We are excited to announce that Grace Christian School has a new high school principal. Mr. Jim Kerr will begin his duties on June 15th.
Jim is married to Terri, and they have three children. Their oldest son is married and has one child, their daughter will begin student teaching at a Title 1 school, and their youngest son will be finishing his homeschooling career next year with a few courses at GCS.
Jim grew up in southern NJ and is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Pregnancy Resource Center of Salt Lake City. He has previously served as a Dean of Students and a Dean of the High School (principal) at two different Christian schools with over twenty years of Christian school administration/teaching experience. He brings a strong Biblical worldview background to school and will teach our Government Dual Enrollment course. Jim is excited about this opportunity to move closer to his roots and back into Christian education.
In anticipation of a smooth transition into the next school year, we will set up opportunities for you to meet him before the beginning of the school year. Please pray for him and his family as they move to Staunton, and he begins his new role as our HS principal.
There is no time so dark that it can prevent a ray of light from bursting forth. The darkness before Creation was shattered by God’s command to let there be light. A darkened and sinful world was healed by the blast of light from the tomb of Jesus as He rose again. There are many lesser examples within human actions that also support the idea of light within darkness. One such example is the reaction of the GCS Class of 2020 to the COVID-19 virus and the lockdown.
The buildup of excitement to the senior year of high school can be overwhelming for a teenager. Students enter high school as freshmen and see the senior class go on trips, receive accolades, lead the school, and graduate in great pomp. It is something most teenagers long for. It is a goal that is tantalizingly close for a new high schooler. GCS students witness the traditions of our school and the long line of graduates that preceded them and want to be a part of that while also making it their own.
This year those traditions have been ripped from the hands of our seniors. They watched as event after event was delayed, modified, and sometimes canceled. Their chance to celebrate their accomplishments and participate in one of their first significant ceremonies was lost. While we should mourn the loss of these rituals for the Class of 2020, take a moment to recognize how they reacted to their loss.They could have wallowed in self-pity and bitterness and could have felt sorry for themselves, but the Class of 2020 did none of these things.
The GCS Class of 2020 responded to their situation with strength, unity, humor, and most importantly, faith. While there were dark days and sad moments along the way, this class held together and supported one another with a unity that sustained them. They took on the challenge of a year of dramatic change and continually worked to take each setback in stride and make the best of it. They stayed focused on the possibilities of what they could do—not what they could not do.
This class is filled with students of great faith, strong character, and leadership abilities. As an example, each year the high school student body and faculty choose a senior to receive the GCS Spirit Award. This is given to the senior who best exemplifies the “ideals of Grace Christian School.” Nine seniors have received votes. That is almost half the class. Their humor was not lost either. A couple of weeks ago, a senior wrote on a white board at the school, “Best senior prank ever! - Class of 2020”
Please congratulate this class on an exceptional year...an exceptionally positive year. They are a brilliant ray of light.
All of our teachers have stepped outside their comfort zone and adapted to a new way of teaching. I am proud of their hard work and dedication to make remote learning a success. They have learned to make videos, connect with students through ZOOM and Google Hangouts, use Google Classroom, and other online tools that we had never considered before COVID-19 struck the world. Our successful transition is due to the hard work of many, but there is one teacher who has made this a smoother transition for all: Laura Doty.
Laura teaches computer applications to all of our Kindergarten through 8th grade students, including units on building a business and using computer tools to plan and implement their business. She also teaches home economics, economics, and computer programming to our high school students.This year, she and Hiram Tackett have been developing a long-range training plan for our teachers. We had no idea that she would have to take three years of work and slam it into one week.
She has researched the best and easiest applications and programs for our teachers to use to connect with our students. She has put together short videos to help our teachers use different programs. She ensured that everyone who needed a Chromebook, whether teacher or student, received one on loan, and she obtained other technology needed by teachers for their teaching. Laura Doty’s efforts and hard work have enabled us to successfully transition to remote learning and helped us all become more effective teachers. Thank you, Laura!
In my house right now there are seven people (Yes, seven!) working (to be honest, only five are really working), and we’re all a little sucked into the details of our own “stuff.” Our own deadlines; our own personal space; our own unmet needs, issues, frustrations, and loneliness; our own tasks… We’re going to church in our pj’s and only brushing our hair for Zoom meetings. We’re taking more walks, but at the same time, our screen time is up 1000%. It is just a very weird time.
In all of this juggling of new and unwanted circumstances, it has been very hard to raise my head above the water and remember why we are here. When I have a moment of clarity, I look past the computer screen at the GCS students and the staff, and in that moment, I am blessed! It is good to be looking beyond my own stuff!
There is good, healthy growth happening at Grace during this time! Crawl. Walk. Run: That’s the mantra. We are being forced into situations and changes we would not have otherwise walked into. Did you hear about the 6th grade Bible lesson that ended up circulating throughout all of Augusta Health? (Read here.) Did you know Dr. Jackson is still having weekly lunch prayer groups with students? Did you realize that we are going through successful, major transitions in leadership?
I’m happy for Grace. We don’t do things perfectly. We are not full of perfect people. When I look at what we have been through in the last 40 years (and in the last 40 weeks...and in the last 40 days!), I see God’s faithfulness in bringing all things to His glory.
Celebrating the journey, the staff, and the students is what the auction is all about this year. Yes, there is stuff! Lots of fun stuff, and I hope you bid on it; but really, it is all about the students. We love them, and we love seeing their lives impacted. I invite you to look past your own “stuff” and join us Saturday night at 7:30. We are coming together to celebrate the community and to support the unique mission of Grace Christian School.
Registration for the two weeks of online bidding is here.
If you haven’t had a chance to look over our Bid for Cause, check it out here. (Let’s welcome the students back this fall with fresh, updated classroom enhancements!)
We love your students, and we can’t wait to showcase them Saturday night! “See” you there!