Connecting MCI’s Past & Future

Janna Wiebe | Mennonite Collegiate Institute
Gretna, Manitoba
Roxanne Friesen holds her grad photo in the academic wing of MCI. (Photo by Janna Wiebe)

For 134 years, Mennonite Collegiate Institute has offered young people an Anabaptist-centred education, a community to explore faith in, and a place to excel in music, academics and sport. The rich legacy of developing young peoples’ God-given gifts in an Anabaptist-Christian setting continues to live on in the halls of MCI today.

For Roxanne Friesen (class of ’86), an MCI alum and current MCI staff, MCI’s mission is as relevant as ever. “Today’s youth are searching, and I believe MCI has a unique and beautiful opportunity to lead these teens to scripture and share Christ’s truth with them,” she says. Friesen speaks from a place of experience—not only as a mother of four young people, but also as the school’s receptionist and point person for student needs.

Friesen is one of six current staff members who were once MCI students, with over a dozen student-turned-staff at MCI in the last five years alone. Why do so many former students return to MCI after graduation? The answer is rooted in the love of a community whose deep traditions and meaningful relationships have left a permanent mark on them.

“I’m excited to still be a part of a school that was influential in my teens. Having Christ-centred teachers challenged me to grow in my personal faith and relationship with Jesus,” Friesen shares. “While living in dorm at MCI, I made some great friends, some of my closest friends to this day.”

Friesen’s positive experience as an MCI student led to her four children enrolling at the school, and she volunteered on the Parent Advisory Council and in the library before officially joining MCI staff in 2017. For Friesen, the students who fill the familiar hallways are the highlight for her.

“My absolute favourite thing about working here is my daily interactions with students! Whether it’s celebrating last night’s soccer goal or sharing their heart about a struggle or difficulty, it’s such a privilege to laugh, encourage and pray with them,” she says.

Friesen and the countless alumni who have “come home” to MCI connect MCI’s past with its future, helping to create an environment that they thrived in and ensuring that the place that helped shape them is still shaping the next generation of young people.

“I’m just excited to be a part of this school and watch how God will use it for His glory.” 

Roxanne Friesen holds her grad photo in the academic wing of MCI. (Photo by Janna Wiebe)

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