From the Students: Christian University at Gardner-Webb
Gardner-Webb's Christian foundation is important to students
in unique ways. Hear from current students about what it means to them.
Jonathon Rhyne, Freshman Marketing/Journalism
“I know that on my bad days, I am loved by a bunch of people who I don’t even know… Here, people do care about you, and they don’t even have to know your name.” (More)
Hannah Ray, Sophomore English
“Everything falls under that umbrella of 'Why are we doing this?' and a Christian University has the responsibility to do it because they’re trying to glorify God in all that they’re doing.” (More)
Jeremiah Hamby, Senior Psychology
“It’s more than going to Church on Sunday; it’s living in a community of Christian believers in everyday life and being intentional, being vulnerable with them, and the atmosphere at Gardner-Webb has really shown me that…” (More)
Caitlyn Brotherton, Senior ASL
“That’s what college is all about: figuring out what you want to do and who you want to be, and when everyone around you is pointing you towards Christ, it’s a lot easier to be focused on him.” (More)
Chelsea Ellwood Teaching Elementary Physical Education
Health and Physical Education
Chelsea Ellwood (’13)
“All of my classes definitely prepared me for what I was going to experience in my ‘classroom’—the gym. My student teaching experience was so much fun that I knew right away that what I wanted to do was to teach young students that moving is fun and give them some basic principles to keep them healthy their whole lives.”
Because applying to college can be pricey, Chelsea Turlington Ellwood (’13) took advantage of an offer she received in the mail for a free application day at Gardner-Webb University.
“At that point, I didn’t know anything about Gardner-Webb or even where it was,” recalled Ellwood, who is from Mills River, N.C., near Asheville. “I quickly checked to see if they had a physical education major and they did, so I decided to apply. Soon, I was notified that I could come interview on scholarship day. I had already interviewed at a bunch of other schools, but when I got to Gardner-Webb, my first impression was amazing. Everyone was so friendly, and I felt right at home. I knew I would like to go there right away, and when I got the Presidential Scholarship, that sealed the deal.”
When she arrived on campus, she wasn’t disappointed. She found encouraging professors in all her classes and activities that interested her.
“I loved my time at Gardner-Webb, and the professors really helped with that,” she asserted. “And there are amazing opportunities to get involved. I spent time playing Ultimate Frisbee on the quad, doing activities with the honors students, playing in the guitar ensemble, and showing prospective students around campus as a Student Recruitment Ambassador. The PE majors were a tight knit group, because there were so few of us, so we spent a lot of time together even outside of class. We went horseback riding one time, and would have bonfires with all the PE majors and professors.”
She continued, “My faith grew and became more personal during my time there. I was refreshed when some professors would pray before each class. Each subject, from anatomy to Old Testament, only increased my wonder for God. As I studied the intricacies of the human body, or studied Old Testament passages that pointed to God’s plan to save us through Jesus since the very beginning, I found that God is present everywhere.”
The small class sizes in the Department of Health, Sport, and Physical Education gave students more opportunities to ask questions and seek guidance.
“I think of my professors in the Department of Health, Sport, and Physical Education as my friends,” Ellwood acknowledged. “Dr. Shonna Snyder, associate professor of health and wellness; Sara McNeely, instructor of health and physical education; and Dr. Ken Baker, chair of the Department of Health, Sport and Physical Education; went above and beyond my expectations. They were always there when I needed help with lessons, papers, or student teaching. They always encouraged me to excel. I give credit to these excellent programs and their reputations for helping me to get a job right after graduation.”
During those first days on the job, she relied on what she had learned at Gardner-Webb.
“All of my classes definitely prepared me for what I was going to experience in my ‘classroom’—the gym,” she affirmed. “My student teaching experience was so much fun that I knew right away that what I wanted to do was to teach young students that moving is fun and give them some basic principles to keep them healthy their whole lives.”
Her professors have continued to offer their assistance. “When I moved and was having trouble finding a teaching job, they helped me with contacts and references,” she shared. “Ms. McNeely was especially good in following up when I got discouraged with my job hunt. That is what really makes Gardner-Webb stand out. The professors are dedicated to helping you succeed.”
She’s teaching physical education at Carl A. Furr Elementary in Cabarrus County, N.C. She and her husband, Alex Ellwood, also a 2012 alumnus of Gardner-Webb, live in Mooresville.
“I teach six classes a day, one from each grade level,” she related. “There is a huge difference between kindergartners and fifth-graders, so part of what I do is to make sure that each lesson is geared toward each age group. I teach students the basics of health, fitness, and sports skills, but mostly we just have fun! The best part of each day is seeing kids so excited to come to P.E., and the most tiring part is trying to get them all quiet when they are so excited about what we are playing that they don’t want to listen.”
Ellwood promotes Gardner-Webb whenever she has the opportunity. “So far, I have recruited my sister, Amy Turlington, to attend Gardner-Webb, and I will gladly point any others that way,” she affirmed. “Gardner-Webb was my first home away from home, and I still love going to visit there for some of my favorite events like basketball games and the Festival of Lights (a Christmas tradition). I am very thankful for my scholarship and every single opportunity I had while I was there.”