Blog Archives

HPU’s Academy celebrates anniversary with former FOX News correspondent Jim Angle

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Jim Angle in Mims for webHoward Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy: The Program for Civic Leadership and Public Policy recently celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its first graduating class with a ceremony featuring special guest speaker Jim Angle, former chief national correspondent for FOX News Channel.

Angle spoke on the topic “A Look at Wacky Washington and Those Who Want to Lead It.” Prior to his lecture were musical performances by Dr. Diana Ellis, HPU first lady; TaShana Hooker, a sophomore from Carrollton; and Hannah Strebeck, a senior from Royse City.

Following the lecture, a VIP dinner was hosted in the Bullion Suites of HPU’s Mabee University Center. Guest speakers during the dinner included Academy graduates Dr. Edward Daniel ’66, Mack DuBose ’65, Guy Ben Garner III ’74 and Tristan Summers ’09. DuBose was the first to receive a degree from the prestigious Academy and Garner is the grandson of Dr. Guy D. Newman, the program’s founder.

Other speakers included Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dr. Justin D. Murphy, the Academy’s current director, Brand professor of history and dean of the School of Humanities; Dr. Matthew McNiece ’03, chair and associate professor of history and political science; and current students Katie Rose Bonner, a senior from Lytle, and Caitlin Wood, a junior from Miles.

Dr. Murphy and Dr. McNiece presented gifts to Angle and DuBose. At the end of the dinner, Dr. Murphy was also recognized for his involvement with the program since he began teaching at HPU and the Academy in 1991.

“It was humbling to be honored in this way and I’m proud to be associated with the program as well as its graduates and current students,” said Dr. Murphy.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy recently hosted Jim Angle, former chief national correspondent for FOX News Channel, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the program’s first graduate.

HPU Model United Nations team brings home several awards from Münster conference

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By Emily Peisker, HPU junior

HPU’s Model United Nations team excelled at the Münster University International Model United Nations conference held in Münster, Germany, bringing home six awards from various committees. The Münster conference is the largest MUN conference in Germany, with students traveling from across Europe and as far away as Indonesia, Pakistan, China and Japan to participate.

Munster Spring 2015 for web“This was the first Model UN Conference in which our students were by themselves as single-member delegations, rather than two-member delegations,” said Dr. Justin D. Murphy, HPU’s Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. “This made for a much more challenging conference, especially since seven of our sixteen members were in MUN for the first time. Yet one of the conference leaders told me afterward that our students were the best-prepared team as a whole than any other university.”

This semester’s MUN team included head delegate Cara DeLoach, a senior from San Angelo; co-head delegate Mike McConnell, a junior from Burleson; Jason Murphy, a senior from Brownwood; Jimmy Abbatiello, a sophomore from Kerrville; Cody Perrin, a junior from Eastland; Nicole Nehf, a senior from May; Katie Rose Bonner, a senior from Lytle; Sydney Spencer, a junior from Georgetown; Gavin Stewart, a junior from Flower Mound; Sydnee Petty, a junior from Brownwood; Sam Hoffman, a junior from Corpus Christi; Emily Peisker, a junior from Cedar Park; Jessi Jordan, a senior from Spurger; Rachel White, a freshman from Arkadelphia, Ark.; Maggie Van Nes, a freshman from Keller; and Danielle Parkhurst, a junior from Alleyton. These HPU students represented the countries of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany on their councils.

On the Security Council, DeLoach received the outstanding delegate award for her representation of China, while on the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime Council, Abbatiello, also representing China, received the outstanding delegate award. Bonner took the outstanding delegate and best position paper awards for the International Court of Justice Committee. Stewart secured the outstanding delegate award for the Economic and Financial Committee, with Perrin taking the honorable mention award for the Special Political and Decolonization Committee.

After the conference, the team took a trip to Berlin to visit museums and see the remnants of the Berlin Wall. The day included seeing historical landmarks like the famous Checkpoint Charlie museum, the Topography of Terror museum, the Holocaust memorial, the Führerbunker and the Brandenburg Gate.

“It was such a moving and impactful experience to visit places where such great and horrible historical events occurred,” said Jimmy Abbatiello. “In Berlin we did more than visit tourist sites, we witnessed the aftermath of tragedy and the rebuilding of a bright future for the German people.”

With many new friends from all over the world and great experiences with collaboration and diplomacy, the HPU team looks forward to future conferences and more opportunities to prepare for the future through the learning experiences that come with Model United Nations.


Photo cutline: HPU’s Model United Nations team recently brought home several awards from a conference in Münster, Germany. Left to right: Sam Hoffman, Mike McConnell, Nicole Nehf, Gavin Stewart, Katie Rose Bonner, Danielle Parkhurst, Sydney Spencer, Emily Peisker, Sydnee Petty, Jessi Jordan, Cara DeLoach, Maggie Van Nes, Rachel White, Jimmy Abbatiello, Jason Murphy and Cody Perrin.

Ashley Moon – My second London semester

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Ashley Moon is a junior communication major from Waxahachie, TX. For more information on this and other CGE/CAPA programs, please visit or

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In late November of 2013, I found out that in less than two months, I would be spending a semester in London for the second time.

After my first semester, I started to appreciate Howard Payne for what it was; the professors are intelligent and understanding, the community is small and open, and the atmosphere is relaxed. Out of all the things HPU has done for me, I am most grateful for their flexibility in allowing me and encouraging me to study abroad.

If I didn’t go to Howard Payne, I would have never gone to London. That thought is impossible for me to comprehend. I can’t imagine what my life would be like had I never lived in Europe or experienced the spectacular city that London is.

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To my surprise, my second semester in London was even better than the first (didn’t think that was possible)! I decided to study the second time through an organization called CAPA International. Through this program, I was a part of a large group of American students from all over the country who learned from British professors in a classroom setting. Luckily, I was able to fill my entire schedule with upper-level communication classes. In addition to taking classes, CAPA gave me the opportunity to work an internship.

Prior to moving across the pond, CAPA had me fill out an extensive internship application in which I explained my interests and career goals. An internships team looked through all the applications and literally found me a perfect match!

I am a communication major with an emphasis in public & media relations. My goal is to use my media skills (photography, video, writing and/or graphic design) through journalism or advertising. In London, I interned with a photographer. We worked on fashion shoots, advertising product shots, packages for families and conceptual artistic shoots. I also wrote for his website and learned a lot about Photoshop and graphic design. In addition to getting experience in so many areas of interest, I became great friends with my boss and his wife. Together, they taught me so much about photography and even more about life.

Through CAPA, I also had the chance to live with a family in England. The previous year, I had stayed in an apartment in a central area with other American students. Since I already had this experience, I decided to live with a host family. The Moylettes made my experience in England so incredible. They had two daughters ages 15 and 12 and a 10-year-old son. I never felt homesick while I was in England because I was constantly surrounded by amazing people who cared about me.

I will always encourage students to study abroad. It truly is such an incredible experience, and Howard Payne is too accommodating to refuse. When I studied abroad this last semester, I actually spent less money than I would have if I stayed in Brownwood.

CAPA provided me with some financial assistance as well. They offered a scholarship to one person in their program to be the “official vlogger”. I competed for this scholarship and received it. I was to make one video blog per week, explaining what I was doing in London and how my semester was going. CAPA shared these videos on their social outlets, giving me exposure while promoting their organization.

Independently living in England gave me a sense of confidence that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else. So much of my time there was spent listening to or observing others. I can’t explain the exciting energy that is present in every area of London. There is always someone new to meet, something interesting to explore, and something challenging to be taught.

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Another awesome part of living in London is the opportunity to travel to other places. Because the countries in Europe are so geographically close, it is very easy to travel between them. I had the chance to travel to Scotland, Wales and France, all on a college student budget!

I have never regretted any aspect of my time abroad. There were challenges that I faced, such as homesickness or being short on money, but I learned how to deal with those things and they made me a stronger and well-rounded person.

After going abroad the first time, a hunger for travel was instilled in me. I will have traveled to 6 countries all before my 20th birthday! My life has become incredibly exciting through traveling and meeting people from around the world, and I pray that my fire for adventure never burns out.

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Jennifer Goff – My Summer Journey

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Jennifer Goff is a senior family studies major from Austin, TX.

This summer I went to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a program called Focus Leadership Institute. Focus Leadership Institute exists as a ministry of Focus on the Family that strives to train and equip future leaders with the skills and abilities needed to lead others.

As part of my time at the Institute, I worked at Boundless, an online community that discusses issues such as marriage, family, finances, conflict, and career choices among 20-30 year olds. I had the opportunity to write blog posts, participate in online podcasts, and meet rather interesting authors who shared their thoughts about the books that they wrote on those very topics. I was really encouraged to see that much of what I had studied as a part of my family studies major mattered to people with real needs.

The first three weeks I also sat through a Christian Worldview class led by Dr. Del Tackett, author and founder of the Truth Project. In this class, I learned how to systematically defend and explain my Christian worldview in regards to church, family, work, government, man, and God. One of my biggest takeaways was discovering that both “sacred” and “secular” vocations are important to the Lord. You do not technically have to be a minister or a missionary or a pastor in order to do God’s work. Everyone is called to be a minister in whichever profession they find themselves in. Being a stay-at-home mom can be an incredible ministry opportunity if that is what God is calling a woman to do.

After this three week intensive, my FLI group had the opportunity to visit DC during the week of the 4th of July. There my group of friends and I got to see how a cohesive Christian worldview plays out in the political realm. My favorite memory though was walking through the monuments and the Arlington cemetery. I was delighted when, on the plane home at the end of the summer, I saw the new Captain America movie and recognized all the monuments!

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Halfway through the week, we met with wealthy Focus on the Family donors who supported the ministry and toured many places with them, including the National Archives, the Newseum, and the Capital Building. It was neat to make so many amazing connections.

While I was there, I also nearly ran into three of my friends from Howard Payne: Glorianna Stolle, who was working with her dad at International Justice Mission; Katie Bonner, who was interning at the capitol; and Jake Aschmutat, an HPU grad who is now studying at law school.

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I heard speakers from various political platforms tell of the great need to impact the next generation and raise up Christian leaders. The political atmosphere can be dry for Christ, but just looking at where God positioned my friends from both Focus Leadership Institute and from Howard Payne during the nation’s 4th really encouraged me. God is already raising up Christ-like leaders and I get to be one of them.

The second class I took when we got back from D.C. was a Christian Leadership and Identity course, taught by Dr. Robert and Elena Thomason. In this class I took a personality assessment and strengths finder test. On the personality assessment, I was classified as an INFP. This meant that I had at least a moderate bent towards being introverted, am highly intuitive, think through things mostly on a feelings basis, and can be rather disorganized. I learned that although I may not get things done in an orderly fashion, that’s okay. It was encouraging to discover too, that most people who have the same personality type as me may take roundabout and adventurous ways to get things done- including making a career choice. That was great news for me since I am graduating and still have very little idea about my future plans.

My strengths, I learned, were adaptability, ideation, input, communication, and positivity. When I read about my strengths I learned how I could leverage them into a career that I could be really successful at and co-labor with other Christians to further the Kingdom of God- whether that was through a secular or sacred vocation.

As a whole though, the most important thing I learned about was the concept of community. I thought I had a good concept of what it meant to be a part of a healthy and thriving community, but what I learned at FLI healed some very broken ideas I had. While it was hard to grow close to people in such short amount of time, FLI challenged me to be open and vulnerable. In that vulnerability, I learned that I am free to be exactly who I am in Christ.

I’m great at what I do because I’m me, even though I’m not always sure what it is I need to be doing or where exactly I am going. FLI was an opportunity to begin understanding that about myself. I know graduating in December from Howard Payne may not change the fact that I’m only just beginning to find my own path.

The world just keeps getting bigger and it is so fun knowing adventures are just up ahead. I know I’m on a journey and God is definitely not through with me yet.

Kerrie Ford – Traveling the World Through Model United Nations

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Kerrie Ford, from Houston, Texas, graduated in spring 2014. She was a political science major and a student in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. She is continuing her studies by working toward a master’s degree in international relations at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M.

For more information on the Model United Nations program at HPU visit

Kerrie Ford Blog 1

Joining Model United Nations is truly one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Through MUN I have been provided the opportunity to travel the world while developing skills in public speaking and diplomacy. During my time in MUN I have been to conferences in London, Chicago, Istanbul, Stockholm, and Rome in addition to the conferences that we host here at Howard Payne. Not only does MUN provide the opportunity to travel to all of these amazing places, but through my travels I have had the opportunity to network and create friendships with students around the world.

When we travel to conferences, while the ultimate purpose is to succeed in our committees, we are always given time to explore the city in which the conference is held. This past spring while in Rome our group was able to take a day with which we visited the Colosseum and other Roman ruins, visited the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel, and were able to experience the beauty of Rome and its culture before the conference even started.

While we are given time to explore our surroundings, once the conference begins the team gets down to business. Especially this past year, the team has shown great success! While in Stockholm, my partner, Erik, and I won best delegation for our position as Argentina in the Security Council. While in Rome our delegation participated among 1,500 students from around the world, where we represented the Russian Federation in six different counsels. At Rome we performed even better than in Stockholm bringing home six total awards among twelve of us that participated in the conference. My partner and I participated in the Security Council where we were both able to come away with an award from one of Europe’s largest conferences.

Overall, Model UN has been one of the best experiences of my life. Through various conferences I have made friends from around the world, and have gained valuable experience in international relations and diplomacy while learning about the United Nations and how it works.

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HPU’s Dr. Rick Beelby inducted into WBU’s Athletic Hall of Honor

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Rick Beelby WBU for webBROWNWOOD – October 8, 2014 – Dr. Rick Beelby, associate professor of exercise and sport science at Howard Payne University, was recently inducted into Wayland Baptist University’s Athletic Hall of Honor. Dr. Beelby coached track and field at WBU from 1988 to 2001.

A news release issued by WBU quoted Dr. Beelby as saying the development of character is the most essential element for participating in athletics.

“I like what athletics can do for young men and women,” he said. “It gives them a purpose and a direction and an opportunity to set goals and achieve those goals if they use discipline and honest effort. I was probably attracted to that aspect of (coaching) as much as anything.”

The news release listed Dr. Beelby’s accomplishments at WBU, including training 30 women and six men National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national champions, guiding the men’s and women’s track and field teams to NAIA indoor national championships and three times being named the NAIA National Coach of the Year.

Dr. Graham Hatcher, department chair and professor of exercise and sport science at Howard Payne University, said HPU also celebrates Dr. Beelby’s recognition by WBU.

“Since coming to HPU, Dr. Beelby has provided exemplary leadership across campus and in developing an instructional program that is noted statewide,” said Dr. Hatcher. “But most important is his Christian commitment and inspirational mentorship to hundreds of students.”


Photo cutline: Dr. Rick Beelby, associate professor of exercise and sport science at Howard Payne University, was recently inducted into Wayland Baptist University’s Athletic Hall of Honor. He is pictured on the HPU campus.

Let Your Light Shine for Jesus

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12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. 17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.   Philippians 2:12-17 (NKJV)

In the middle of this passage of Scripture where the Apostle Paul is admonishing believers to live out their lives in a perverse world in a way that honors our Lord, He gives us this challenge to let our lights shine for the entire world to see.

Sometimes we Christians forget that the world is always watching, and they are very quick to recognize when we are not living up to the standards that the Word of God sets for us. None of us are perfect, but all believers in Jesus Christ should always be striving to be that beacon of light that will show the way out of darkness into the light to someone else.

I had three recent experiences that reminded me of our responsibility to be light in a dark world. I live in a small town in East Texas. Several weeks ago I was in our local grocery store. I engaged in conversation with a young man that I knew casually from attendance at Church. After finishing our conversation, I started to walk away and he stopped me and said that he had something he wanted to say to me. He quoted Philippians 2:15, then he said to me, “I just wanted you to know that your light burns brightly in this community.” I had no idea this young man was watching the life of this old preacher.

We recently took a trip overseas. The flight home was a long one that came after a 3 hour delay. I needed assistance after getting off the plane because of recent back surgery. The airline had not provided sufficient help for all of those who needed assistance. This caused me a great deal of agitation and I reflected it in my harsh words. As I reflected on that event later, I was embarrassed and glad that no one asked me if I was a Christian. I let my guard down and let Satan have the victory that day. I certainly did not let my light shine for my Lord.

Recently the Church where I am pastor was having an after Church Bar-B-Que dinner. It was catered by a local business in our small town. I went in a few weeks before the event and ordered the meal from the owner, and then I called her once more just to confirm everything. When she delivered the meal, she told one of our men that she was very impressed with their pastor. She then told him that she and her husband had not been in Church in 20 years, but were going to attend our Church. I have no idea what it was that impressed her so, but the point is that the world is always watching. The Lord can take the smallest things we do and shine light on the darkness, if we are willing to let our light shine for Him.

You are God’s light in this dark world.


The devotional this week is provided by Rev. James L. Goforth, Sr.  Rev. Goforth received his Bachelor of Arts from Howard Payne University in 1961 and his Master of Theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1967.  Then in November of 1960 he was ordained to the ministry and served as pastor in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Ohio.  Later he served as an appointed missionary with NAMB from 1992 – 2004, as a DOM in New York State.  He is now retired back in Texas and currently serves as pastor of Camp Ground Baptist Church in Alto, Texas.

Christy Hazelwood – Studying at Salzburg College

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Christy Hazelwood and her husband, Matthew, are seniors in HPU’s music program. Christy, from Fredericksburg, Texas, is majoring in Music Education. Matthew, who is from Corsicana, is majoring in Church Music and Worship. They spent the Spring semester at Salzburg College in Austria. For more information on this program visit

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Attending Salzburg College has been a fantastic experience! From the moment I met our group, I knew that I had made the right decision to study abroad. Everyone has been warm and welcoming. My husband and I have been staying with host parents this semester and they are, to say the least, awesome. We have our own little flat, which they provided us, and they cook the most delicious meals. I am now a huge fan of Austrian Cuisine. As for the classes and music lessons I have attended, I could not be more pleased. The professors are well educated and great at what they do. The college has also provided us with plenty of outdoor excursions and field trips, so that the students really get to experience Austria. Last but not least, I have loved getting to travel Europe on my spring break. I have visited France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and England. Because of my experiences here in Austria I have a better appreciation for the world around me. If you get the chance to go, please go! This is an experience that you will never forget!

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Sit, Walk, Stand

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Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  Ephesians 6:11

I hate prep work!  Whether it’s painting a room, trying out a new recipe, or getting ready for a conference in a new state, I would rather just get to the meat of things. Sometimes I get the cart before the horse, and I wonder why things didn’t work out.

We can do this in our Christian walk as well.  We rush in to “help” someone or offer advice or try to stand against evil, but we haven’t done the prep work.  We get things out of order.  I know I do!  I would rather get to the battle than to sit and listen to the Commander and learn His ways.

Watchman Nee, a Chinese theologian, has a book out about Ephesians called Sit, Walk, Stand.  It is an excellent resource that teaches us that we must sit at the Savior’s feet through prayer and Bible reading if we are to be successful at walking each day in His way.  Then we must walk consistently in purity and holiness if we want to be victorious in the battles of life.

Sit: “But God, being rich in mercy…raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”Ephesians 2:4-6  This is our position as born again believers saved through the blood of Jesus.  It is not only our inheritance and forever promise, but it can be a reality of today.  We can come boldly before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).  Here, at Jesus’ feet and in the presence of God we can have our minds transformed (Romans 12:2) and our spirits strengthened.  I like to visualize myself dancing before God’s throne or worshipping with uplifted hands before Him or walking with Jesus in a garden. This helps me to sit with my Savior and Lord and prepares my heart to read and hear from Him. I enter His presence with praise and thanksgiving and then I sit with Him in prayer.  Sitting allows us to know the mind of Christ.  It empowers us to be able to walk.

Walk: “Therefore I…implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…” (Ephesians 4:1).  Once we have sat at the feet of Jesus learning His ways, then we are empowered to walk in love (Ephesians 5:2) and to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1).  If you are not able to resist temptation, then go sit some more.  If your walk is up and down then go and sit some more.  If your works are not producing fruit, make sure that they are in line with God’s will and not your own. God is gracious and compassionate and picks us up when we fall (Psalm 37::23-24), but as we mature in our faith through Bible study and prayer, we should be walking without the faltering steps of a toddler.

Stand: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). If you want to be able to fight against Satan, then make sure your armor is in place.  Have you spent hours sitting with Jesus? Are you believing His word and His will by faith?  Are you standing on the truth?  Are you girded about with His righteousness?  When we have sat and practiced walking, then we are able to stand firm. God is calling us to spiritual warfare.  He is expecting that His children are ready for the battle.  Our sword is the Word of God.  Is your sword sharp?

For victorious Christian living we must sit, then walk, then stand.  Are you ready for battle?


The devotional this week is provided by Dara Halydier.  Dara Halydier attended HPU in 1985 and now lives Early, Texas with her husband Tracy who graduated from HPU in 1986. They have five grown sons and run Abiding Truth Ministry which consists of writing curriculum, teaching at women’s retreats and speaking at homeschool conferences.  Dara has written Practical Proverbs for Older Students which is aimed at upper high school to college age students.

Courtney Beene – Surfing in California

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Courtney Beene is a senior education major from Red Oak, Texas. This summer, she traveled with the exercise and sport science department to learn how to surf in California.

As a young student, you dream about getting out into the world and experiencing anything and everything you possibly can. Here at Howard Payne University, students are blessed to have such an opportunity. Students have a variety of different activities from backpacking in the wilderness to skiing the slopes in Colorado – all offered right here at HPU.

beene blog 1What seems to be one of the most successful classes offered here would be the surfing class taught by Dr. Rick Beelby. This class not only allows students the opportunity to travel to the beaches of California but also offers an insight into a completely different way of life. On this trip, the students will drive to Encinitas, California, to camp out only approximately 100 yards off the beach at a surf camp called the Eli Howard Surf School. This camping experience is unlike any other. While we stay in tents, the tents are located in an enclosed area that provides a different experience than that of the typical camping tradition. This camp is equipped with an outdoor living area, a kitchen, showers, fun outdoor games, a Ping-Pong table, and a campfire area. Crazy, right?! Greg and Emily run this camp, as well as live there, and their primary focus is finding a way for students to come and get a one-of-a-kind experience. They believe that students should play an active role in the planning of the week, so they encourage students to help plan out the week’s activities. Students ride bikes as transportation to most of the activities. This is very different than driving a car around everywhere. After all of the extra time gets squared away, students have an allotted time to surf every day. During these times, the students get into their wet suits and are taught how to surf. They are educated about all that goes into the sport by not only Greg and Emily, but by an entire team of surfers. These instructors actually go out into the water and teach students one-on-one how to surf the proper way.

Despite what most people think, surfing is easy to pick up at a beginner’s level and can be done within the first hour or so during the first session of the week. The waves here on San Elijo Beach are perfect not only for beginners, but also experienced surfers. The waves can range anywhere from 1 to 6 feet and provide the perfect opportunity for surfing. Surfers normally stay out on the water for about 2 hours (by that point, you are exhausted) and when they are done, they simply ride a wave right up on the beautiful sand beach and step off. The feeling when a surfer is able to ride a wave and step off onto the beach is one of pure magic. Those moments are rare, but when experienced can change your life and your perception of the sport forever.

Aside from surfing, the trip holds so much more! When the students finish surfing for the day, they are allowed to get out and experience the culture of Encinitas for themselves. In California, it is not out of the ordinary for everyone to be walking around downtown. On the trip, students meet a variety of new people. On this most recent trip, students had the opportunity to go and serve the community by helping feed the homeless and sharing their own personal testimonies. This had never been done before so students and professors had no idea what was in store for them at a small park downtown. This experience bonded the students and faculty of HPU even more so to the area by investing such personal relationships with people from the area. Although that was a new experience, I hope that it is carried out again in the future.

beene blog 2Another fun activity would be the trip that students get to completely plan themselves. The class will research throughout the semester to see what looks like fun and then they will plan out an entire day devoted to that activity. This year, we chose kayaking. Kayaking on the sea is no simple task. It is an activity where you really find out who you work in sync with and who you do not. During this leg of the trip, students were paired up, hopped into a boat, and began paddling out to sea. Once out past the area where the waves break, students sat peacefully and gazed out on the open sea. The water, although not perfectly clear, does offer a degree of visibility. This is the best part because it is where students are able to sit back and admire the beauty of a new world underneath them. Once everyone made it out past the waves, we paddled to a cave and jumped out of our kayaks and entered the water. Being able to swim in the ocean is an extremely different experience than that of a pool or river. We were swimming side by side with seals and watching as the state fish, the Garibaldi, swam beneath us. The funniest thing about the little orange fish is that when they get scared, they begin to blow bubbles! This was another first for the trip and proved to be a great experience!

The surfing trip to California is one of the best trips offered at HPU. This trip is packed full of activities that students themselves plan. The way this trip is designed, students get a chance to develop leadership skills by planning and acting on what they have decided should be done. With students planning a majority of the trip, each year it is completely different. Students learn because they have a chance to experience everything for themselves. This experiential learning is a major part of what draws students in because it is unlike any other. Just about every classroom a student will walk in, the professor has designed just about every detail. Here, Dr. Beelby believes students are more likely to learn and develop at a much higher rate if given the chance to not only plan, but experience their planning in full effect. Students come to class with the campsite pre-booked but nothing else. Students plan and execute meals, activities, and extra trips. This is very unique in the sense that HPU has taken the student and made them the professor. Overall, this is an opportunity that should be experienced once in everyone’s lifetime. Students will always remember this unique experience and carry it with them into their future endeavors.