Director of Education & Development – Right to Life
“There were times growing up where we hardly had money for food, let alone a private Christian education. There were times growing up where we hardly had money for food, let alone a private Christian education.”
My name is Jared White and I am an alumnus of MEI. From 1994- 1999 I attended MEI secondary. You have heard them say that MEI is not just a school for the rich, well we were anything but rich growing up. There were times growing up where we hardly had money for food, let alone a private Christian education.
My home life was chaotic and often lonely. My parents divorced and remarried multiple times. I was raised primarily by my mother. I was a latch-key kid as they say and did not see much of either my father or my mother and so I had to be very independent even from a young age.
I am old enough now to know the stats on kids that grow up in those situations, and they are not good. Kids who grow up in broken homes or poverty stricken homes have a very high chance that they will get involved in smoking, drinking or drugs, or other anti-social behavior. They do not generally achieve well in school. Girls have a much higher chance of getting pregnant; guys have a much higher chance of getting a girl pregnant. They have a much higher chance of getting divorced when they grow up and the list goes on.
But thankfully, that is not my story. By God’s grace, my Grandparents generously paid my way to attend MEI and I worked hard every summer in my Grandfather’s business to pay him back.
My 5 years at MEI was an amazing experience. Every day at MEI the scriptures were opened to me and I was taught God’s word. Chapel times and special assemblies provided challenging and encouraging speakers that I still remember to this day. I excelled at MEI in academics, in music and drama and sports and had a genuinely great time!
I know MEI will say it is not a “Christian Bubble” and I know what they mean when they say that but obviously, to a certain extent, it is a Christian bubble and that’s a good thing and when I was a teenager, that’s exactly what I needed.
In particular, the teachers at MEI were amazing. I don’t remember once in my 5 years here having a teacher talk down to me in any way, or be rude to me or make me feel bad about myself. Every single teacher I had loved me and showed a genuine interest in me. And the really cool part is that I can say that will sincerity about not only the teachers but about the principals, the superintendent, the administration, the secretaries and even the janitors. I have fond memories of them all and I can’t say enough about the loving and Godly administration, teachers and staff at MEI.
Partly through their influence, I escaped my teen years unscathed by the world. I never smoked or even tried drugs once or even tried drinking once, I kept myself pure for my wife. I’ve been married for over 11 years to an amazing woman with three beautiful children.
After many years engaged in pastoral work I now work full time for a local pro-life charity called Abbotsford Right to Life which is engaged, among other things, in advocating for the most vulnerable in our society: unborn children.
I am here today engaged in pro-life work because of the influence of MEI. It was here I learned about the grave injustices that go on in our world including the tragic injustice done to unborn children in our own country. It was here I was introduced to the long-standing Anabaptist tradition of standing up to such injustices, not just with words but in deed. And so, in that spirit, and in obedience to Christ’s call I use my time and my talents to fight the greatest injustice in my day in Jesus’ name.
And I do so today knowing full well that who I am and what I have accomplished in life is in part due to the amazing people that make up the Mennonite Educational Institute.