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Local leaders encourage community, student engagement

Blake Deffenbacher | The Feather Online

Leadership students, juniors Braden Bell, left, and Wes Hinton, collect donations at last year’s event.

Families, friends, alumni, and supporters of Fresno Christian will gather for the 36th annual FCS auction, March 9. This year’s theme, ‘Going Places’ focuses on the school’s future and ways students contribute to their communities.

In keeping with the theme, Feather staff members spent the month of February talking with local leaders such as the Fresno police chief, mayor of Fresno, and mayor of Clovis to receive feedback on how they view campus students ‘going places’. The leaders shared personal experiences and encouraged students to continue engaging with the needs in their city.

Fresno Chief of Police Jerry Dyer believes that in the same way the flu is contagious, Christians have the ability to impact those around them for Christ. As young people of faith enter into their communities, it affects their peers and those they serve.

“It’s so important for young people to profess their faith and lead others to Christ,” Dyer said. “When this happens, we see a reduction in crime, a reduction in student absences, and less behavioral problems. It doesn’t take a lot for something to be contagious. If there are 400 students at Fresno Christian, they can have an incredible influence and become contagious around our community. Although small in numbers, you can have incredible outcomes.”

In the following tweet, Feather staff interviews Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer about Christian influence in the community.

Striving to beat last year’s auction total of $200,000, elementary through high school students brought in donated items to auction off, including some created by students themselves. All donations go toward furthering the school’s mission of “equipping young people for life and service for Jesus Christ through biblical foundations, Christ-like character development, and academic preparation in partnership with the home and local church.”

Christian education systems offer a biblical perspective on diverse topics and allow students to discuss the ‘why?’ behind what they study. Clovis Mayor Bob Whalen describes the type of questions that produce wisdom in the city’s future leaders.

Blake Deffenbacher | The Feather Online

Visitors bid during the live and silent auctions on items ranging from original artwork to helicopter rides.

“Knowledge is now at our fingertips,” Whalen said. “But the Christian comes at it with the perspective of not just gaining knowledge, but gaining wisdom. My experience with Christian education has always been one that has pushed beyond knowledge and embraced some of the harder questions to answer. Those who ask the hard questions are the people that are going to be our leaders.”

Despite a student population of only 602, students on campus engage in numerous community events such as Kids Day, Serve Day, the Clovis Rodeo, Town Hall meetings, and food drives. Fresno Mayor Lee Brand discusses the advantages of attending a small school and his observations of the students.

“I think that being a part of a smaller school is actually in your favor,” Brand said. “It gives you more of an opportunity to put your attention on individual students because when you get these massive campuses, it’s hard to focus on each person. Just in my couple years here at City Hall, I’ve seen the stuff the students at Fresno Christian have gotten involved in, and it’s really making a good image for the school.”

In keeping with the event’s theme, leadership students and Feather staff welcome guests and serve them throughout the evening. With entertainment by Killer Dueling Pianos, guests have the opportunity to request songs for a tip.

In the following tweet, Fresno Mayor Lee Brand shares his experience talking with The Feather staff about community.

As students venture out into their communities and engage with inner city issues, Mayor Whalen desires to go beyond the traditional role of Christian involvement. He shares his hopes for students as they build relationships with those they serve.

“I want to make sure that our Christian organizations can meet the needs in our city without having any barriers,” Whalen said. “I think how volunteers and students can do more is recognize how your serving can bring you closer to God and closer to the people that you are working with. I would ask that our youth don’t miss out on the opportunity for relationships with those they serve and how God is impacting them as they engage in that service.”

Sophia Kalugin

The dessert silent auction opens at 5:30 p.m. as guests bid on rows of homemade treats and desserts.

Paul Loeffler, radio play-by-play voice of the Fresno State Bulldogs in football, basketball, and baseball, shares his vision for the student body as they continue to meet the needs in their communities and neighborhoods.

“Each student at Fresno Christian has something that God has placed on their heart to serve,” Loeffler said. “I think when you nurture that, you never know what might come out of it.  Someone might see something in sports or building or science, but there are needs all around us.”

Besides his role as a sports commentator, Loeffler is recognized as the announcer for ESPN’s coverage of the Scripps National Spelling Bee and an organizer for the Central Valley Honor Flight. He also serves as the host of Hometown Heroes, an organization recognizing World War II veterans and their service.

“If you stir a desire in the souls of students, it’s powerful,” Loeffler continued. “The secret to Fresno Christian is giving young people a chance to run with their ideas because when students take action on what’s in their heart; they can make a difference.”

Doors to the FC gym open at 5:30 p.m. when the silent auction bidding begins. Dinner and entertainment by Killer Dueling Pianos lasts from 6:30 p.m. until the start of the live auction at 7:30 p.m. A photo booth will be available to guests throughout the evening at no additional charge.

VIDEO BELOW: The following video produced and edited by Wesley Hinton, markets Fresno Christian Schools and introduces the educational system to attendees of the 36th annual FCS Auction, March 9.

For those who attended the auction in the past, please share your favorite moments and reason you attend in the comments below.

For those who missed it, check out the article from last year’s auction, Fresno Christian hosts 35th annual auction.

For more articles, read Journalists share strategies for combatting fake news or Discover Fresno encourages engagement with local organizations, pt. 2.

Addison Schultz can be reached via email and via Twitter.

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