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Mark Congdon

Music (7th-12th)

Biography

 

Notes

Years taught at CPLS: 2005-present

Education: B.M., Music Education (K-12) – Grove City College

Why I teach at CPLS: I reaped the benefits of Cair Paravel as a student. I arrived as a 1st grader in 1987 and graduated with fourteen classmates in 1999. In my time here, I encountered the gamut of student-life experiences. I formed lifelong bonds with my teachers (who become my role models and mentors as I grew up) and lasting relationships with my classmates (most importantly with my wife of 6 years). I played every sport I could, sang in both choir and Madrigals, and experienced each musical as either a performer, stage crew member, or behind-the-scenes “techy.” And while receiving training in specialized skills, I also gained invaluable experience that would help me be a responsible leader and citizen. As a student, I didn’t realize the advantage of my schooling. It wasn’t until I attended college for 4 years in Northwest Pennsylvania that I grasped the uniqueness of Cair Paravel. Many of my new classmates were ill-prepared for the new challenges of life away from home. They laughed at their junior high and high school public education, admitting that it was anything but serious. Meanwhile, with each minor success or meager accomplishment I achieved, I saw more clearly how much I owed to my pre-college education. Therefore, when I graduated from Grove City College in 2003 with a degree in Education, it seemed natural to return to my alma mater and provide my services to the next generation.

Personal Testimony: Though I can’t remember the first time I accepted Christ as my savior, my mother has recorded every detail. She says that when I was 5 years old (1986), we were returning from spending the day at a friend’s house in our family van. The weather was atrocious. It was a typical summer thunderstorm with strong winds and torrential rain. Apparently it was bad enough that I was afraid for our lives because I asked her, “What will happen if we die?” To which my mother replied that if we had accepted Christ into our hearts and believed that He had died on the cross for our sins, we would go to heaven to be with Him. But if not, we would have to spend eternity away from Him in torment. The choice seemed rather obvious, even to my childish intellect. I quickly asked her how I could ask Christ into my heart, and she led me through the steps of salvation right there in the van. That was all the assurance I needed at the time. A few years down the road, when I reached the omniscient age of 13, I began to question the validity of my beliefs (more so the word of my parents). Despite the fact that my Sunday School teachers and junior high teachers all seemed to agree with my parents, I still couldn’t help but ask, “How can they be SURE?” I found my answer at a summer camp in Kansas City not long after. After an emotional week of studying the Bible, spending time with peers and enthusiastic Christian counselors, and playing games (which are vital to Christian education), one counselor helped me realize two important “indicators” of true salvation: I did believe that I could see the workings of a Creator in the world around me, and I did recognize the existence of the Holy Spirit inside of me, guiding my heart’s desires and influencing my thoughts. I decided to re-accept Christ as my Savior, affirming His sacrifice on the cross and His forgiveness of my sins. Since that summer, I have never felt the need to “double-check” my salvation. I have found my niche in working with young people and do all that I can to help them find the same peace of mind. I led early morning Bible studies in high school and college. During the summers of 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2008 I worked as an intern for the youth group at my home church, Topeka Bible Church. I have been on mission trips to Washington D.C., Chicago, Mexico, and Jamaica. And after graduating with a music degree, I found myself unexpectedly being called to use my talents as a Praise & Worship leader. Since 2004, I have led a worship band at a contemporary service every Sunday morning, and I also lend my services for youth group events and church retreats. It has been a relatively easy road in my walk with the Lord. I don’t have any extreme life-changing Epiphanies to share. And He has kept me far from many common worldly temptations. But I don’t doubt His daily presence in my life, and I thank Him for the experiences that have brought me to this point in my life.

Personal Interests: Composing, conducting, or performing music; reading; sports of all kinds; board games, cards; movies; crossword puzzles

 

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