Alumnus Connor Lewis (Class of 2014) currently attends Emory University’s School of Nursing, and will graduate next May with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (with future plans to return to school for a Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Anesthesia). He has also earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Kennesaw State University in the Fall of 2016 where he graduated with honors and was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. Connor works at Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital in cardiac surgery pre/post-op, with the occasional opportunity to float into the operating room. He said, “I was truly blessed by the education I received at JFCA. The structure of courses and opportunity for dual-enrollment gave me a great box of tools to carry into my time in university. Beyond the academic experience I had at JFCA (or throwing it way back to when I started at Independent Studies), I experienced Christ in those halls. While I didn’t necessarily “fit in” spiritually as an Orthodox Christian going to high-school in a Baptist church, I was accepted and my viewpoint was heard when it came to matters of the faith and that was more beneficial to my growth as a Christian than any alternative that comes to mind.”

Connor encourages students entering the program, or currently involved in it, to know, “Your instructors are not your friends, but they are your allies. Meaning, be comfortable approaching your teachers but do it with the utmost respect. Having now had the opportunity to lecture and TA at the university level, and also teach at JFCA occasionally, I feel like I have a new look at what it feels like to be on the other side of the teacher’s desk and the student/teacher dynamic is entirely different between a student asking a respectful question/sending a respectful email and a student who approaches the instructor with indignation and haughtiness even if the topic of the conversation is the same. So, start your emails with a greeting and close them properly. It makes a world of difference.”

In addition, he wants to encourage parents of JFCA students: “Be involved. Please. It is so valuable to be involved in your child’s life. But let your children do hard things. The lessons they will learn by having to have that conversation (about grades, course content, etc.) with their instructor will serve them well as they progress in formal education. The temptation to send the email for your student is great, and you’d be surprised at how many emails I received from the parents of college students while I was a TA…emails that I promptly deleted, because of FERPA and shock. But resist! Unless it is something that obviously requires parental intervention, which I’m certain you will know those situations.”

Connor’s final words to JFCA families are, “You (parents and students) are capable individuals. Attack life with vigor and courage. It’s much easier to face things with an attitude of “Why not?” and, as I like to say “Just Do The Thing” versus “Why?” and realizing that in most situations the worst outcome isn’t even bad. So good luck and God bless.”—Connor Lewis