There are countless success stories from the Class of 2013, of those who fought hard for their degrees despite many challenges and those who pursued their degrees with a calling much higher than their own. Here are some of those stories. The Liberty Journal congratulates all 2013 graduates who have now entered the world as true Champions for Christ.
As a high school senior in Russell County, Ky., in 2006, Megan Chapman gained national attention when, as class chaplain, she was prepared to pray during graduation and a restraining order was issued following a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.
During the ceremony, her class stood to recite the Lord’s Prayer together, and she decided, moments before she took the podium, to speak her heart to her fellow graduates.
“I told them Jesus was the strength and peace they were looking for. It was what was on my heart to tell my classmates during our whole time in high school,” she said.
The next day, then-chancellor Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr. heard of her stand for Christ and offered her a full scholarship, not knowing that Liberty was the top choice for her and her twin sister, Mandy. For financial reasons they had planned to attend a state college. Mandy was later offered the same scholarship.
Now, seven years later, with an undergraduate degree in business economics from Liberty, Megan Chapman has received her juris doctorate from Liberty University School of Law, empowered to stand on the front lines of the culture wars she had become so familiar with as a teenager.
She calls Liberty “a greenhouse for spiritual growth,” the perfect place to receive the support she needed to earn her degrees and learn God’s will for her life.
“The Lord gave me this passion for the importance of family. It’s the center of society,” she said. “I want to work in family law, I want to work with children, I want to work with broken people and tell them about the Lord through the vessel of law.”
After a knee injury abruptly ended his athletic career during his 2008-09 freshman year at Liberty, Brandon Fleming became a college dropout. During the next two years, he would come to realize that mistake, enduring 72-hour workweeks at a job he did not enjoy. It was during this season he developed a passion for academia and made his way back to college.
Fleming graduated in May with a B.A. in English Education.
Since returning to Liberty, he has dedicated his life to helping youth learn the importance of an education. Last spring, at age 21, he founded the S.Y. Scholars college prep program for elementary, middle, and high school students. It guarantees scholarships to students who fulfill the program’s academic expectations. S.Y. Scholars are able to participate in field trips, community service, workshops, and one-on-one mentorship.
Fleming also instituted The Symposium Tour, which assembles prominent educational and political leaders in the community to discuss education reform at some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities. Participants travel with Fleming on this tour, which seeks to involve local parents, students, and leaders in a discussion forum.
|Brock (left), Teresa, and Bryant Nardozzi|
Mother’s Day was especially memorable for Teresa Nardozzi of Belleair Bluffs, Fla., celebrating the occasion one day after graduating with a degree in religion from Liberty University Online. While she is now pursuing her master’s degree, she walked in Liberty’s 40th Commencement with her sons Brock and Bryant, residential students who received degrees in criminal justice and government, respectively.
Teresa Nardozzi said the discipleship her sons received at Liberty was a tremendous blessing to her family.
“The most exciting thing for me was to see these boys developing spiritually and then to see the joy that they had when they would come home. It was one of the best gifts that a mom and a dad could have.”
Brock Nardozzi, who enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard to help pay his way through college and was deployed to Iraq in 2011, will follow his father’s footsteps into law enforcement. Bryant Nardozzi, who is two years younger, plans to start law school in 2014.
Both will miss their lives at Liberty, but plan to maintain friendships formed there for life.
“I’ll go home and it’s just not the same because you build a community here and you build a group of friends that keep you accountable and that encourage you and spur you on in your relationship with the Lord,” Bryant Nardozzi said.
“It’s just unreal how awesome people are around here,” added Brock Nardozzi. “Every day, everyone you see is just full of excitement and full of, the only way you can explain it, the joy of the Lord.”
When Jandi Potts was 3 years old, she knew God had called her to Africa after a family from the Central African Republic stayed in her home.
When looking for colleges to attend, she said Liberty University was the natural decision because she could study God’s word and learn how to reach Africa through the Global Studies Department.
After her first year at Liberty, Potts went on a three-week summer missions trip to the Central African Republic and stayed with the family she knew. While there, she began displaying symptoms that were later diagnosed as parasites, destroying the inner lining of her stomach. Although she was sick, she returned to Liberty, continued to serve on Student Leadership, and kept an 18-hour course load, rarely missing class except when she was in the ICU.
Beating all odds, she graduated in three years with a 4.0 GPA and is the recipient of this year’s Global Studies Award.
“It’s not my award,” Potts said. “It’s a representation of what God has done and is continuing to do. I view it as an accomplishment of the Lord and the support the Liberty community and my professors showed me when I didn’t even know if I was going to live.”
Due to her illness, Potts cannot return to Africa in the near future, and so has turned to her other passion — the American government — through Liberty’s Washington Fellowship. She is interning this summer with Speaker of the House John Boehner’s office, one of the most competitive internships in D.C.
“The lessons I’ve learned as a Global Studies student have prepared me to step into any situation and culture, including the political world of D.C. that has a very unique culture,” Potts said. “I know that I will be able to have the foundation of Christ no matter where I am able to work and serve.”
Brian Bosché, a recent graduate of Liberty University School of Law, will soon begin a position with Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV as a media reporter and correspondent with “For the Record,” an edgy news program aimed at younger viewers. Bosché will be the first Liberty Law graduate to work in television broadcasting.
He is also a rarity among law students, as he attended Liberty in hopes of pursuing journalism rather than practicing law.
Bosché, a native of nearby Roanoke, Va., said he is passionate about politics and the Constitution and decided to pursue a law degree at Liberty to add another skill set to his arsenal. A law degree, he said, is “a great tool” when interviewing politicians and other individuals with legal training.
“I went to Liberty — and applied only to Liberty — because of the worldview aspect,” Bosché said. “I wanted to come here because I wanted my legal education to be in line with my Christian worldview. They have a different method of teaching here at the law school. It’s a very foundational approach and it’s constitutionally based.”
Bosché said this is a dream job for him; he has wanted to be a television journalist since high school, when he did morning announcements and worked with a local news station to sharpen his skills. In college he did whatever he could to gain experience, including online broadcasting and interning locally and at the NBC News Washington Bureau.