Herricks High School, Friend2Friend & Nassau Campus Life '93-'97
Growing up in a Christian household was a critical component to where I am today. But to say my experience with YFC helped shape my calling into full-time ministry would be an understatement. From 1993-1997 I attended Herricks High School - a very socially liberal & progressive school district. Herricks was the school district that was represented in the famous Supreme Court case, Engel v. Vitale that determined it unconstitutional for schools to recite prayer in school. Although students could pray, they did so privately from 1962-1995.
I knew of Campus Life through my older brother who attended years earlier. When it was my turn, I couldn't wait to be with those cool older kids. My neighbor, Joe Laurita, also a Christian, and I went to the CL group in Nassau County. At the time, 1993, it was lead by Alvin Nix. As a freshman, I looked up to Al. He was a sincere guy who cared about what was going on in our lives. At our last meeting of the year and Al's final meeting as our leader, Al challenged Joe and I to start a Christian club in our high school. "Our school" I thought, "there is no way our school would even let that happen." Al's words burned in our hearts that summer and by February of my sophomore year The Herricks Christian Fellowship was established. I didn't think it could happen and I didn't think there were any other Christians in our school besides us.
With the help and encouragement of our new YFC leader Jo Gioia we were up and running. Jo was there every step of the way. We had major problems with our new principal who didn't know the details of the law that protected our right to gather and pray publically. Jo was there to give us the resources we needed. I am so thankful that we didn't give up and that YFC was there to help us through it all. 15-30 students would meet bi-weekly to pray, sing and read God's word together. Imagine that; in the same school that was forbidden to pray by the Supreme Court 30 years earlier, students gathered freely to pray openly.
The leaders of our group were strengthened and encouraged when a new YFC leader, Sue Hansen, stepped in. She was most passionate about two things: Christ and us students. She had a fire in her that strengthened our faith and motivation to reach the lost.
Each YFC leader played a special role in my own faith and development as a young Christian leader in a public school. Today, I am a youth pastor and reserve chaplain in the U.S. military. It is no coincidence that I was involved in YFC many years ago and today I am serving God by working full time with young people. God used those experiences with YFC to shape my own calling in ministry. I am thankful for the support and discipleship that YFC provided me as a teenager.