When the Louisiana Department of Education chose its three [one each in the fifth, eighth, and twelfth grades] Students of the Year, they could not have expected two of those students to live in the same city. And what are the chances they also would attend the same church?
SHREVEPORT – When the Louisiana Department of Education chose its three [one each in the fifth, eighth, and twelfth grades] Students of the Year, they could not have expected two of those students to live in the same city. And what are the chances they also would attend the same church?
Henry Lin, Louisiana Middle School Student of the Year, and Nick Taylor, Louisiana High School Student of the Year, attend Ellerbe Road Baptist Church in Shreveport.
Taylor, a 2009 graduate of Byrd High School, said he particularly enjoys working with youth and children. In summer, when most of his church activity picks up, he works at the various camps and Vacation Bible Schools.
“It’s fun being able to work with them,” he said. “They start looking up to you.”
Lin, also an active youth group participant, uses his gift for piano to minister in the church, sometimes for the youth praise brand and others for the church offertory.
When asked why they were chosen as Students of the Year, Taylor and Lin stopped to consider before both said “God.”
“I think that was God honoring the decision he (Taylor) and Henry have made,” Pastor Dennis Sims said.
Lin said when it came time for the interview process, he chose Exodus 4:11-12 to help guide him and keep him steady.
The scripture passage reads, The Lord said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
It was important, each student said, to balance academics, church and the other extracurricular activities.
It was not always easy, but it was absolutely possible.
Taylor chose to drop football when he had to shift the balance. It was a decision he said surprised friends and family, especially since his older brother and father both played. Taylor said it has been a decision God blessed over the years, and has opened up new opportunities for ministry.
Pastor Sims said Lin’s and Taylor’s activity shows students can be heavily involved in a youth peer group in church and have it be a good influence in your life, academically and spiritually.
“The youth group is really supportive of everything I do,” Lin said. “I’m glad I’m a part of it.”