1401 Charlestown Road
Phoenixville, PA 19460
800.432.8322 | 610.935.0450
1401 Charlestown Road | Phoenixville, PA 19460 | 610.935.0450
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When Valley Forge Christian College students receive word each semester that it is once again time for Breakaway, many fondly remember their own past visits. One of these students is Nicole Berkebile, a sophomore Youth Ministry major from Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Hearing about the upcoming spring event, Nicole decided to write a grateful email describing her personal experience as a Breakaway guest. A Note On My Breakaway Experience! By Nicole Berkebile
Breakaway is more than just a day of high school students "trying on" college for a day. I remember the excitement of coming to VFCC for the first time to visit. I had maxed out my coffee, sugar and candy intake for the day and was enjoying myself, to say the least! It was a miracle that I was looking into going to college in the first place, but this day (three years ago) was very special for me and stands as a constant reminder every year of my Heavenly Father's unconditional love and guidance in my life.
Sure, I remember the services, the speakers, the Whose Line comedy, late night dodgeball and hot wings, but that was not the most important part of what God had for me during those days. On Friday morning, after attending a Mass Media and Society class with Professor Mathias and the chapel service to follow, I was intent on calling VFCC home. I mean, seriously, I had just heard a professor exclaim at the top of her lungs that she gets most of her knowledge from Dora the Explorer and that, in her opinion, Hannah Montana is a pandemic! Who wouldn't want to go to college here?
I began filling out an application and was flying through the process. I was overcome with joy because I knew that this was the place where I wanted to be! I was smiling and scribbling away until I noticed a particular section that caught me off-guard. My heart sank and I became ashamed as I slowly checked off every single "negative" box (if you've ever filled out a VFCC application you know what I'm talking about).
I instantly thought to myself, "Well, that settles it... I know where I'm not attending college." I looked up in desperation for my pastor, but he had fled the scene to attend to some of the other kids in my youth group. I felt alone and embarrassed, to say the least. Then, at just the right moment, I noticed a gentleman standing a little way down the long hallway. I made eye contact but looked down to try to pretend that I didn't notice him. He looked very important and I didn't want him to come initiate a conversation or examine my disappointing application. I knew for sure I'd be "found out."
All of a sudden he started making his way toward me... my heart was racing... I couldn't find a garbage can... I wanted to shred the papers in my hand, spill my coffee on them, or at least run away and go hide in the church van! Before I could think of anything else or another way out, that man was right next to me. He softly said, "Nothing you can put on that application can disqualify you from God's love and His plans for your life." I felt the sweetest release in my heart! After talking to him for a while and realizing that he was indeed human too, I learned his name. His name is Josh Torres and, though he no longer works as an Admissions Counselor at VFCC (he is now the Children's Pastor at Calvary Assembly of God Church in Wyncote, PA), his words constantly echo in my mind every day that I attend VFCC as a student. He made the time to get to know me, and that meant so much.
Today my Breakaway lanyard hangs in my dorm room with that special phrase written really big on the schedule. It's something I will never ever forget. Friends, don't let Breakaway become a hindrance; you never know how God may use your words to impact someone's life!
Josh, thank you - with all of my heart!
God bless you all!
Valley Forge Christian College is a private Christian College located in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 35 miles northwest of downtown Philadelphia. VFCC offers on its sprawling park-like campus, as well as online, undergraduate and graduate degrees in the Arts, the Sciences and the Professions. The college's mission is to prepare individuals for a life of service and leadership in the church and in the world.