At North Cobb Christian School, we take our mission seriously to “train up a child in the way they should go, that when they are old they will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). So, it’s always fascinating and incredibly rewarding for us to catch up with our alumni years after they’ve flown the NCCS Eagle’s nest to see how this promise of God has played out in their lives. This summer, we journeyed to the heart of the Big Apple to check in with eight former students who are thriving in NYC.
Our second alumni story we’d like to share from our travels is with Ethan Kraft (’13), who attended NCCS from 9th through 12th grades and was active in NCCS’s Arts Program. He attended Seton Hall University in New Jersey and now works for a major financial news network, MSNBC.
So, how do Ethan’s years at North Cobb Christian School continue to impact him?
Q | What aspects of NCCS made the most lasting impressions during your time at school?
EK | As soon as I came to NCCS, I immediately knew it was the place for me. Everybody there was so welcoming, which can be really tough to find in a new school. I got very involved over my time there – especially in high school. I was in the Academy of Arts with Mr.Hendrix, and that is really where I found my core group of friends at NCCS. I also really got to embrace my creative side…and then of course be involved in the theatre productions, which was excellent. As for other extracurricular activities, I was really involved in NHS and Student Government. And those are the places where I learned some of the more important aspects of being responsible and becoming a mature adult. It’s also where I met a lot of my very close friends.
Q | How would you describe the teachers and students at NCCS?
EK | I think that for me, one of the most impactful aspects of NCCS was my relationship not just inside the classroom but also outside the classroom with my teachers. It was really helpful to have the personal connection that you get at NCCS, and I’ve stayed in touch with lots of those teachers — whether it’s just for catching up, life advice, and of course just the spiritual aspect of their role at NCCS helping me with that, even into adulthood. That’s been a blessing that has just continued to elicit rewards. The same is true for my friends at NCCS. I fly out to Georgia every now and then, and the people I’m hanging out with are people I met at NCCS. So even though I live up here in NYC, I’m always down there hanging out with people from NCCS, and I’ve got group texts on my phone with people from NCCS. So that’s been a really big lasting impact on my life that affects the day to day — just having those relationships in my back pocket and keeping those people close to my heart.
Q | How did your time at NCCS help you during your college experience?
EK | NCCS set me up really well for college. Because of the way that the teachers fostered me at NCCS, I was able to get great scholarships to the college I attended, Seton Hall. I graduated a few years ago, and as soon as I exited, I had a job. It was really helpful with the education I received in classes like apologetics. Coming into this whole new region meeting people where the dynamic between church and the rest of the world is a little bit different, I really had a solid foundation going out into the world, thanks to the teachers at NCCS. And of course the academic rigor at NCCS set me up well for college.
Q | What lessons learned from NCCS have served you the most since you have begun working in the media industry?
EK | I think one of the influences that NCCS had on my current work experience was the theater program and seeing the creative side of things. I’m now involved in cable news and work for a financial news network, MSNBC, and I produce TV. Before that, I did several internships at NBC, predominantly in entertainment and late night comedy. I think a lot of that interest was fostered at NCCS. Fortunately, the school had the resources to be able to let me know that part of myself and embrace it — especially through the Academy of the Arts. I am forever grateful for that.
Beyond that, I am certain that the foundation that I have built at NCCS has been everything in terms of finding jobs and being comfortable with who I am and staying confident with what I’m doing. And, of course, I have the most important base level of faith, and that’s all because of NCCS and my church in Georgia. I think it would have been very tough to navigate the transition from Atlanta to New York, but because I went to NCCS, I was more than prepared for that transition. Even at the times when it was tough, I could always lean on the people I met at NCCS.
Q | What’s your favorite memory from North Cobb Christian School?
EK | Looking back at NCCS, one of the things that I appreciate most is my relationships with my teachers. All of them were so welcoming, and their classes were so personal. They made it easy to talk to them when times were tough. But beyond that, it was just the diversity of the faculty there. From Mr. Hendrix, I learned how to be goofy, and I got to have fun in class, but then he also has this deeply profound nature that you would get when you read the director’s note when you open the pamphlet for the one act play. And having that one to one connection with him on that level was really excellent.
Of course, you also have teachers like Mr. Shaffer, who is one of the greatest men on earth probably. He constantly holds you accountable and reminds you that even when you mess up, you are always OK in the eyes of God. He truly makes you feel like a child of God.
And then, of course, Dr.Hedges with Apologetics; I was also involved with her also in Student Government and Mock Trial. Having that sort of logical approach to life and to your faith is really important, and she really fostered that in me.
Otherwise, teachers like Mrs.Williams helped me to really come to love literature and really enjoy learning in her class. As well as Mrs. Carr. I was always so bad a math; I used to hate math. But Mrs. Carr worked every day to make it very fun, and by the end of high school, I was pretty confident in my math skills. I owe a lot of that to her.
So, really it’s the teachers who have had a lasting impact. I really appreciate, even six years out of high school, being able to pick up with the teachers like nothing ever happened. They remember aspects of my life and ask me about my family. It just really makes you feel like it’s not only classroom relationships, but you’re part of a family.