Joel Beachy ’98 | #youareims

Joel Beachy ’98 | #youareims

To describe IMS in one word Joel Beachy (‘98) would use DYNAMIC. He chose this word because he said it reflects IMS’ ability to provide an environment where students will grow. “Students live out their faith, ask tough questions, grow academically, challenge themselves with so many different opportunities, and learn within a strong faith community.”

Joel went on to say, “IMS does an excellent job of considering the student as a whole person. Administrators, faculty, and staff provide education and support for the well-being of each student. Their efforts look to encourage spiritual growth, as well as create experiences for high academic learning. Students have opportunities to test out their gifts in arts, music, sports, theater, and more. I believe IMS has a unique capacity to challenge students in many different areas of their lives, including academically.”

We asked him what was one of his favorite memories from his time at IMS and he said, “I will always remember a chapel we had which followed a series where students were given the opportunity to share. Students were so open and honest that nearly the entire student body shared personally. Seeing how important this sharing really was, the administrators wisely extended our time. The chapel lasted at least two hours, and classes were rescheduled accordingly. This experience helped me to grow spiritually, and it taught me that IMS is a safe place to share from my personal experiences. He went on to add, “IMS provided me with so many different opportunities to test my gifts and to grow in ways that I had not anticipated. The academics were extremely valuable, but I also deeply appreciated my relationships with peers and teachers. I was able to travel to Guatemala, participate in choir, and act in plays and musicals.”

And how did IMS prepare Joel for life after high school? He said, “After attending college, I realized that some of my high school classes were at the same level or exceeded my college-level courses in their scope. IMS prepared me academically for the challenges of college. I learned how to write papers, and the course load on many levels was equivalent to some of my first-year college courses. I loved being able to participate in sports, and many of my friendships that were made in high school continue today. I don’t think this happens at most schools!” Joel also mentioned specific class offerings and programs that were part of the IMS curriculum. He said, The opportunities I had in Spanish classes allowed me to travel. Immediately following high school I spent a year abroad. I believe 10 other students from my class spent time abroad the following year. I attribute this directly to IMS.”

Joel talked about faith and how it’s integrated into learning at IMS. He mentioned how many experiences at IMS encouraged his faith. Everything from chapels, to Bible classes, to his teachers’ willingness to share their faith all helped him to better articulate my his faith. He said, “Although IMS is in a rural, Mennonite, farming community with predominantly white, middle class families, I found many opportunities to explore diversity. We were challenged in classes to think of the ‘other.’ There is also a diversity of theological perspectives at IMS, and this encourages some tough questions to be raised in what I see as a very safe environment. Instead of simply waiting for students to head to college to do their deep questioning, IMS provides safe and supportive teachers who help students to ask the important questions about faith and how that impacts vocation and call.”

Joel believes his time at IMS was the beginning of a call to ministry stating, “Today, I am a pastor at the church (East Union Mennonite) where I grew up. I see this as being directly related to my high school experience. Multiple teachers at IMS tapped me on the shoulder and encouraged me to consider a call to ministry. Others supported me in testing gifts that have benefited me in my call. I truly cherish my experiences at IMS.”