Over the past 16 years, our high school students have enjoyed abundant growth opportunities in and out of the country during the school’s J-Term (a two-week period of time in the winter devoted for students to pursue their passions and seek God’s call on their lives). This year, groups of students left the Peninsula to embark on mission trips to China, Costa Rica, and Jamaica. Others traveled to the Passion Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. For those students who remained at home, they participated in art studies, athletic endeavors, business internships, and volunteer work. Regardless of the path they took, all the students returned with personal testimonies with many sharing their experiences, explorations, and revelations in the J-Term Showcase last Friday.

“This was my third trip to Jamaica but it was unlike any of the others,” said DCHS Senior Molly Pugh. “My eyes were opened to all the different possibilities for mission work that are out there. I’ve known for some time that I want to go into mission work once I graduate from college, but this trip cemented that for me. I have come to realize how much I love building relationships especially with those in Jamaica–the children, the girls at the girls’ home, and the residents in the infirmary.”

The focus for the Costa Rica trip centered on science, service, and scenery. Led by DCHS Science teacher Mrs. Tiffany Haley, the students saw science come to life as they visited a plantation and a butterfly garden, explored caves, rode rapids, swam among a waterfall, and traveled across hanging bridges. More importantly, they also learned more about themselves and the world around them. 

“I had the most amazing time ever,” said DCHS Sophomore Isabelle Donihue. “We did a lot but my favorite part was the Service Day where I worked with children whose parents are busy learning how to build better lives for their families. It was on this trip that God revealed to me His plan for my life. After much prayer and the advice from others, I came back to the States with an even bigger heart for missions and an even bigger heart to work in the ultra-poor communities of Costa Rica. I truly believe God used J-Term to not only touch my heart, but to touch the lives of others as well.”

For DCHS Senior Seth Stevens, who also traveled to Costa Rica, J-Term provided a time to reflect on God’s goodness and creation.

“My Costa Rica experience was very eye-opening to the vast creation God has placed for us to study,” said Seth. “I was able to see His art in the caves we explored, the rapids we ventured through, and the hikes we took. I also saw His working hand in the Transforma organization whose mission is to aid and educate the jobless women in the area.”

Besides trips that provided opportunities to traverse across beautiful landscapes and survey the world, students were able to participate in a variety of explorations here in the United States.

“Personally, J-term was a great experience because it enabled me to try new things,” said DCHS Junior Shawn Layton. “I took the Intro to Theater class in hopes of becoming a better actor. Not only did I learn ways to improve my performance, I was also given the opportunity to write and direct–something I never did before. I was also able to go to New York and see Aladdin on Broadway. While there, I saw that the performers were doing the same exercises that we were learning, except at a higher, professional level. Now I have a better idea of what I need to do, and what I need to do less of, in order to sharpen my skills.”

DCHS Sophomore Trey Magee was one of 36 students who chose to participate in a business internship.

“I worked under the Youth Minister at The Crossing in Milton,” said Trey. “It was a great experience that will help me a lot as I try to figure out my future career path. I think everyone should use the time J-Term provides to experience the field they believe God is calling them to pursue.”

As they begin to make preparations for life’s challenges beyond high school, J-Term also provides juniors and seniors the opportunity for growth by attending the faith-enriching national conference known as Passion.

“Worshiping with 65,000 other young Christians is something I might never experience again,” said DCHS Senior Andrew Workman. “It truly is awe-inspiring, breathtaking, and powerful.”

DCHS Senior Nathan Moyer summed it up beautifully when he said, “Passion and Louie Giglio challenged me to turn the page of my past story, and move onto a new page that is no longer one of defeat, but one of victory. I now know I am to focus less on myself and more on Jesus. I should not be timid but bold in sharing and displaying my faith so that it will be a glimmering light within this dark world.”

Follow us on Facebook to see more J-Term stories and images.