Former MEI Student
From the Parent of a MEI student
“The legacy of MEI has followed me through the tapestry of my life through spiritual values, endearing friendships, sports and the writing of our cookbooks.”
I can still remember the first day of school, Grade 8, at MEI. My navy uniform was ironed to perfection. My white cotton blouse was starched for this week only. I was excited. My parents chose to make private school a priority for their children. We were from a farming background in the Sumas flats, and my older brothers always included me in any sporting events on the farm. My desire to participate in sports increased as I learned the fundamentals of playing basketball in our hay mow.
I am Marg Bartel (nee: Schmidt) At the age of 11, I had the opportunity of watching the MEI Eagles win the provincial tournament in 1963 at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Memorial Gymnasium. My father was very instrumental in making this event happen, as he was the Sunday school teacher of many of these athletes. This created a desire in me to attend MEI and I was able to fulfill that wish.
I qualified (without try outs) to play for the MEI Eagles under the leadership of Coach Eva Braun. It was through their sports programs, that I created long lasting friendships. One in particular was Judy Wiebe (nee: Bearg) We have both shared many memories that bring smiles to our faces as we reminisce back and forth.
Another significant highlight and life changing experience was ‘Spiritual Emphasis Week.’ MEI invited guest speakers who demonstrated through their own lives the values that they represented. They provided us with a rich foundation and stronghold of our faith…the kind of faith that is not wavering.
I enjoyed my wonderful years at MEI, but due to course change I transferred to Abbotsford Senior Secondary School where I completed my graduation in 1970. After graduation I found the love of my life. John and I just finished celebrating 40 years of marriage. While my husband, John was busy in farming and agriculture, I was a ‘stay at home’ mom, raised my three children, one son and two daughters. Today we have the pleasure of sharing life with their spouses, our two grandsons and are anticipating the birth of our third grandchild in February.
In 2008, I had the opportunity to reconnect with my MEI friend, Judy and became one of the authors of Mennonite Girls Can Cook (MGCC) and Mennonite Girls Can Cook, Celebrations. MGCC is more than just recipes. These books are a compilation of heritage recipes, stories and celebrations in our lives. The authors encourage you to think about the joys and blessings to be found in hospitality. All our royalties from the books are distributed through Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to our Ukraine project and our WASH (WA-Water, S-Sanitation, H-Hygiene) program in Africa.
The legacy of MEI has followed me through the tapestry of my life through spiritual values, endearing friendships, sports and the writing of our cookbooks. I picture my role as an alumni promoting and encouraging other young parents to consider Christian education. Now, 50 years later after I first entered MEI, you will see me in the MEI bleachers watching my nephew, Jon Schmidt coach the MEI Eagles and my voice will rise again as I cheer, Go Eagles Go!
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