The CHQScholars-Class of 2017

During their four weeks, new relationships were formed not only within the class, but with others on the grounds. Lectures, worship services, classes and concerts were attended. Scholars experienced many different forms of worship service, and engaged with those of other faiths with stimulating conversations.

While there is no tracking system to know precisely the value of this program, it can be said without a doubt, this program exemplifies the IOKDS text: “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” Mark 10:45.


The 12 young people that were here at Chautauqua as members of the 2017 Class of CHQScholars came from Arizona, Lebanon, New Jersey, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Palestine, Texas, and Ukraine.

Here is how one Chautauquan Daily journalist portrayed her experience with the Class of 2017:


Pictured below are the 2017 scholars who participated in this summer’s program:


Sandra Amro’s home is Beit Jala, Palestine, located near Bethlehem. She is 22 years old and holds a Bachelors of Nutrition and Public Health from Al-Quds University. Sandra volunteers in hospitals and clinics to help people learn to live a healthy lifestyle. She loves to meet new people and new cultures, especially when united in the name of God. As a way of strengthening her health and for energy Sandra enjoys sports. She speaks Arabic, English and German and is interested in learning more languages as well as different accents. The Scripture, Psalm 27:1 provides strength and faith for her life. “I’m so excited to be a CHQScholar, as I always believe everything happens for a reason: To learn or act something that God wants us to deal with!” Sandra is the recipient of the Pennsylvania Branch Scholarship.





Victoria Childress is studying civil engineering at Texas A&M University. She is from Cleburne, Texas, a small town south of Fort Worth. At A&M, she is on the staff of Christian Engineering Leaders which advocates for and supports students in their faith in a field where that isn’t always widely accepted. 2nd Corinthians 4:18, inspires her to push on toward her goals and is a great reminder that the Lord is always there to love and protect us. Victoria loves reading, board games and the outdoors. As a 3rd generation IOKDS member, Victoria is looking forward to meeting people from all walks of life and the opportunity to be exposed to various ways of worshipping and serving God at this adult version of summer camp. Victoria is a recipient of the Texas Branch Scholarship.





Bettina Deák from Ukraine, is a recent graduate of the Ferenc Rakoczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute with a degree in English Language and Literature with plans to become a teacher of English. Bettina speaks Hungarian, English, Ukrainian and a bit of German. Music is an essential part of Bettina’s life and when not studying, she enjoys singing and playing the piano. Her band, Almanach, is primarily focused on setting music to famous Hungarian poems. In her church, she leads a Child Evangelism Ministry and Bible Studies for the Youth Group. Being a CHQScholar will allow her insight into other cultures, improving her English, being part of a Christian community, and the most important, strengthening her faith. She is the recipient of the Mary Lowe Dickinson Scholarship.





Rebecca DeLee, a Math Major at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, is a member of the Spirit of the Mountain Color guard which Rebecca has found challenging and a great form of exercise. She has served as a counselor at various summer camps and enjoys playing board games and frisbee with friends, hiking the beautiful mountains, attending musicals and concerts. In her family, she is known as the ‘event planner’ for trips including the Southern and Eastern US, along with London, Italy, and a trip to Nicaragua connected to a Christian mission effort. While at home in Collinsville, Mississippi; she enjoys reading mystery and action books, cooking, and kayaking. She is excited to meet new people from all around the world this summer while learning more about God and strengthening her faith. She also expects Chautauqua will help her discern where God would lead her in the future. She is the recipient of the Ernest Workers Circle Scholarship.




Shelby Frank is pursuing a B.A. of Education in Public Health at the University of North Texas, and comes to the CHQScholar’s Program as a way of building confidence in directing people to God’s Light. To say that she is a health nut is an understatement but being human there is the occasional donut indulgence. You can find her on her road bike in the Dallas Fort Worth area, usually racking up 150 miles a week. Being an active member in the cycling community, and social media spokesperson for the UNT Cycling Club, provides Shelby with a sense of purpose, power, and acceptance. Working on living by the verse 2nd Peter 1:5, Shelby not only wants to learn how to spread the word of God but wants to know him on a more intimate level and discover what His plans are for her life. She is a recipient of the Texas Branch Scholarship.





Krisztian Hager, 21 years old, lives in Beregszasz, Ukraine and studies Biology at Fernc Rakoczi II Trsanscarpathian Hungarian Institute. He is also a first-year student at Baptist Theological Academy in Budapest. Krisztian speaks Ukrainian, Russian, Hungarian, and English. Krisztian is the Director for the “Second Chance of the Sub-Carpathian Ukraine Goodwill Foundation” where he has organized multi-faceted and wide-ranging family programs for the community. His hobbies include listening to music, travel, learning languages, and walking which is a good thing for being here at Chautauqua! He has always wanted to come to America and this program has made a dream come true! Krisztian is the recipient of the Missouri Branch Scholarship.





Gyula Homoki from Ukraine, working towards a Masters of Divinity at the Reformed Theological Academy in Sárospatak, Hungary, speaks Hungarian, English and uses Hebrew and Greek in his studies. He is a member of TeSó (Bro), the official blog-site of the Christian youth organization of Transcarpathia where his reading and writing skills are in great demand. “Writing” Gyula says, “is the best way to express thoughts on topics related to my experiences with God and existential questions of life.” His studies have taken him to Prague, the Czech Republic, Kampen and the Netherlands. At the International House in Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK), he participated in an intensive English language course. “My main aim of this life is to see more, learn more, know more – all in all, to be more useful in the hands of God.” Guyla is the recipient of the Rev. Dr. Robert M. Franklin Scholarship.




Andrew Lechner, from Biloxi, Mississippi is a Political Science Major at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi and is an active member of the Rotaract Men’s Service Club and College Republicans. He volunteers at Daniel Memorial Baptist Church with the youth ministry program. Andrew was selected to participate in Governor’s School, a program fostering leadership skills for high school students. He is a second generation CHQScholar, following in his mother’s footsteps. Growing up and hearing stories from his grandmother of IOKDS and Chautauqua has inspired him to undertake this journey. Andrew’s hobbies include fishing, watching American football, playing golf, and hanging out with friends. Andrew is the recipient of the Ocean Springs Circle Scholarship.





Milca Ruiz comes to Chautauqua from Mesa, Arizona and has just completed her first year of college at Northern Arizona University with a double major in Marketing and Spanish. Plans are to pursue studies in management. She comes from a family of musicians so it’s no surprise her hobbies include singing, dancing, and playing a few instruments. Milca already has begun teaching piano to beginner students. She also enjoys sports, especially basketball and was team captain at her high school. Milca has recently returned from a mission trip to San Luis, Mexico. She has also volunteered with the Salvation Army, served as vice-president of the Spanish National Honor Society, and participated in food drives, collecting sweaters for the homeless and providing food and care for stranded pets. Milca will be the last of her siblings to be a CHQScholar. Jessica was in the Class of 2013 and Danny was in the 2015 Class. She is the recipient of the Chautauqua Chapter Scholarship.




Bryce Thralls, from Durant, Oklahoma is a Communications Major at Southeastern Oklahoma State University where he is involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries and the President’s Leadership Class. Bryce just completed his first year of college and can be found at events on campus and at many of the volunteer opportunities offered to him such as Families Feeding Families, the Special Olympics, and service hours in the Student Government Association office. His hobbies include hunting, fishing and any type of Leadership Training available. For several years, Bryce has been involved in Future Farmers of America and expects to receive a degree in Agriculture Communications and Agriculture Business. He is the recipient of a Dayspring Baptist Church Scholarship.





Emma Williams, raised in the Maplewood, New Jersey, has always had a passion for learning and this desire for knowledge led her to Goucher College, a small liberal arts college in Baltimore, Maryland, where she recently earned a dual degree, Bachelor of Art in French and Art History, with a concentration in Arts Administration. During her internship at Goucher for the Director of Alumni Affairs, Emma used her management and leadership skills for events including the Phonathon, fundraising and the Alumni Weekend. Emma also had the opportunity to study in Amsterdam and in Paris she completed an internship at the Musee en Herbe. Closer to home, Emma was intern to the Chief Curator at the Newark Museum located in Newark, New Jersey. Raised as a Unitarian Universalist, Emma has been involved as a leader for her youth group and has organized various endeavors focused on service, including a capital campaign for her church. Her hobbies include reading, hiking, singing and she is a fan of Rhythm and Blues music. Emma intends to pursue a career in development and fundraising, and is excited to be a member of the 2017 Chautauqua Scholarship Program. Emma is the recipient of the Vicki Carter Scholarship.


Victoria Yazbeck is a student of Chemical Engineering at Holy Spirit University of Kaslik in her home country of Lebanon. Two organizations she is involved with are Byblos Ecologia and the Scouts of Lebanon. Victoria has served as a chief in the Scouts for four years where one of the Scout Laws is doing a Daily Act of Kindness. Victoria enjoys volleyball, reading, and being a lover of nature, she enjoys hiking and camping. She is fluent in Arabic, English and French. Using Romans 8:31 as her favorite scripture Victoria can move through life without any fear. Victoria feels a lot of hope and thinks her time at Chautauqua will help provide opportunities for growing spiritually and gaining the courage to step out of her comfort zone. Victoria is the recipient of the Rose and Austin Piper Scholarship.


Maddison Williams, 2017 CHQScholars Coordinator, recently graduated Southeastern Oklahoma State University with degrees in Sociology and Political Science and will enter the University of Oklahoma this fall to pursue a Masters of Public Administration. Maddison was a member of the 2013 Class of CHQScholars and was a staff member for this program in 2016. One of her favorite memories of Chautauqua was attending a lecture given by Donna Brazile, former Interim Chair of the Democratic Committee. Following a conversation, Ms. Brazile signed Maddison’s Chautauqua notebook writing, “It’s your turn. Why you? Because there’s no one better!” This inspired Williams to take her turn and bring back to Southeastern’s campus the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature. “I want to be able to give back, even if just in a small way, to a group of young Christian adults by sharing experiences that changed my life for the better. My entire outlook on life was changed here at Chautauqua during the summers of 2013 and 2016. My religious views were challenged and strengthened because it made me look deeper into my convictions. My love for the arts grew from attending symphony concerts, theater productions, and the ballet. Chautauqua encompasses values that promotes the better good in everyone. People love people at Chautauqua and are willing to learn from the depths of their soul ways to broaden their understanding.”