GRACEVILLE–The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville joined colleges across the nation preparing for the upcoming school year with a different mindset than in previous years.
“The faculty and staff at BCF have prayed and prepared for the arrival of the new and returning students,” said Sandra Richards, BCF’s director of Student Life and Marketing. “In spite of the corona virus, activities have resumed on the campus following specific COVID-19 guidelines to minimize the transmission of the virus and to safeguard the entire BCF family.”
New students made their way to the Graceville campus earlier in August to begin their academic career not sure of what that would look like under the current health conditions.
Returning students, who left the campus in March for spring break and completed the remainder of the semester online, discovered that fall semester looked different with mask, hand sanitizer, social distancing and single rooms.
Each semester, the Registrar’s Office coordinates new student orientation for incoming students so they can learn more about the campus, identify key personnel for assistance and register for classes.
This year’s orientation was held Aug. 6-7, beginning with breakfast in the college dining facility, the Deese Center. After breakfast, new students made their way outside to the gazebo for a time of musical worship and greeting from BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen, who shared from his heart how excited he was to see the new faces on campus.
“You are no longer prospective students, you are family now,” Kinchen said “Remember it’s never a convenient time for the Lord’s work, but there is a right time and it starts for you now.
“If BCF is where you are called, then this is where you need to be!” he said.
Following a time of worship, new students gathered seated six feet apart in the Mills Center to watch a series of videos and become familiar with the resources available on the campus. Students were instructed on the policies and procedures found in the student handbook and briefed on the COVID-19 guidelines.
New students then met with their faculty advisors for a time of fellowship over lunch and to talk over classes for their degree path. After lunch, students returned to the gazebo for an overview of the local area provided by Rich Elligson, chair of the Theology Division, offering a point of reference for the place students now call home. The first day of orientation ended with a fun resident assistant-led activity and dinner in the Deese Center.
The second day of orientation began with Coffee Hour led by BCM Campus Minister Lance Beauchamp, followed by lunch together in the Deese Center.
After the required entrance testing and dinner in the Deese Center, students enjoyed a time of outside entertainment–6 feet apart–behind the BCF Wellness Center. Game night included fun and creative socially distance games like Simon Says, red light-green light, and a huge water balloon skirmish. A special night, “Worship Under the Stars” was held in the empty field behind the student center on Saturday evening featuring the praise and worship band from the First Baptist Church in Graceville.
“Though the academic semester feels very different, the mandate has not changed,” said Richards, “Changing the World, Through the Unchanging Word.®”
For more information about The Baptist College of Florida, call 800-328-2660 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.