June 5, 2023

Every September new students  put their feet in ketchup, squish their hands in mustard and dip their noses in relish for “Food Twister.” Who supplies the condiments? The First-Year Orientation and Christian University Success (FOCUS) Coordinators do.

Six student leaders were selected to fill the shoes of their predecessors under the direction of Assistant Dean of Students Joe Adcock.

The FOCUS program at CBU is a semester-long introduction to Christian college life, including a week of informational meetings and fun events to help new students adjust to life in college and meet fellow classmates.

FOCUS Coordinators are in charge of planning and preparing for the program as well as guiding FOCUS leaders, who work directly with new students.

Adcock heads up the FOCUS program for the 16th year and has seen it blossom from an operation of two coordinators to six coordinators. Today, it has over 90 FOCUS leaders in the program.

Adcock has had a team of four students who work as FOCUS coordinators, but two were added this year to accommodate the larger number of FOCUS leaders and the highest enrollment of new students in California Baptist University’s history.

“Having six is going to help manage the big number of FOCUS leaders,” Adcock said.

Each year as new students file onto CBU’s campus, FOCUS leaders wait with open arms ready to help unload cars and point the freshmen in the right direction. This year’s coordinators will be tasked with selecting those leaders.

Bryce Burditt, a junior, Bachelor of Applied Theology (BAT) major, is in his third year as part of the FOCUS program and is looking to go into full-time ministry after graduation. He enjoyed his first two years as a FOCUS leader but wanted to get more involved in the program for his last year.

“I wanted to do something that was more involved. I found that my favorite part of FOCUS was meeting all the leaders and getting to know them,” Burditt said.

Courtney Duquesnel, junior and psychology major with a minor in global studies, will be preparing to serve overseas this summer as part of the International Service Project (ISP) program, in addition to her heavy workload and coordinator duties.

“The responsibility is huge. A lot of time commitment [and] time management that I’m juggling now with 18 units and everything that [being] a coordinator entails,” Duquesnel said.

Duquesnel sees the coordinator position taking a new approach to the program and the relationship between the six and their army of FOCUS leaders.

“I can see coordinator taking a different turn this year where we are making it more of a ministry,” Duguesnel said.

Joey Garcia, BAT major, in his third year as a part of FOCUS. He plans on working with the Journeyman program overseas or possibly serving in youth ministry here in the United States.

Taylor Rilling, junior and psychology major, plans on getting her master’s degree in counseling and eventually going overseas. This is her third year in FOCUS.

Hailey Harrington, junior and psychology major, plans on getting her master’s degree in counseling. She wants to eventually travel across Europe.

Mitchell Spezzaferri, sophomore and psychology major, is the youngest member of the group. He plans on getting a master’s degree in counseling and forensic psychology.

Adcock said he has a great group of coordinators this year in which each person brings something different to the table.

“We have a really good balance of personalities. Some are more outgoing; some are not,” Adcock said. “I think we did a good job of getting a little bit of everything.”

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