As students arrived and began unpacking carloads of dorm essentials at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF), the Graceville campus quickly came alive with excitement. Faculty and staff welcomed new and returning students with great enthusiasm for the 2018 fall semester. New students arrived, a little nervous for this new journey, but excited for the new friendships that will be cultivated as they are trained and equipped for Christian service in their areas of study. Returning students were thrilled to reconnect with their BCF family after a long summer break.
New student Kerrie Edwards shared her thoughts on move-in day as she wrote, “Yesterday, I moved in and put everything into place. During the day, the faculty all met together and prayed over the dorm: over each door, over the laundry room, and even over the drink machine. I was invited by my Resident Assistant (RA) to attend a weekly bible study, and then all of the residents over each dorm came together and prayed for the dorms tonight. I see them walking the halls of where I live and praying for all of incoming freshmen and students. I could not be more humble and grateful for this opportunity God has given me.”
On Thursday, August 9, new students hit the ground running as orientation commenced. The day began with registration and a delicious breakfast in the college dining facility, the Deese Center. Immediately after, the incoming class gathered in the R.G. Lee Chapel for worship and a heartfelt greeting from BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen. Kinchen mentioned that being a Christian and serving in positions of ministry, especially in the world that exists today, would come with many challenges and they may often find themselves asking, “Oh Lord, how did I get here?” He then encouraged them with the fact that God knows where they came from, where they are, and where they are going.
Following the inspirational message, new students made their way to the Mills Center where they watched several comical videos designed to help them become familiar with the helpful faces they will see around campus. They received information on policies found in the student handbook, as well as where the many resources that are available to them can be found. New students were given the opportunity to enjoy a time of fellowship and lunch with their faculty advisor and returning students with the same major. After lunch, there was a bus tour around the perimeter of campus and all of the major hubs of Graceville to familiarize the incoming class with the town that they now call home. Following the bus tour was an open house of the various divisions, which allowed the new students to ask any questions they may have about their major. Official orientation activities on Thursday concluded with a cookout on the back porch of the Deese Center and the meet and greet with local churches in the Wellness Center. Students were able to inquire as to what different churches in the area have to offer in terms of ministry and opportunities while they stocked up on free books, coffee, candy, and enter in a few giveaways.
Orientation activities began bright and early on Friday morning with coffee and pastries provided by “The King’s Cup Coffee Shop,” located in the Student Center. Following a few informative briefings on safety and the new campus store that is coming soon, students participated in a fun scavenger hunt to help them become acquainted with buildings on campus. Faculty advisors and enrollment staff were available to assist students throughout the day on Friday as they completed class registration and testing, received their student ID cards, and registered their vehicles for parking on campus. The day ended with an event called Gym Jam, organized by the Wellness Center Staff and Intramural Coordinator and Resident Assistant Wes Hamby which included multiple sports and games, allowing for the new group to get to know each other.
After several days filled with activities designed to acclimate new students to life at BCF, they all walked into classrooms for the first time on August 13 to begin their educational journey. The beginning of a new semester is always an exciting time at BCF as incoming students begin this new chapter in their lives, waiting to see how the Lord will use them, and join returning students, staff, and faculty in “Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word®.”
For more information on The Baptist College of Florida and how to apply, please contact 850-263-3261 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.