Hannah Deblois’ parents, Michael (BA 89) and Sue (Herbert BS 88) Deblois, have been ministers most of her life, pastoring a small church in Michigan while also holding down part-time jobs in the school district. “We didn’t always know where the money was going to come from,” remembers Deblois, “but the Lord has always been faithful to provide.”
Attending Grace College like her parents did had always seemed like an improbable pipe dream. But in 2016, Deblois applied to Grace just to see if the financial aid package
she received might tell a different story. “I was accepted, but the aid package wasn’t enough. Even though I knew I could go, I didn’t see how,” says Deblois.
Instead, she made plans to attend community college, where she received a small scholarship to play volleyball. However, during her first year of play, Deblois experienced a career-ending injury, tearing a muscle in her back. “I had to take a year off of everything for reconstructive surgery and physical therapy. I couldn’t even carry a backpack.”
Recovery didn’t come quickly, but it allowed Deblois space and time to revisit her options for the future. A job at a local school district allowed Deblois to start saving some money. “My parents encouraged me to go back to college,” she says. “They knew I loved learning, and they were confident the Lord would provide.” Although Deblois had always wanted a Christian education
, she believed going to a state school and commuting would be much more affordable. “I told my mom that I felt so torn on what to do, but thought I needed to settle for the financially viable option.”
However, not even two weeks after that pivotal decision, Deblois and her parents were invited to a group conference call with President Dr. Bill Katip (BA 74) and other prospective students. “I didn’t want to do it,” says Deblois. “It seemed ridiculous since I knew I wasn’t able to go.” But her parents convinced her it would be a good experience, so they curiously called in to the conference. “When we joined, I heard Dr. Katip ask us to introduce ourselves, and I was waiting for other students to speak up, but no one did, so I introduced myself,” recalls Deblois. Very quickly, the Deblois family realized they were the only family on the call, and Dr. Katip revealed that this little ruse was set up to surprise her with a scholarship. “He said he called to tell me we are making a way for you to come to Grace.”
Deblois still can’t tell the story without crying. “I was over the moon. I could not believe it. Every time I think of it — it’s such a blessing. I was ready to accept plan B, but the Lord made a way.”
She raves about the biblical training she’s received, even as a pastor’s kid. “I’ve been challenged to make my faith my own. I’ve had to develop a personal doctrinal statement, and now I know what I believe and why I believe it.”
She’s also benefited from personal relationships with her business professors. “Not only do they teach their craft from a biblical perspective — being profitable for the purpose of benefiting your community and glorifying God — but they want to help you find success.” Deblois has secured two internships over the past two summers through the networking support of her professors: one with Maple Leaf Farms focusing on consumer marketing and this summer with DePuy Synthes
Joint Reconstruction working on the outpatient marketing team.
Deblois isn’t sure where God will lead her after graduation, but she’s convinced her Grace education is an immeasurable gift that she intends to use to impact countless others.