Parents, Oreos and prayers supply Fuel for Finals

Parent volunteer Tina Drake makes a run to hand out treats to a wheeling student at Fuel for Finals on Thursday.

Story by Mike Kilen
Photos by Ralph Freso
GCU News Bureau

Give a dad a microphone, and he says dad things.

“Come on over, grab a snack before class. After class. During class,” James Broadway called out to students streaming through Colter Circle on Wednesday. “Give it to your teacher for extra credit.”

Students smiled, grabbed a Capri Sun drink and an Oreo two-pack and nodded a thanks to Broadway and other parents volunteering for Fuel for Finals, a heartwarming tradition as Grand Canyon University students bear down before finals week.

“Grab some juice,” Broadway continued. “Well, not really juice. Juice drink.”

Robyn Hord has a message for students heading into finals.

That’s a dad talking again of a substance with 13 grams of sugar. His son, Trevor, is a freshman in exercise science, so he knows young students burn through calories fast, especially in this busy time.

“Our parent volunteers love on them, support them and take prayer card requests,” said Robyn Hord, coordinator of Parent and Family Programs, in front of another Fuel for Finals table that her organization set up on the Promenade on Wednesday and Thursday.

When Hord was in college, they called it “dead week,” but at GCU it’s “quiet week,” which sounds nicer. Capri Sun, too, has a gentle taste memory of youngster school days and soccer Saturdays.

“Let me be your soccer mom!” Hord said. “And, besides, who doesn’t like a good Oreo.”

Heidi Benson, a parent volunteer, is all smiles handing treats to students.

Absolutely no one. They were going like hot cakes.

Students also grabbed stickers that read “Yes you can.” (“With God all things are possible” Matthew 19-26).

“They are super thankful,” said Broadway’s wife, Jene, who worked the crowd like a Costco free-sample clerk.

Both parents graduated from GCU in 1997, back when it was a “one-horse town,” so when Trevor was growing up they only took him to Lopes games to cement the succession, James said.

“It’s GCU parents, showing love for kids,” he narrated into the microphone. “If you have a rough week, we’ll pray for you.”

Students appreciate the treats, such as this one from Jeri Abraham, but love the prayers even more.

Josveth Lopez, a freshman, took a long time to write on the prayer cards as her important finals loomed.

“I’m not doing too well, and this is half my grade,” she said of the tests. “I will have Him by my side.”

But her request was for something else.

“I put in prayers for my family and friends and people I love, and to say thank you,” she said.

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.

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Related content:

GCU Today: Family programs give parents clear view of GCU

GCU Today: Homecoming Family Weekend makes big impression

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