeschoolers to participate, he would not have enrolled Tim in public school just so that he could play football. Tebow’s mother stated, “It has been my experience that the families who home school are a positive addition to an athletic team, school band, or interest club.” Tim regularly was the spokesman for his football coach’s team goals of “character, strength, and honor,” and he continues in a similar role at the University of Florida.

Tim’s Family and Faith

Timothy Tebow was born on August 14, 1987 in Manila, Philippines, where his parents were Christian missionaries. While pregnant with him, his mother suffered a life-threatening infection compounded by a severe placental abruption. Expecting a stillbirth, doctors recommended that she have an abortion to save her own life. She refused, and through the miracle of prayer, both mother and baby survived. “It was … a really a great beginning because you know when something is hard to come by, you value it so much,” said Pam Tebow, adding, “all of our children value Timmy because they’d all had a part in praying for him.” Tim has two older brothers and two older sisters.

When Tim was three, the Tebow family moved back to Florida, the home base for his father’s his twenty-five year ministry. All of the Tebow children regularly go to the Philippines on mission trips. Tebow has worked at the orphanage there since he was 15. Each summer, Tim returns to lead evangelistic crusades and minister to the children. On one of Tim’s mission trips, the highlight for him was preaching to 10,000 high school students in Digos, Mindanao. At home in Florida, he regularly visits schools, hospitals, and even spoke at a prison.

Tim’s faith is the driving force in his life, and he is acutely aware that “To whom much is given, much is required.” Tebow keeps a poem on his bulletin board that reminds him of an athlete’s accountability to be a role model for the boys who want to be just like him. He is a tough but tenderhearted guy who likes to greet young fans at his games. Tim also leads fellow college students in Bible studies each week and has a desire to remain involved in ministry.

In a one-hour documentary about Tebow that aired on ESPN, Tim is seen studying the Bible as part of his homeschool curriculum and devotional reading. The football team is shown praying before and after practice. After almost a year filming Tim’s senior season in different settings, ESPN producer Ken Murrah said, “I made the decision that it must be heavily based on their faith and beliefs.” Murrah explained, “I knew he was a good football player in his strength, size and unique skills, but I was amazed at his natural ability and maturity to speak publicly, go into schools, be comfortable in being a role model and talk so openly about his faith.” Timothy is a name that means “honoring God,” and Tim Tebow is doing just that.

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Messiah College

April 18, 2009
Messiah College

Messiah College is a Christian College of the liberal and applied arts and sciences located in Grantham, Pennsylvania, which is 12 miles southwest of the state capital at Harrisburg. It was founded in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church as the Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home. Messiah’s mission is to “educate men and women toward maturity of intellect, character, and Christian faith in preparation for lives of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society.”

Rigorous academics, opportunities for spiritual growth, lifelong friendships… all of these can be found at Messiah College, both on the scenic 471-acre campus and at destinations around the globe. Messiah College offers opportunities for students to study abroad in places like China, Australia, and Oxford, and to become immersed in service and missions experiences in the U.S., Guatemala, Russia, and beyond.

Messiah College offers over 55 majors and pre-professional programs in five schools: Arts; Education and Social Sciences; Health and Natural Sciences; Humanities; and Mathematics, Engineering, and Business. In addition to major requirements, there is a general education curriculum required for all students. General education requirements include but are not limited to: Bible courses, philosophy, literature, social science, art, a worldview class, physical education, first year and senior seminars, and a program named “Created and Called for Community.”

Students are required to attend 24 chapel services each semester. Students can also participate in theatre or musical productions; play sports; enroll in a competitive honors program; land an internship; watch movies and attend concerts on campus; and join any of Messiah’s 60 clubs and organizations.

Students at Messiah College are required to sign a Community Covenant affirming belief in God and the Bible. The document states that every person is created in the image of God, and that there are certain responsibilities of living in community that must also be assumed in relation to God, others, and His creation. The Community Covenant requires commitment to academic integrity, responsible decision making in light of Christian values, and balancing personal freedom with concern for others. The Covenant bans the use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco both on and off-campus. It also prescribes the avoidance of drunkenness, stealing, dishonesty, profanity, and immorality.

In 1963, Messiah College was accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Messiah College has been named by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the top ten best colleges for comprehensive bachelor’s degrees in the North. Peterson’s Competitive Colleges lists Messiah as one of the nation’s “Top Colleges for Top Students.” Current enrollment is recorded at 2,802 students. The student/faculty ratio is 13:1. Over 97% of students receive financial aid, and scholarships are available.

Messiah College uses the 4-1-3 academic calendar system in which the academic year is divided into Fall, January, and Spring Terms. The January Term, or J-Term, is a three-and-a-half-week period where students can choose to take one or two courses intensively, participate in a cross cultural study program, sign up for the popular Skiing and Snowboarding class, or simply stay home for an extended vacation. A semester abroad costs about the same as a regular semester at Messiah College and, in most cases, the college will even pay for your international flight. That’s how strongly they value the experiences you’ll have and the education you’ll receive while living and learning in other cultures.

Messiah College welcomes homeschooled students who have distinguished themselves as scholars, athletes, artists, and leaders. Outstanding study abroad, internship, summer school opportunities, and career placement programs appeal to homeschooled students who have studied in a non-traditional setting. Currently Messiah College has nearly 150 students who were homeschooled at some point in their education. Messiah has a dedicated admissions counselor for homeschooled students, to help them navigate the admissions process and answer any questions they may have.

At Messiah College, homeschooled students are asked to follow the same admission application procedures as other students. However, homeschooled students are also asked to submit a comprehensive transcript of a senior year academic program as well as a courses and course evaluations of the ninth through eleventh grades. If students do not receive grades, you will need to explain the evaluation method used. If students have an independent evaluation of academic progress by a qualified educator, it should be included with the transcript. Find more information at http://www.messiah.edu/admissions/homeschool_students.