Summer Checklist for Soon-to-Be Seniors

Attention Class of 2016:

Lope by pool_150Your senior year is finally here (well, almost)! Your junior year was likely spent working hard to keep up your GPA and participating in extracurriculars. The work doesn’t end here, but you’re definitely in the home stretch. College applications are right around the corner and there’s no time like the present to start thinking about where you’d like to be when next summer rolls around.

To help steady the course, Grand Canyon University has compiled a summer checklist for soon-to-be seniors. Consider this the first pit stop in a road map to college (and beyond).


Sign up to take the SAT and/or ACT as soon as possible. Taking them now will give you enough time to retake the exams in the fall if you want to shoot for a higher score. Many colleges, including GCU, consider college aptitude scores when awarding scholarships.

  • GCU Reporting CodesCampus Tour_150
  1. ACT: 0092
  2. SAT: 4331


Start by making a list of all the college campuses you’d like to visit. These should be schools you’ve already researched in detail.  Whittle that list down to four or five top choices and try to coordinate visits this summer. Depending on geography, time and funds, you may be able to hit several schools in one trip.

Campus visits are a tremendous help when deciding which school is right for you. By being on campus, you’ll be able to really “see yourself” there next year–or not.


If you do not have one already, consider applying for a part-time job. It’s a good idea to start saving money now in order to ease the transition to college. Plus, employment is a fantastic resume boost and proves your responsibility and independence to college admissions teams.

Speaking of building your resume, think about taking a summer course at a local college or university. In addition to looking like you’re serious about your future, you’ll likely be able to get college credit for each course you take.

  • GCU offers dual enrollment to students wishing to get a head start on their college degree.


Narrow down your top picks and organize all the application deadlines and requirements. Put them on the calendar (in ink!) so you won’t miss a deadline.

In the meantime, start researching scholarship opportunities. While schools may offer you institutional scholarships, there are literally thousands of outside or private scholarship opportunities also open to you. Start searching online for scholarships you qualify for and apply—it might just pay off big time.

For more information about Grand Canyon University or to apply, contact an admissions representative at 800-800-9776 or


Asking the Right Questions: Which University is the Right Fit for Your Student?

Ask QuestionsSometimes finding the right college can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. There are literally thousands of choices out there, each with a different feel, academic reputation and social scene. It can get overwhelming, fast.

To help your student avoid some of that anxiety, you can help them narrow down their choices by asking the right questions. Start by asking your student what they are looking to get out of a college experience:

  • What are your primary reasons for wanting to attend college?
    • Have your student complete this sentence: I want to go to college because _______ (ex. I want to be academically challenged, I’m looking for the traditional “college experience” of living on my own)
  • What do you want to major in? What type of work do you think you want to do after college?
    • Someone interested in becoming a software engineer will need to consider different programs than, say, someone who wants to be a teacher.
  • Will you be more comfortable at a larger or smaller university?
    • “I’m not afraid of getting lost in the crowd of a large school” vs. “I want the more personalized, attentive experience a smaller school can offer.”
  • Where do you want to study?
    • Do you see yourself traveling far from home or staying close? Are you looking for a more urban experience, right in the middle of a big city, or would you do better in a rural college town?

Once your student has marked off what they’re NOT interested in, they can start focusing on what they ARE interested in. Help your student start compiling a list of schools fitting their specifications. Then, get in touch with an admissions representative for those schools and ask them for information about:

  • Academics
    • How long does the average student take to complete their program?
    • What is the average class size?
    • Are the instructors all faculty? Are these faculty focused on teaching or on research?
    • What type of support is offered to students? (tutoring services, student services advisor, etc.)
  • Financial Aid
    • What’s the average financial aid package?
    • Can the school provide a breakdown of exactly what I’ll owe out of pocket?
    • Are scholarships renewable?
    • Are there student jobs available?
  • Student Life
    • Are freshmen required to live on campus?
    • Are there many commuters?
    • What types of activities are offered on campus? (sports, intramurals, clubs, spirituality, etc.)

Once your student selects their top choices, it’s time to start scheduling some campus tours. If possible, schedule a tour while school is in session. This will give you and your student the clearest picture of what it will be like to attend any given university. Pay attention to see if lots of students are hanging around or if it’s more of a ghost town; try to sit in on a class to see how lectures and discussions are conducted; ask to take a peek at a dorm room and eat lunch in the student union to get a taste for campus living. Stop a few students and ask them the most important question of all:

Do you like going here? Why?

Arena LawnIf your student is interested in attending a private Christian university with an active student life and generous scholarship opportunities in a place with over 300 days of sunshine every year, Grand Canyon University may be the perfect fit!

GCU offers a private Christian education at an affordable rate. With more than 150 academic programs, GCU has something for most everyone. Our classes are led by faculty members who are experts in their respective fields and who are here to teach, not conduct research. Approximately 8,200 students enrolled in campus classes in fall 2013. We also offer an active campus life, 22 Division I sports teams, intramurals, mission trips and campus events.

We invite you and your student to experience GCU for yourselves by attending Discover GCU. This is your student’s opportunity to experience college life firsthand in a safe, supportive environment. For more information, visit


STEM Opportunities and Highlights at Grand Canyon University

GCU Grand Canyon University Students in Chemistry Lab in Phoenix, AZAt GCU, we’re committed to developing highly skilled future professionals for the fastest-growing fields in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Our dynamic new engineering, computer science and information technology programs are designed to help meet the needs of the rising STEM workforce dominating our world today.

In addition to degree programs and robust curricula, GCU offers various STEM opportunities, including scholarships, summer camps for hands-on experiences and challenging team events, such as the STEM Ultimate Showdown and AzHOSA competitions.

The following highlights ways students can explore a future in STEM fields and celebrates outstanding 2014-15 student achievements in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET).

STEM Scholarships

GCU offers $1,000 STEM scholarships per academic year for students interested in an engineering or technology program. Scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Qualified applicants must be admissible to GCU and enroll in one of our computer science (CS), information technology (IT) or engineering programs.

Learn more by visiting or calling 855-428-5386.

STEM Summer Camps

We’re passionate about encouraging students to explore opportunities in growing STEM fields, even outside of the classroom at an early age. At GCU, middle and high school students can learn about how STEM integrates into daily life by participating in STEM Summer Camps at the GCU Phoenix campus.

STEM Summer Camps challenge students to solve problems and create new innovations, engage students with hands-on activities and motivate students to pursue STEM-related opportunities.

One-of-a-kind experiences await at any the following STEM Summer Camps:

  • STEM Futures is designed to provide high school students with a glimpse into what STEM professionals do during their daily jobs.
  • (June 8-11, 2015 or July 13-16, 2015)
  • STEM Experiences creates fun and challenging STEM experiences for middle school students, encouraging them to think outside the box.
  • (June 15-18, 2015)
  • Girls in STEM exposes middle and high school girls to STEM career opportunities in a fun and comfortable environment.
  • (June 22-25, 2015)

Get details about GCU STEM Summer Camps at

Ultimate STEM Showdown

The Ultimate STEM Showdown challenges teams of four high school students (and one teacher or sponsor) to design a winning apparatus for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology labs. Teams will also present and answer questions about their design. Finalists will be required to present their project at GCU’s Health Sciences, Engineering and Technology Day on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015.

The top prize includes $2,500 scholarships for students, a $10,000 grant for the team’s school provided by GCU and more!

  • Registration opens online: July 27,2015
  • Deadline to register online: Aug. 24, 2015

Request more information at

STEM Student Achievement Highlights

It’s been a successful first year for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology marked by noteworthy student achievements ― including many accomplishments facilitated beyond the classroom curriculum. Despite the rigorous and challenging nature of the work, students exhibited an incredible degree of enthusiasm, excitement and engagement.

Student achievements during the first semester include:

  • Innovative Computing (iC) Club formation
  • Brinkster field trip
  • Launched code clinics
  • GCU CloudLab pilot with iC Club

Student achievements during the second semester include:

  • Internship placements
  • iC Club project initiatives
  • Configured and deployed Windows cloud-based servers and SQL Server relational database for GCU CloudLab – Academic Cloud Computing Laboratory
  • Developed Python programming proficiency (15 programs)
  • Configured dual operating system (Windows & Linux) for personal computer
  • Industry expert Q&A presentation forums

Discover featured STEM programs at


Grand Canyon University Arizona Health Occupations Student Association – Future Health Professionals (GCU AzHOSA) helps prepare students pursuing a career in health care and/or a health care degree for graduate school. As the largest pre-health organization on campus for CSET majors, GCU AzHOSA also provides leadership, volunteering, internship and networking opportunities.

In early April, a team of 19 biology students won nine gold, eight silver and two bronze medals at the AzHOSA state competition in Tucson. First-place students earned top honors in Pathophysiology, Medical Innovations, Biomedical Laboratory Science/Health Care Issues, Forensic Medicine, Medical Terminology, Nursing Assistant and Physical Therapy. GCU’s chapter will head to nationals June 24-27 in Anaheim, Calif.

Interested in joining? Visit for more information or contact GCU AzHOSA at


Empty Nesting 101

The transition to college may be overwhelming, thrilling and even nerve-wracking for your child. Parents often feel exactly the same way.

empty-nest_150While your son or daughter is busy buying new extra-long sheets for their residence hall bed and daydreaming about on-campus events, you may be feeling anxious and gloomy about them leaving home. What you’re experiencing is called Empty Nest Syndrome. And it’s completely normal.

Empty Nest Syndrome is not a clinical diagnosis. It’s a very common phenomenon in which parents experience feelings of sadness and loss when a child leaves home. You may be outwardly encouraging your child to embrace independence, but internally you are concerned they no longer need your daily care.

The good news is that your student’s future classmates all have parents working through the very same emotions. It’s OK to feel sadness, but it’s also important to acknowledge the many benefits of empty nesting—get excited about having some extra time to yourself after 18 years!

To soften the blow of move-in day, read through Grand Canyon University‘s parental guide to empty nesting. We’re here to help you navigate your child’s college debut.GCU_Move_In-181_150

  • Accept the Transition: Do not bury feelings of sadness–face them head-on. Accept that this is not going to be easy, but it is going to happen. Once you acknowledge your own feelings, you’ll be able to move on and get excited for what lies ahead.
  • Help: Your child may want to flex their independence more than ever, but make sure to join in the preparations every once in a while—help them pack; offer to go to the store for dorm room essentials; dole out advice on dealing with a new roommate. Recognize that you’re still needed, just in different ways.
  • Stay Positive: Rather than dwell on their inevitable departure, focus on the excitement you feel for your son or daughter. Going to college is a great accomplishment, and you should feel both pride and eager anticipation for all the things your child will accomplish in the years to come.
  • Plan Ahead: Instead of wallowing, try to embrace all the new changes. Life will certainly be different, but it doesn’t have to be bad. Think about the extra time and energy you’ll have to devote to yourself. Now’s the time to plan for new career opportunities, hobbies you let fall by the wayside and relationships that may need a little extra TLC.
  • Seek Support: If you’re still having a difficult time dealing with an empty nest, don’t be afraid to seek out help. Lean on loved ones for support and find others who have gone through this before.

At Grand Canyon University, parents are an essential part of the campus community. Parent Connection is a great way for parents to stay informed of campus news and engage in campus life. While you may not be around every day, you can still remain an active part of your student’s life.


The FAFSA Rundown

Understanding FAFSAWelcome to 2015! The New Year is well underway–and that means it’s time to have your senior fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) ASAP!

The FAFSA will determine your expected family contribution, or the annual amount you’ll be expected to pay toward a college education. If the cost of attendance exceeds your expected contribution, you will be eligible for need-based loans and grants.

The 2015-16 FAFSA became available on January 1. The sooner you get started, the better–completing the FAFSA early will put your student will be at the head of the line for many of the first-come, first-served aid programs.

The application process sounds a lot more daunting than it actually is. It should take no more than half an hour to complete. The key is PREPARATION.

At Grand Canyon University, we’ve compiled a FAFSA checklist for filling out your application online. And remember, GCU’s admissions team is available to answer questions and help guide you through the process.

  • FILE YOUR TAXES FIRST: Grand Canyon University encourages you to complete and submit your 2014 taxes early. This will help ensure that your student receives the correct amount of aid for which he or she is eligible.
  • FREE IS KEY:  It shouldn’t cost you a penny to fill out the FAFSA—after all, the word “free” is right there in the name! If an outside company or website charges you a fee to help you fill out the application, you are not dealing with the official FAFSA website. Most, if not all, of the help you may need is available at
  • GATHER ALL NECESSARY FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS:  Depending on your family’s financial situation, you’ll need to collect the following information BEFORE filling out the application:
    • Student’s Social Security number and driver’s license number (if applicable)
    • Parent’s Social Security number (if your child is a dependent and you are signing with them)
    • Student’s alien registration number (if not a U.S. citizen)
    • Student and parent’s federal tax information and tax returns, including IRS W-2 information, along with any IRS 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ forms
    • Untaxed income records (e.g., child support, interest income, veteran benefits)
    • Bank and investment account statements, including savings/checking accounts balances and stocks/bonds
  • LIST YOUR COLLEGES:  The schools you list on your FAFSA will use your information to determine the types and amounts of financial aid for which your child is eligible, so it’s important to list all schools to which your student has applied. Each school has a unique code assigned to them that you’ll enter on your application. GCU’s SCHOOL CODE IS 001074.
  • UTILIZE THE DRT:  Save time and effort by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, or DRT, online. The DRT transfers data from your most current tax return (in this case, 2014).
  • SIGN & SUBMIT:  Sign the FAFSA. Once you see a confirmation page, you’ll know you’ve reached the end. Success!

NOW WHAT?  Once your FAFSA is submitted, the Office of Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education will send you a Student Aid Report, or SAR—a summary of the FAFSA data you submitted. Look this over to ensure no mistakes were made. Then, the schools listed on the application (and ultimately, those your child is accepted to) will individually calculate aid and send your son or daughter an electronic or paper “award offer” specifying how much money your student is eligible for in the form of grants, loans and work-study funds.

For more information on the difference between these forms of financial aid or the FAFSA, contact an admissions representative at 800-800-9776 or, or visit


Living On Campus: The Ultimate College Experience

Camelback Living RoomLiving on campus is one of the most exciting facets of college life. In addition to the convenience of being a quick walk away from all your classes, there’s no better way to meet new people and learn independence and responsibility. Simply put, campus living is an experience unlike any other.

At Grand Canyon University, living on campus is a very popular option, whether it’s your first year or your fourth! Freshmen housing in fall 2015 includes The Grove–a community of four brand new residence halls. These halls feature suite-style accommodations, meanSedona Courtyarding you’ll share a bedroom with one or two roommates and a living room with two or three suitemates. Acacia Hall, Ironwood Hall and Willow Hall are open to all freshmen, while Juniper Hall has some reserved housing for students joining our Honors Institute.

If you’re looking for something closer to the heart of campus, check out Hegel Hall or Canyon Hall, which both also offer suite-style accommodations. Ocotillo Hall, built in 2014, will be used for housing overflow. To help make living on campus possible for our students, prices for room and board packages start at just $6,050 for the academic year.

Living with fellow freshmen will give you the benefit of living with your peers, surrounded by other students who are going through the same experiences and transitions as you during your first year at GCU.

At GCU, students are given a lot of freedom when picking out where they’d like to live on campus. Get the scoop on using our online housing application by browsing our handy how-to guide. The application allows you to browse available housing areas and select which room you’d like to call home. You can also request to be someone’s roommate directly through the system, allowing you to decide who brings the mini fridge and who brings the posters.Camelback Girls Bedroom

Don’t miss out on the ultimate college experience of living on campus. You can’t reserve your residence hall until you’ve enrolled so contact an admissions representative at 800-800-9776 or today to jumpstart the process!


What Makes GCU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology Different?

Technology is a key part of any business—and this dependence on technology is expected to be a key economic driver across all industries in the U.S. The jobs of tomorrow have yet to be conceived, though the skillset required to flourish in this unknown environment exists today.

guy coding

Grand Canyon University has responded to the demand for these specialized skills with degree programs that prepare people to work and advance in the technology field. Our goal is to create programs that are not focused on the way things have been done in the past. We instead formed our programs by incorporating the perspectives of key industry leaders.

Here’s what industry leaders in technology told us:

  • Focusing on the latest programming language is shortsighted. As with learning any language, you need to understand the evolution of programming languages in order to build on that foundation with other more complex versions
  • There is too much division between computer science and information technology professionals. These two areas need to be familiar with the needs and outcomes of both areas in order to form cross-functional departments that can meet the needs of the workplace
  • Too many schools focus on the hardware and not nearly enough on software
  • Communication between humans and computer-to-user communication are critical for ongoing development and the successful launch of any computer-based program
  • Graduates do not have enough experience
  • Too many programs are exclusive and cannot keep up with the demand for new curriculum

codingHere’s how GCU responded to the industry:

Building Basics. Instead of simply teaching students to master the most current programming language, our students first learn to code in Python. Then, depending on their area of emphasis, they move on to coding with C++, PERL and Java and then more on to more specialized app languages like C#. By learning these languages in succession, students gain a solid foundation in the theory and application of programing languages. These fundamentals make our graduates more adaptable to new technologies, allowing them to learn additional programing languages more easily and making them more marketable to a variety of different employers.

CS and IT Together. GCU takes a systems approach with technology, which means our students are fully versed in both disciplines. Majors in the computer science, information technology and engineering programs take the same foundational courses during their first semesters at GCU.

Virtual Environment. Our students aren’t here to build or take apart computers, which would prepare them for a job as an entry-level technician. Instead, our students study in a virtual learning environment that allows them to build and create using software.

Work Experience. Our goal is for students to find a career when they leave GCU—not just a job. Businesses want students who are ready to “plug and play.” Our senior capstone includes a project from a real-world client. Students will work to solve their client’s technology problem throughout the semester. Instead of an internship-heavy program, this ensures that all students get the opportunity for real-life work experience.

One Application. We are passionate about helping to meet the growing industry’s demand for high-quality graduates. As such, we do not require a second application or limit the number of academically prepared students accepted into the programs in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Adaptable Curriculum. Technologies are updated almost daily. Thanks to our investor-supported business model, we have the unique opportunity to adapt more quickly to changing technologies than traditional universities. We have an advisory board of industry experts who continue to provide guidance on what businesses want to see from graduates, and we have built and will continue to grow our curriculum to ensure our students are prepared for the workforce of tomorrow.

Want to learn more? Visit


Bringing Hope (Esperanza) to Honduras: Part 3

Denelle Esmay is a senior at Grand Canyon University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education (Dual Major). She and a team of GCU students traveled to Honduras on a global outreach trip in May 2014 to help spread hope to people of Honduras. Check out the final part of her mission to learn the impact of her GCU global outreach trip!

Saturday/Sunday, May 17-18, 2014

After lunch, we loaded three trucks with all of our luggage and ministry supplies. As we started to get into the trucks, we realized that there were only two drivers. One of our team members needed to drive the windy, rocky, treacherous roads of Honduras for about an hour–and that person had to be able to drive stick shift! Luckily for me, one other team member, Diane, could drive a stick shift so with a quick prayer for safety, we were off. On the way there, Nicole and I noticed that there were no gas gauges, no speedometer and no instruments whatsoever. But the more shocking discovery was that the key had fallen out of the ignition while we were driving… and we were still driving! Those little things reminded our team who exactly is in charge and who we must always trust.

We awoke Sunday morning and dressed in maxi skirts and nice shoes because that was custom to wear to church. However, we had not been forewarned that in order to get to the church, we had to hike for at least 45 minutes through the forest and streets and around barbwire fences. We attended a children’s Sunday school where we were asked to perform a drama and play games with the children. Then, in the afternoon, we hiked for 15 minutes up the cobblestone street to the adult church. It was two rows of plastic lawn chairs on the side of a house with farm animals to join in the worship.

We experienced spiritual warfare as well as a miracle at the adult church. One of the members had a painful tumor on her leg for many years. Because of this, the pastor asked our team to lay hands on her and pray for healing. As we were doing this, I started singing, “There is power in the name of Jesus.” After I stopped, it felt as though someone was trying to strangle me by pressing on my chest. It was no ordinary asthma attack! It was a feeble attempt to stop the prayers, but the God I serve is much bigger than that! The rest of the team continued to lay hands on the woman. After about 45 minutes of prayer, we asked her if she’d like a nurse to look at her tumor. She said there was no need to because she was no longer in pain. Praise the Lord!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Llana, Tashina, our translator Keren and I were chosen to go to Azulguapa, a village about 45 minutes away from Dolores, where we would teach English lessons to 4th through 7th grade students. It was much different than Valero Meza in La Esperanza because the children were much more respectful and the teachers gave us their written English curriculum so we could teach them how to teach English.

Then, the moment our entire group had been waiting for had finally arrived: We were going to different houses within Dolores to evangelize! The first house we entered was that of 15-year old Cristian, who had followed us around the village previously. He was born deaf and mute and our team felt the Spirit leading us to his house. We laid hands on him, but did not see any instant healing. It was in that house, however, that we all grew in the Lord as we realized that although Cristian could not hear us, he could surely hear the Spirit. Also while in his home, his grandmother came to know Jesus Christ, and we spent some time referring her to the church so she can walk with others in her journey.

The last house for the night was that of Ophelia. Because this was my last day in Honduras, the team asked me, Diane, Amber and Tashina to enter, while the rest of the team covered her house in prayer. We handed her a bag full of gifts, then told her that we had the free gift of salvation if she wanted to receive it. She agreed and told us that she was hoping we would come! We directed her to the local pastor and just before leaving, she asked us to pray for her alcoholic husband.


This trip was a first in many aspects: first trip with GCU, first trip to a developing country, first time teaching in the schools, first time evangelizing and first time I co-led a trip longer than three days. I took with me more than my Honduras 2014 team. I took with me my prayer team, my financial support team and my sending team. None of this growth or the miracles that occurred would have been possible if it was just me by myself, or my team members by themselves. I feel more and more at home in the mission field each time I enter, and I ask for continued prayers as I continue in following God’s mission.

Dios le bendiga (God bless you)

– Denelle


Bringing Hope (Esperanza) to Honduras: Part 2

Denelle Esmay is a senior at Grand Canyon University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education (Dual Major). She and a team of GCU students traveled to Honduras on a global outreach trip in May 2014 to help spread hope to people of Honduras. Check out the second part of her mission—and keep reading throughout the summer to get more of her firsthand experiences on this GCU global outreach trip

Monday, May 12, 2014

Today was our first day teaching at the school! Amber and I taught English lessons to first and second grade classes, while Nicole, Gilliene and Diane held a couple of health lessons such as hand-washing and eating correctly. Llana and Tashina helped fill in for a sick teacher in a computer class. It was refreshing to teach in the schools because Amber and I are studying elementary and special education at Grand Canyon University.

We helped serve in the feeding kitchen, which served over 200 children. We were told that the teachers pick the poorest 200 out of 500-800 students who attend school daily in order to feed them. The remaining receive a snack called “arroz con leche” which consists of rice and milk provided by the teachers.

After a long first day of teaching greetings, colors, animals, etc. and after eating a nice lunch, the local girls at the children’s home, Nely and Chela, taught some of us how to wash clothes and do laundry. It was humbling to see how long it took, but how patient they were. The strange thing was that I felt like I was at home in Honduras, rather than on a two-week mission trip.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

We finished teaching second grade, then moved on to third grade. It was more difficult because the teachers took advantage of us being there to help in the classrooms; three out of the five classes that Amber and I taught were left without a teacher. However, the children seemed to be getting used to us being there and they warmed up to us immediately. One second grade boy, Frances, attached himself to my side immediately during each recess and was content sitting by my side and hugging me. It occurred to me that these children probably need a lot more attention than they receive, and it is a major blessing to be able to provide that even for a short time.

Then, after lunch and a siesta, half the group drove with Cristina, our Honduran host, to the women’s prison in the center of town. She held a Bible study with the beautiful women who were in prison for various unknown reasons. Going into the prison I was terrified, but as the doors were locked behind me and God led me to sit next to one of the women, my fear turned to peace. This was another Bible study that happened to occur in a prison. These women worshipped Jesus with beautiful songs of praise and prayer. It was difficult to see their living conditions, if you could call them that, but it was inspiring to see the Light in such dark places.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

We finished third grade and started fourth grade in the same manner as the two previous days. Again, the children responded very well to our teaching. This time, the teachers seemed to appreciate learning how to pronounce things in an American accent so most of them remained in their classrooms so they could learn as well.

After lunch, we received the rare opportunity to visit a Lenca village and watch how the women make the beautiful, brightly colored scarves and how they retrieve red beans from the bean pod plants. Our team felt very at ease spending the majority of our own money in the village purchasing these handmade scarves, baskets, table cloths, hair bows and many other creative souvenirs. It was nice to be able to minister to them and to spend a lot more money within the village than they would probably normally receive. As we left, our team felt comfortable knowing that these women who worked so hard daily for so little would be able to provide for their families for longer than usual.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Amber and I had the opportunity to train Llana and Tashina on how to teach English to the students. This was important because they would be teaching English with my group in Azulguapa and Dolores the next week.

While Amber and I taught the rest of fourth grade and part of fifth grade, Llana and Tashina taught the other half of fifth grade. Then, one teacher asked Amber and me to help him teach the pronunciations of some sentences in English and how to change sentences from positive to negative. It was refreshing to help the teacher the moment he needed it instead of coming into the classrooms with our own curriculum.

Then, after lunch, we roasted marshmallows to bring a little bit of the United States to girls at the children’s home. After we finished, it was the girls’ turn to show us a little bit of Honduran pleasure food. Nely and Chela taught our entire team the painstaking process of hand-making flour tortillas.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Our last day at Valero Meza school in La Esperanza was difficult because all the children with whom we had developed special bonds asked our team when we would return. The truth of “probably never”  seemed like the wrong answer, so the only answer we could use was, “I don’t know.” However, it was still heartbreaking to leave all these precious little children.

Llana, Tashina, Amber and I taught English pronunciations of some animals and the colors to each sixth grade class in a similar manner as before. However, this time, we took it a step further by asking the students to form sentences in English describing the animals by color. Nicole, Gilliene and Diane taught sex education to the girls and Pastor Carlos taught sex education to the boys. All in all, our visit to the schools was very successful for the students and teachers and for my team.

Cristina returned to the women’s prison so the rest of our team had the opportunity to study with the women and to see their living conditions. Then, because we had so many marshmallows left over, we decided to make a dessert as a present for the children’s home as we prepared to leave on Saturday. None of the children at the home had ever tried Rice Krispies Treats so our team thought it would be a nice treat to leave for them.

Check out Campus News next month to read more about Denelle’s experiences on her mission in Honduras. Learn more about spiritual life and global outreach at GCU by visiting


Bringing Hope (Esperanza) to Honduras: Part 1

Denelle Esmay is a senior at Grand Canyon University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education (Dual Major). She and a team of GCU students traveled to Honduras on a global outreach trip in May 2014 to help spread hope to people of Honduras. Check out the first part of her mission—and keep reading throughout the summer to get more of her firsthand experiences on this GCU global outreach trip

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Our journey to Honduras began early in the morning with a panicked wake up. The representative who was asked to shuttle our team to the airport arrived an hour and half earlier than our expected leaving time. After calling the airlines and getting things straightened out, our team took our time getting ready and ate breakfast, then piled into the shuttle to fly to Houston.

When we arrived in Houston, the team’s patience was tested: Our hotel was in the middle of nowhere and we had to travel at least 30 minutes to the nearest food establishment. This was after taking at least 2 hours to decide where to go for dinner!

After dinner, we discovered the spiritual gifts everyone had been given and we recognized where in the mission to Honduras each one could potentially be used. Then, we reflected on how each of us ended up as part of the team. It was shocking to hear that no one was originally supposed to go to Honduras, as many team members signed up for other trips or did not apply at all. Surely God would work in glorious ways through each one of us.

Friday, May 9, 2014

We started the day off very early in the morning to catch our flight to Tegulcigalpa, Honduras. After arriving, we drove for over three hours on a road that had more twists and turns than life itself, before arriving in the little town of La Esperanza. Honduras is a beautifully lush and green forest full of exuberant life. However, it is one of the poorest nations in Latin America and as we arrived at our home for the week, a children’s home by the name of La Casa Hogar de Immanuel, we experienced true poverty firsthand.

At our impromptu orientation during dinner, we discovered that water only works from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.–anything more than that requires the use of a bucket of water. If we wished for a warm shower, we had to boil our water and we were only allowed to take five-minute showers. Laundry had to be washed by hand on a stone tablet, meals were made on stoves of cement and lunch and dinner generally consisted of rice, beans and corn tortillas.

Saturday/Sunday, May 10-11, 2014

The day started early again as our team woke up, gobbled up some breakfast and headed to the markets to buy food for the week’s meals. We learned quickly that with our large backpacks, tall height, mostly pasty skin and cameraman, we were targeted by some covetous men. However, thanks to the concern of some of the beautiful women selling us food, we were able to get to safety and determine what we would truly need when out and about.

After lunch with some of the local pastors back at the children’s home, we went on a hike up a little mountain to view the entire city of La Esperanza. It was absolutely breathtaking! Our Creator is such an artist!

Sunday was our last free day to explore and enjoy the amazing masterpiece of Honduras before working in the schools, in the prison and in the villages. We went to a tourist park called Pulhapanzak which consisted of a clear river and waterfalls. We had the unique opportunity to go ziplining in a 10-layer course all throughout the park and over the waterfalls. It was nice to get a new perspective on the land as being over it was even more breathtaking than being on it!

Check out Campus News next month to read more about Denelle’s experiences on her mission in Honduras. Learn more about spiritual life and global outreach at GCU by visiting