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March 21, 2018

Jane Hamway ’10 and Ashley Andrews ’16: Alumni Inspiring Hearts, Heads, and Hands at Rochester Christian School

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”  - C.S. Lewis

Christ-centered education is certainly at the heart of Roberts Wesleyan. Higher education with a higher calling. Students come to us from all backgrounds, however many were educated in Christian schools since their early primary school years. One of these schools is Rochester Christian School, who recently celebrated their 100th anniversary. This pre-k through eighth-grade school has been a bedrock of Christian education in the community with a commitment to bringing up children in the training and instruction of the Lord. The school is unique in its diversity across families and staff representing more than 50 local Christian churches and enrollment has incrementally increased for four consecutive years. God’s blessings are abundant, and the Holy Spirit is working through the body of Christ is at RCS! The Lord has provided the perfect mix of families, volunteers and staff each with unique gifts. Several staff members are in fact Roberts Wesleyan alumni!

Two current RCS staff and Roberts Wesleyan alumni are leading the music curriculum at RCS. Meet Jane Hamway, K-8 Co Music Director, PreK Music Teacher, and Private Lesson Instructor at RCS since 2013, and Ashley Andrews, music teacher/band and orchestra director. Jane graduated with a Master in Music Education from RWC in 2010. Meanwhile Ashely is in her second year at RCS, and graduated from RWC with a B.S. Music Education in 2016.

Jane and Ashley work closely with RCS students to celebrate God’s love and glorify His name through music. This musically inspired duo sat down to share what drew them to be Christian educators and what inspires them each day working with children.

What attracted you to seeking a Christian education?

Jane: As a Christian, what better opportunity to grow in your faith than to be surrounded by likeminded individuals who are also striving to live a life worthy of their calling. I KNOW God sent me to Roberts Wesleyan College, just as I know He played a role in sending me to Rochester Christian School. When I first enrolled at Roberts, I was looking for ways in which I could glorify God with my career path, learn more about His amazing grace, and create a tribe of people I could call on as my Christian brothers and sisters. I found that and a whole lot more at Roberts.

Ashley: I wasn't specifically seeking a Christian education. I had grown up in a conservative Christian home so I wasn't opposed to it, but I had also attended public school my whole life so I was open to either. However, attending a Christian college shaped my faith in ways I would have never imagined. I know it was God's intention to have me attend Roberts at that specific point in my life.

What one aspect of your learnings at RWC helped prepare you to be successful at RCS?

Jane: As an international student trained as a teacher abroad, I can say with all certainty that I was not prepared for a music teaching position here in the United States. The Roberts Wesleyan College music faculty taught me EVERYTHING about how to be a teacher in an American elementary school. They also opened my eyes to the benefits of Music Learning Theory, a practical model for music learning that we at RCS have adopted and integrated into our curriculum. I will always be thankful for the teachers at Roberts for giving me the skills and knowledge I needed to become a successful music teacher!

Ashley: Roberts taught me how to connect with my students on a personal yet professional level. This is not something we learned in class, but something I learned through experience with my own professors who took interest in not only my academic achievement, but also my personal life, and would pray with me and guide me in both areas. I am now able to make these connections with my own students.

Jane: Along with learning my trade at RWC, I also learned how to act and behave as a teacher, from the music faculty at RWC. Our teachers were kind, grace-filled, approachable, and provided us with an excellent education. They never hesitated to get to know us, be interested in our lives, or pray for us if we needed guidance. Now that I am a teacher myself, I strive to be like my mentors - to challenge, inspire, encourage, and to make music an adventure in which we always want to know and learn more. Furthermore, I aspire to be a teacher that prays for and loves her students as Christ loves us.

What common bond of theme might exist between you and other RWC alumni teaching at RCS?

Jane: The Roberts Wesleyan College music department is small in size, and the great thing about that is that we create for ourselves an extended family. I actually met my RCS co-teacher, Ashley, a freshmen in college, when I taught String Methods at Roberts. Alumni and faculty from the music department keep in touch long after graduation, and I've reached out to them on countless occasions for advice with curriculum mapping, lesson planning, student assessment etc. Having had a similar experience in college, Ashley and I have similar views in regards to music education, and we've been able to build a music department here at RCS that I believe would make our professors proud.

Ashley: A strong foundation for Christian education.

Roberts pride and love for the Lord is evident with alumni at RCS. Music will continue to fill the halls at RCS singing His praise!

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