Campus Tour Guide, Coworker, Roommate
Education majors Dennis Glass and Michael Hsu have walked similar paths at Grace and beyond. Their story is proof that you never know what may come of a campus tour.
“I didn’t really want to come here.”
Senior high school student Dennis Glass arrived on Grace College’s campus for his first-ever campus tour. Two other prospective students were visiting that day, and they were all placed in one tour group together. The three of them came with varying levels of excitement, but it was evident that Dennis was the least interested in making Grace his future home.
“I was not excited about it,” Dennis recalled. “My parents wanted me to come to Grace, but I wanted to go to a school further away from home. Grace was just too close.”
A smiling face greeted the trio as they strolled into the visitor’s center that day. The tour guide extended his hand and said, “Welcome to Grace, I’m Michael Hsu. I’ll be taking you around campus today.”
Michael led them through the campus, showing them all of his favorite spots, introducing them to his friends as they passed by, and telling them about his experience in the Department of Education at Grace. (Dennis also wanted to become a teacher, and he remembers thinking it was neat to get to know another male interested in teaching.)
Michael chatted a lot with the other two prospective students on the tour, but Dennis remained quiet the entire time. That was until the campus tour was coming to a close. Dennis approached Michael, “Thanks for taking the time out of your day to give us this tour,” he said. “I’m going to be honest, when I came this morning, I didn’t really want to come here. But after this college tour, I think this is the place I want to go! So thank you!”
Like any tour guide would be, Michael was touched by Dennis’ words that day. But as the year progressed and as he continued to give campus tours and meet prospective students, Michael forgot it ever happened.
“My name is Dennis.”
The following fall, Michael was down by Winona Lake, enjoying the annual Lake Day event where Grace students have access to paddleboards, kayaks, and various other water sports. Michael was hanging out with his friends, most likely throwing some nasty spikeball serves on the beach, when an upbeat freshman in a striped shirt approached him.
“Dude, you gave me a tour last year! Do you remember me?” he asked.
Michael looked the young student up and down trying to recall the memory, but it didn’t come to him. “No, I’m so sorry, man! I don’t.”
The freshman carried on the conversation, unbothered by Michael’s poor memory.
“Oh, that’s ok! My name is Dennis.”
The roles reversed.
As Dennis’ freshman year continued, he began to learn the ropes of college. He realized that if he wanted to take ladies out on dates, he would need some extra cash. So he scoured the campus job listing, and when he saw “Student Ambassador” on the list, he remembered his own campus tour with Michael. Dennis wanted to impact students in the same way Michael had impacted him.
So Dennis applied, and soon he was working side-by-side with Michael. Now the roles were reversed, and Dennis was the cool, confident tour guide that put hesitant high school students at ease.
Michael and Dennis bantered with each other at the weekly ambassador meetings, competed to see who could make the most calls during their calling shifts together, and sometimes even co-led Lancer Days tours.
Being ambassadors together was the first shared circle for Michael and Dennis, but it certainly was not the last. The pair went on to perform in the student-led cabaret together, dance in the joust lip-sync competition, and participate in the X-MEN group which stood for “eXcellent Men in Education Needed.”
Dennis explained the running joke between him and Michael; “I always try to do what he does,” said Dennis. “He was my idol in college.”
While they shared many stages, jobs, and friendships, their relationship went to the next level the following year when the two became roommates.
And they were roommates.
As the roommate selection process began, Dennis and his friends decided to combine their credits with Michael’s to land an upperclassmen apartment. They remember their impromptu meeting at the on-campus coffee shop to complete their application.
If you ask them about their year in the Kent apartment, many stories will be told and laughs will be had. Although the duo shared an apartment nearly three years ago, they will recall the memories as though they were yesterday. Dennis will likely recall the times Michael helped him through the challenging education courses and gave him advice over assignments he had completed just years prior.
“Our friendship was always pretty fun,” said Dennis. “Although Michael was two years older than me, he always treated me like I was a friend, not just an underclassman.”
Excellent men in education
Today, the pair are both actively working in the field of education — serving as strong male role models for their students. Dennis works as a special education teacher at South Arbor Charter Academy in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Michael is working at Vivian Preschool Center in Lakewood, Colorado.
This is the way of Grace.
Stories of tour guides-turned-friends are not as rare as one might think. Authentic connections, upperclassmen mentorships, and genuine community are the ways we develop graduates that lead lives of purpose at Grace College.
Schedule your campus tour today … you just never know what might come of it!