Local girl picked to attend academy in Christian doctrineKelsey Bathke, a sophomore at Mitchell Christian High School, is among 45 students nationwide selected to attend the June 20 to July 3 Duke University Academy for Christian Formation at Durham, N.C. At 16, Bathke — the daughter of Mike and Pam Bathke — already has her sights set on a career in cardiovascular surgery.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Kelsey Bathke, a sophomore at Mitchell Christian High School, is among 45 students nationwide selected to attend the June 20 to July 3 Duke University Academy for Christian Formation at Durham, N.C.
At 16, Bathke — the daughter of Mike and Pam Bathke — already has her sights set on a career in cardiovascular surgery.
Andy Bartel, her youth pastor at Mitchell First United Methodist Church, hopes she will consider a career in the ministry.
“He hopes, that with my knowledge of the Bible, that I will go on to be a pastor,” Bathke said.
It was Bartel who suggested that she apply for the prestigious academy.
Bathke replied that “there’s no way I’m taking two weeks of my summer to attend school.”
She reconsidered, though, when she saw that students in photos from past conferences looked like they were having fun. A desire for further immersion in Christian doctrine solidified her resolve, and she decided to apply.
The event will include youth from 15 states and 10 Christian denominations.
During the two-week long academy, students live and worship in Christian community and study theology with faculty members of the Duke Divinity School.
Applicants to the academy were asked to write two essays: one on their spiritual journey; and the second on a book or cultural experience that changed their life.
Bathke said she first started to write about President Barack Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope,” but the book didn’t prove to be as inspiring as she expected. Instead, she switched to “3:16,” a devotional book by Christian author Max Lucado.
The book explains how the famous scriptural passage John 3:16 can be applied to everyday lives, she said.
She included letters of recommendation from Bartel and the Rev. Howard Hart, who teaches church history and philosophy at MCHS. Hart’s lectures also inspired Bathke to try for the Duke University event.
She received notice April 5, the day after Easter, that she was selected to attend the academy.
“I’m excited,” she said. “Each day we’ll have services with top Christian speakers and authors.”
But it isn’t free.
Bathke earned $730 by making seashell necklaces to help pay for roughly $1,200 in tuition and travel expenses. The remaining costs were covered with help from her family and donations from church members.
She said she plans to spend the days leading up to her trip by reading the books of scheduled speakers and doing some suggested readings from the academy’s advance reading list.