Archive for July, 2010


Ohio Valley University: For Learning. For Faith. For Life.

July 6, 2010

Ohio Valley University (OVU) is a private Christian liberal arts college that offers associate and bachelor degrees, as well as a Master of Education degree. The college has two separate campuses on 266 wooded acres located in Vienna, West Virginia, a small city along the Ohio River that was established by a Revolutionary War veteran in 1794. OVU is consistently recognized as one of the nation’s top comprehensive baccalaureate universities in U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges Guide, and was ranked as one of America’s Best Colleges in 2010.

Founded by the American Restoration Movement’s Churches of Christ in 1958 (with classes beginning in September 1960), the college has always integrated higher education with biblical faith and service to God and humanity. According to its mission statement, this is accomplished by: “Equipping students for life through quality academic programs. Encouraging life-shaping relationships among faculty, staff, and students. Fostering holistic growth through varied co-curricular activities. Promoting knowledge, values, and skills inherent in healthy families and quality relationships. Connecting students to the global community. Instilling a desire for life-long learning. Creating opportunities for growth in faith and service.”

At OVU, every student is challenged to think critically, improve communication skills, and broaden his or her knowledge base. Those goals are driven by small class sizes and one-on-one relationships with faculty, staff and other students. OVU is organized into the following colleges: College of Arts & Sciences, College of Biblical Studies & Behavioral Sciences, College of Business, and College of Education.

OVU offers baccalaureate degrees in Accounting, Bible, Bible & Ministry, Biology, Business Administration, Elementary Education, English, History, Human Resource Management, Information Technology, Interdisciplinary Studies (Communications/Mass Media, Criminal Justice, Interdisciplinary Studies, Journalism, Math, Music, Spanish, Specialized Studies, Pre-Law), Management, Marketing, Organizational Management, Psychology (Pre-Professional, Christian Counseling, Human Services), Secondary Education (English, Math, Physical Education, Social Studies, Science, Wellness), Sports Management, Vocational Ministry/Missions, and Wellness.

An Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Nursing is offered through a collaborative arrangement with West Virginia University at Parkersburg. OVU also offers pre-Law, pre-Medical and pre-Dental programs, a Master of Education degree, Special Education endorsement, and other specialized certifications. The music department has many qualified teachers who are specialists in their fields, for those students wishing to minor in Music or seeking private lessons.

OVU students have the opportunity to participate in exciting semester-long and summer study programs off-campus across the United States and around the world. U.S. opportunities include programs in Washington D.C., Nashville TN, and Los Angeles CA. International studies provide opportunities to live and study abroad, where students can experience the history, culture, and variety of foreign countries such as Australia, China, Russia, Egypt, Costa Rica, and Uganda. Honor students and other high-achieving students can even spend a semester studying in Oxford, England or Florence, Italy.

Facilities throughout the north and south campuses feature wireless Internet access, learning centers, computer labs, student housing, offices, smart classrooms, library, student center, university bookstore, athletic and health/fitness center, two gymnasiums, a theatre, student commons, chapel, dining hall and more. The main campus has one entrance/exit to the buildings, providing added security. OVU offers campus housing for 272 of its 542 full-time students. Freshmen are required to live on campus, and a meal plan of nineteen meals per week is available.

A student centered college, OVU strives to transform lives in a Christ-centered academic community. All full time students are required to take a Bible class each semester. Each member of the OVU community is expected to attend the daily chapel service five days per week. OVU residence halls are separated into male and female living spaces. OVU enforces a curfew for resident freshmen and sophomores. Curfew hours are midnight Sunday through Thursday and 1:00 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. The campus is a tobacco-free, drug-free, and alcohol-free community. Warm friendly faces and a down-to-earth atmosphere are the basic ingredients of the college culture.

OVU does not have fraternities and sororities. Instead, as is common with Church of Christ-affiliated colleges, the university has localized social co-ed clubs. There are currently five social clubs – Delta, Kappa, Sigma, Theta, and Omega Pi. Clubs compete in intramural activities, service projects, and a musical concert held annually in the Spring.

The university publishes The Highlander, the student newspaper; and Penumbra, a literary magazine. The university also offers opportunities in several performing groups. These groups include the A Cappella Singers, a traditional chorus composed of approximately 40 singers. This group performs at congregations, youth rallies, and other venues. Express is the college’s contemporary Christian a cappella performing group. This group performs at over 200 events per year. The Ambassadors is a dramatic group that travels around to youth rallies, camps, and other church related events. The Chamber Players are composed of woodwind, brass, and string ensembles. The Chamber Players perform at two on-campus concerts a year and frequently give performances in the local community. OVU also has a community band and jazz ensemble.

The university’s sports teams are called the Fighting Scots and they compete in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, a member of the NCAA’s Division II. OVU offers the following intercollegiate men’s sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, wrestling, and soccer. OVU offers the following intercollegiate women’s sports: basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, and volleyball.

OVU is only a short drive from several large metropolitan areas and major league sporting events. The Mid-Ohio Valley area is rich in culture and history, offering concerts, cultural events, festivals, theatres, shopping malls, road races, and other attractions. See a 1950’s fighter jet and train caboose while picnicking in Jackson Memorial Park. Look for deer, turkey, foxes, coyotes, and waterfowl at McDonough Wildlife Refuge. Ride down the mighty Ohio River on an authentic sternwheeler and explore historic Blennerhassett Island with its reconstructed mansion. Visit museums, tour the local chocolatier and pasta maker’s shops, learn the art of glassmaking, or take to the Rail Trails on your mountain bike. Other nearby recreational activities include: skiing, golf, camping, fishing, whitewater rafting, boating, and hiking.

The student body at OVU represents more than thirty states and ten foreign countries, but the university does not accept everyone who applies. Approximately 50% of applicants are accepted. The average verbal SAT score of students admitted falls between 420 and 490, and the average math SAT score is between 440 and 500. The average ACT score of admitted students is between 19 and 23. The ratio of male and female students is roughly 50/50.

APPLYING AS A HOME-SCHOOLED STUDENT – According to the OVU office of admissions, “If you are a home school student, we welcome your application to Ohio Valley University. Just follow the admissions process [outlined on the OVU website]. Your transcript should demonstrate completion of high school, but the University will be flexible regarding documentation of basic credit hours. Because the University believes in the validity of home school education, you will not be required to produce an accredited diploma or a GED in order to gain admission to the University.”

For more information, visit


Abby Sunderland

July 6, 2010

Abigail “Abby” Sunderland (born October 19, 1993) is one of those homeschool teens who believes in the motto “Do Hard Things.” At age 16 she attempted to follow in her brother’s footsteps and become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

Zac Sunderland (born November 29, 1991) was the first person to have accomplished that feat before turning 18. Zac became a sailing celebrity when he finished his thirteen-month odyssey in July 2009. However, his distinction as the youngest person to solo-circumnavigate the globe was short-lived. Just six weeks later, 17-year-old British sailor Michael Perham (born March 16, 1992) set a new record as the youngest person to sail around the world alone, having started out after Zac in a much faster boat.

The record changed hands yet again on May 15, 2010, when a 16-year-old Australian homeschool student named Jessica Watson became the youngest individual to sail solo around the world non-stop and unassisted. Jessica had reached the halfway point in her voyage when Abby Sunderland was just finishing the first leg of her journey, following a delayed departure due to equipment problems.

Sadly, Abby was forced to call off her circumnavigation attempt on June 10, 2010, right after passing her halfway point. Abby’s 40-foot racing sailboat was rolled by a giant wave and dismasted during stormy seas in a remote area of the Indian Ocean northeast of the Kerguelen Islands. Sunderland had been keeping in contact with her parents and support team by satellite phone, and on the morning of June 10th she reported that her yacht was being tossed by 30-50 foot waves and 70 mph wind gusts. An hour later, Abby’s emergency distress beacons were activated. The teenager was feared lost at sea, or even worse.

Abby’s yacht was adrift and incapacitated with its engine not working, satellite reception knocked out, and sail dragging in the water from the broken mast. That area of the ocean is rarely visited by merchant ships or other sea traffic, so Abby thought it would be weeks before she was rescued – but in just two days she was spotted by a plane about 2,000 miles west of Australia. Since setting sail from Marina del Rey 4 ½ months previously, Abby had grown so attached to her sailboat “Wild Eyes” that it was difficult for her to leave it behind, but the vessel had to be abandoned.

Sunderland stated on her blog that she would like to write a book about her adventures. “I started to think about all the good times Wild Eyes and I have had together,” she said. “All that’s left of the voyage of Wild Eyes are my memories, eventually they will get fuzzy and I won’t remember all the details. I don’t want that to happen.”

Abby is the second-eldest of Laurence and Marianne Sunderland’s eight children. Laurence Sunderland is a shipwright, sailing instructor, and captain, so Abby grew up in a seafaring family and has spent her whole life on and around boats. In fact, when the oldest four Sunderland kids were babies, a 56 ft. Tradewind sailboat was literally their first home. Additionally, living aboard a sailboat during a three-year family cruise was a formative experience for them.
Prior to her proposed circumnavigation, Abby accumulated thousands of miles of coastal cruising through a number of hazardous weather conditions and was trained in ocean sailing. She began sailing single-handedly when she was 13. That’s when Abby first had the idea of sailing around the world, even before her brother did. She explains, “I had begun to think that dreams are meant to be no more than dreams and that in reality dreams don’t come true. Then my brother (Zac) left on his trip. It was amazing to see all the support that he got from around the world and to see how everyone worked together to help make his dream reality. Watching him do this really made me believe that I could too.”

The Sunderlands are devout Christians who homeschool their children through the Trinity Pacific Christian School program, a homeschool organization in Thousand Oaks, California. During his June 8 graduation at Calvary Community Church, Abby’s older brother Zac said “God was with me every nautical mile” regarding his own historic voyage. Abby had written on her website, “I am taking my school books with me so that will keep me busy. I don’t want to stay in high school another year so I’m motivated to get my school work done.”

When Abby rounded Cape Horn – the southernmost point of South America – on March 31, 2010, she was the youngest solo sailor ever to have done so. She hopes to one day make another attempt at fulfilling her dream of a global circumnavigation, declaring “I’m definitely going to do it sometime.” Her father says he would “absolutely endorse that wholeheartedly.”

Visit Abby’s website:

Read Homeschooling Teen’s article about Zac Sunderland