By Allana Haynes
POMFRET, Md.—Brittany Drawdy, a passionate and outgoing high school senior who has a faith that is far beyond many her age. As an aspiring filmmaker, she has integrated her passion for God into her films by telling stories with positive and uplifting messages. During her junior year of high school, Brittany was led by God to start a Bible Club in her public school. The idea of starting a Bible Club was not her intention, however after watching the 2010 hit film, To Save a Life she felt a desire to stand up and make a difference in her school.
“My youth group watched To Save a Life at the end of summer right before the school year started and it opened my eyes to how a lot of people feel unloved and that inspired me to reach out to others, but that was just the beginning,” said Brittany.
One day at lunch, Brittany spotted a kid sitting at a table alone at lunch.
“He was sitting by himself and we had a class Spanish together and it reminded me of the movie so I invited him to sit with us during lunch,” she said.
The first time Brittany invited him to lunch he refused, but she remained persistent and he later sat at their table.
“I came to McDonough on the first day of school and met Brittany two or three days after the first day,” began Grizaldy Abella who was a transfer student from a Surrattsville, a public high school in Prince George’s County. “She invited me to lunch and I felt happy because I made a friend quickly.”
One of the things that surprised him about Brittany was that she would read her Bible during lunch time.
“Brittany sat there reading the Bible and I was curious about what she was reading, it was something I didn’t expect,” he said.
Brittany invited some other kids to sit with her at lunch as well.
“On the first day of school, I sat with one of my friends, but Brittany asked me if I wanted to sit with her instead,” said current McDonough High School senior, Jessica McMichael.
The small group at the table had doubled, however the disruptions from the cafeteria began to become an issue.
“We were originally at the ‘peanut free’ table, but it got too loud so we went to the lobby. People starting joining because they saw us out in the open,” Brittany said.
During this time, the group was able to get to know one another on a different level than they ever would have simply sitting in class with one another.
“It was like a bunch of friends just hanging out,” said Grizaldy.
Under New Management
Brittany was a part of the Drama Club during her junior year in her high school. The production that the club was putting on for the fall was Alice in Wonderland. She later invited one of her classmates to help participate in the production.
“I met Brittany in December of my junior year,” said Erica Swann. “At first I saw Brittany as shy, but she was very out spoken when it came to her love for God.”
Although Brittany and Erica weren’t close friends at the time, Brittany still felt the need to talk to her.
“She was in my English and history class and God just told me to talk to her. I invited her to drama club and she joined,” Brittany said.
The two of them got to know one another through drama and Brittany later invited her to join her lunch group.
“She invited me to Bible study a couple of weeks after we started to talk. I felt nervous and I was afraid of what others would say,” said Erica. “After I came to my first meeting, my fear fell to the ground. I felt like I was learning a lot about God and I also felt very good because I was taking a stand for what I believed in without trying to hide it.”
Reading the Bible in the cafeteria lobby later began to raise some eyebrows, by other students and faculty.
“One of the vice principals asked us what class we were in. We told her that we weren’t a class, we were a Bible study,” Brittany began. “She said that we were blocking the hallway and that we had to move.”
Prior to joining the Bible study group, Erica used to spend her lunch period in an English teachers classroom.
“We went to our English teacher to ask if we could use her room for Bible study. Then as we started to grow, we had to get it approved by [the principal],” Erica said. “We went to her office and spoke to her about putting posters up and spreading the word.”
After being questioned by one of the vice principals about reading the Bible in a school hallway, Erica says she was surprised by the principal’s positive response to the idea of starting a “religion club.”
“She [the principal] was amazing. She was actually shocked and surprised that I was asking because she had no idea that I was into studying the Bible,” Erica said. “She was open to the idea and we were so grateful for that.
Toward the middle of the school year, the Bible Club had come a long way since its days at the lunch table. It now had a sponsor, a meeting place, an established leader and a meeting day. The Bible club met every Monday after school and had rounded up a pretty large group. The majority of the meetings were led by either Brittany, Erica or a then-senior, Ryan Harris.
One particular meeting after school, Brittany announced that the Bible club would no longer be the “Bible club.” She said that she felt that the name the “Bible club” had intimidated people.
Some of the members threw out suggestions as to what the name of the club should be called and later a vote would be conducted.
The following week, the name of the group was announced.
“We had a meeting after school with some of the members and voted on the name, REVIVE,” said Brittany.
Although many names had been suggested for the Bible club, “REVIVE” contained a special meaning.
The reasoning behind the name “REVIVE” was that as a group, their goal was the bring
revival to the school and to awaken a sleeping generation.
After school meetings for REVIVE became an oasis for Christians and non-Christians alike. It was a place where students could let go of all of the pressures of high school for a while and join together to worship God. What made REVIVE so special was the fact that it was welcome to anyone, whether saved or unsaved, whether Catholic or Christian, popular or unpopular and superficial things like age or race were put on the back burner. It was a place where students could meet and not feel judge by their peers or by their teachers and could worship God freely.
Strong and Courageous
Having religion placed in a public school has not only brought non-believers to Christ, but it has awakened believers as well. Current members of the club have been able to benefit from the positive energy and pure gentility that the club evokes.
“The club grew in a way that I never expected,” Erica said. “We would tell people who we felt God was leading us to tell, we put up posters that would get others’ attention and we also prayed that God would just send people to us saved or unsaved, believers or not.”
The leaders’ passion and enthusiasm about the club has brought students from all different walks of life together in a way that would have never happened otherwise. It was brought a sense of unity among students and a sense of safety and comfort.
“I saw one of the [REVIVE] posters in the hallway and I asked my mom if I could stay after for one of the meetings,” said Austin Tarburton, who is currently an active member of the club. “I felt awkward at first, I didn’t know anyone, but everyone was welcoming and open.”
Austin said that he was shocked by how “religiously involved” the leaders were and how much they knew the Bible.
Brittany says that being a leader of REVIVE has helped her discover herself in ways that she never had known before.
“REVIVE has really grown me and developed me as a believer. It’s unlocked spiritual gifts in me and taught me the importance of fellowship,” said Brittany.
What separates REVIVE from other popular clubs is that the fact that it is truly making a difference.
“REVIVE has changed my whole life,” said Erica. “I see people differently and I don’t pick my friends from a superficial perspective. REVIVE has taught me to love people as they are because that is how God is with us. He doesn’t love us based on our right and wrongdoings, but simply because He created us.”