Published: Spring 2005 in Parents

Faith in Education

The Bryan Family Affirms the Value of Christian Education

Michael and Sherill Bryan

Michael and Sherill Bryan hoped their oldest son would attend a Christian college, but they knew he needed to choose a school himself. “It was a prayer thing because we really wanted him at Westmont,” Sherill says. “We had heard nothing but great things about the academic program and networking with alumni — and I knew he needed to be confronted with the word of God on a daily basis. When he got accepted we tried not to be too delighted. It was a God thing.”

Chase ’08 did enroll at Westmont and returns for his second year in the fall. He walked onto the basketball team, performed with the In Step dance team and plans to major in business.

“He really likes it,” Sherill says. “Friends are very important at this stage in his life, and he has made some very good ones at Westmont.”

The family’s commitment to faith-based education includes all three of their sons. Chanse, 13, and Chass, 11, attend Oaks Christian School in Westlake, where Chase graduated.

Sherill was the first person in her family to graduate from college. After earning a business degree from USC, she has worked as a financial analyst in the aerospace industry for 17 years. She is continuing her education at King Seminary (affiliated with Church on the Way in Van Nuys, Calif.). “I felt called to engage in deep Bible study,” she explains. She has completed a certificate in Christian ministries and will earn a master’s of divinity degree. Her goal is to be involved in a counseling ministry for women.

“Sometimes it is hard juggling work, family and school,” she says. “Sometimes I don’t know how I will get through. But when I am feeling overwhelmed, the Holy Spirit reminds me that I can do it. My studies are a form of worship to the Lord. I do it because I love him.”

While Sherill works with engineers, Michael rubs shoulders with celebrities. For 30 years he has provided security for entertainers and high-ranking business executives. He also transports valuable paintings to auctions and takes jewelry to stars dressing up for events like the Academy Awards. Often he accompanies the person wearing the diamonds. “I’m the guy in black with dark glasses standing in the corner,” he says. “I have met a lot of great people.” This year, he started his own firm: Martin Luther King Executive Protection.

The couple lives in Oak Park, Calif., close enough to be involved at Westmont. They attend Chase’s basketball games when they can and have become members of the Parents Council.

“It’s a great way for parents to network,” Sherill says. “Westmont parents have a lot of knowledge and wisdom, and it is great to stay connected and get good advice.” Their responsibilities include making phone calls to incoming first-year students to answer any questions they may have and volunteering at Orientation.

They enjoy being liaisons and talking with parents. “Westmont is really about relationships,” Sherill says. “We have all been so welcomed, and we want to extend that welcome to others.”

Sherill enjoys hearing Chase talk politics with his friends. “They all have an opinion,” she says. “Chase is doing some thinking on his own now, especially about his faith. He likes to hear other views but doesn’t necessarily agree with everything. He is forced to think about this Christ he considers his savior. Just in talking to people at Westmont, I could see Christ in them. It is very important to me that my boys cultivate a very strong relationship with the Lord. It is the most important thing in their lives.”

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