Christian Athletes’ Venue to Connect

Eva Cooper, Staff

FCA, also known as Fellowship of Christian Athletes, serves as a place where Lake Highland’s Christian student athletes can join together to strengthen not only their bond with Christ, but with each other. This 2022-2023 school year is the first academic year with FCA back on campus after a number of years without it. The club racked up over 30 members at LHP’s club fair back in August 2022. Since then, its members and president, Jack Minutoli, grade 10, have attended luncheons, community service opportunities, and even events joining with other schools’ FCA programs.

The main goal of the club, according to President Minutoli, is to, “Bring others closer to Christ. We want to show the love He showed us and spread His teachings around campus.” One of the ways the club has managed to do so is by hosting prayers and devotions at the cross on campus every Friday morning before classes commence. Having FCA on campus has made a big impact on student-athletes’ relationship with the Lord. 

Melissa DeMello, grade 10, is a new FCA member and reflected on just how much it really has changed her connection with God saying, “I can see people that have been affected by God, and being around those people strengthens my belief.” Oftentimes, being a student-athlete becomes overwhelming trying to balance the workload from school along with practices that occur sometimes more than once a day. FCA allows these hard working teens to come to a place where they are supported by others like them, in an atmosphere of love and respect. Club participant and Board Member Henry Builder, grade 10, shares that he, “Loves to spread the word of Jesus to a group of people who are passionate about the same things as [him].” 

The community that has been formed around FCA at Lake Highland is astonishing after only one semester back on campus. Its members have attended a luncheon in which different staff members from Lake Highland were able to share how the Lord has affected their lives. Mr. J.R Solis, the club’s faculty sponsor, was one of the staff members to speak to the club. He discussed how he felt his life shift after finding God. Before doing so, he was unsure of his path in life and ended up making some poor decisions. However, after a perspective-altering experience with an old friend, he realized what his passion was in life and his passion was restored. This truly shows the gaining influence of FCA on our campus, as it has outstretched itself to staff as well. 

Before the formation of the club, its president, Minutoli felt as though he, “Struggled to stay connected to God during school.” However, after being surrounded by fellow students and teachers all believing in the same things, he feels as if Jesus plays a, “Bigger role in our everyday school life.”

Along with the activities and opportunities at Lake Highland, many members of the LHP branch have attended events joining together with other schools’ FCA clubs, one of which being Fields of Faith at Trinity Preperatory School. Participants played fun games on the football field, followed by testimonies from people whose life had been completely changed by God. Minutoli reflected on one of the testimonies he heard at this event noting, “The testimony made me see how easy I had it in life. I go to an extraordinary school, I have parents who love me, and a roof over my head. The boy I was talking to was homeless and could barely afford food for himself. Hearing things like this helps me truly understand God works in mysterious ways.”

 It is such a great opportunity for our students to be able to connect with others outside of the Lake Highland community in order to further their beliefs seeing as, many times, attending such events have changed students’ outlooks on life. Not only is it a way to hear others’ testimonies, but it is also a way for Lake Highland’s FCA Board members to observe and learn about how schools around Central Florida run their branches of the FCA club. Minutoli said, “We can all share our ideas about what we do with our clubs to help others grow closer to the Lord and improve our methods.” 

(Above) The first FCA luncheon attracted many students from all grade levels. They gathered to hear a testimony from sponsor, Mr. J.R. Solis, and to learn about the future of FCA on campus. Photo courtesy of Henry Builder. (Photo courtesy of Henry Builder.)
(Above) The club members meet biweekly to watch a slideshow prepared by the board members and to pray. It is an accepting environment in which athletes come to be with others like them. They discuss their future community service plans, including organizing a food pantry at The Christian Service Center. Giving back to the community is a main focus of the club. Photo by Eva Cooper.
(Photo by Eva Cooper.)
(Above) Club president, Jack Minutoli, grade 10, is very passionate about having FCA on campus, saying that he, “Wants to see Jesus start to transform the environment we are in, and become a bigger role in our everyday school life.” Others around him agree and thoroughly enjoy participating in the club. Photo courtesy of Henry Builder.
(Photo courtesy of Henry Builder. )