emoment with carl

E-Moment: Why Be Educated? 

All prospective college students have to face questions about their future plans, but those asked of Lenea Riehl ’20 when she considered attending Elizabethtown College were special: "Why do you need to be different and how will you survive among all those "English?" Lenea grew up Amish, but later her parents joined a conservative Mennonite community which allowed its members to attend school beyond the eighth grade. As a result, Lenea and her siblings were the first among 221 cousins on her mother's side to attend high school and consider going to college. Her community gave her a deep faith but also questions about her future: “Even though I have embraced our traditions, I struggle with the fact that many within my culture are content with their simple way of life.” Lenea’s doubts about the value of education quieted when she witnessed her beloved grandmother being hospitalized and then being given back her dignity by skilled therapists: “I gained a new respect and admiration for the power of knowledge. In that moment I gained confidence that I wanted to pursue a college education where I could help those such as my grandmother.” Now thriving as an Occupational Therapy major at Elizabethtown College, Lenea believes that “it was the prayers of my mother, the subconscious efforts of my grandmother, and a culture which does not understand the value of education, that led me to Elizabethtown College.” The scholarship that allowed her to attend E-town is a blessing: “My mother has always reminded me that in order to receive a blessing, I have to be a blessing….I know without a doubt that one day, I too will reach out to financially bless other students and help them to also pursue their dream of attending college.”

Enjoy the moment,

Carl J. Strikwerda,
President


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