Grace Christian School

Archives - May 2016

Recent Posts

5/15/19 - By Donald M. Larson, PhD
5/1/19 - By Casey Musselman, Dean of High School Students
4/24/19 - By Casey Musselman, Dean of High School Students
4/16/19 - By John Morrison, Former GCS Head of School
4/11/19 - By Abigail Erdman, GCS 7th Grader
4/2/19 - By Robert Brent, GCS Parent
3/25/19 - By Brian Fitzgerald, High School Principal
3/12/19 - By Brian Fitzgerald, High School Principal
3/6/19 - By Brian Fitzgerald, High School Principal
2/27/19 - By Kristen Lihos, Interim Advancement Director

Headmaster's Blog

Archives - May 2016

Celebrating GCS Students - Part 6

May 25, 2016
By John Morrison

This spring has been an unusually rich time of “fruitfulness” in terms of the artistic expression flowing forth from GCS students!  We recently celebrated the wonderful Wizard of Oz musical production, an outstanding Grandparents’ Day program, followed by the excellent choral concert by our three school choirs.  This past week placed a further exclamation point on the God-given giftedness of GCS students as expressed  through our annual “Fine Arts Night.”

As I meandered through the art displays in our elementary building, I was deeply impressed not merely with the fact that we had so many students represented, but also with the significant giftedness on display.  We clearly have a large number of students who have an obvious talent that is being cultivated and developed through their exposure to a wide diversity of art mediums.  Of course, none of this would be possible without the creative tutelage of some very gifted teachers, including Diana Decker, Kim Mancini, Lisa Morrison, and Donna Kocka.  Ladies, we celebrate you as well as our students!  

For those of you unable to attend the event last week, you can view (and even purchase) some of the art work by our GCS students at and searching by typing in Grace Christian School.

And then there was the part of the program featuring the multi-faceted musical gifts of our students!  Running from 6:30 to almost 9 PM, approximately 65 GCS students (and friends) entertained their listeners in a non-stop, well produced recital featuring vocal and instrumental selections.  We heard light opera, classical piano and strings, some light jazz, blues, easy rock, and even some original compositions!  I found myself quite engaged with the obvious giftedness of so many and impressed with their diligence in cultivating their talents.  

Again, none of this would be possible without the wonderful mentoring of dedicated instructors, who really deserve to be acknowledged.  Thank you to Judy Ricca (piano), Karen Palumbo (vocal and multi-instrumental), Larry Barrett (guitar), Marie Masincup (vocal and piano), Buddy Thomas (guitar), Eloise Kornicke (piano), Joelle Miller (violin and viola), and Lew Morrison (string bass).  What an outstanding “faculty!”  

In the days ahead, we want to continue to provide our students with a quality fine arts emphasis, to the praise of God’s glory!  Cultivation of this aspect of our students’ lives and talents is not a “second-tier” priority, but should be maintained as a vital part of their overall education.  

Congratulations, students and staff, on another outstanding event!

8th Grader, Peyton Bolt, with a recent drawing.

Senior, Ricky Yeomans and guitar instructor, Buddy Thomas perform at Arts Night.

One of the many artistic displays

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email John Morrison at

A Most Disturbing Week!

May 18, 2016
By John Morrison

Once again, I interrupt my series on “Celebrating Our Students” in order to comment on rapid developments that have potentially profound ramifications for us all!

If we are not awakened by the horrific clash of cultural values represented by almost daily headlines, then we had better pinch ourselves.  While in some ways almost ludicrous, the North Carolina “bathroom law” highlights the “foolishness” (Romans 1:22)  to which our society has descended.  And in another disturbing development that happened just last week, our federal government is now directing public schools across the nation to accommodate transgender students by allowing them to utilize the restroom or locker room coinciding with their chosen sexual identity.  This is a most distressing overreach of centralized government that, 100 years ago, would not have been tolerated by the general populace or state governments.  Yet, remarkably, a significant portion of our society, perhaps even “the majority,”  remains unconcerned about the loss of individual freedoms represented by this federal directive.  (For those who do not believe this to be a big deal, please view the video link below of one woman’s experience!)

Indeed, this gives considerable credence to the notion that powerful interests have a not so subtle intention to impose their social agenda upon the rest of us quite apart from any democratic process. The leading contender for the Democrat party’s presidential nomination stated not long ago in a speech to the Women of the World Summit these chilling words: “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will.  And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” (USA Today, April 29, 2014).   The journalist of this editorial quickly identified the deeper, disturbing issue at the heart of this politician's statement: “... she should explain why she thinks she, or anyone else, has the right to dictate what religious people believe” (Kristen Powers; USA Today).

But this past week’s directive as authored by no less than our president should dispel any naive notions about the insidious intent of those currently in power along with some who hope to succeed them.  The fact that public schools are threatened by the withdrawal of millions of dollars of federal funds if they do not comply is nothing less than the usurpation of state sovereignty through a thinly veiled form of economic coercion.  Those who love this nation should be deeply concerned and moved to action.

From my Christian perspective, I believe there is a sense in which what is happening may also be a healthy wake-up call for the American church.  For far too long, we have been far too complacent.  As public policy becomes increasingly secularized, these same forces will turn their full fury against the the private sector and, I believe, most notably against the church.  The next great battle will be between the so-called “civil rights” of the LGBT interests as they clash against the First Amendment rights of the religious, church community.  For that matter, this is already happening as the courts, in some cases, are requiring small business owners to violate their personal convictions by servicing and participating in LGBT events.  

But, in the more immediate  context, let us understand that there is a powerful push to fully install within public education the “politically correct” notion of social policy.  Our children who are educated in the public system are being battered with the constant innuendo of secularism.  We must not be naive when it comes to this powerful influence upon our next generation, and we must pour our full resources into providing them with an education that will prepare them to stand as representatives for Christ in this increasingly post-Christian culture!  May God help us and give us courage to stand for Him on behalf of our children!  

PS.  If you want a taste of the more immediate effect of this federal directive, I urge you to view this link to hear a lady’s distressing experience about a transgender “restroom encounter.”  It is well worth viewing.

If you would like to comment on this blog, please email John Morrison at


Celebrating GCS Students - Part 5

May 11, 2016
By John Morrison

Especially at this time of year, we do not have to look far to identify many very gifted GCS students and their accomplishments.  Growing up in a musical family, I developed a great appreciation for the fine arts in their various expressions.  I have to admit that one of my favorite GCS events each year is the spring choral concert.  I was deeply impressed and moved not only with the outstanding presentation this past Monday night by our elementary, middle and high school choirs, but also by the fact that the entire concert was a wonderful time of worshipping our God.  Indeed, these musical gifts are directly from Him, and I believe He is so deeply pleased when we teach our young people to use those gifts to the praise of His glory.  The concert was certainly that, and I would like to express deep appreciation for the hard work by our choral students throughout this year.

High School Choir from Monday’s Spring Choral Concert.

And how I appreciate our music teachers Marie Masincup, Karen Palumbo, and Jean Marinelli, not to mention our accompanists, guest musicians, and others who help produce these programs!  Thank you for such a wonderful job in encouraging our young people in the development of their talents!   

I want to especially acknowledge Mrs. Jean Marinelli, our high school choral director over the past twenty years.  Mrs. Marinelli recently announced her retirement, and we will miss her leadership and godly influence upon our high school choristers.  Indeed, Mrs. Marinelli has had a profound impact in the lives of many of our students by her godly example and her gifted leadership.  Thank you so much, Mrs. Marinelli, for all of your selfless investment in our students over many years.  May God’s rich blessing be upon you in the days ahead.

Thank you, also, to teachers, staff, volunteers and students for the wonderful Grandparents’ Day program presented this past Friday.  With approximately 240 grandparents and “significant others” in attendance, we were treated to a great program of songs, recitations, and pageantry by our preschool through grade three students, with help from our sixth graders and a special encore performance by some of our recent Wizard of Oz cast.  What a wonderful opportunity to honor grandparents and great-grandparents, and also to create special memories for many of our children and their families!  Again, thank you so much, Mrs. Kinder, Mrs. Masincup, Mrs. Palumbo, Mrs. Farmer, teachers, volunteers, and special guest musicians, for making this another outstanding program!  

Grandparent’s Day:  Preschool through 3rd Grade students leading the audience in singing “Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone.”

On Saturday, May 7, both the Elementary and Middle School Choirs participated the King’s Dominion Festival of Music.  The Elementary Choir  was named first place of all beginner choirs, Middle School Choir was named second place of all the Middle School choirs, and our Elementary Choir was named Grand Champion of all choirs for the day!  Congrats Mrs. Masincup, Mrs. Palumbo, and choristers!  We are so proud of you!

Middle School Choir performing at the King’s Dominion Festival of Music.

Elementary School Choir performing at the King’s Dominion Festival of Music.

Next week, we will be celebrating some of our other gifted, fine arts students and their accomplishments during our Arts Night celebration.  I cordially invite you to join me for Arts Night on Thursday evening from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the elementary/middle School campus.  You’ll be treated not only to some amazing works of art from students in all grades, but also to musical recitals in voice, piano, guitar, violin and viola. Hope to see you there!

If you would like to comment on this blog, please email John Morrison at

Celebrating GCS Students - Part 4

May 05, 2016
By John Morrison

In this series of blogs, we are celebrating the accomplishments of many of our GCS students.  We are still receiving rave reviews from the Wizard of Oz musical performed by our middle and high school students as featured in my last blog.

This week, let me celebrate some of our elementary and middle school students.  For years, GCS has participated in the national VFW writing contest, where this year more than 131,000 students in grades 6-8 entered the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay competition. The event encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300 to 400 word essay expressing their views based on a patriotic theme.  This year’s theme was “What Freedom Means to Me.” During a special ceremony, members of the Augusta-Staunton VFW Post 2216 presented the Grace Christian School winners of the Patriot’s Pen writing contest with certificates and, in some cases, monetary awards.  This year’s GCS winners for the local VFW contest  included, Aiden Ivers (1st place - 7th grade), Richard Jones (2nd place - 7th grade), and Ashland Allred (3rd place -7th grade). Special congrats go to eighth grader, Daniel Seaton, who received the 2nd place VFW district award!  Way to go, guys!

From left to right: Ashland Allred; VFW 2216 Commander, Joel McCauley; Richard Jones, VFW Post Chaplin, William Surratt; VFW Sr. Vice Commander, Jean Rouse; Aiden Ivers and Daniel Seaton. 


GCS students also distinguished themselves in the prestigious Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) writing contest. The following students won first place in the local chapter of the DAR and also in the state and eastern region by writing a short story entitled "Celebrate America:"  Julia Dryer (6th grade), Gigi Hatter (1st grade), Graycie Kincheloe (3rd grade) and Janelle Lihos (3rd grade).  Katie Jo Greenmun (5th grade) won first place in the areas listed above for a poem she wrote entitled "Celebrate America."  Entries by Julia Dryer, Gigi Hatter, Graycie Kincheloe and  Katie Jo Greenmun  also qualified for the national level where Gigi, Graycie and Katie Jo placed third.  Julia placed second in the nation!  Wow!. Public and private school students along with homeschoolers in grades 1-6 were invited to participate.  Way to go, ladies!

From left to right: Kati Jo Greenmun, Julia Dryer, Janelle Lihos, Gigi Hatter, Graycie Kincheloe, and DAR Representative, Jerry Lynn Shipplett.

Congratulations GCS students!  We are proud of your outstanding accomplishments!

If you would to comment on this blog, please email John Morrison at

Search by Keyword(s):
(separate multiples with a comma)

Recent Posts

11/21/17 - By John Morrison
11/15/17 - By John Morrison
11/8/17 - By John Morrison


© Cherry+Company SMARTsolution web design powered by FACTS Student Information System, providers of School Site