The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville join colleges across the nation preparing for the upcoming school year with a different mindset than in previous years. On August 6, new students made their way to the Graceville campus to begin their academic career not sure of what that would look like under the current environmental concerns. Returning students were excited to be back on the campus having left the campus in March for spring break and completing the rest of the semester online. Although the fall semester looks different with mask, hand sanitizer, social distancing, and single rooms, the faculty and staff at BCF have prayed and prepared for the arrival of the new and returning students. In spite of the corona virus, activities have resumed on the campus following specific COVID-19 guidelines to minimize the transmission of the virus and to safeguard the entire BCF family.
Each semester, the Registrar’s Office coordinates New Student Orientation for incoming students so they can learn more about the campus, identify key personnel for assistance, and register for classes. This year’s orientation was held August 6-7, beginning with breakfast in the college dining facility, the Deese Center. After breakfast, new students made their way outside to the gazebo for a time of musical worship and greeting from BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen. Kinchen shared from his heart how excited he was to see the new faces on campus by saying, “You are no longer prospective students, you are family now. Remember it’s never a convenient time for the Lord’s work, but there is a right time and it starts for you now.” Kinchen reminded everyone that, “If BCF is where you are called, then this is where you need to be!”
After a time of worship, new students gathered in the Mills Center, seated six feet apart, to watch a series of videos and become familiar with the resources available on the campus. Students were instructed on the policies and procedures found in the student handbook and briefed on the COVID-19 guidelines. New students then met with their faculty advisors for a time of fellowship over lunch and to talk about the classes they would need for their degree. After lunch, students returned to the gazebo for an overview of the local area provided by Theology Division Chair Rich Elligson, a point of reference for the place students now call home. The first day of orientation ended with a fun Resident Assistant (RA) led activity and dinner in the Deese Center.
The second day of orientation began with Coffee Hour led by BCM Campus Minister Lance Beauchamp followed by lunch together in the Deese Center. After the required entrance testing and dinner in the Deese Center, students enjoyed a time of outside entertainment, 6 feet apart, behind the BCF Wellness Center. Game Night included fun and creative socially distance games like Simon Says, red light-green light, and a huge water balloon skirmish. A special night of worship, “Worship Under the Stars” was held in the empty field behind the Student Center on Saturday evening featuring the praise and worship band from the First Baptist Church of Graceville.
The academic semester feels very different, but the mandate has not changed, “Changing the World, Through the Unchanging Word.®” For more information on The Baptist College of Florida, please call 800.328.2660 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.
This article originally appeared on Washington County News: BCF Welcomes Students
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