July 25, 2012 : By Drew Menard/Liberty University News Service - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Since 1971 Liberty University has been Training Champions for Christ. Each year, more and more champions cross the stage at Commencement, marking the completion of one journey and the beginning of another. Every champion has a story. Many overcome hardships, make sacrifices, and take risks, choosing each day to endure, knowing the reward is worth the challenge, in this life or in eternity. In the end, champions overcome.
This month, Liberty University’s Marketing Department released the Journey of Champions documentary, telling the stories of three such champions from Commencement 2012.
The project began to develop in January. Several candidates were interviewed before three were chosen. Production spanned over five months and about 40 people were involved.
“We only touched the surface of the stories that are being written here,” said Caleb Atkins, promotional video producer/lead. “We were privileged to hear dozens of stories leading up to the production that gave testimony to the life-changing work that God is doing here.”
He said while focusing on filming, it is often easy to miss out on the “heart-level stories” that are an integral part of the university.
“Being a part of this production really provided perspective into the heart and mission of Liberty,” Atkins said.
Journey of Champions introduces Kristal Dahlager, William Viriato, and Laura Holmes.
Dahlager is a living miracle. She graduated from Liberty University School of Law despite physical handicap and the challenges associated with it — including acclimating to a new community on the other side of the country. Liberty helped her develop her passion for law and has equipped her to use it to fight abortion. She is involved with a pro-life organization and has shared her story at various events.
Viriato overcame the academic and social challenges of an international student (from Brazil) who does not speak English as a first language. Through help from Liberty’s tutoring services, he was able to improve his grades and pursue his artistic aspirations through the Department of Theatre Arts.
Family tragedy and heartache brought Holmes, a mother of two, to a realization that though she was further along in her journey, she was called to pursue a degree in psychology so that she could help others through their pain. Thanks to Liberty’s online education program, she was able to be faithful to that calling.
Ron Kennedy, senior vice president for Marketing, said the documentary illustrates the true mission of Liberty University.
“These powerful stories show what a faithful God we serve, and just how exceptional individuals of the Liberty family truly are. The video speaks to who we are as a university — truly committed not just to providing quality education, but an atmosphere of community, to genuinely Train Champions for Christ.”