Honorary Alumni: Scott and Sonya Young
Being around students at Oklahoma Christian University helps Scott and Sonya Young stay … well … young.
Truthfully, though, Scott and Sonya can stay just the way they are because they bless students with unconditional love and support each and every day.
The Youngs didn’t graduate from Oklahoma Christian, but they’ve been part of the family for a long time … and it becomes official at Homecoming when they’re recognized as OC’s Distinguished Honorary Alumni for 2016.
“I just want to be a person who can listen to students and encourage them. We want them to know we’re there for them in the good times and bad.” Sonya Young
“My favorite thing is being around students,” said Sonya, the administrative assistant to Dean of Students Neil Arter. “They’re exciting and they want to learn. They’re kind of searching, and some of them don’t know what direction they want to go in. I just want to be a person who can listen to students and encourage them. We want them to know that we’re there for them in the good times and bad.”
Sonya joined OC’s staff in 2008, two years after the Youngs moved from Ada for Scott to serve as the first full-time worship minister at Memorial Road Church of Christ. With 18 years of youth ministry experience, Scott jumped at the chance to help with campus ministry, too.
“That was the seal-the-deal moment for us: knowing we’d be able to continue work with students,” Scott said. “I don’t think we’ll ever get to the point where we don’t want to work with students in some way. We’ve just tried to throw ourselves in – when we can help, we help.”
Scott frequently leads worship at Chapel, at Monday night’s View 63 gatherings, and at Memorial Road’s campus class on Wednesday nights. As much as OC students love to sing with Scott, they might love Sonya’s homecooked meals even more; they frequently flock to the Young house to dine and decompress.
But these students don’t just come to be served. They come to serve. They’ve worked side by side with Scott and Sonya on mission trips to Mexico, Honduras, and San Antonio. Scott lauds the students’ desire to help people and make a difference.
“That’s pretty cool to watch,” Scott said. “I see them embrace people who don’t have anything. I see them wonder how they can help and what they can do. That’s going to be huge for the church in the future – as these students get older and start being ministers, elders, deacons, and leaders in churches – watching them get plugged in and seeing the difference they’ll make in the communities they end up in. It makes you proud to be part of a community that fosters that and promotes that, and then watches as they go and do that successfully.”
From the mission field to Lighting of the Commons, from Cocoa and Carols to Spring Sing, from Earn Your Wings to conversations about faith and scripture at Sonya’s desk in Student Life – the Youngs pour into students’ lives … and vice versa.
And as fulfilling as it is, that’s the tough part, too. It’s hard for Scott and Sonya to say goodbye when those young Eagles spread their wings and fly off to their next adventure and their next place to serve.
“When they get to be seniors and graduate, I just hate it because they leave,” Sonya said. “I know that’s the whole purpose, but it makes me really sad. That’s their goal, and you just set them free, then they come back to Homecoming and we get to love on them more.”