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Floyd Gospel Lighthouse Academy to compete in global competition next month

Floyd Gospel Lighthouse Academy to compete in global competition next month
From left, Alex Dorn, Kristina Zimmerman and Devin Lynch will be among 13 students from the Floyd Gospel Lighthouse Academy that will compete at the 2019 International Student Convention in Missouri next month. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra
By Kelly Terpstra,

“A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

That’s the best way Joe Low could sum up what the 2019 International Student Convention will mean to his students.

Low, the youth pastor at the Gospel Lighthouse Church and Academy, will take 13 students from the private Christian school in Floyd down to Missouri from May 25-30 to compete in the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education)-sponsored event.

The Floyd academy, which was founded in 1988, will be among Christian schools from as far away as Africa and South America. More than 4,000 students from across the globe will attend.

“We go there and we get all these awards and stuff, but the major reason we do it is to worship and give glory to God,” said Alex Dorn, a senior at the Gospel Lighthouse Academy. “It’s not for all the ribbons and medals and applause.”

Students will vie for top finishes in more than 140 competitions such as drama, music, woodworking and volleyball.

The top six finishers in each event in the regional competition qualified for the international convention that will be held on the campus of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri. The regional competition was also held in Warrensburg.

The eight-hour trip to the international competition near Kansas City will be only the second ever for students of the Lighthouse Academy.

Low said the only other time he can remember the school participating in the international convention was six years ago, in 2013.

“Most of the time the reason we don’t go to internationals is because it’s so far away,” said Lighthouse Academy senior Kristina Zimmerman. “We don’t want to drive 20 hours to get there and this is the closest it’s probably going to get.”

Previous international conventions have been in places such as Arizona, Texas, Pennsylvania and New Mexico.

Colorful flags from all over the world will parade around the basketball gymnasium on the college campus during Memorial Day weekend to kickstart the convention. There will be rallies each night when students and chaperones will listen to guest speakers. All kinds of games and activities will also be played at the rallies in addition to the actual competitions themselves.

Low said gifts from across the world will be exchanged and spirits will be uplifted.

“I think the biggest thing with a global competition is to just realize how big God really is,” said Low.

The Gospel Lighthouse Academy will carry its own flag during the parade of schools. The academy won that right by winning the Christian Character Award among more than 300 students and 27 schools at regionals.

“We’re also representing Jesus Christ,” said Devin Lynch, a junior at the Gospel Lighthouse Academy. “As a Christian school, we’re not called Christians because that’s just what we call ourselves. Christian means Christ-like and as being Christians, we are supposed to represent Jesus Christ.”

The Gospel Lighthouse Academy took first place in the music category overall at regionals. Some of the songs that they’ll sing at the international competition are “Down to the River to Pray,” “Glory,” and “In Christ Alone.”

Dorn placed first at regionals in woodworking with a chest he built. Lynch made a TV stand that finished runner-up to Dorn in that same category.

Dorn also placed first in regionals in the male vocal trio category with Matthew Asqui and Carter Walters. Lynch and Mason Miller placed first in the male vocal duet regional competition.

Taylor Walters, a senior, placed first in the female tennis singles competition. Staci Zimmerman, Kristina’s younger sister, placed first in illustrated storytelling. The sisters will compete at internationals in duets, trios and quartets in the music category. Several students will also sing in a small ensemble group.

Five seniors – Kristina Zimmerman, Sage Boehmer, Amy Boggess, Walters and Dorn — will be making their first and last appearancea at the international competition.

“It’s kind of a bittersweet thing,” said Dorn.

Kristina Zimmerman said the chance to meet students from all walks of life and different cultures is what she is looking forward to. She said stronger bonds can also be formed with the friendships she’s already created.

“You come back a whole lot closer than when you left,” she said.

Other students who will make the trip are Chase Low, Emma Miller and Gabi Walters.

Low said the students will hold fundraisers to raise about $5,200 needed to cover the cost of the trip. Low said that comes out about $400 per student to pay for meals, lodging and entry fees. Some of the fundraisers that the academy have planned are a car wash on Saturday, May 4, a lunch at the church the following day on Sunday, May 5 and a chili dinner on Saturday, May 11.

For more information about the fundraising events, contact Low at 641-832-7345 or email him at