August 2001, I walked into Linda Tapley’s kindergarten classroom that would spark a 13-year long journey through the halls of Fresno Christian Schools. It would be at this school that I would learn, grow in Christ, bond with classmates, and meet lifelong friends.
I do not remember my North East campus days very well, but there are a few fond memories I still hold to. I remember my first “time out” in kindergarten, running laps around the field for PE, playing kickball during recess, and Mrs. (Nancy) Keck’s scrumptious gummy bears as rewards for good behavior. Sunny days and smiles were a very common theme on that small little campus.
We then graduated from the simple establishment of the North East campus to the immensely large Peoples Church property. As a third grader in Mrs. Yantis’ class, I walked into Building 5 in pure awe; a two-story building was too large to comprehend! And a playground complete with basketball courts, foursquare, wall-ball, and full sized football field made me feel like a real big kid! By my sixth grade year I was comfortable on campus and felt like I owned the school as I walked around at recess midst the younger students. However, what lingered ahead of me I never saw coming.
Junior high, those wretched, intimidating years were full of awkward changes and uncomfortable situations. Two years of my life so many people regret and would love to do over, but not for me. Contrary to popular belief, I loved junior high. Why? I am not entirely sure. I do know however, I was surrounded by a great support cast of friends, teachers who cared for me, and a God who loved me. For it was in my junior years that I found out who I was, and how much God cared for me, and how loved I am. Through mentorship, chapels, and the love people showed my, I grew in my faith and made it my own.
It was here I realized this place was more than a school; it was a home. A home for students to always feel welcomed, a place for God to work into peoples’ lives, and a refuge for those to fall back on in times of trouble. For me, Fresno Christian has been all those things and more. It has been my home away from a home. A place I can go to for help, a place for learning, and a place for fun. This school has meant more to me than mere words can say and will always have a special place in my heart.
Specifically, these past four years of high school have molded and shaped me into the person I am today. Junior high was a place where I discovered Aaron Dewolf was, and high school was a place for me to grow and test that character. I have been through highs and lows, ups and downs, and can say, by the grace of God, I made it through. This school has placed people in my life and given me role models that have helped me get to where I am today. I cannot even imagine how different my life would have been had I not attended here.
Yet it was not only emotional and spiritual support that makes me love this school, I have had more fun at this school, especially these past four years than I could have ever had anywhere else.
The small school environment has allowed me to get involved and partake in all sorts of events and activities. I have been able to try my hand in almost everything, from three different varsity sports, to CSF President, to being in the drama production The Music Man.
On top of that, classes are small enough to get involved in ways that at a bigger school I would not have the opportunity to, such as float building for homecoming or filming our NOTS movie each year. Plus cheering at events, from football and volleyball games, to powderpuff and MCing rallies and chapels; this school has given me the opportunity to not only get involved, but to be myself while I’m doing it.
As my days come to a close at this beloved place, I find myself with mixed emotions. So much of my life, so many of my memories come from this one place. Thirteen years of laughing, crying, fun, and love are coming to a close. I will cherish these 13 years and take them with me forever. Yet at the same time, I know I am ready for a new challenge, ready to embark on a new adventure.
This school has equipped me with the skills needed to reach the next level, and now it is my turn to take those skills and put them to use. I know ahead of me lies many more memories, many more friends, and many new adventures, but I will never forget Fresno Christian, the people here, and the things I have learned.
In closing, I have too many people to thank individually, so I will say this. Thank you Fresno Christian. Thank you everyone who I have come in contact with over these past 13 years, each and every of you touched me in a unique way. Thank you to my parents, John and Kimberly DeWolf, who made the sacrifices in their lives to bless me with this opportunity. And lastly, thank you Jesus Christ everything. Absolutely everything. I love you, Fresno Christian. God bless you.
Aaron DeWolf will be attending California Baptist University in Riverside, CA, and majoring in mechanical engineering.