Revival to prepare students for upcoming school year

Published 9:59 am Saturday, July 25, 2015

The life of a student in any age group can be tough with today’s peer pressures and rigorous academic curricula. But in preparation of yet another challenging school year, a back to school revival will provide guidance, giving attendees a refreshing outlook on how to handle daily trials and work toward success.

The Back 2 School Revival, hosted by New Birth Church of Christ, is set to give area students exposure to praise and worship, scripture, prayer and guidance regarding life skills, said Chynna Bonner, chairperson for the event and member of New Birth.

Bonner, who has served 14 years in the Beaufort County School system, has seen and heard first-hand what students go through on a daily basis and decided to put the event together last year. Due to its success and effectiveness, Bonner’s church, led by Pastor Horace L. Griffin, elected to host the event yet again, she said.

“My pastor is a young pastor, but he really has this (outreach) in his heart,” Bonner said. “We purposefully want to say, ‘What can we do to affect change?’ Our whole purpose is to really show the love of Jesus through very practical means. I’m passionate about it because I’m an educator. I’ve seen kids struggling and going through a lot, and I don’t think parents realize how much they go through.”

And as the church gears up to host a packed house of youngsters from all age groups, activities have been incorporated to encourage student involvement, Bonner said. Not only will the event feature several faith leaders in the area, but it will also host several youth organizations, some of which will lead praise and worship and other components of the event.

“I want to use the kids, and I want them to be active in this,” Bonner said. “When I was a kid, I didn’t want to participate in stuff, but my mom volunteered me for everything. Now, I’m so grateful because I can speak in front of anyone. My training came from the church.”

Bonner said the revival spiritually prepares the students for the next school year and serves as a forefront for issues that could potentially arise in school settings.

“A lot of times, we just put out fires (in the school system),” Bonner said. “But if we can do things on the front end — anything we can do to encourage them — it’s beneficial to the students.”

The three-day revival, set for Aug. 5-7 at 7 p.m. each night at the church, takes a holistic approach, providing attendees with more than just content related to church and Christian worship, Bonner said. The multi-faceted program also gives students practical guidance on how to become a productive citizen in a community, how to face challenges and find positive solutions and the importance of taking advantage of every educational opportunity available.

Three speakers are scheduled to give different educational perspectives on topics to benefit students’ outlooks upon returning to school. Patricia Horton, assistant principal at Washington High School, will speak about her success story of being a teen mom and how, through dedication and faith, she became a school administrator and successfully guided her child through the Beaufort County School system. Tarrick Cox, senior associate director of Admissions at East Carolina University, will speak about the importance of students taking advantage of every educational opportunity that is presented. Ed Booth, Beaufort County Commissioner, will speak about students preparing themselves to become successful, productive citizens and giving back to their communities, Bonner said.

“I think we have three unique perspectives that meld into one,” Bonner said. “Those kids are going to leave there like, ‘Wow.’ I’m just so excited, and I think it’s fabulous how people from different avenues of life are coming together to make this happen.”

Throughout the three nights, students will enjoy a variety of snacks and treats, and many students will go home with much needed school supplies, all of which were donated by many local businesses and organizations, according to Bonner.

New Birth Church of Christ, DOC, is located at 822 Hackney Ave. in Washington.