Good news can come in threes, too

Published 8:59 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some say bad news happens in threes, but positive, inspirational news can happen in threes, too. And even while only partially related, each third can involve a different one of Suffolk’s three high schools.

More accurately, I suppose, two of the three happened in close conjunction with each other.

A week ago Saturday, King’s Fork and King’s Fork’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter was the featured host school for the FCA’s annual Freedom Banquet.

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While Mike London, the University of Virginia’s head football coach, was the keynote speaker for the night and the main draw for donors giving to the local FCA organization, other parts of the program made impressions.

King’s Fork students, from football players to cheerleaders, from freshmen to seniors, spoke about their Christian faith and being in a group with their peers during a video shown during the dinner.

The emcee of the banquet was FCA board member and nationwide motivational speaker Bobby Petrocelli. He summed up how FCA succeeds in turning the usual peer pressure high school kids face into a positive influence.

Petrocelli said high school or college kids might go to an FCA meeting because a friend or two asks if they want to come along.

A few days later at Lakeland, about 20 students and youth leaders from Suffolk churches gathered in recognition of the National Day of Prayer, praying around the school’s flagpoles before class started Thursday morning.

Lakeland freshman Austyn Chappell said, “I want to be the person in the school that is a light for everyone and make a difference.”

I don’t know if any of the Lakeland students were on hand to hear Petrocelli Saturday evening, but they might as well have been.

The third related occurrence didn’t take place last week, but I found out about it last week, so it sort of counts.

While speaking with Nansemond River alum Justin Topping about his senior baseball season at VMI, I discovered that part of the many athletic and academic responsibilities Topping has taken on in his four years as a Keydet has been serving as a student leader in VMI’s FCA chapter.

Much of the usual collegiate campus peer pressure doesn’t apply to VMI compared to Party State U., but devoting time and energy to growing your faith and others’ faith among tons of other obligations is admirable.

All the students at these schools are to be commended for their commitment to their faith and to discipling their peers. These efforts will have a far longer-lasting effect than any athletic event or grade point average.