What a Day!!

What a Day!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2024, was a huge day for me. Two great events—Dr. Anthony Leigh was announced as the new President of Huntingdon College and Valiant Cross Academy celebrated its third graduating class.

I graduated from Huntingdon College in 1960 and played basketball on its first inter-collegiate team. I was there for two years and had the privilege of serving as the first male student government President.

When I was Senior Pastor at Frazer, Anthony Leigh attended worship and came up to introduce himself. He moved to Montgomery to be the Assistant State Treasurer. He said he really enjoyed being at Frazer, but there were more people at Frazer than there were in his hometown!

He joined Frazer and became extremely active. He met his wife Wendy at Frazer. I had the privilege of officiating at their wedding. He became a great leader at Frazer!

He had a bright future in politics, but he wanted to become engaged in something where he had total freedom to express his faith. He talked with me about Huntingdon College. I made a phone call in 2008 to Cam West and asked him to talk with Anthony. When he did, he immediately hired him.

Anthony quickly became a respected leader at Huntingdon. In his second year there, he said, “John Ed, it is so great to be able to encounter college students during their daily routine on campus and talk with them about their purpose in life and their relationship to God.” He had truly found his calling.

Now, sixteen years later, he is Dr. Anthony Leigh and the Board of Trustees unanimously selected him as the new President of Huntingdon College replacing Cam West, who retired. That phone call in 2008 was one of the most important phone calls I have ever made!

Tuesday night, I attended the third graduation for Valiant Cross Academy. Incredible story. About twelve years ago, I received a call from the Brock brothers—Fred and Anthony. We sat down in my office, and they shared with me a vision they had to start a Christian school that would reach boys who probably would not have much of a chance in life. They wanted to make a difference.

I had known both brothers through sports in the past. When they shared their vision, my first thought was “that would probably be impossible.” Fortunately, I didn’t share my first thought with them, but instead prayed with them to affirm their vision and pledged my support to work with them. A lot of other people got on board quickly. VCA became a reality.

The YASS Award is given annually to the most outstanding high school in America that meets the strict criteria for the award. With it came a one-million-dollar prize. VCA won that award this year!

Think of that—from a dream that was far beyond what anybody could expect, to the reality of changing the lives of African American boys each year. Fred and Anthony Brock and their staff and teachers are making a difference. I’m privileged to serve on their Board of Directors!

Wow! What a day! I never dreamed that I would celebrate in one day two great victories that will make a huge difference for years to come in Montgomery, the State of Alabama, and throughout the world.

Thank you, Lord, for your sweet surprises in life. I’m ready for the next surprise!

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