1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’
Today I had the opportunity to share a little bit about Chowan College (Chowan University) and why the school means so much to me. Well, it has to do with acceptance and somebody giving me a chance when nobody else was willing to try.
I was a senior in high school with great grades, but terrible SAT scores. I applied to five state colleges and was rejected by all of them. I took the SATs three times to get into the one school that I wanted above all else. Even though I was just shy of their requirement, I was not good enough for their standards. Did I have the community service? Yes. Did I have the leadership? Yes. Did I have the drive and determination? Yes. Did I have the grades that counted? Yes. Yet, I was still not accepted.
Then my cousin told me about a small school in Murfreesboro, NC that at the time, did not have SAT requirements. I toured the school and applied immediately. I was accepted!! I couldn’t believe it! They actually looked beyond the paper. It was my work, my leadership skills, and the recommendations that helped. Plus – they met me. They talked to Linda. They were willing to see who I was and what I could do.
I learned a lot about acceptance through Chowan. I didn’t grow up in church but had to take Old Testament and New Testament classes at this Baptist affiliated college. Scared to death, I did it and I succeeded. Minus one momentary lapse in a conversation with my OT professor, I did a great job. Thank you for your grace Dr. Greene. My Spanish Professor Dr. Garrett recommended me for the Spanish Honor Society and I was one of 5 students who received the Order of the Silver Feather for my leadership and community service. My English professor believed in me too. In fact, he believed in me so much that he recommended me as one of his American Literature tutors for students. He recommended the girl who was rejected because of her scores to be a tutor. Thank you Dr. Wolfskill for believing in me. Since then, I have contacted these professors and thanked them for believing in me enough and gave me the chance to be the person who I am now.
I also learned about Jesus Christ at Chowan. Yes, I heard of Him before, but not on an intimate level like this. It all came back to acceptance. People who cared about me and believed in me enough to welcome me into the school; into the dorm and the family of Columns Sisters; and they welcomed me into the church. I wonder if there is any connection to this acceptance theory of welcoming all people and the fact that Jesus happens to be the foundation of what they do?
The only thing I regret about my path at Chowan was the fact that it was a two-year school at the time. I graduated and transferred to “the” college that I wanted to get into the first time. And you know what? I had a terrible time there. So much for being the “best”. I was never accepted and cared for in the way that Chowan did. Thankfully, Chowan is a four-year university today.
I still wear my Chowan insignia ring today. I also have sweatshirts, jackets and bags from my time there. I just wore one of the sweatshirts yesterday. Chowan gave me the foundation of what I needed to be as a Christian, as a minister, and as one who was accepted when others turned me down. When I get rejected by others today, and yes I still do, I remember my days at Chowan. They looked through the outside appearance and found something in the heart – something that they could believe in and welcome with open arms.
Thank you Chowan.