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Why the school room matters

As we begin the 2020-2021 school year and Gramercy enters its 40th year as a school, we are reminded yet again that as Christians we "walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).  2020 has been a year of extraordinary upheaval for parents, students, and schools alike, but we rejoice that God has sustained us and allowed us the privilege of teaching and discipling students on a daily basis.  In a time when our country is experiencing great unrest, I am reminded of the words of Abraham Lincoln who said, "The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next."  As parent and teachers, it is our solemn responsibility and perhaps our greatest challenge to pass on the wisdom, righteousness, and justice of God to the next generation.  We hold in our hands the baton of faith, and our goal is to pass it seamlessly to our children so that they might be fully equipped to finish strong!

Why I Have No Regrets

My eldest son graduates from Gramercy Christian School in a week.  Fresh from California and in a little bit of culture shock, Owen started GCS as a fourth grader, under the watchful eye of Mrs. Suzanne Israel.  I will never forget his first day of school.  I somehow missed the memo that the first day at Gramercy is always a half-day of school, and so I received the fateful call from the front office and began the mad scramble of loading two little ones in the car and rushing up the road to pick up the two kids I had failed to retrieve on time.  Mrs. Israel met me at the car.  She was worried Owen was behind in math, and I instantly broke down.  In the sweetest, most southern way possible, Mrs. Israel comforted and encouraged this blubbering mother of four, suffering from the stress of a cross-country move and the burden of shouldering the academic and emotional needs of four children whose lives had changed yet again.   Yesterday in the mail my graduating senior, who ...

Praying for a Pledge of Allegiance

I am an educator, not a politician.  I am a teacher and a taxpayer, and more importantly, a mother, which is why I am awake at 3 AM thinking about nations.  Yesterday, in what felt like a rite of passage, I took my eldest son, who recently turned 18 years old, to the polls to vote in his first midterm election.  He was a real hit.  The ladies at the polling place doted on him.  He filled out his ballot like a pro.  He got his sticker.  I took his picture.  I even posted it on Facebook, in a rare public display of parental pride.  He felt like a real American.  Over supper, my family had a heated discussion about Republicans, Democrats, and a failing two-party system.  I listened as my teenage boys schooled me on all that is wrong with our country.  We debated healthcare reform, immigration, constitutional interpretation, and the concept of legislating morality.  I went to bed mentally exhausted, a little bewildered, and legitimately concerned fo ...

Florence, Michael, and Trials of Many Kinds

I am sitting on my front porch, heavy sighing over yet another day of missed school due to inclement weather, and I'm attempting to remind my soul to be still.  We have barely shaken off the sadness and stress of Hurricane Florence, and I feel our community's collective distress over even the whisper of more that could possibly come.   Michael, even in the form of a Tropical Storm,  feels daunting.  To say the least, the 2018-2019 school year has been interesting thus far, but aren't they all? My eldest son is a Senior in high school.  The child was born in 2000, when Y2K had us all wondering if our entire infrastructure was going to collapse.  I had barely weaned him when September 11th, 2001 shook our nation to its core, and we realized we weren't as invulnerable as we had always imagined. In 2003, I snuggled my son along with his infant brother while I watched our country's military crash into Iraq in the days of "Shock and Awe," and my family had just moved to eastern N ...

What Does it Mean to Guard your Heart?

At Gramercy this year, our theme verse is from Proverbs 4:23, which says, "Above all else, guard your heart from out of it flows everything you do."  We chose this verse in part because we recognize that, as a Christian school, we run the risk of becoming overly focused on simple behavior modification, forgetting that the religion Jesus taught was about sincere heart transformation (Matthew 15: 8-9).  Of course, this is not only a problem for Christian schools.  It's a problem for all people in all areas of life.  As a parent, for instance, I have often focused too much on what my child is or is not doing instead of directing my attention to what is happening in their hearts that is causing them to act out.  Usually, when I stop attempting to only discipline symptoms and actually take the time to address the real heart issue, be it jealousy or anger or fear, I am able to help them resolve not only the symptom, but the actual problem as well. Young people today are literally inun ...

Today is Not that Day!

At 3:30 am this morning, I awoke with this horrible thought:  it is the middle of July!  If you're a mom or dad of school-aged children, then you already know where I'm going with this, and it's probably perfectly clear to you why I awoke in a semi-panic.  Summer is half over.  The summer that literally just began five minutes ago is already half over.  Perhaps this thought was brewing in the back of my mind because of my brief trip into Hobby Lobby yesterday where I saw, that's right, Thanksgiving decorations on display.  How is that even possible?  Honestly, putting up Thanksgiving stuff in July makes me feel anything but thankful.  In fact, it makes me grouchy. I'm still trying to remember to buy new goggles and a beach chair.   As a teacher and school administrator at Gramercy, we are already in the thick of preparing for the coming year.  We are sending out emails, school supply lists, and sports calendars.  We are soliciting volunteers and rem ...

National Day of Prayer

On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States.  President Ronald Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer.  This Thursday, May 3rd, is the National Day of Prayer for 2018, and Gramercy Christian School will be holding a flagpole prayer ceremony at 8:00 AM to pray for our country, our leaders, our communities, our families, and our school.  We are told in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, who are called by my Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." At Gramercy, we fervently believe that our God is a God who hears and answers the prayers of His people!    In addition, GCS  student representatives will be in downtown Newport from 12:00 pm until 1:00 pm at the Newport Park ...

Why Christian Education? - Is it Really Worth the Money?

This is the time of year when parents begin considering school options, especially if their child's current school is not meeting their academic, emotional, social, or spiritual needs.  I am a big proponent of Christian education and honestly, it is because I am seeing the benefits of having been committed to this educational philosophy for many years now.  My eldest son will be a Senior in high school next year and has been in Christian school for every year of his education thus far.  I suppose if I did the math on how much his schooling has cost, I might put my head in my hands at least for a moment and think briefly about the mortgage I could have made a dent in, or the trips I could have taken,  or the boat I might be enjoying every weekend.  The truth, however, is that I have never regretted even one dollar we have spent on Christian education, and I believe it is one of the best decisions we ever made as a family.   I grew up in  Texas and went all through the p ...

Terra No... No... No... Va

After much ado and a few months late, Terra Nova scores went home with Lower School students yesterday and are available now for pick up in the GCS Office for Upper School.  As a teacher and administrator at Gramercy, I had the privilege of receiving all four of my children's scores yesterday afternoon and honestly, it was a rough evening and an even rougher morning at my house.  I blame Terra Nova and need to say something out loud.   Although test scores do teach us things about how we can improve teaching and learning at Gramercy and about the way our children's brains work, they do not define my children, nor do they rank my children as to which one is "smarter" or of more value to society.  In post-Terra Nova frustration, I spent my evening and morning trying to remind my children of this fundamental truth:  each one of them is fearfully and wonderfully made and God has a unique plan for each of their lives.  In His sovereignty, God has also designed and equipped their ...

God is Not Boring - Let's not be Either!

A frequent complaint among students is that school, or at least a particular subject in school, is boring.  I have heard these words in some fashion from the mouths of my own children on some occasions and honestly, it wounds me... because I love learning.  In fact, I've always loved learning.  I even love learning hard things, which is good since I have frequently had to learn things the hard way.  I once heard someone say, "the joy is in the knowing..." and I think there is some truth to that, at least in my life.  And although there is much less joy for me in say... a math lesson, when I watch our Upper School Math Lead Denise Story talk about math, I begin to understand what the word "gifted"really means.  Mrs. Story brings actual happiness to a subject that is oftentimes considered tedious at best and the students at Gramercy are better for having studied underneath her.  Personally, I am convinced that the defining quality of a great teacher is a sincere love for the ...

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