Oaks Christian Online Learning Academy homeschool academy

Alumni Story: From Student to Leader! 

Check out Michael’s incredible journey from OC Online to Pepperdine University Student Body President!  You’ll find that while Michael is very accomplished and successful by any standard, it is his character and focus on relationships and faith that inspires others.  Be sure to catch his prayer at the end of his story. 

Michael’s Leadership Journey 

I (Michael) graduated from Oaks Christian Online in the Spring of 2021. After graduation, I attended Pepperdine University where I currently serve as the Student Body President. Alongside my studies in Political Science, I am actively involved in many different extracurricular and philanthropic community projects. I intend to graduate in the Spring of 2025, and afterward, pursue studies in business and law. 

Throughout my leadership experiences, I’ve learned the significance of leading with purpose, or as some call it, leading with your ‘why’ — for me, it is to ‘live a life of excellence’ in all that I do. 

I think that servant leadership is one of the closest ways to live and lead a life like Jesus. I am inspired by Colossians 3:17 which says, “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  

In the midst of leadership responsibilities and the demands of everyday life, it’s incredibly easy to lose sight of this ‘why’. The hustle of work can pull us in numerous directions, leaving us feeling disconnected from our deeper purpose. I have found that grounding myself in my ‘why’ serves as a reminder of what truly matters and motivates me to approach challenges with determination and integrity. Leading with purpose isn’t just about achieving goals or checking boxes; it is incorporating our values into every part of our life. At the end of each day, regardless of whether it was filled with successes or challenges, I’ve discovered the importance of reminding myself of my purpose. It’s been meaningful for me to reflect on my ‘why’ and commit to doing all things to the best of my ability, knowing that it’s ultimately for God. 

Remembering OC Online 

My most memorable time at OC Online wasn’t working on assignments or studying for classes; it was the vibrant and meaningful connections formed with fellow students and teachers. It was in these moments of genuine interaction that I discovered the value of pausing. I learned that despite a busy life, it’s important to take time to be present. Whether it was a moment of prayer, meditation, or simply talking about life, those intentional interactions made OC Online special. Today, I’ve learned the importance of pausing, being still, and engaging meaningfully with others.   

The genuine sense of belonging and connection I felt with both teachers and fellow students truly sets OC Online apart. In a digital world where it’s easy to feel disconnected or lost, this community provided me with meaningful relationships and support systems to thrive and flourish. This place encouraged me to explore my interests while being guided by mentors who value learning and excellence. The tools, lessons, and experiences I gained at Oaks Christian Online remain a strong pillar in my life today. They equipped me with the skills and qualities that prepared me for the challenges of higher education but have also guided me in pursuing my passions and aspirations. The OC Online model will allow you to practice both pursuing your passions and achieving academic excellence. If you’re looking for a place where you can thrive academically while pursuing your own unique path, OC Online is a place where you can do that. 

Words of Wisdom about Spiritual Formation 

While school and work are important, you’ll never regret spending a few minutes checking on friends, meditating, or just taking deep breaths. When you look back at life, you won’t remember all the work you did, but you will remember the times when someone asked how you were doing, or when you took a moment to connect with others. These moments of care and connection leave a lasting impression and keep our relationships strong.  

Also, it’s okay to question your faith and seek truth and understanding. Asking tough questions about your beliefs, identity, and purpose is a natural part of personal growth. Life can be overwhelming and it’s easy to get caught up in the technicalities of Christianity without actually applying its principles to our daily lives. In high school, I used to think I had to keep my faith separate from everything else. Sundays were for God and church, and the rest of the week was for school, friends, sports, extracurriculars… But now I realize you don’t have to separate the two. Finding your own connection with God can be life changing. Whether you find that through art, science, humanities, or anything else you’re interested in, exploring how your faith intersects with your passions can broaden your perspective and enrich your life. 

Prayer for Current and Future Students 

I pray that students at Oaks Christian Online would find true purpose in their lives, even amidst uncertainty. May they thrive in their pursuit of knowledge and personal growth, guided by Your wisdom and grace. Grant them the courage to reach out for help when they face challenges or struggles, knowing that they are not alone. Help them to trust in Your unfailing love and provision, knowing that You are always there to guide and sustain them. Lastly, may they be surrounded by the strong OC Online community of love and support that uplifts and empowers them to overcome any obstacle they may face. And may they emerge from these trials stronger, wiser, and more resilient than ever before.  Amen. 

Banner Photo credit: Jacob Erbes 

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