Emmalee Bell wanted to start fresh. With her sister graduating from Emmanuel, Emmalee was set on attending a college where no one knew who she was, but God had other plans.
Because she continued to be exposed to Emmanuel, Emmalee decided to attend a Spring Preview event during her final semester of high school, and looking back she’s glad she did.
“When I got here, my first thought was this is home to me,” she remembered. “It was an instant connection and I’ve had no regrets.”
Now a Senior, Graphic Design major, Emmalee still looks back on her Preview experience to describe what makes Emmanuel unique.
“The family aspect,” she said. “During my preview, I remember we all came together, previewers and current students, we got together on the quad and played frisbee. We were circling the entire perimeter of the quad and I remember thinking, ‘Do other colleges do this?’”.
At Emmanuel, professors and staff members are encouraged to share their faith, something that encourages Emmalee to do the same.
“A few years ago, I lost my grandfather and I remember telling my professors about what happened,” she said. “Paula Dixon, a precious, caring, motherly person immediately called me and asked if there was anything she could do and asked to pray with me. Until you’re in that moment, you can’t understand the weight and the feeling of having people around you who care. Dr. Scott Ellington prayed for me as well, and those little things were an encouragement to me. If my professors can do that for me, I can do that for others.”
On campus, Emmalee has her hand in everything.
“I’m in Singers, she said. “That has been the main thing. I wanted to be involved in a singing group on campus so when I got here, Tres Ward recruited me. Through Singers, I have become the Soprano section leader, Tres’ Work-Study, am a Wednesday Worship Leader, and have traveled with Voices and Conquest.”
When she’s not with Singers, Emmalee can be found at the ARC (Academic Resource Center) where she serves as a Communication Tutor, or serving on the Emmanuel Leadership Initiative Board, as a member of the Presidential Ambassadors, or serving as the Yearbook Editor.
Emmalee believes all of the extracurricular work she’s involved in on-campus has prepared her both spiritually, musically, and as a leader.
“On the ministry side, I’ve been able to expand my repertoire musically by being involved in Singers,” she said. “Because of the experience, I can stretch myself vocally and sing Soprano, Tenor, or Alto. Spiritually, the experience I’ve gained has helped me learn that before I go before a crowd to lead worship, I have to be in tune with God, I have to prepare my own heart, place myself in front of the Lord and say, ‘Here I am, use me.’’
In God’s word, we are reminded that “Everything works together for good,” something that Emmalee believes to be true.
“I feel like everything I’m doing here is working for the good of everything else,” she said. “Working in ministry is helping my leadership skills and working in leadership is helping my motivation. If I’m going to delegate or talk to others about being a leader, I need to be doing those things as well.”
When she needs a listening ear or someone to push her in the right direction, Emmalee is quick to turn to her sister, Ashlee Hafner and Resident Director, Kara Sowell who she looks to as role models.
“I lost a lot of time with my sister when she was away at school since there are 6 years between us,” Emmalee said. “Being able to be here and having her yards away has been a blessing. She is someone I go to for everything, it doesn’t matter if it’s big or small and I know she’s there to listen. I know that she’s there not only to make me feel good but push me to be the best that I can be for the kingdom. I was going through a rough time last semester and my RD, Kara Sowell always had her door open for me to come and talk. I would go to her apartment and sit on her couch, we’d cry together, and she’d talk me through it. She’d share stories that related to the situation I was going through and it was refreshing to have someone like her there.”
When deciding on where to attend college, Emmalee wanted to start fresh, but God had other plans. When attending a Spring Preview, over a game of frisbee on the quad, Emmalee found the home she never knew she needed in Emmanuel. For her, it was an instant connection.