Archive for the ‘Feature Stories’ Category

Village at Winona to Present Barbershop Festival

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Left to right: This image pictures David Zimmerman, Theo Hicks, Kohl Kitzmiller and Kyle Kitzmiller from Instant Classic. – Photo courtesy of Instant Classic.

The fourth of six summertime Village at Winona Festival of Music performances will feature barbershop music. The Barbershop Festival will take place on Sunday, Aug. 7, at 3 p.m. in the Winona Heritage Room, 901 Park Ave., Winona Lake. Tickets are available at Rocket Fizz, Pottery Bayou and at the door.  Prices are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students.

2015 International Quartet Champions, Instant Classic, will headline the event.  Summit City Chorus of Fort Wayne, Chain-O-Lakes Men’s Barbershop Chorus of Columbia City and Optimist Singers of Warsaw will also perform.  Following individual performances, all groups will join together to sing the Barbershop Harmony Society theme song, “Keep the Whole World Singing.”

Since its founding in 1938, the Barbershop Harmony Society has promoted and preserved barbershop music as an art form.  Today over 23,000 men in the United States and Canada are members of the society whose focus is a cappella music.

In addition to the 3 p.m. concert, individual quartets from Chain-O-Lakes, Summit City Chorus and the Warsaw Optimist Singers will give short performances in the Village at Winona.  Performances will begin at 1 p.m.

Marty Becker, Festival of Music coordinator, encourages the public to come early and enjoy the preshow quartets.  “What better way to enjoy a Sunday afternoon in Winona Lake?,” he said.  “The best barbershop quartets in the region will surprise shoppers and diners with their beautiful a cappella music around the Village until the concert begins in the Heritage Room at three o’clock,” Becker continued.

Grace College, Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts and the Village at Winona have partnered to bring the community high-quality, family-friendly concerts throughout the summer. The series, sponsored in part by the Esther Pfleiderer Charitable Trust and 1st Source Bank, includes six concerts from June 18 through Sept. 3.  For more information, visit

Grace Honored With Record 16 NAIA Scholar-Teams

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Scholar Teams graphic

Grace’s athletic programs were honored for their academic success during the 2015-16 year.

Sixteen teams were named NAIA Scholar-Teams, breaking a program record for Grace’s department. The total also was tied for 13th-most in the NAIA.

Headlining Grace’s academic awards’ haul was the Lady Lancers’ soccer team. The Michael Voss-coached squad claimed an academic national championship with a 3.79 GPA, ranking highest among all women’s soccer programs. The squad was also the highest-ranked Crossroads League team, regardless of sport. The Lady Lancers have ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 nationally in the sport for the past six seasons.

Overall, Grace placed nine teams in their sport’s top 25 and five teams in the top 10.

“The academic excellence that our athletic programs achieve can be credited to the commitment and dedication of our coaches and student-athletes,” said Grace Athletic Director Chad Briscoe. “Our programs strive for Christian excellence in all areas, which includes both the academic and athletic realms. The Scholar-Team distinction for our programs is a tremendous reflection on Grace College. Our faculty play an integral role in the academic and spiritual growth of our student-athletes, and we are incredibly thankful for their work.”

Women’s tennis, coached by Scott Moore, boasted a 3.68 GPA to rank sixth in their sport. Grace’s track programs excelled at the national level. Women’s indoor track and field had a 3.65 GPA under coach Jeff Raymond, ranking sixth in their sport, and the women’s outdoor team was 11th with a 3.59 GPA. The men’s indoor team was seventh nationally in their sport with a 3.30 GPA, and the men’s outdoor team was eighth in the nation.

Women’s cross country (3.59 GPA) under Raymond, and the volleyball team under coach Katie Van Hofwegen (3.54) both topped 3.50 GPAs as a team and ranked in the top 25 of their sport.

The men’s basketball team, led by Jim Kessler, had a team GPA of 3.27 to rank No. 15 in the sport.

Other Scholar-Teams for Grace include: softball (3.40), women’s basketball (3.35), men’s golf (3.29), men’s cross country (3.20), men’s tennis (3.13), men’s soccer (3.08) and baseball (3.07).

To see the complete listing of NAIA Scholar-Teams sorted by GPA and school, click here. Overall, 1,590 teams earned the Scholar-Team distinction from the NAIA.

Click here to see an infographic.

Grace GOAL Graduate Creates Foundation, Helps Local Children

Monday, July 18th, 2016
InkFree 7-18

Pictured left to right are Brad Hagg, Chris Mohrbach, Grace College graduate Eric Sorensen and Grace College professor Matt Metzger. Photograph courtesy of Ink Free News.


Eric Sorensen recently completed his bachelor’s degree through the Grace Opportunities for Adult Learners (GOAL) program.  He used a class assignment to commemorate a friend’s life and help underprivileged children in Warsaw.  The following story was published by Ink Free News.

A recent Grace College graduate has been working on finding a way to commemorate the memory of Kelby Jones, a former staff member at the Warsaw School Corporation who recently passed away.

Earlier this year, Eric Sorensen was taking a course at Grace College to complete his bachelor’s degree. One of Sorensen’s professors, Matt Metzger, assigned the students the task of finding a project they could work on to help others. “He wanted us to do something beyond ourselves,” said Sorensen.

Sorensen works in the tech department at the Warsaw Community School Corporation. When he learned about the assignment, he thought this would be the perfect opportunity to help the community remember Jones, who worked in the technology department at Warsaw schools.

Sorensen approached his boss, Brad Hagg, Chief Technology Officer for WCS, about creating a fund for Jones to be remembered. With the help of Metzger and Hagg, Sorensen was able to create a fund to help students in poverty offset the costs of the iPads that students fifth grade through twelve grade are required to purchase.

To read the entire story and find information to donate to the foundation created by Sorensen, click here.

Center for Lakes & Streams Research Featured on WSBT

Friday, July 15th, 2016

On July 14, WSBT (CBS-South Bend) aired an in-depth story about the ongoing research conducted on Lake Wawasee by Grace’s Center for Lakes & Streams.  The story and video below is courtesy of WSBT.

After years of study, students at the Winona Lake school have discovered that more blue green algae are living in Lake Wawasee.

Nestled in Kosciusko County, it is one of a dozen lakes the college’s Center for Lakes and Streams began studying extensively nearly six years ago.

Finding more blue-green algae prompted the Center to develop a new research question of what causes some blue-green algae to be toxic, and some not.

Every week, students sample water from Lake Wawasee using various techniques. Wawasee, the state’s largest natural lake, is one of several lakes and streams in Kosciusko County that the Center studies.

“If some of the things that we think we’re seeing bode true for this entire summer, it could be ground breaking things that nobody else in the world has figured out,” said Center for Lakes and Streams Director Nate Bosch.

Lead by Bosch, the group of students compared previous research on Wawasee to their current findings.

In 1912, researchers found one type of blue-green algae living in Lake Wawasee. In 1954, that number jumped to 14, and in 2015, their findings showed 30 different species of blue-green algae living in the water.

“We’re starting to get some hits on possible correlations between what could be causing that, and that could be really revolutionary,” said Bosch. “Because not only can you predict when the blue-green algae will produce the toxin, but you can then also tweak the lake a little bit to trick the blue green algae not to produce the toxin.”

For the complete story, click here.

Lilly Scholars Plan to Attend Grace College in Fall

Friday, July 15th, 2016
Jocelyn Chupp

Jocelyn Chupp

Jocelyn Chupp from Elkhart, Ind. and Jordan Shuler from Scottsburg, Ind., 2016 Lilly Scholarship Endowment Community Scholars, plan to attend Grace College this fall. The students were awarded four-year, full-time tuition scholarships and book stipends.

The Lilly Scholar program, now in its 19th year, helps “raise the foundations to enhance the quality of life of the state’s residents.” They have served about 4,050 high school seniors, providing a sum of over $333 million dollars.

Chupp and Shuler are among 142 Indiana high school seniors nominated by their local community foundations and approved by the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) Selection Committee to receive the Lilly Endowment. According to the program, “students are free to attend any HLC accredited four-year college or university in the state of Indiana to which they are admitted.” This year, the students will attend 27 different Indiana colleges and universities.

Jordan Shuler

Jordan Shuler

Chupp graduated from Concord High School. She intends to pursue a degree in communications and general business. “Receiving the scholarship and having my tuition paid for brings me so much relief and excitement,” Chupp said. “I chose Grace because of the three-year program. I also found the academics and professors appealing.”

Shuler calls the scholarship a “blessing” to him and his family. “Knowing we won’t have to take out student loans and go into debt is a huge burden off our shoulders. I chose Grace because of the family-like, Christian atmosphere.” Shuler looks forward to becoming a Lancer in the fall.

Grace College offers each of its 70-plus majors in both a traditional four-year bachelor’s degree and an accelerated three-year degree program.  Other cost-saving measures at Grace include no tuition increases after your freshman year and free textbook rentals for all students. For more information about Grace College, visit or call 574-372-5100.  A virtual tour can be seen here.

Center for Lakes & Streams Receives National Grant

Thursday, July 14th, 2016
John Rice (left) and Dave Illingworth, General Manager and Dealer Principal at Toyota Warsaw, stand with Dr. Nate Bosch (far right), director of the Center for Lakes & Streams. The center received $15,000 from Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. to promote water resource education.

John Rice (left) and Dave Illingworth, General Manager and Dealer Principal at Toyota Warsaw, stand with Dr. Nate Bosch (far right), director of the Center for Lakes & Streams. The center received $15,000 from Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. to promote water resource education.

The Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College recently received $15,000 from Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. to promote water resource education.

The center will use grant money to improve and expand efforts to increase environmental literacy in Kosciusko County through K-12 programming and the Northern Indiana Lakes Festival.

“Toyota’s support of our educational programs brings attention to our center’s growing effectiveness and importance to the community,” said Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the Center for Lakes & Streams.

The Center for Lakes & Streams served over 7,000 K-12 students during the 2015-2016 academic year. Public, private and home school students across the county engage in hands-on lake and stream learning experiences through the center’s programs such as the Classroom Lake Experience, Lake Adventure Days and the Lakes & Streams Art Contest.

“Educating students about taking care of our local waterways is important to our county’s growth and development in the future,” said Caitlin Yoder, education coordinator for the Center for Lakes & Streams. “Showing students and children how to take care of our local lakes and streams now is an important part of preserving these natural resources for future generations.”

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion. Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of over 1,500 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers in the U.S. which sold more than 2.35 million vehicles in 2014. Toyota directly employs more than 34,000 people in the U.S. and partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. For more information about Toyota, visit or

The Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College conducts research, provides resources, engages and educates residents, and collaborates with local organizations in efforts to make the lakes and streams of Kosciusko County cleaner.

Grace College Ranked 4th in Master’s Counseling Program

Friday, July 8th, 2016



Grace College’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program was recently named one of the state’s best values by Top Counseling Schools. Grace ranked 4th in Indiana.

Top Counseling Schools aids higher learning by providing objective information for counseling students and professionals. Using the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Programs directory, accredited counseling programs are found in each state.  Top Counseling Schools then ranks these schools based on completion rate, job placement rate, licensing exam pass rate, accreditation length, research productivity, tuition and fees.

Grace College’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling trains graduate students to excel as professional counselors. They are taught to be scripturally grounded, professionally skilled and interpersonally competent. Upon completion, students are qualified to seek state licensure or pursue doctoral studies in counseling. The program is offered online and on-campus; both are CACREP-accredited.

Tom Edgington, dean of the School of Behavioral Science at Grace College, calls the counseling program unique because “it combines a strong biblical foundation with effective skills and methods.” Serving on the Grace faculty since 1992, Edgington has seen the School of Behavioral Science grow and develop in great ways. “Our top-notch faculty are attracting bright, promising students to study at Grace.  Our newly-renovated facility is a wonderful place to learn.  Students who want a faith-based program with a strong clinical emphasis should visit Grace,” he said.

For more information about the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, click here. Or, contact Dean Tom Edgington at 574-372-5100, ext. 6052.  For the complete report and rankings from Top Counseling Schools, click here.


Grace College Welcomes New Dean of Chapel

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Brent Mencarelli (left) replaces Carlos Tellez as dean of undergraduate chapel and community life at Grace.

Grace College is pleased to welcome Brent Mencarelli as dean of undergraduate chapel and community life. Carlos Tellez left the position at the end of the 2015-16 school year to begin a multi-cultural Grace Brethren church plant in Atlanta. Mencarelli assumed the new position on July 5.

As dean of chapel, Mencarelli is tasked with creating a worship experience that allows students to effectively grow in their Christian faith.  He will oversee three weekly chapel services, schedule chapel speakers and serve as a liaison to area churches.  In addition, Mencarelli will mentor student chaplains and plan semi-annual Days of Worship and the Conference on Mission at Grace College.

Mencarelli received his Master of Divinity degree at Grace College and a bachelor’s degree in science from Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, Mo. From 2008-2009, Mencarelli was a resident director (RD) at Calvary Bible College. He then served as an RD at Grace from 2013-2016. Mencarelli is also a past part-time adjunct professor at Grace.  Brent is married to Amy, his wife of seven years.

“As an RD, I enjoyed being a part of a team that is committed to seeing students learn inside and outside the classroom,” Mencarelli said. “The opportunity to help students know themselves and God on a deeper level is what drives me.  As dean, I hope to further that opportunity and to challenge students to serve in ways that will reflect Jesus and His character.”

“I am excited for Brent and his wife, Amy, as they transition to this new position,” said Dr. Jim Swanson, vice president for student affairs at Grace. “Brent’s work in residence life and as a part-time faculty member has prepared him well; he is a gifted scholar, speaker and mentor. The Grace College campus will be positively impacted as Brent carries on the legacy of previous chaplains.”

Brent Mencarelli can be reached at 574-372-5100, ext. 6284 or


Godfrey achieves dream to play for Team USA

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
Lauren Godfrey

Lauren Godfrey

When the news finally came, she couldn’t stop smiling. And who could blame her?

Grace women’s basketball player Lauren Godfrey fulfilled a longtime dream this week when she was selected to the USA Deaf Women’s Basketball Team.

After a grueling three-day tryout process, Godfrey made the cut. She will now represent the red, white and blue on Team USA at the 2017 Deaflympics.

“It still seems unreal that all of this has happened,” Godfrey said. “I just feel very blessed that I even had the opportunity to do what I got to do. I was able to accomplish one of my biggest dreams.”

Godfrey was born completely deaf. She received a cochlear implant in her right ear when she was just 18 months old.

Most of the players at the invite-only tryout had a hearing aid, according to Godfrey, but some had no hearing whatsoever.

As a result, Godfrey had to learn to communicate in different ways. Godfrey, who does not sign, often caught herself mesmerized during the tryout by how well the players managed to convey their message.

“I caught on pretty quickly how to get their attention if I needed to talk to them. I couldn’t just say ‘hey’ and they would look at me. I had to wave at them, tap them on the shoulder or stomp my foot on the ground so they could see the movement or feel the vibration.”

While communication proved to be a learning experience on the court for Godfrey, she recognized how it bonded the group as well. “We just got along so well. We had to communicate a lot so that helped us become closer. All I can think about right now is how amazing the last three days with the girls were.”

The Deaflympics, held every four years, date back to 1924 and are the longest running multi-sport event excluding the Olympics.

Team USA is coached by Laura Edwards, who has over two decades of coaching experience and led the squad to gold at the 2015 World Deaf Basketball Championships in Taiwan.

Godfrey noted that many of the players that made the cut were on the 2015 gold-medal winning team. The group will practice more next summer in a training camp to prepare for the 2017 Deaflympics.

“I just wanted to be able to show people that they can accomplish anything if they put their mind to it; we can overcome obstacles in our lives if we really push past them,” Godfrey said. “I wanted to do it so I could give all the glory back to God for what He has blessed me with.”

Village at Winona to Present Ragtime Revue Concert

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Photo courtesy of the River Raisin Ragtime Revue.

River Raisin Ragtime Revue “Celebrating America’s Musical Heritage” concert, the third of six summertime Village at Winona Festival of Music performances, will take place Saturday, July 9 at 3 p.m. in the Winona Heritage Room, 901 Park Ave., Winona Lake.  Tickets are available at Rocket Fizz and Pottery Bayou as well as at the door.  Prices are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students.  A free ragtime concert preview will take place in the Village at Winona Artisan Court on July 9 at 12 noon.

The River Raisin Ragtime Revue (R4) is a professional theater orchestra based in Tecumseh, Mich. They are dedicated to educating and entertaining through the preservation and restoration of significant American music. Utilizing a historically accurate, engaging narrative, R4 transports audiences to the cultural and social conditions of the twentieth century. The orchestra has played at many distinguished venues, including the Henry Ford Museum, the Detroit Institute of Art and Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater.

Grace College, Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts and the Village at Winona have partnered to bring the community high-quality, family-friendly concerts throughout the summer. The series, sponsored in part by the Esther Pfleiderer Charitable Trust and 1st Source Bank, includes six concerts from June 18 through Sept. 3.  The Ragtime Revue concert is provided in part by a generous allocation from Arts Midwest Touring Fund, one of six nonprofit regional arts organizations in the United States.  Arts Midwest endeavors to engage people in meaningful arts experiences, bring vitality to Midwest communities and enrich people’s lives.

“We are extremely pleased to receive funding from Arts Midwest and be able to bring River Raisin Ragtime Revue to Winona Lake,” commented Will Dawson, executive director of Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts.  “Wagon Wheel is pleased to be part of offering excellent music entertainment for the community this summer,” he said.

For more information on the Festival of Music, visit