Fifteen years ago before Mars Hill Academy had a permanent home, mischievous students claimed the Clough Pike Church nursery as their senior lounge.
“At one point we implemented a security measure by putting cups of water on the top of the door to douse whoever entered without permission,” recalled 2003 graduate Joel Musser. This practice stopped immediately after teacher Paul Brinkerhoff fell victim.
Since those early years, Mr. Musser, who was one of two students in the school’s first graduating class, earned his economics degree from Hillsdale College, launched his financial planning career, married, and became the father of four children.
Q: How did your classical Christian education prepare you for life beyond MHA?
A: I didn't get the "full" Classical treatment since I joined the MHA family a little late in 9th grade. Having said that, I can not overemphasize the importance of the "Christian" part of that question. Life is made up of so many different situations and relationships; being educated with a Christian worldview has been a huge blessing. Not just addressing life as a series of facts that are not related to one another, but thinking always through the lens of how and why God created the world in the way He did.
Q: How did your Mars Hill education shape the way you view learning?
A: I have always appreciated the way MHA acknowledges the importance of factual data (memorization) about life and how God created it, but also always stressing the value for students to learn how to communicate thoughts and ideas based on that data clearly and logically to others. I continue to put those skills to practice every day in my job, family, and other relationships.
Q: How was your curiosity for learning fostered at MHA?
A: I remember my humanities teachers always encouraging creative and independent thought, which I think was crucial in developing an ability to think outside the box and shoot for opportunities that otherwise would not have seemed attainable.
Q: Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
A: I love Psalm 139 and the imagery that God knows and cares so much about each of us in such a personal way.
Q: What do you most appreciate about your MHA experience?
A: Spring 2018 is the 15th anniversary of what most people refer to as the "wedding pictures" when I graduated from MHA with Amy Dietz (formerly Stollberg). Fifteen years have flown by, and I now have an amazing family of 6 and the career I've always wanted. I'm now gripped by the 10 physical pounds (... okay, 15!) that fatherhood has added and also the figurative weight of shepherding my own family toward Christ and the ideals that are ever present at Mars Hill. I'm so thankful that my parents had the foresight and willingness to carpool 40 minutes each way to allow MHA to add to the foundation they were laying in my life.