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Educating students to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ

Alyssa Hardy

"WCCS is where I first fell in love with art[...]It is such an honor now to teach my own students in the same classroom that I grew up in. It is my prayer that I can encourage a new generation of kids to worship God and grow to know Him personally through their study of art."

 

Position: Middle School & High School Visual Art; Inclusion Teacher

Degree: B.A. Visual Arts, Erskine College

What do you love most about WCCS?

WCCS is where I first fell in love with art. I had some great teachers throughout my time here as a K-12th grade student who encouraged me to explore my calling to praise God through visual expression. They saw my passion for drawing and paintings and allowed me to use this to learn throughout my other subjects too. It is such an honor now to teach my own students in the same classroom that I grew up in. It is my prayer that I can encourage a new generation of kids to worship God and grow to know Him personally through their study of art.

Why do you love teaching or working at WCCS?

I love getting to teach a wide range of ages, teach a curriculum that I have the freedom to develop based on faith, worship, and a love for the Great Creator, and having small class sizes which allow me to build genuine connections with the students. The teachers who had the greatest impact on my life as a WC student were the ones who intentionally cultivated a relationship with me. They took time to mentor me. Just like Jesus did for his disciples, they paid attention, listened, and did everything that people in a hurry forget to do. They really cared. Because I knew that they cared for me, they were able to fill my heart with truth. I love working in an environment that gives me that same opportunity to pay that back to my own students.

What is one word that best describes the school? Tell us why you chose that word.

Community. WC is a family of people walking beside each other through the daily ups and downs of trying to follow Christ in a broken world. Whether a teacher, student, mentor, or friend, we have this beautiful gift of a small community of people who share the same calling and love for the Lord. It is a blessing to serve, learn, and grow with these professionals and with these children who God has gifted us the chance to lead.

How do you believe WCCS prepares students for success in college and beyond?

Students at WC CS are blessed to have teachers who care about them as individuals with individual spiritual gifts. We are driven by the fact that we need to put in the extra time to help the students discover their unique gifts and callings. We aren't just trying to get them to the graduation stage, we are trying to get them to their Father. We aren't focused solely on getting them to the college classroom, we are trying to get them to the throne room. We don't desire that they learn their subjects well, test well, and get accepted into a great college. Those accomplishments are great, but they are nothing if the students don't leave with the knowledge of what their heavenly father did for them and what they are now called to do in return. Each academic endeavor should point them to the one who gave them a mind to learn so that they want in turn right back around and use those gifts to serve and praise their God. We were each made to glorify God and real worship happens when we are doing exactly what we were designed to do. WC helps students find that calling and grow in their desire to give those gifts back to work for the kingdom.

How is faith and learning integrated at WCCS?

It is my prayer to integrate faith and learning by not only teaching the students about art history and how to paint and draw, but to teach them that these talents and pursuits are only made full when they are used to glorify the Great Creator. Art can so easily become a means for self-expression but it only satisfies our desperate seeking when it is used to point others to their one true God. Christ is the source of all great beauty so it is my prayer to help the students learn to make something beautiful through their art by teaching them to start the work with a foundation of Him, and not themselves.

As a teacher, what is a unique experience, talent, or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students? For staff, how do you believe God has uniquely equipped you for your position here at WCCS?

I am a teacher and a working artist. I am pursuing my own calling of being an artist outside of the classroom by creating work daily, continuing my study of art history, and learning how to market and sell my own work.

Alyssa & Lucy
Alyssa Hardy with Lucy Kale.

Share a moment from your time here at WCCS that stands out as something you never want to forget.

This year I have had the opportunity to be an inclusion teacher on the lower campus and work with sweet Lucy Belle. Lucy has chromosomal deletion and is non-verbal. It has been a blessing to help her become a part of the mainstream classroom in hopes of helping her grow in her ability to build connections with her peers. She is the joy of first grade and is teaching all of her classmates how to love as the lord loves - with boldness and unconditionally. I adore seeing how the other children seek out ways every day to show their love to her and include her in their first grade family. The other day we were singing a worship song in class and one of her friends came over, rubbed her back for a moment and then took her hand to help her sway to the music. This tiny child felt a desire to include Lucy and all it took was to reach out and hold her hand while they praised our Lord together. When the first graders find new and creative ways to reach Lucy, and she responds with a big smile or giggle..well that is the true love of Christ unfolded. I pray that she will feel cherished by our community here and she will continue to help her peers grow in their acceptance of all of Gods children. She reminds me everyday to praise the Lord more for He is faithful indeed.