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Eisenhower Middle School forms FCA PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 November 2017 16:01

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By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times



Fellowship of Christian Athletes was officially chartered Nov. 10, 1954, with the approval of the organization’s first bylaws and a charter issued by the State of Oklahoma.

In the 60 plus years since, millions of student athletes have taken part in FCA at schools throughout America. Many events have been created as part of the organization’s Christian teachings, including in 2004, with the birth of Fields of Faith.

In October, one of Liberal’s newest schools, Eisenhower Middle School, added one of America’s newest FCA chapters, and it is headed up by Eisenhower teacher and certified Christian counselor Tina Harland, who has also worked with the nationally-known Christian-based “Focus on the Family” program.

Harland said although the chapter was started this year, getting it to that point took about six months of work.

“It takes quite a lengthy application,” she said. “I also had to do a background check and answer a lot of questions to be able to get the application through. It was approved, and we started in October.”

Harland said FCA is a benefit to both the student and their peers.

“It’s basically an encouragement for the students to grow spiritually and to walk the Christian walk and to encourage each other,” she said. “Hopefully, it will set a nice environment for the students.”

Harland said she likes having both Eisenhower and its FCA program in their beginning stages.

“I think we are so blessed to have this new building,” she said. “It’s refreshing, and it feels like a new start for the community as well.”

Thus far in its young stages, Eisenhower’s FCA program has varied in its membership between about 50 and 60 students.

“Whenever girls basketball started and they had the morning practice, our numbers dropped quite a bit then,” Harland said. “After the basketball season for the girls, I’m sure it’ll pick back up.”

Harland said so far, youth at Eisenhower are learning the basics of Christianity.

“What the lessons have been so far is proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Bible is true and that God exists,” she said. “Not that the Bible is a scientific book, but it definitely has core scientific truths in it. We’ve looked at  that, and we’ve looked at some prophecy of Christ’s coming, that He was born in Bethlehem and the odds mathematically of that one.”

At this time, FCA curriculum at Eisenhower is focusing on the Ten Commandments, and Harland said the students will soon be unpacking the benefits and joys by living by those, as well as comparing the Old Testament to the New Testament.

“I’m trying to build the student body to where they start taking over with even the lessons,” she said. “There’s a sign up sheet, and some of them are signing up and starting to do part of the meetings.”

Students who come to Eisenhower attend sixth, seventh and eighth grade before moving on to Liberal High School. With those three years under Harland’s leadership, she said first and foremost, she hopes to set a positive environment for the students.

“What parent wouldn’t love to have their child be honest and have integrity and have joy, being kind of loving?” she said. “We will encourage that, and I think the benefits of being a Christian, it gives you hope to look towards even beyond this life, which is pretty cool.”

Harland said she hopes her students leave Eisenhower with a deeper understanding of what being a Christian means.

“Encouragement that walking the Christian walk is more than just on Sundays or Saturdays and it continues throughout the week and to develop a core body of student leaders that set a high reputation for our community and our school,” she said.

In just three years, Harland said she hopes to make quite the impact on the students in her FCA program.

“You can’t grow a tree unless you plant a seed,” she said. “We’re starting with the seeds right now, and hopefully, it will continue growing and the students will be encouraged and learn enough that they’d want to start becoming leaders themselves and be a good influence upon everybody here.”

As generations continue to pass in the course of time, learning styles will continue to change. Harland said she tries to make an effort to bring a mix of different learning styles with her teachings.

“Some of it will be listening,” she said. “Some of it will be they’ll watch a video clip. Some of it will be reading or writing. I do try to mix it up with different things. We’ll have some fellowship games and things that they get to play.”

Harland said she is excited to have guest speakers coming to Eisenhower, and she hopes to have some of the community’s leaders come in as well.

“Hopefully, I can offer to have them come in sometimes,” she said. “It changes it up. It’s not just me. I’m also trained to build the students themselves to where we get student leaders. I’m hoping that their leadership of bringing their friends in and their care for their friends will also make them grow.”

Above all else, Harland hopes to plant the seed of Christianity at the middle school level, which will help students continue to grow their leadership skills in high school and beyond.

“I know that they had FCA at the high school in the past, but they didn’t have the support at the lower levels to build it,” she said.

Harland said Eisenhower’s FCA program is the introduction and the practice course for developing those high school leaders, and she likewise hopes parents of those students also will hopefully become more involved at the high school level and perhaps start their own campus leadership there.

She also believes parents will naturally see how their children benefit from the program.

“I just think that there is not a parent in the world that would not want their child to be more loving, forgiving, kind, honest and all of the things that are a benefit of being a Christian,” she said. “I hope that influence is planted here and supported here, and it just encourages their kids to grow with their well-being and their spiritual growth.”

Harland said she is looking to expand Eisenhower’s FCA program in the near future.

“I encourage students to come in and sign up their membership pledge, and we’ll be starting that with the December meeting coming up on the 6th,” she said.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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