Daniel Drake – Class of 1996
I truly am privileged to have spent all of my grade school and high school years under the teaching of the Godly men and women of then Summit Baptist Academy and The Baptist High School, now known as Summit Christian Academy. The biblical worldview and Christ-centered foundation I received from the teachers, administrators, staff and chapel speakers has had a profound impact on me through the many seasons of life I have experienced in the last 22 years since graduation.
After graduating in 1996, I entered college at Penn State University, a secular school with over 40,000 students at the main campus. As you might imagine, every temptation and opportunity for sinful activity was suddenly available to me in a very real way. However, because of the Biblical worldview instilled in me through a combination of family, church and an excellent Christian education, I was able to escape temptation and live soberly and righteously in that place. The Lord even used me to start a weekly Bible study with some friends that I made while there.
Immediately following college, I married Daneth Cameron, my high school sweetheart (also a graduate of The Baptist High School) and entered the United States Army where I served as an officer with the 2nd Battalion 1st Air Defense Artillery at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. In four years of active duty, I was deployed three separate times, and served in the war during Iraqi Freedom. Within a day after I left for the war, my wife, who was over 2,000 miles from her family, delivered our first child. Throughout this trying time, our firm biblical foundation comforted us and kept us grounded. The Lord even used my wife, the leader of our family readiness group, and me to minister to soldiers and their families as they struggled with the reality of war and in their marriage relationships.
After finishing my tour in the Army, the Lord called me into ministry. He lead me to return to Pennsylvania where I attended Baptist Bible Seminary while working full time 3rd shift at Sandvik, just down the road from SCA. Even without an undergraduate degree from a Bible college, I was able to complete a master’s degree in Biblical Studies thanks to the Biblical education I received at The Baptist High School.
For the past 10 years, I have been serving as a pastor at the First Baptist Church of Rhinebeck. During my time here, I have had the privilege of speaking in the chapel services and retreats (one at Spruce Lake) of several Christian schools. Every time I speak at one of these schools, it brings back the great memories of the chapel services I grew up with in school. I always make it a point to tell the students not to take for granted the Christian education they are receiving, because they will find it extremely valuable in every area of life.
I thank God for the Christian education I received, and especially for the Godly men and women who invested in me while I was a student. It has had a remarkable impact on my life thus far, and continues to bear fruit to this day.