Gilbert (Class of 2016) will be graduating from Texas Christian University in May 2020 with a BBA in Marketing, a minor in Accounting, and as a member of the John V Roach Honors College.

When asked about his future plans, Gilbert said, “Two big things happened for me at the beginning of 2020. First, I accepted a job as an account strategist (sales) for Google in Ann Arbor, Michigan. So, I’ll be moving up north to the frigid cold for the next few years. Secondly, I proposed to my JFCA high school sweetheart (Holly Smith), and we are planning to get married in the Summer of 2020.

I am very thankful for my Christ-centered education at JFCA. I believe it is critically important to surround yourself in a positive environment with healthy influences during those key developmental years in middle and high school. Not being overly exposed to common temptations and activities that so many youths are involved in these days really set me strong in my ways and beliefs entering college. I felt much more prepared morally and spiritually to take on college being rooted in my faith and being surrounded by Christ-centered friendships. I will say school is not enough to develop one’s relationship with Christ or influence how they live. It begins at home, by how parents raise their children in a Christ-centered environment, and at the end of the day, it requires the individual student to make choices for themselves and decide how they want to live. But I am thankful for JFCA providing a Christ-focused environment. I was free to think and speak my beliefs openly and even the Bible studies or going through books of the Bible in English class provided for a more encouraging environment.

I have been very blessed by the Lord, especially over this senior year and throughout college. Entering TCU, I knew I needed to find Christian community and surround myself by positive influences. Finding strong friends and a church community is no easy feat. It took a few years, numerous friendships, and church environments to settle into a group of friends that love me and challenge me in my faith. I feel God has really been guiding my path over my senior year and has been calling me to trust him as I transition into this next phase of moving to a new state, a new job, and now, marriage. My advice to those entering college is to be patient. Be patient with God, friendships, community, and outcomes from hard work. Remain faithful, open to change, and determined to reach both your personal and spiritual goals, and the Lord will deliver.

I really valued the two days a week, university structure to JFCA. It allowed great flexibility in my schedule on the satellite days to pursue extra-curriculars and leadership activities, while practicing discipline with my time management and schoolwork. My advice to parents is that student success is incredibly reliant upon the support and guidance by those at-home. Just because they have teachers in class twice a week does not mean parents should be fully hands-off on the other days. Parents should hold their students accountable and disciplined in their work at home. For students, my advice is that your success is reliant upon you. Regardless of your natural intellect, dual-enrollment grades, or college acceptances, your success is strongly determined by your personal drive and ambition. Always strive to do your best. Even in your homework for JFCA classes, do not have a “just get by” or “good enough” mentality, as that mindset will be hard to shake in college and thereafter.

Colossians 3:23 reads: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. I believe this should be applied to everyday activities, like cleaning your room and doing your homework. Always put forth your best and perform to your fullest ability. Great results will come from that.

I am incredibly thankful to JFCA for my high school education. It empowered me to get into a great school on a great scholarship. I entered with so many hours of dual-credit that I had the flexibility to change my major 5 times (whoops, don’t recommend). And I was levels ahead of my peers in so many subjects, especially writing. Dr. Romanchuk is one of JFCA’s finest. She’s more challenging than any college English professor I’ve had and really taught me how to write and analyze literature. Thank you Doc! Also, Go Frogs!”