With the 2015-16 academic year at an end, Christendom College is already looking forward to its next, when it will welcome the incoming freshmen class of 2020. From award-winning musicians, National Merit Scholarship finalists, to varsity sports captains, the members of the class of 2020 come from across the United States and beyond, all drawn to Christendom by a common thread: its rigorous, authentic, Catholic liberal arts education.
One of these future Christendom students is James Foeckler, hailing from Manassas, Va. The fourth member of his family to attend Christendom College, Foeckler was inspired by the positive impact Christendom had on the lives of his siblings, and was eager to discover it for himself at the Experience Christendom Summer Program. After a week at the college, Foeckler returned to campus as a finalist in the Padre Pio Full-Tuition Scholarship Competition. While he was not awarded that scholarship, Foeckler was awarded a different one from the college: the Thomas S. Vander Woude Athletic Scholarship, due to his outstanding accomplishments playing soccer during high school. Foeckler was the captain of his men’s varsity team in 2016, and played 1st Team All-Conference Varsity Soccer.
When Foeckler arrives at Christendom this fall, he will aim to succeed both on the soccer team and in the classroom, as he pursues Christendom’s recently added mathematics major. For him, Christendom represents the opportunity to expand his education and his Catholic faith, in order to truly impact the world after college.
“The thing that most drew me to Christendom was the rigorous academic program that keeps God at its center. Christendom is a place where I hope to not only expand my education, but also to strengthen spiritually. Four of my brothers have attended Christendom and it has had a positive impact in each of their lives, and I hope to receive that same impact when I attend,” says Foeckler.
Like Foeckler, incoming student Emily Palm plans on majoring in mathematics when she arrives at Christendom; in fact, it was the mathematics major that first caused her to become truly interested in the college. After discovering more about it and the college as a whole, Palm, a native of Westby, Wi., decided to attend the Experience Christendom Summer Program, and fell in love with the school.
“I chose Christendom because, in addition to its strong academics and variety of extra-curricular activities, it is traditionally Catholic in everything it does. I visited several other Catholic colleges who definitely had a Catholic identity, but none struck me as having that identity rooted in them as deeply as Christendom does. Studying at Christendom will allow me to grow in experience and knowledge of the world, but will help keep me strong in my faith because of its solid Catholic culture. At Christendom I will spend some of the most formative years of my life strengthening my faith and making lifelong friendships founded on shared Catholic values before I go out to face the secular world,” said Palm.
Palm, a 2016 National Merit Scholarship finalist, will bring a wealth of talent in curricular and extracurricular activities to the Class of 2020. During high school, Palm participated in numerous activities, from earning certifications in horse management and traditional track, serving as the historian and treasurer for her 4-H Club, to being the treasurer of the Rise Up for Life pro-life group.
John Howard III, a native of Mocksville, N.C., shares a similarity with Foeckler and Palm: he, too, fell in love with Christendom after attending the Experience Christendom Summer Program.
Howard attended public school during high school, where he distinguished himself with his incredible musical talent. He was a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society for three years, including as president for one year, and served as the brass, music, and trumpet captain for his school’s band. He played in the North Carolina All-District Band, and was nominated and invited to audition for the North Carolina Governor’s School. In addition, Howard also played in the jazz, marching, concert, and symphonic bands, participated and directed a trumpet choir, and was the first place low bass vocalist in the North Carolina Honors chorus. Due to all of these achievements, Howard earned four varsity letters.
When he arrives on campus, Howard will bring his extensive musical background to the college’s choir, with plans to major in philosophy.
“Upon visiting the campus, I had no doubts that I would call Christendom home for the next four years. There exists a sense of peace and cordiality here that I have not witnessed at any other college. Naturally, this atmosphere is caused by the students who center their education on God and focus on becoming truly intelligent. I am learning that the world is full of falsely educated people who seem unable to think critically and objectively. From this mindset, Christendom is a safe haven,” said Howard.
This is the first part of a series focusing on the incoming Christendom College Class of 2020, their achievements, and why they chose the Christendom difference.