Delicately knitted together. Wonderfully complex. A marvelous workmanship. Formed and watched over by God in utter seclusion. Woven together. Every day of your life recorded before you were born. Every moment laid out before a single day had passed. We are honored to have shared in so many moments with the Class of 2020. We have seen your wonderful complexities and God’s marvelous design in each of you. As you celebrate the close of this chapter in your life, we want to share some of our memories with you. We aim to honor you, and we hope this blesses you as much as you all have blessed us over the years.
So many in this class are athletically gifted. Sixteen of you have played at least one varsity sport, and ten have been able to balance multiple sports in high school. You have given so much time and effort to our athletic program, and we have enjoyed watching you compete. Loren, you have been an excellent example of a student who takes advantage of all that this school has to offer. Not only have you excelled in multiple sports, you have also taken time to serve and lead your peers in a variety of ways. Dean, your swimming skills are incredible, and we have enjoyed hearing of all your accomplishments in the water. I think we can all agree that we’d like to have you around in case we start drowning. In all seriousness though, we hope that you will take that passion and drive with you in the future. Cortland, determined is not enough of a word to describe your character. You have been relentless on the basketball court over the years, and you have shown us what it looks like to persevere. We know that God can use these traits for your good and His glory.
As busy as our lives seem to be, there are some of you who remind us to slow down and enjoy what God has given to us. Preston, even though you try to hide your musical prowess, we still see glimpses of it. Whether you’re giving an impromptu concert in Vancouver or listening to the Beatles, you make us relax and smile. Let It Be is definitely your life’s theme song. Parker Inkelaar, there never seems to be a dull moment when you’re around. You make us laugh…even when we try our best not to…and your lovable personality reminds us to take ourselves less seriously and to have more fun. Corbin, although you’ve joined us for a short time as a senior, we still remember your time at WCCS fondly. Your laugh is infectious, and we know your peers have enjoyed having you around as you all close out this chapter of your lives.
Great leaders inspire those around them. They willingly serve others, just as Jesus did. Tanya, many of us have been blessed by your care and compassion. You lead by serving others, and you have impacted this school in a way that is not easily described. Thank you for showing us all the love of Christ. Parker Dhillon, it is easy to point out all of your leadership accomplishments over the years, particularly with Student Council; however, it is your unwavering commitment to the Warming Center that has left an impact on us. We are amazed by your willingness to serve the men in our community each and every week. John, you are an undeniable leader among your peers. Others look to you, and your charisma draws people in. We know that God will cultivate these gifts in you as you continue to lead and serve.
This Class has left a lasting impression in so many areas, including the fine arts. Reagan, you are a vocal leader in chorus. You have a good ear for music and a desire to get it right. You have been able to help younger students learn the music, and you do so with gentleness and patience. Abigail, your appreciation for music is astounding, and you have provided a quality sound for our chorus. Your voice brings energy to the group, and you are a great encourager to the rest of your peers. Adair, you have given so much to our theater program. You have played many wonderful characters throughout school, but it will be difficult to forget your performance as Juror #8. You reminded us of shifting perceptions and the importance of knowing a person’s full story. Nate, or should we say Edward? How can we pick just one great performance? You have consistently lived out your faith for Jesus, both on and off the stage. Thank you for showing us how to live a life that exemplifies Jesus, without judgment or pride. You have loved well.
Not only is your class able to perform athletically, in leadership and service, and as artists, you have shown diligence and perseverance in the classroom as well. CJ, you are a great thinker and a consistent academic; however, we also recognize your steady service at the therapeutic horse barn. You’ve reminded us to recognize and be quick to meet the needs of others, especially those who may not be able to help themselves. Justin, your humility in achievement is refreshing. You are one of the smartest young men we’ve known, yet you have never been one to flaunt your successes to others. You instead meet others where they are and help them to feel valued.
Embedded in all of these accomplishments is a great sense of kindness. You are quick to come together when someone needs help. Kyle, we really believe that you would give the shirt off your back if asked to. You are so quick to help others, and without questions or complaint. We will miss your caring and compassionate demeanor. Avery, you are a great listener, graciously accepting others and trying to understand who they really are. Thank you for jumping into this class with an open mind and for sharing your story with us. We are blessed to have spent this year with you. Logan, we count your shy grin as a gem. Your gentleness is rare and very necessary as we seek to love others well. You are a loyal friend, quick to show empathy and give support. JP, you are one of the kindest gentlemen we’ve ever known. You are valued and treasured, more than we can explain. Your ability to relate to others is an incredible gift, and it will open many doors for you to share Jesus’ love. Thank you for encouraging us.
As much as we recognize your beauty, God sees you most clearly. He has examined your heart and knows everything about you. He knows when you sit down and when you stand up. He knows your thoughts, even when you’re far away. He sees you when you travel and when you rest at home. He goes before you and follows after you. As you leave Westminster, we pray that you will remember your time fondly and hold fast to the truth of God’s Word. Keep in your memory that God’s thoughts for you are precious and cannot be numbered. May God’s hand of blessing be upon each of you. We love you, Class of 2020, but God loves you more. He sees you perfectly, and that’s what we’d call 20/20 vision.
It’s said that absence makes the heart grow fonder! Hearts were bursting with love as faculty and staff brought JOY to families and students at the WCCS community parade hosted on Friday, May 1 at the Upper School campus.
The parade was such a fun way to engage with families one more time as a whole school and to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord” for his provision during this time. School spirit was on full display as families and teachers expressed their love and appreciation for each other!
Early Childhood teacher and WCCS parent, Monica Monigold, shared “my mom heart and teacher heart are bursting with emotions. I am blessed to be a part of an amazing work and school community. We miss being together so much, but are incredibly thankful to still connect and do fun things to finish the year strong. It isn’t the classroom, but it is so much more. It is precious memories I will forever hold in my heart.”
It did our hearts so much good to see our WCCS families and faculty and staff at the WCCS parade! Thank you to everyone who made this possible and helped us maintain proper social distancing guidelines. We loved seeing your smiling faces and school spirit!
When teachers and administrators met over a month ago to devise a short term plan for the Christian education of your children to continue in an online format, it was certainly not our desire for this to be the reality for the remainder of the school year. While our hearts are breaking for the in-person fellowship that comes with learning and teaching alongside one another - not to mention the realization that some of our most loved celebrations and programs, like our beloved spring musical, lower and upper school concerts and art shows, and of course, graduation, have been put on hold - we stand AMAZED for what God is continuing to do through our teachers and students. Online learning projects have stretched us creatively and encouraged us all, teachers and students alike, to think outside the box and the four walls of a typical classroom. While this transition may not be an easy one, our WCCS community stands together. What a blessing it is for our teachers to be able to use technology to ensure our students finish the academic school year strong and prepared for 2020-2021, while also providing the spiritual guidance needed to get them through this tough time.
We thought we would give just a few highlights of some fun and creative learning projects that have been taking place in the last couple of weeks. Be sure to also check out our #blessingourworld posts on Facebook and Instagram for a look into how our students have been serving each other and their community lately!
Early Childhood Students Learning Colors, ABCs, & More Online!
Our Early Childhood team has been working hard from the start of our online transition to develop age-appropriate activities and lesson plans for our "littles" to continue their learning and skill building at home. Weekly ZOOM meetings, video posts from teachers, and the creation of class Facebook groups has helped maintain a sense of community and "normalcy" as students and teachers have the opportunity to see each other, catch up, practice skills, sing songs together, and share at home projects with one another. We have been amazed and thank God for the partnership that has grown between teachers and parents over the course of these few weeks.
Elementary Students Find Ways to Serve Others and Explore Nature!
One of our favorite elementary projects this past week has been our 5th grade service learning activity of blessing the community around them. Students have outstretched their hearts and efforts to their neighbors, family, friends, essential workers, and more by making goody bags, sending encouraging notes and Bible verses, making humorous gifts, and finding other special ways of serving from a distance. Lower school students have also had the chance to explore the world around them in their own backyards with siblings and parents, making fun art projects out of things in nature, and learning hands-on science activities. ZOOM calls with teachers and fellow class mates have been filled with lots of laughter, smiling faces, and guidance as teachers and students continue to support each other academically and spiritually through technology.
Middle School Students Stretch Their Brains!
Our middle schoolers have been learning about the advantages of using simple machines to help with work. They created their own books about the topic and made videos to share their work with fellow classmates! Check this out!
Some of our other middle school students have been making documentaries. One of our students even used a drone to make his video! So cool! In Life Science, students have been learning about the senses and the nervous system. They created their own optical illusion this week and talked about how sometimes, our senses can be fooled!
High Schoolers Get Creative While They Are At Home!
Our high schoolers have really stepped up to the plate, showing us some of their best work while they have been away! Did you catch the art project below on our social media? So creative!
Some of Hali Christopher's theatre students chose from famous pieces of artwork and created an audible soundscape to hear the mood that the visual art preview represented. Check it out!
Chemistry experiments are still going strong at home! Check out this cool experiment that Mrs. Lisa Gold's students completed at home with an egg. It's called the "rubber egg experiment". It's about the chemical reaction between calcium carbonate (the egg shell) and acetic acid (vinegar). It resulted in calcium acetate, water, and carbon dioxide. Then, they learned about osmosis by putting the naked egg into water and watching it get much larger and heavier. Finally, they put the expanded egg in corn syrup and watched it shrivel.
Mrs. Jennifer Lindemann's English student, Mabry Connelly, has been making a mock epic movie advertisement modeled after 17th century British Literature during our online learning time at home. Check it out!
Spanish students are showing off their creativity at home with some unique learning projects created by teacher, Mrs. Anne McKeown. Some students created their own restaurant menus, and others created story characters, labeled them, and wrote stories to help them learn spanish vocabulary!
What a unique time this is for our school community. We are amazed at what our teachers and students have been able to accomplish at home, and we pray that through these unusual circumstances, your families are still holding to the truth that the Lord is GOOD. We continue to be here to instruct, encourage, and pray for you all and look forward to being together again soon!
We have heard from so many of you this week as both our teachers and our students have worked hard to adjust to the challenges and blessings of our transition to online learning. We wanted to share with you some words of encouragement that we have received and also say THANK YOU to our WCCS community as we continue to lean on one another to adapt, to teach, and to love one another well. We are praying for each of our families during this season! You gave thanks for:
The Efforts of Teachers, Administration & Staff:
"Your teachers are doing an amazing job!! My child misses his teachers and classmates tremendously but the interaction provided through videos and Facebook has been wonderful. Thank you so much."
"I am absolutely amazed that within less than a week the software was in place, students picked up their needed supplies, classes had an opportunity to meet online, and everything was in place to start online school. Third graders not only have lesson plans in place but also links to a number of sites for extra help/practice when needed. Teachers have made themselves easily available to help students and families through all of this. This had to have taken MANY hours of work on the part of the administration and teachers of WCCS. Just another example of the love and dedication the folks at WCCS have for their students and families. How blessed our family is to be a part of such a wonderful organization!"
“I have been blown away by the amount of work, care, organization, and effort the teachers have put forth for my children during the transition to online learning. I have no doubt that my children are cared for and loved wholeheartedly, even in this new virtual learning environment”
"Just a quick note to commend you and your team on the great job navigating our current situation."
"Great things are happening during this difficult time. Way to go ya’ll!"
Continuing to Integrate Faith Into Online Learning:
“I can’t fully explain what it means to overhear my daughter’s zoom meetings end with prayer and “I love you guys’ from a teacher."
"Thank you for the many days and very late nights you have so tirelessly given to our children in preparation for online learning. Without hesitation, you have found ways to reach the minds and hearts of our children, your school babies, in record time. We recognize that this new situation will be a challenge for everyone. As parents, we will partner together with you in prayer and understanding. We see you! We appreciate you! We thank you!"
Maintaining a Sense of Community:
"My child was THRILLED to see Mrs. Thickens and Mrs. Ferguson on a video! He waved at them. Almost made me cry. He misses them so. He also loved hearing Mrs. Ferguson's voice on the phone."
"I’m so happy for online learning, you could hear the joy in my child's voice getting to talk to her friends! Thanks to all the teachers who have worked hard to get all of this in place."
“I’ve enjoyed connecting “virtually” with students and their families as we look to the future. Even though things are different right now, I’m so blessed to work at a school where our families are still top priority, and we have the tools to help students be successful and feel valued.”
"Thanks for checking in with us! Considering the circumstances, we are doing really well. We have been enjoying some much-needed time together and the slow down of life. The teachers have been WONDERFUL! They have posted videos, pictures, learning/fun ideas almost daily. I am excited that our teacher has also set up a Zoom meeting today for the class- I know my child will love seeing her face. We definitely miss seeing everyone at school but have definitely felt their support and love during this time away."
"So grateful for technology that lets my child stay connected and have a little more normalcy during this not so normal time. She loved chatting with her friends and teacher."
Continued Academic Excellence:
"I cannot thank God enough for this opportunity to attend school at WCCS! It’s been a blessing and it’s times like these that I see around me how WCCS stands far above the rest!"
"The resources are fantastic, and we love the videos our student's teacher has created."
"I love to sing the praises of my child's Early Childhood teachers. They are so wonderful and check in with the parents. They send ideas and songs for their students to “work” on—as much as any 1-2 year old could do—but it is wonderful all the same.
"As a SEEK teacher, I have been a bit discouraged during these past two weeks. Like most teachers, I get my energy from the students. Then, I got two emails from parents that really brightened my day. First of all, the third quarter for all our gifted students is an independent study project. They can study anything they want for nine weeks. Then, they present what they have found in a product of research for his or her classmates. I have books, papers, posters, demonstrations, and PowerPoints. Well, two days ago, I had a parent tell me that her child decided to continue her research on Iceland at home. She is working on a new PowerPoint with additional information. If that was not enough, I had another parent email me that her child was working on a PowerPoint about SEEK. It tells why lower school students should join seek. It was great to see what she has been getting out of this class. Every time I have gotten down in the last 24 hours I think about these PowerPoints. You know you have gifted students when independent study is the height of their year. I always tell them that a student who masters independent study is never bored."
To all of our parents, students, teachers, and staff....KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK! We are fully aware of both the blessings and challenges of online learning, but we are absolutely committed to seeing our community thrive in the days ahead. As an administration, we will continue to review your feedback and make adjustments as needed as we journey through this together. Thank you for your partnership in the Christian education of your children! We appreciate YOU.
Prepared to Change the World - Update from Lane Christopher, Class of 2014 JSM Scholarship Recipient
For this week's blog, we checked in with Lane Christopher, Class of 2014, the recipient of our James Scott Morgan Scholarship last year. Read on to find out how she used the scholarship to help fund a unique educational experience abroad! She also shares more of her plans for the future, and how she feels WCCS has prepared her to fulfill Christ's calling in her life!
Hey y’all! I am Lane Christopher, an alumna of WCCS from the class of 2014, and what they call a “lifer”. I earned my undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina in Political Science with a minor in Theater. Now, I am in my first semester of my second year at University of South Carolina School of Law to earn my J.D. I have so many interests, but healthcare and policy litigation remain at the forefront. For my senior writing project, I am researching comparative healthcare law between Europe and the United States, specifically the issues of federalism associated with healthcare. If I become a healthcare law expert, I could assist in writing effective legislation to ensure the health and safety of this nation. By helping people gain coverage so they are protected when they need it most, I hope to further Christ’s mission. Christ was a warrior and a defender of those who could not help themselves, and I think as a lawyer I should use my degree to help others as often as I can.
Last spring, I had an amazing opportunity to spend a Maymester in London, studying English legal history and comparative environmental law. The course happened right in the midst of Brexit, so I was at the center of the policy changes during the transition. We met with figureheads in various fields of English legal policy, as well as political experts who lectured on how Brexit is affecting environmental policy. I learned so much from this educational experience, and WCCS helped make this possible. To help offset the costs of the program, I was awarded the J. Scott Morgan Scholarship from WCCS, named in memory of a cherished alumni parent who believed in the importance of preparing well for one’s calling in life. This $1,000 scholarship was established by his family and is awarded annually to a young alumnus to help fund an internship, travel/study program, research opportunity, or like-minded experience that helps a graduate better determine the career or calling God has for his or her life.
WCCS was such a blessing in my life, and I barely know where to start. The first time I experienced the power of this community bound together by Christ was in first grade. I had reconstructive brain surgery that year, and I was so young I barely remember being in the hospital. What I do remember is the visitors at home while I was on bedrest and my teacher, Mrs. Adkins, coming to help me stay on track in school and to help my mom get some sleep. Oddly enough, the next year I came down with a severe pneumonia that caused a fluid cyst to build up in my lung. I remember my second grade teacher, Mrs. Watts, teaching me math at my kitchen table while I had to stay home. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was a situation very unique to WCCS, and had I been at another school, I could have easily been held back. These women took time away from their families to ensure my academic and personal success, not because they were told to, but because they wanted to show Christ’s love to me and my family.
Throughout the years, I was loved by so many teachers, students, and staff, but Ms. Regier definitely impacted my life the most. She was my AP U.S. History and Government/Economics teacher and is part of the reason I am in law school today. If you know her, you know she is definitely one of the most challenging teachers at WCCS. But, she is not tough in an arbitrary and undeserving way; she is tough because she expects you to show up to class prepared and ready to analyze what you have learned. She is tough because she expects the best work out of her students. She is tough because she works to ensure the success of every single student that passes through her classroom. She is tough because she relentlessly spreads the love of Christ through teaching, motivating, and nurturing students. She prepared me for law school by showing me how to be an excellent student, but also by showing me how to love others, helping them work hard to reach their goals.
I continue to struggle with migraines throughout my life, and especially did during my junior and senior years of high school. Ms. Regier learned how to read me and paid attention to my mood, and when I started falling apart, she would always help me any way she could. She would turn the lights off in class, make sure I had medicine, let me rest my head, and help me catch up if I had to go home. Moreover, she still to this day asks me about my health and tells me that she prays for my pain to remain manageable and minimal. I have never met a more genuine Christ-like woman, who deeply cares for and speaks truth to everyone she meets. I could never thank her enough for the many recommendation letters, the words of wisdom, the prayers, and the assistance she has given me over the years. There is a special place in everyone’s heart for their favorite teacher, and I am glad Ms. Regier fills that space in mine.
Thank you, Ms. Regier and WCCS for all of the love over the years. I never realized how important it was to be surrounded by people who love Christ, until I graduated and had to choose those people for myself. I am so proud to be a “lifer”, and I will always work to make my WCCS family proud.
This week's blog comes from former WCCS Board Member, Lora Holladay, as she reflects on how a Christ-centered WCCS education has been a blessing to her family and prepared her son not just academically and professionally, but also spiritually for life after graduation.
As parents, we often think our main job (academically) is to prepare our kids to get into the best colleges, make achievements along the way, and basically teach them how to be successful in this life. And, while of course those are incredible aspirational goals, I don’t feel those go quite far enough to describe both the value and the blessing of Christian Education.
When I reflect back upon our family’s experience at Westminster Catawba Christian School, I am grateful for both the academic preparation for fulfilling God’s purpose in our son Spencer’s life after high school, and the absolute joy that comes with knowing your child is walking in God’s truth for all eternity.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
I recall partnerships with teachers who were experts in their field, giving our son the foundation he needed to succeed. Teachers teach, it’s what they do. They are trained to relay information, to help students learn and subsequently advance to the next level. Although these things are true, what we experienced at WCCS were teachers who were both encouragers and mentors. They were incredible Christian witnesses who poured grace into our son’s life. I absolutely love that whether you asked him in elementary, middle, or high school who his favorite teacher was, he always said…"my Bible teacher.”
I am thankful for experiences where our son was taught early on to answer God’s call for his life. The mission of the school is to further God’s Kingdom by blessing our world as disciples of Christ. The school gave him the opportunity to explore how he could make an outward impact while keeping his inward focus on discipleship. What an extraordinary gift it is as a parent to know your child is not only learning, but also leaning upon “the peace that surpasses all understanding” as they navigate the ups and downs of life.
Lastly, I am grateful for the opportunities our son had to look at the world through a biblical perspective, recognize injustice, and demonstrate Christ’s love to others. He was encouraged to go out and serve as Christ served. One of the greatest memories I had as a parent volunteer was an instance where a group of students went to a local homeless shelter to volunteer and what they encountered was a frazzled staff member, an overwhelming number of clients, and need that was far greater than a group of students could meet. Instinctively, one of the students took the staff member by the hand and said, “can we pray before we get started?” So, as the group formed a prayer circle in the middle of the room, the tension started to melt away, clients joined in by bowing their heads and the right tone was set. You could feel Christ’s presence enter the room. I was so touched as I realized it was these students who had brought Him along. Praise Be to God!
You see, the true blessing of Christian Education is both an exceptional education and (the “AND” is the thing here) …. a Kingdom focus that teaches our children the eternal lesson of having a close personal relationship with God and enjoying Him forever.
Spencer did well on his entrance exams and is now enrolled at Winthrop University. He was prepared for both life after high school and for life everlasting. What could be better than that? WCCS is truly an "education to believe in."
Mrs. Ashley Sapp serves as our College & Career Counselor for grades 6-12. Starting as early as middle school, Mrs. Sapp provides ongoing support to students as they navigate through school and make plans for life beyond graduation. Support is offered in a variety of ways, including individual meetings with students and families, parent nights throughout the year, leadership, job shadowing, and service opportunities, college visits, standardized testing, and career inventories and assessments. For this week’s blog, we thought we would have Mrs. Sapp speak from her expertise and share a few thoughts about how students can make the most of their high school experience as they look towards the future in which God has uniquely called them.
As the College & Career Counselor at WCCS, I have witnessed first-hand that success in high school means so much more than just getting a high GPA, passing the right tests, and playing on all the right athletic teams. I have also seen that success looks different for each individual student. It’s about finding that unique path, specifically designed for you, by God. It’s my desire that every one of our students at WCCS would do just that. I pray that first and foremost, they would accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, and from there, to grow as His disciples in order to glorify Him and bless the world in which we all live. For some, this might mean going to a four-year college or university. For others, it might mean entering the workforce, military, or mission field. Equipped with the right tools, the high school experience is a great opportunity for students to discover and begin using their God-given talents and gifts. Below are a few practical tips for success after graduation:
TIPS from Mrs. Sapp on how to make the most of your high school experience:
Explore your gifts/talents as you seek God’s call on your life.
You can do this through your academic courses and electives, clubs/organizations, serving in the community, and using resources from the College & Career Office. WCCS has over 50 high school course offerings, including 20 different high school electives. Students also have access to 20 athletic teams and a variety of service, travel, and club opportunities. Discovering your God-given passions and gifts might require you to get out of your comfort zone a little and try new things, seek out job shadowing and service opportunities on your own, or put some effort into defining your strengths and weaknesses. Continue pursuing personal growth and the Lord’s plan for your life, and I assure you it will lead to both academic success as well as personal fulfillment.
Perform to the BEST of your ability in everything, both in and out of the classroom.
Understand that each person’s BEST is different, and there is a future plan that connects with your gifts/talents and accomplishments. Along with this, you must be willing to accept and celebrate the “No.” As you explore that in which God is calling you, whether that be a college/university, a scholarship, leadership opportunity, etc., you will encounter moments in which you are told “No.” You must see this as God closing the door to one thing in order to bless you with a better thing. “Celebrating the No” is an essential part of taking risks and courageously following Jesus.
Communicate often with the faculty/staff at WCCS and take advantage of mentorship opportunities.
Asking questions is essential as you navigate through school and consider your plans for the future. As the College & Career Counselor, it is my job to provide intentional, guided planning for students as they research options and look towards future goals and plans. It’s a privilege for me to partner with families and students in this way, and I look forward to the individual meetings and conversations that I’m able to have with students as they dream about the opportunities ahead. Furthermore, throughout my years at WCCS, I have seen how the faculty and staff strive to make a personal investment in the lives of students, and I encourage you to embrace these moments of being surrounded by a community of supportive, Godly mentors.
I love hearing how former WCCS students are thriving and serving the Lord in so many different fields, occupations, and amazing locations. Below are a few recent WCCS graduates who have taken their knowledge and gifts/talents beyond high school. I have seen the Lord work in the lives of not only these students, but so many others - directing each of them to a unique calling in which they can impact the world around them, and I’m so proud of them all.
Baxley Crippen – Class of 2019
After graduation, Baxley Crippen took a gap year to participate in the National Outdoor Leadership School where she trained in outdoor rescue missions. For the second half of her gap year, she is serving in Mexico and plans to attend college afterwards.
“I believe that because of the guidance and love that was given to me during my years at WCCS, I learned who I am and who I want to become. My time at Westminster showed me what I am gifted at, and what I would excel in. My plans beyond college are to help the world in whatever way I can. I want to make a difference in God’s name.”
Travis Howell – Class of 2019
While at WCCS, Travis began an internship during his junior year that sparked his interest in the field of diesel mechanics and heavy equipment repair. He was recently accepted into the Caterpillar Diesel Mechanic Program at Florence Darlington Technical College. He obtained one of only ten sponsorship spots through Blanchard Caterpillar after completing the required testing to be accepted into the program!
Kara Hill – Class of 2018
Kara was recently admitted to the Bachelor of Science Program at Charleston Southern University and plans to pursue her Master’s in nursing or possibly a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant program, afterwards. She believes the Lord may be leading her to focus on pediatrics or labor & delivery, and looks forward to her clinical rotations to help her with this decision.
When asked how she feels WCCS has prepared her for her future, Kara responded, “Learning in a Christian environment has been a huge blessing because of the different perspective that it brought to the table. At WCCS, we always looked at worldly events with a Christian perspective. I believe my time at WCCS helped me not only grow stronger in my faith, but taught me how to defend and share my faith. In the future, I believe it will be easy to share my faith with patients because of my time at WCCS.” Her mom, Lucy Hill, believes Kara has been able to excel after graduation not only because of the high academic standards set before her at WCCS, but because she was prepared spiritually to know that everything done in life is for God’s glory. “Charleston Southern University’s mission statement includes ‘integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.’ WCCS has helped prepare Kara in this way as well.”
These are just a few examples of how our WCCS graduates are taking their gifts and talents into the real world to bless others!
For those who are transitioning into high school, it can be such an exciting time in the lives of students and their families. I’d like to invite you to join us on Monday, January 27, for our Rising 9th Grade Parent Night at 6:30 p.m. in the Upper School Chapel! You’ll gain practical information to help you and your student navigate through the high school experience and prepare to make plans for after graduation. We’ll talk more in depth about what kind of support WCCS offers to help students discover their individual callings, what class choices will best prepare students for success after graduation, and how our schedule uniquely accommodates the needs of high school students. I hope you’ll join us. To RSVP, contact Jane Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Milt Uecker serves as our Lower School Instructional Coach. He provides ongoing staff development and assistance to WCCS teachers and administration in fulfilling a classroom in which students learn to think, problem solve, develop a love for learning and prepare to discover God's purpose for their lives in a modern world. Dr. Uecker has an Ed.D in Elementary Education and Administration from the University of Virginia. Previously, he has served as the Director of the Early Childhood Program at Regent University and Professor of Early Childhood at Columbia International University. He also served as the Dean of the College of Education and the Dean of the Graduate School at CIU. Bringing a high level of expertise to the conversation, for this week's blog, we thought we would have him briefly share his thoughts about what parents should be looking for in a quality Kindergarten program as they investigate options for their children.
A former colleague of mine at Regent University used to say, “We can “program” a child to excel in anything through repeated experience, but it is always at the cost of something else.” The classic example is creativity. No one argues with the fact that little children are creative and yet research has shown that by the second grade creativity seems to wane. Why? Because often in the conventional classroom, creativity is replaced with seeking after one “right” answer, and inventiveness is replaced with “Teacher, what do you want?” Academic and professional success is and will increasingly be dependent on the ability to think, communicate, solve problems, and persevere. In the near future, our children will be solving problems and working in careers that currently don’t even exist. Therefore, we must engage them in an early education that regularly provides these types of experiences.
The ability to create, think and problem solve are viewed as essential 21st century skills, and yet, these skills are often devalued within classrooms where rote recall, one right answer, and drill and practice take center stage. The brain is shaped through experiences, and the brain that “goes to school” is hardwired and in place by the age of five. If creativity is to blossom, then opportunities to be creative must abound. If communication skills are to be developed, then classrooms must provide new experiences that require thinking and the expression of thought through oral communication. In other words, curiosity, engagement, and thinking must be encouraged and practiced. As image-bearers of Christ, all children have potential in these areas, but without encouragement and use during the critical preschool years, children are likely to fall short of their full potential.
At Westminster Catawba Christian School, our developmental approach to learning centers on the education of the whole child—mental, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Every aspect of the child is viewed as equally important. From the perspective of a biblical worldview, the ability to create, communicate, and solve problems is part of the child’s very nature. These cognitive attributes reflect what it means to be made in the image of God. Additionally, a developmental education values the dimensions of cognitive development that extend beyond merely knowing.
At WCCS, our Early Childhood program is both developmentally appropriate and provides experiences that lay the foundation for future success. As we continue to work together, let us continue to enable children to “keep on increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.” (Luke 2:52)
In this week's blog, WCCS School Chaplain, Jake Tassy, has a special invitation to WCCS families, students, and friends to join us over Christmas break in preparing our hearts for our spiritual emphasis week, REFUEL! There is also an opportunity for you to help us bless our local community! Check it out below!
I love Christmas traditions. Each year, my wife Katie and I get our kids an ornament marking something that either happened or was symbolic of their year. The ornaments have ranged from silly to serious but are always a reminder and an opportunity to reflect on God’s constant presence in our family’s life. One year, we had bats in our attic – right above my daughter’s room! We found out that bats are a protected species and we had to wait for them to finish nesting and naturally leave the attic by a one-way tube put in by our exterminator. As you can imagine, hearing baby bats practicing their take-offs and landings on the attic floor was a fun bedtime ordeal! We eventually got the hole closed after about 3 months. Guess what ornament my daughter received that year? Yep, a bat! I wanted it to serve as a silly reminder to her that God protected her and calmed her fears while those bats were partying above her head. My kiddos are close to the age that when they end up spreading their own wings and leaving the house, they can take all of their ornaments with them. We are almost there with our first child. Time flies.
Our spiritual emphasis week, REFUEL, will be Wednesday, January 8 – Friday, January 10 when we return from Christmas break. Much like my giving of different ornaments to my children, my hope is that when we do events like these, it will cause a spiritual Ebenezer, or sign post – an ornament in the lives of our students that they will always remember. I invite you to join us during these 3 days and to begin praying right now that hearts will be impacted and lasting change created in the lives of our students. UPWARD. INWARD.ONWARD is the Refuel moto again this year. WPC Worship Director, Ryan Thomas, will be leading us UPWARD in worship. Lead Pastor, Joe Davis from Grace Life in Sarasota, FL will be providing INWARD teaching using the story of David as well as his own personal testimony. He will be discussing the connection between repentance, confession, and closeness to Jesus. In addition, for the ONWARD portion of Refuel week, the Upper School will be holding a food drive for the Catawba Terrace Care Center and the Lower School will be collecting items for the Salvation Army Warming Center. I invite you all to bring in as many nonperishable goods as possible so we can reach out and bless some families in the local community. You can click on the links below for a list of needed items.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas as we are reminded that HE HAS COME (& will return again)! In the hustle and bustle of life, may we find complete JOY THAT He did come. Phil. 2:2 says “…then make my joy complete by being one mind, having the same love, being united in spirit and purpose.” To that end, please join me in prayer and expectation for Jesus to show up during Refuel week!
At Westminster Catawba Christian School, we are so thankful for each and every one of our families, students, faculty and staff, alumni, and friends for a community in which we can lift up and glorify the name of Jesus Christ each and every day as we seek to educate our students in a way that honors Him. For this week's blog, we have teamed up with our Upper School Digital Multimedia students to create a video expressing our gratitude for your support! Check it out below!
As we approach a season of gratitude and gift-giving this year, we encourage you to consider being a part of our Annual Generosity Campaign. Every school tells a story, intended or not, and we want to continue to tell the better story. We invite you to be an important part of telling that better story. Your donation to the Annual Generosity Campaign will help impact learning by providing up-to-date technology, athletic equipment, facilities improvements, and so many other enhancements to your child’s learning. And as your child’s education is enhanced, he or she is better equipped to serve the King. And serving the King impacts lives for eternity. Your gift becomes a story in these children’s lives. It’s a gift that lasts forever.
Check out this week's blog from WCCS Director of Development, Lisa Barlow, as she shares how YOU can be a part of a great story and impact lives for Eternity!
As the holiday season approaches, our thoughts naturally turn towards Christmas and gift-giving. I often thumb through the multitude of gift catalogs out of curiosity and a vague hope that, buried somewhere deep inside, will be that ONE PERFECT GIFT to give someone this year… If only I could find it.
It pleases us, just like it pleases the Father, to give good things, things that will be cherished.
What if we could give a gift this year that would last forever?
Is that not an intriguing idea? To give a gift that would impact lives for all eternity?
At WCCS, we talk a lot about “our story.” As a Christian school, we get to “tell a better story.” We tell the mega-story of how we serve a Lord Who would rather die than live without us. And within that mega-story lie hundreds of smaller but hugely significant stories of relationships redeemed, nature restored, and culture impacted. Using excellent academics, arts, and athletics as platforms, teachers and coaches work intentionally to create frameworks of understanding by which our students can make sense of the world, and then work within God’s master plan of redemption in order to tell that better story.
As an example, there is a biblical mandate to have dominion over the earth. How do we discover things about the earth over which we are to have dominion? Through science. And what is the language of science? Math. And how do we communicate what we’ve learned? Through language arts. Nothing is ever random or irrelevant with God, so nothing is ever random or irrelevant with Christian education.
Our teachers work diligently to ensure that students never wonder, “why do I have to learn this, anyway?” But this takes resources, and in order to do it with excellence, it takes more resources than what is provided by tuition dollars.
Every school tells a story, intended or not. We want to continue to tell the better story. And we invite you to be an important part of telling that better story. Your donation to the Annual Generosity Campaign will help impact learning by providing up-to-date technology, athletic equipment, facilities improvements, and so many other enhancements to your child’s learning. And as your child’s education is enhanced, he or she is better equipped to serve the King. And serving the King impacts lives for eternity. Your gift becomes a story in these children’s lives. It’s a gift that lasts forever.
By now, you will have received an Annual Generosity Campaign invitation in the mail. I invite you to join with us in providing the very best experiences for your student so that he or she goes forth to make a name for Jesus Christ. We invite you to help us tell the better story. Won’t you consider partnering with us by participating in this year’s Annual Generosity Campaign? It’s a gift that lasts forever.
Looking forward to our Lower School Grandparents Day on November 1 and our Upper School Grandparents, Veterans, and First Responders Chapel on November 11 - we have asked Kay Robinson, WCCS grandparent, board member, and former teacher to share a few words of encouragement and wisdom to parents on this week's blog!
Oftentimes, folks equate age with wisdom, and although I am not entirely sure that is always the case, there are a few nuggets of “wisdom” that I would like to share with WCCS parents from my perspective as a grandparent. Here are a few thoughts that I pray will guide you as Christian parents as you seek to disciple your children.
Each child is unique and special. I know you have heard this before; grandparents aren’t the only ones who understand this. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world’s view of how your child should be performing at school, on the athletic team, how many extra-curricular activities they should be involved in to get into that “perfect” college – the list goes on. Oftentimes, in doing so, we end up overloading our family’s schedule and forget to ask the question, “What is God’s will for my child’s life?” Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God has designed each one of your children to know and love Him as special individuals with an entirely unique purpose for His Kingdom. I would challenge you as parents to give them as many opportunities in a variety of settings to discover what their God-given talents are. This may require you to go against the grain of the world in which we live, or perhaps to let go of some of your own expectations. Your child may not be a star athlete or receive a perfect SAT score, but rest easy! He has a plan, and it’s a GOOD one. Encourage your children to move forward in whatever dream the Lord has placed in their heart, with confidence and knowledge that He will direct their steps. Also, mom and dad - know that we as grandparents are on your side to guide your child to be exactly what God wants them to be. It gives me such joy as a grandparent to be involved of the lives of my own grandchildren!
You are still the most important people in your child’s life. While it’s true that the world has a lot of influence in your child’s life, research has shown that parents are still the number one influencer. Isn’t that great news? The most important thing you can do for your child is to live your life in a way that imparts the love of Christ to them. There is simply no greater advantage that you can give. Your children are watching your daily walk with Christ, looking to see if it lines up with your “talk”. How are you demonstrating that your faith is something that is real and relevant to everyday life? What they see in you will shape their lives for eternity.
I encourage you to partner with Westminster Catawba Christian School in the raising of your children. As a WCCS grandparent, former WCCS teacher, and board member, I can tell you from experience that it is our desire that each one of our students know Him by studying, believing, and living out the Scripture as disciples of Jesus Christ. What an incredible resource for mothers and fathers to have as you journey through parenthood!
I look forward to seeing all of you at our Lower School Grandparents Day on Friday, November 1 and/or our Upper School Grandparents and Veterans Day on Monday, November 11. Don’t forget to rsvp your student’s grandparents for a great morning of fellowship if you haven’t already! You can send those rsvps to Lisa Barlow at email@example.com. I hope to see you there!
In honor of Pastors' Appreciation Month, and leading up to our Pastors' Appreciation Chapel on Tuesday, October 15 at the Lower School, we have invited Mike Honeycutt, Senior Pastor of our partner ministry, Westminster Presbyterian Church, to share with us a few words on the importance of the Church in your student's life.
Growing up in the sixties, I had no clue there was anything other than public school. My parents went to public school; they in turn sent my sisters and me to public school. And I doubt there was any discussion about that—it’s just what you did where we grew up.
By the time our children came along, however, my wife, Judy, and I were presented with options for educating our children that our parents didn’t have. And we took advantage of most of them—at times homeschooling, at other times, public schooling, and for a good bit of our children’s early years, Christian schooling. We even considered the local private school for our middle child. Each year for each child, we sought to make the best choice based on their individual needs and the education options available to us.
If life were as it was meant to be, however (think pre-fall conditions), all education would be distinctively and thoroughly Christian. Parents would teach their children what it looks like to love God as they demonstrate that love in the home (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). And the school would support that effort, adding breadth and depth to the endeavor as each field of study becomes a way to communicate something about God’s world, God’s character, and God’s ways.
As important as the home and school are to the education of our children, however, neither can take the place of the Church. The Bible never describes the home or the school as the family of God. That designation is reserved for the Church. The ability to speak of God as our Father, Jesus as our brother, and us as God’s adopted children, is reserved for those who are part of God’s family, which is His Church.
"As important as the home and school are to the education of our children, however, neither can take the place of the church."
If that sounds like a sales pitch for the Church, it is. Why? Because it is to the Church that God has entrusted the gospel of Jesus Christ, which brings about new life in Christ; it is to the Church that God has given the sacraments (baptism and communion) which nourish and confirm that new life; and it is to the Church that God has provided brothers and sisters who help us experience more and more of that new life (“our sanctification,” as one person put it, “is a community project”).
So, if you don’t already have a Church home, please find one. Get involved in a congregation close enough to home that you can regularly participate in its ministries. And if Westminster Presbyterian Church is close by, we’d love for you to try us out. You’ll find us a family that increasingly recognizes our shortcomings but, at the same time, a family that wants to become like the Christ we follow.
If you would like more information on our partner ministry, Westminster Presbyterian Church, or their worship services, please visit the link below! Also, if you haven't already rsvp'd your own Pastor to our lower school Pastor Appreciation Chapel, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For this week’s blog, we are sharing a reflection from Kirsten Jolly, WCCS Salutatorian from the Class of 2019. Kirsten was a 4 star thespian, honor graduate, Palmetto Fellow Scholarship recipient, and was accepted to 7 universities. Kirsten is attending Clemson University with the plan to major in English. Recently, she called her mom, Tamara Jolly, to thank her for investing in her Christian education at WCCS. Check out her thoughts about why she believes her time at WCCS was so invaluable!
College is hard. But I cannot imagine how much harder it would be without all thirteen years of love and support from Westminster Catawba Christian School behind me. The Christ-centered education I received at WCCS is truly one of my most treasured possessions. As I reflect on the many ways I am thankful for my time at WCCS, I have become particularly aware of the following ways the WCCS faculty, staff, and community have shaped my readiness for life beyond high school:
I definitely feel more adequately prepared for college academics by my time at WCCS. One of the main ways that I was challenged throughout high school was through the emphasis on critical thinking. The teachers at WCCS really helped me learn how to think for myself and logically work through problems, forming my own ideas and opinions on the subject matter. I have seen how important this skill is to my college professors, so this has been a super helpful connection.
Ongoing Support from WCCS Faculty & Staff
Without a doubt, the WCCS faculty and staff go above and beyond what is ultimately required of them to support and guide each student. I believe the small learning environment benefited me in so many ways. Besides offering extra help during their own time and working hard to help students understand the academic material, teachers at WCCS invest in each child as a person. They care about you forever. Today, as a college student, I still have a close relationship with many of my WCCS teachers and talk to them often when I need help or maybe even when I am just feeling down. I could never count the number of after school chats or moments of prayer that I shared with my teachers while I was still a student, and it is a huge comfort knowing that my classmates and I still have that ongoing love and support.
Perhaps most importantly, WCCS spiritually prepared me to enter into the growing secular world that is a reality today. I now attend Clemson University, which is a very large school with a large variety of people. Every day, I am met with new challenges of faith, both in the classroom and in social settings. Even amongst other believers on campus, it’s surprising how many are unfamiliar with large portions of the Bible. WCCS not only encourages students in their personal walk with Christ, but actually teaches them scripture. This has become an extremely valuable tool as I navigate my way through my new campus life. Without a strong spiritual base, I would never be able to survive in such a loud world with so many different beliefs. I’m so grateful for my deep familiarity with scripture, and how I now can share with others on my college campus.
Before I left home, I visited WCCS one more time to bid a last farewell to my teachers and friends and to wish them a good year. Every single faculty and staff member I encountered that day offered to stay in touch and said to give them a call if I ever needed help. That is an experience I truly find irreplaceable. I have been at Clemson for exactly a month today, and I have already reached out to some of my teachers—not for help academically, but just to talk as I’ve been struggling with homesickness and adjusting to a new life. Westminster Catawba Christian School will forever be family to me. Thank you to all the teachers, staff, and friends who have helped me along the way – and of course, THANKS MOM AND DAD!
Last weekend I started reading a book that I have recommended to all of our MS parents entitled Screenwise—Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World. I wanted to share it with all of our WCCS parents here on the blog as well, because I think it is translatable, no matter what age your children might be. The book isn’t overtly Christian, but is relevant and presents parents with a positive, mentoring approach to managing your teenager’s devices and social media. The book comes from the reality that teenagers have so many distractions pulling at them, they are not relationally, emotionally, or intellectually mature enough to navigate all of the social media distractions without our help as parents. I thought I would provide a few “nuggets” from the book to encourage you to read further on your own.
Take a more intentional approach to mentoring your kids on technology
Focus on modeling thoughtful use of technology
Instead of trying to keep technology out of your student’s hand completely in an effort to protect, try instead engaging with them in the technology they are using. Find out what apps and games are new and current that your children might be requesting, and investigate them together. Have fun with your children using the technology they are interested in! Keeping a positive, interested attitude will help keep healthy lines of communication open with your child. If you are worried about a particular app or game, enlist a savvy tech parent that might be in the know about current apps and technology that can answer any questions or concerns you may have. Ultimately, your goal is to mentor your child on appropriate and safe online interactions in a growing digital age and to stay connected yourself to the online world in which they live.
Create times and spaces to be unplugged
Encourage each member of your family to live a balanced life and to create boundaries with technology use. As parents, don’t leave yourself out. You want to model that you are in control of your media devices - they don’t have control over you. Leave the phone at home and DO something together. Go to the park, play a game, create a craft space in your house, and unplug during mealtime and before bed. Find out what boundaries work for your family and be consistent. If you demonstrate with your actions that family time is important, your kids will internalize this and come to value it as well.
Teach your kids ways to repair mistakes and problem areas
Technology can have a big effect on our interpersonal relationships – the way we relate to peers and family members and even the way we solve conflicts. This is another great place for you to model correct behavior. If you find yourself becoming unbalanced in your media use, or perhaps you engaged in a debate online that you later realized was not God-honoring – admit to it and let your student see how you repaired the situation. As you can imagine, with social media and group texting there is a lot of potential for peer conflict in the digital world. Brainstorming with your student through these interactions will go a long way in forming mature resolution skills and keeping healthy relationships with their peers.
I have been encouraged personally by the challenge in Screenwise to bring balance and healthy boundaries into my own life regarding technology and social media use. As much as our teenagers may seem competent and self-assured regarding their knowledge and use of technology, they desperately need your wisdom and life experience to model and train them in how to navigate these technology waters. Likewise, Mom and Dad, you have much to offer them in this area. We often believe our teenagers are more technologically savvy than we, but it is the wisdom you have as parents that is needed to bring healthy margin to their overall life with their technology use.
It is hard to believe that the month of August has already come and gone! If you are like me, it has FLOWN by! As your Head of School, it has been a joy for me to witness the excitement of our teachers and students as they have reconnected with old friends and welcomed many new ones to the school. It has also been a different kick-off to the school year for me as it is the first time in twenty-four years that I do not have a child of my own attending my school. My wife and I dropped our youngest daughter off at Covenant College last week, leaving her to be the new kid on campus. This prompts me to give another BIG welcome to those of you who are new to the WCCS family. We are so glad you are here, and we cannot wait for you to personally experience what is so unique and valuable about Christian education. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you three main ways a Christian education will benefit your child.
We are a “safe” environment
“Safety” is a catch-phrase in educational circles today. Schools do what they can to promise protection from the world. While this kind of safety is important to us as well, we want to prepare our students for the world they will grow up in. They are already in the “real world.” Though we are a Christian school, we are all flawed human beings - students, teachers, and school heads alike. We are not perfect. WCCS is not, nor was it ever meant to be, education in a bubble. What I’m talking about here is much better. It’s the idea that as a group of administrators, faculty, and staff, we have the unique opportunity to come together in a safe environment to minister to your child through life’s biggest questions. Peer relationships, family life, identity, technology, the secularization of modern culture, evolution, etc. - there is no topic that is “off limits” within our walls. Trust me, your child is searching for answers. Our teachers, coaches, and administrators get to have these conversations with our students through a Biblical lens – pointing them to Christ and His Truth - reinforcing the same values that you teach them at home and that they are learning in church. We are in this together and WCCS is a safe place for your child to learn and grow.
Our teachers are “for” your child
I want you to know that your child’s teacher at WCCS desires for him or her to receive an outstanding, well-rounded, education. However, even more than this, we want your child to know that he or she is genuinely cared for by our teachers, even when (and maybe even especially when) they fall short. Christ’s love has never been dependent on our performance. In the same way, as Image-Bearers of Christ, we would never want your child’s self-perception to be based on their ability to get an A, perform on the field, behave well at all times, etc. What might this look like in the classroom? It could mean that your child’s teacher has the freedom to allow your child to approach an assignment creatively, from his or her own strengths or interests. Or perhaps to allow them an opportunity to make up a failed assignment to show that the material has been learned. It could even mean giving a measure of grace to a student in a discipline situation, knowing it is undeserved - just as Christ has done for us. WCCS teachers are for and want the absolute best for your child – that he or she would discover and live out their place in God’s world.
We get to tell a BETTER story
Our hope is that when your child walks across the WCCS stage at graduation, WCCS has had a significant impact on both the mind and the heart. God has created your child to do more than go to a certain college, obtain a degree, make a certain amount of money and fulfill a personal dream. HIS story for your student is so much better. I truly hope and pray that all of our students will leave here, no matter how long or short their time has been, with a sense of who God created them to be – ready to bless the world as a disciple of Christ, for HIS glory. Then, we will be able to say together that we have no greater joy than to hear that our children are walking in the truth!
As YOUR family experiences Christian education at WCCS, I hope you are becoming just as passionate as I am about the difference a Christ-centered learning environment has on the life of your child. Our teachers get to share the transforming power of Christ in the academic setting, and that’s exciting! If you are anything like I am, when I find something great, I want to share it with my friends, family, and neighbors.
In the next couple of weeks, we will have an opportunity for you to do just that. You will be receiving a couple of postcards that we encourage you to hand out to those people in your circle that you think might be interested in learning more about the difference a Christian education at WCCS could make in the life of their own student. As parents, you are invited to join me for coffee as we discuss these benefits. We would also love for you to invite interested friends, neighbors, and church families so that they, too, might "Discover the Difference" at WCCS!
Lower School Coffee – Friday, September 13, 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. in Westminster Hall, Section A
Upper School Coffee – Friday, September 20, 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. in the Upper School Chapel
RSVP today to Jane Wilson at 803.328.5472 or email@example.com.
We are excited to announce that Lisa Barlow will be joining us as our new Director of Development! Get to know her in this week's blog, and be sure to give her a warm welcome when we return for the 2019-2020 school year. We can not wait to see how God uses her to further his Kingdom and purpose at our school!
The Director of Development position is a new role at WCCS. Why do you think this new position is important in shaping the learning experience of our students here at WCCS? The Holy Spirit can of course change the hearts of students through excellent teachers in any setting. However, giving students the very best educational setting that we can requires certain teaching tools that unfortunately are not free. I see the role of Development as one of support. The teachers are the heart and soul of the school, being in the trenches every day as they labor to educate the hearts and minds of these precious covenant children. Development labors alongside to give those teachers what they need to provide a superior educational experience. My immediate goal is to determine what needs exist and to prioritize those needs under the supervision of the Head of School.
The WCCS mission statement is "educating students to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ". How do you hope to accomplish this as our new Director of Development? The mission statement in any organization should serve to inform every decision that every employee makes. My role in support of our mission would involve functioning within that statement to help further encourage a community of unity and generosity.
Tell us about you and your family: I was born and raised in Greensboro, NC, and have been married to my high school sweetheart for almost 40 years. We have three children who are all products of Christian education. Each one is married; our oldest and his wife are expecting their first child on July 4th, our second son and his wife have two children who are 3 and 6, and our daughter and her husband are newlyweds.
Tell us something that we would be surprised to know about you: I am a seventh-generation bookbinder in a family from Bohemia (Czechia). My family has been binding textbooks and Bibles for many years, and even some antique books and documents.
What are some things that you and your family like to do in your free time? I like to get my hands dirty in the yard! I love cutting grass, digging in dirt, and gardening. My husband and I switched housekeeping roles a few years ago and have never looked back! He does the cooking and grocery shopping, and I do the outside work.
What attracted you to WCCS? The mission of the school! I am very passionate about Christian education and believe strongly that we are in the business of rearing the next generation of ministers of the gospel in order that the King will receive more worship and glory.
What is your biggest desire for each student that walks in to WCCS? Hands down, that they would come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
It's hard to believe that another WCCS school year has almost come and gone. For those parents that have a Class of 2019 graduate, we know that it is even more unbelievable that so much time has passed that you have a student about to walk across the stage! As we begin to wrap up the school year, we thought we would ask Melissa Boyd, parent of a Class of 2019 student, to share some reflections of what WCCS has meant to her family throughout the years.
My daughter, Madilee Ann Boyd, is a WCCS "Lifer". Fifteen years ago, my husband and I walked into Dr. Sandi Jolly’s office to discuss the possibility of her entering the 3K program at WCCS. Not long after, we enrolled her - hoping but not knowing, that she would spend all of her preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school years as a WCCS Indian. As I reflect on those 15 years, please allow me to share what being the parent of a “lifer” at WCCS has meant to me.
A Legacy of Christian Education
The year I was born, my parents enrolled my older brother at Westminster Christian School. It was the year the school began at our church, and Chris was in the first four-year-old class. I joined him four years later and was blessed to attend WCS through sixth grade because Westminster Christian did not yet offer middle or high school. As Christians, my parents recognized the importance of Christian education to support their efforts to instill a Christian worldview in their children. Sending us to Westminster made it possible for us to learn to think biblically at home, at church, and at school. Duane and I also wanted this for our children, and we pray that our children will also want it for theirs.
A Worthwhile Investment
I can think of no greater investment than the Christian education that Madilee has received at WCCS. When Duane and I initially discussed sending our children to WCCS, we considered our own school backgrounds and experiences. While I had been blessed to attend Westminster through my preschool and elementary years, Duane had never attended a Christian school. Now that Madilee’s fifteen years at WCCS are drawing to a close, we look back and give thanks to God for the decision we made in faith to reenroll her each year. We stand in awe of God’s provision for the Christian education she has received and know that she is well-prepared for her college experience and the calling that God has placed on her life.
A Foundation of Faith
Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he grows old, he will not depart from it.” They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and as I have traveled this journey called parenthood, I have been thankful that our village includes the teachers and coaches at WCCS that have walked alongside Duane and me as Madilee has grown from a toddler into a beautiful young adult who truly loves Jesus. What a blessing it has been to know that my daughter has had teachers and coaches that have cared deeply for her, mentored her, and taught her from the same perspective that Duane and I do at home. To be honest, the thought of her spreading her wings scares this mama, but there is much peace in knowing that Madilee has received the blessing of an education centered on Biblical truths where she has discovered her gifts, achieved academic excellence, and come to understand the meaning of following Christ in every aspect of her life.
"Because of Madilee's solid foundation at WCCS, we know that she is well-equipped for wherever her path may lead."
Equipped for God's Calling
During her preschool and early elementary years at Westminster, Madilee learned reading, writing, and math, foundational blocks on which to build critical thinking and leadership skills. As she grew, she was able to take advantage of the many opportunities at WCCS to explore her interests, discover her abilities, and expand her horizons. Field trips, SEEK, Odyssey of the Mind, theater, music, art, swimming, soccer, volleyball, yearbook, and many leadership opportunities, to name a few. Service opportunities have allowed her to appreciate the blessings in her life and to understand what it means to be “blessed to be a blessing.” Because of Madilee’s solid foundation at WCCS, we know that she is well-equipped for wherever her path may lead.
Reflections & Precious Memories
Pictures often tell the story better than words and remind me of precious memories. The “first day 3K picture” of Madilee and Mrs. Ferguson reminds me of how much the teachers at WCCS invest in our children; the same wonderful Mrs. Ferguson greets me each afternoon which I pick up my youngest, Joanna, from Extended School Care. Memories of the Triangle Parade, the Teddy Bear Tea Party, Thanksgiving feasts, weekly chapels, and Kindergarten graduations that all three of our children have experienced. The crafts that each has made are lifetime treasures -- butterfly feet, MOTHER frames, and a full box under my bed that I would go after in case of fire!
As I write this, my tears flow freely -- tears of joy and of sadness. Preparing to let my girl go is hard but sending her forth to the future that God has for her is so exciting and what we have prayed for since the day she was born. We know our decision to enroll Madilee at WCCS was the best one we could have made to prepare her for all her tomorrows. Now she steps forward to “make a difference” as she plays her part in God’s extraordinary story. I will always be thankful for the Christian education she has received at WCCS and praise God for His guidance and protection as she graduates and begins the next chapter of her life.
Truly, there is no greater joy than to see your child walk in the truth. All glory to Him, always!
In this week's blog, WCCS School Chaplain, Jake Tassy, shares some thoughts on some important conversations to have with your families as we approach Easter.
“So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’ And all the people answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.” Matthew 27:24-26
Who doesn't love a good story? Four different Gospels verify the angles of this particular story. Historians can't disprove it happened. Eye witnesses are sources to it. It is the greatest story ever.
Why? Because it's not just a story, it is what brings about the truest Hope for us all. The culmination of Old Testament verified. The day that changed everything.
So as parents, why don't we share more about it? Maybe we're good with the children's story version? Maybe we don't like studying it deeper, or it’s a little messy to talk about with our young kids? Maybe the baskets filled with chocolate bunnies, peeps, jelly beans, and colored hard boiled eggs are enough to bring in the spring. Perhaps the ritual of going to church and dressing your family in their Easter best is enough to show you're interested in this holiday season.
Really!? Jesus made a commitment to do something no one else could do. That is cause to tell our children what really went down and why they have such great hope. To make sure they understand. Maybe if we really took to heart what Jesus has done for His family, we'd make sure we didn't forget it in ours.
Pilate was the leader in a pinch. If he doesn't succumb in some way to those Jewish leaders, it will seem like he doesn't have control over his section of the Roman kingdom. So he symbolically washes his hand of the situation because he knows Jesus is innocent. Law stated he could release a prisoner for "a prisoner". The crowd wouldn't budge and asked to release the rebel Barabbas ... whose name meant "son of Abba". That's not the rock group either.
Then the crowd had the audacity to make the ironic statement, "Let His blood be on us and on our children!" I'm sure it was with anger and gnashing of teeth. But Wait? Isn't that what Jesus came to do? Even in that terrible moment and mindset, Jesus still went through with His commitment to take the awful punishment for our sins and cover us with his blood.
When we get this, Easter will never look the same. Below are a few suggestions for some conversations to have with your children to help them “connect the dots” as we approach Easter.
In the week leading up to Easter, read the Gospel accounts of the "before & after" of the Passion. Make connections with your children on what events happen when. Take your time and give them a chance to ask questions.
Talk about humility, finishing well, last words, obedience, fear, death, betrayal, loneliness, heaven, friendship, dealing with hurt, sacrifice, joy, motivation, and commitment as they all relate to the Easter story.
Talk specifically about why the resurrection matters – how it verifies that he is God, proves his power over death, and gives us hope in eternal life of our own.
Dig deep in the Word with your family and discover something different, something that touches your heart in a new way each year. Allow it to change how you live this life until He comes again.
Friends, even when we reject what Jesus has for us, He still stays committed to redeem and reconcile all things to Himself. THAT'S WHY WE CELEBRATE (Starburst jelly beans and all)! Even when we don't comprehend how he is working in our daily grind, He will be coming back for His chosen ones. Easter celebrations are just a practice for what's to come! Parents, we are praying for you and your families this Easter season as you reflect on all our Savior has done for us.
Soli Deo Gloria... TO GOD ALONE BE THE GLORY!
In this week's blog, our Upper School Principal and Fine Arts Director, John Furrow, invites you to experience first-hand one of our most anticipated spring musicals yet!
The book which the reader now holds in his hands, from one end to the other…treats the advance from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsity to truth, from darkness to daylight, from blind appetite to conscience, from decay to life, from Limbo to God. Matter itself is the starting point, and the point of arrival is the soul. - Victor Hugo, from the introduction of Les Misérables
Les Miserables: The Musical premiered on Broadway at the famed Shubert Theater on March 12, 1987 to rave reviews and packed houses. Based on the classic book by Victor Hugo, with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, the show became an instant classic, winning nine Tony awards including Best Musical.
Set between 1815 and 1835 in Paris, Les Miserables tells a powerful story of redemption and forgiveness in the midst of some horrible circumstances. The show deals with the social conditions and poverty of the common man that led up to the French Revolution in a gripping and powerful way. The story focuses on one man who experienced kindness and undeserved grace, and in return treats other undeserving people in kind. This pattern of forgiveness and grace empowers a group of common and oppressed people to begin a movement that would impact the very future of their nation.
The characters presented in this show are all flawed and sinful people. They serve as a reminder, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15). But for the grace of God in our everyday life, any of us could find ourselves in this story. The people represented are real, honest, and at times raw. Yet this draws attention to the greatest truth in all of history, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Because of God’s grace, demonstrated to sinful man through the loving and forgiving actions of His Son, the once hopeless sinner can have redemption that restores purpose in our lives.
"But for the grace of God in our everyday life, any of us could find ourselves in this story."
It is the prayer of the entire cast, crew, and production team that you are entertained and moved by this powerful story and stirring music. More importantly, it is our eternal hope that you will contemplate the goodness of God and treasure those areas of your life where you have experienced the unconditional love, forgiveness and grace of the Almighty Eternal God. There are still general admission tickets available. Get yours by clicking the image below!
As parents, we think a lot about the future. We wonder if the decisions we are making today will best prepare our children for the futures in front of them, partly because we can not even grasp what life will be like for them decades from now. We desire above all else to have no greater joy than for them to walk in the truth and to discover and live out their places in God's world. But we aren't sure how to end up there. We know it takes the work of the Holy Spirit and we are praying to that end. We also know that our parenting matters.
If you are like me, you need all the help you can get. My wife Amy and I have needed to partner with the Christian school and the church in the raising of our four kids. And, I spent time over Christmas break with my oldest son and daughter-in-law talking about the support we received from these two communities and encouraged the same for them in the raising of their newborn son, Jay.
Christian education is a topic for which I am quite passionate, so much so that I was asked to participate in a podcast hosted by our church's denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America. As you know, we are currently in the middle of our priority re-enrollment period. I encourage you to take some time to listen to the following podcast at the link I have provided below and consider the value of a Christian education in the world our kids are living in today. It is my hope and prayer that you will continue to seek out your local church and WCCS as partners in raising your children, so that they are educated to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ!
As mid-term election day approaches this Tuesday, November 6, we thought we would have our 12th grade Government/Economics teacher, Deanne Regier, share some of her thoughts as to how Christians should rightly engage in politics in such a divided political climate.
For the past nine years, I have had the privilege of teaching the Government-Economics course to the WCCS 12th graders. To say the least, the current divided political climate has re-enforced my belief in treating others with kindness, respect and dignity. Regardless of what is happening on cable news networks or social media, class discussions and private conversations for Christians should be gracious and God-honoring. As Jesus states in Luke 6:43b, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (NIV). Therefore, our conversations, Tweets, posts and demeanor reflect our heart condition.
In an attempt to create a God-honoring classroom environment, I have four foundational beliefs that I implement in my class:
Christians historically have been on the forefront of politics and reform movements in this country. For example, the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century was a catalyst for the wide variety of movements: abolition, temperance, educational and social. Because of their love for God, Christians impacted their community for social and political change. Therefore, we, as Christians, should not disengage in this chaotic and vicious political culture. Instead, we should be more engaged. Each quarter, I require students to earn points from a variety of projects that encourage local involvement in politics and discourse. Students attend city council meetings or volunteer for political campaigns. We, as Christians, should engage in current events even more during this time of division and controversy as a “light” to a dark world (Luke 5:16).
Dishonoring a person cannot be permitted and must be openly challenged. So how does this manifest itself in the classroom setting? First, students are welcome to disagree with policies but cannot crush or disrespect a person. We actually practice how we should say something. Students cannot say, “I hate_____.” But they can say: “ I disagree with ____ policies for the following reasons.” Second, we should challenge “person-bashing” conversations and encourage the respecting of humans as created in the image of God in conversations and social media. If we say nothing, we in effect condone the comments. Finally, we can simply honor our leaders with the correct title. Simply adding “President” or “Secretary” or “Senator” can show this person respect. Our words have meaning!
Condemning someone based on hearsay or rumors without due process, rule of law or respected journalistic practices cannot be allowed. Therefore, only approved news sources are allowed to be quoted in class and used in research. Of course, I encourage students to analyze differing perspectives (i.e. FoxNews and CNN) but encourage thoughtful interpretation of the presentation and content.
Since God is far above our simple understanding of Democrat and Republican Party, God cannot be limited to a certain party. I start each year by saying, “God is not a Republican. God is not a Democrat. He is far above our political chaos.” As Tim Keller, founder of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New York City, wrote, “While believers can register under a party affiliation and be active in politics, they should not identify the Christian church or faith with a political party as the only Christian one.” (Editorial in New York Times, September 29, 2018) We are commanded as Christians to love your neighbor and defend the rights of the oppressed. But how we “love” and “defend” is open to interpretation.
As I state in my course syllabus, the primary goal of WCCS’s Economics-Government course is to “develop a passion for civic and economic responsibilities as Christians in an international community.” Even though I want my students to be passionate about government and economics that isn’t my primary goal as an educator. My prayer for my students is that they see our hope is not in this government, administration, tax policy, healthcare system or any other current hot-topic. Our hope is in an eternal Heavenly Father who has a purpose and plan for our country and its leadership. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are citizens of the kingdom of Heaven over which Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. We relate to our country as citizens of Christ’s kingdom and direct our actions to please Him. Rest assured -- God is still in charge.
We encourage our families to go out and vote next week in the election! Take your students with you and be sure to have some thoughtful conversation about how we, as Christians, have the opportunity and responsibility to honor our Savior in the political arena and point others towards His grace and hope.
Occasionally, we like to provide resources and articles that might be helpful to you as parents. In this week’s blog, we have asked Michelle Embry, Upper School Assistant Principal, to share some pointers about teaching boys and helping them manage their stress at home and school. We plan to address the special needs of girls in a future blog.
In the book, Writing the Playbook: A Practitioner’s Guide to Creating a Boy-Friendly School, author Kelley King offers many great nuggets regarding how to create positive instructional experiences as well as important ideas about dealing with young men in times of conflict and/or discipline. As I continued through this book, I realized that many of the ideas that the author presented in an effort of facilitating a “boy-friendly” environment in the classroom, are concepts that could be helpful to parents of young men as well. Here are a few tips taken from a section on discipline, particularly when the young man’s behavior may have created a stressful situation:
Ideas dealing with Stress:
Don’t ask a boy “What were you thinking?” right after an emotional or stressful incident. He wasn’t thinking; he was reacting.
Allow boys time to cool off after a stressful incident. A drink of water can reduce stress.
When it’s time to talk, go for a walk. The physical movement lowers stress and increases blood flow to the brain.
Talk to boys privately. Do not lecture or punish them publicly. It will seriously damage the boys’ trust in you if he is embarrassed in front of his peers.
Emotion is dominant over cognition. Identify and help resolve student stress so attention can return to learning.
Another category that I found particularly helpful in the classroom that you can also re-enforce at home was a section regarding how to help boys stay organized. Below are some great strategies for helping your boy complete assignments at home:
Ideas dealing with Organization
Insist your boy consults his planner while working on homework.
Remind him to keep his binder organized according to the structure the teacher has advised.
Advise your boy to keep homework in a consistent location where he can easily locate it to turn it in the next day.
Follow up with boys; don’t let them slip through the cracks. Follow up to make sure he is turning in assignments and understands the importance of homework. Too many boys are okay with taking a zero.
I have no indication that the author is a believer, yet this person has done loads of research and has used the research to support her belief that young men can thrive in a school setting when educators provide an environment that supports who they are and how they are wired as young men. Also, let me say that although this particular study was aimed at helping boys reach their full potential in the classroom, it doesn’t mean all of this isn’t valuable and conducive for our female learners as well. Interestingly, these findings completely support how the Lord God would have us to relate to all of those in our circle of influence--peers and little ones alike. It is important to honor the student/child as a person of dignity and worth and be careful to do nothing to strip away his/her dignity.
Enjoyed this blog and looking for more parenting tips? We desire to partner with you as parents. Our Lower School Principal, Sandi Jolly, is continuing to offer Love and Logic training through the month of November. This training provides practical tools for parents in such areas as providing limits, teaching responsibility, consequences, and healthy decision making. It utilizes story-telling, humor, hope and empathy to build the adult-child relationship. Check out the brochures and calendars below for more information!
In the next few days, our WCCS friends and family will be receiving letters from the school asking for support to the Annual Fund. In advance of this, we wanted to share a personal testimonial from former Westminster principal, former parent, current grandparent, and current board member, Kristen Rhyne. Whether it is giving to the WCCS Annual Fund or another worthy cause, we hope you will consider how generous God might be prompting you to be with the resources he has given you!
Money…Is there ever enough? If we are honest, all of us struggle from time to time with this question. When our finances are stretched, we ask ourselves “What is really important?” That question is the starting point of any financial planning, so it is one all of us continually ask and answer.
There is a familiar verse I love that I often use when I speak to families, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Your decision to enroll your children at WCCS is evidence that Christian education is important to you. Because of the significant financial investment, you thought about and prayed about that decision long and hard before you made it.
In 1978, 40 years ago, we enrolled our son in the first four-year-old program at Westminster Christian School. This year, my oldest granddaughter will graduate from WCCS after 15 years of Christian education at WCCS. Over time, children in our family have been enrolled for 61 school years! I bet you are wondering WHY anyone would make that type of commitment over such a long period of time. It must be REALLY IMPORTANT!
Parenting is not easy, and we can not do it alone. As a new believer, I understood the responsibility of teaching my children. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 tell us: “And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to yours sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” God tells us to teach our children His way all the time. Our time to accomplish this with them is short…and precious.
"God tells us to teach our children His way all the time. Our time to accomplish this with them is short…and precious. "
God has entrusted these precious ones to us to raise for Him for His purposes. The home, the school, and the church are three important legs of the stool that work together to teach the child what he needs to know to become all that God gifted him to be. As the home, the school, and the church fulfill their vital roles, day in and day out, for the long term, they shape the child to fulfill the role God planned for him to play in His extraordinary story.
With that in mind, we can surely agree that Christian education is an important investment, one that pays eternal dividends! Westminster Catawba Christian School “educates students to bless our world as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.” It supports your role as parents to shape your children and your family for generations to come. It only takes one generation for the family’s love for and commitment to Christ to be lost. From that perspective, the financial investment is priceless. There truly is no greater treasure or joy than to know your children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:4)
Did you know that the tuition and fees you pay only cover part of the cost of Christian education at WCCS? It is only because of the Annual Fund that the cost is not greater!
So…why should you give to the WCCS Annual Fund?
The Annual Fund provides money for teachers and programs that expand opportunities for students to explore learning beyond the basics-- including the fine arts, sports, and other extracurricular activities.
We are blessed to be a blessing. God has entrusted His resources to us to use to accomplish His plan and His purpose. Christian education is a vital part of shaping future leaders for Kingdom purpose wherever they serve.
The Annual Fund allows you to make a difference for all our students as they experience the fullness of Christian education at WCCS. Your donations are crucial to making this opportunity possible to many qualified students who could not otherwise join our school community.
Now…I would love to talk to you personally and hear your story! Soon after I retired God gave me another opportunity to share my experience as a Certified Financial Advisor ® and Certified Kingdom Advisor® in the role of Executive Director of Westminster Ministries Foundation. As I serve at the Foundation, I am privileged to chat with many folks to discover ways I can help them. I love to share my passion for helping others live generously and explore ways to give back. My door is always open, and I hope you will stop by any time, give me a call at 803-493-4498, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, I encourage you to consider where your treasure lies. Won’t you join me in supporting the WCCS Annual Fund?
This week's blog comes from Katie Tassy, who we all know as our Upper School Assistant, but did you know that she is also teaching our SALT class (Serving and Learning Together)? Check out this great post about learning to serve in a fallen world!
What is service? How does it fit into the Biblical lens of human history—Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration? How do we discern our motivation for serving? What is the difference between Christian service and philanthropy?
This year, I have the privilege of teaching a new elective class called SALT—Serving and Learning Together, and these are just some of the questions and topics we are discussing with students. SALT is the brainchild of Lora Holladay, our school board chair, who has a vast amount of experience with serving in the Rock Hill community. Currently, six seniors are enrolled in this class, and it has been a joy to dig into this topic with students in learning to identify and use our gifts to serve and glorify God.
One of my passions as a teacher is helping students understand how serving in our communities and the world around us flows out of our acknowledgement that God has given each one of us gifts for the purpose of being a blessing to others. At the beginning of the year, I wrote the familiar scope of Creation—Fall—Redemption—Restoration/Reconciliation on the board. Between each of those four captions were arrows to show the flow of human history through the lens of a Believer. My question to the students was this: “Where does service fit in to this model of human history?” Through our discussion, we agreed that the WHY of service came from the Fall—that all of life is broken because of the Fall; therefore, we serve as we respond to brokenness in a sinful world.
Student, Seth Russo, put it so beautifully, “I think service is the arrow between Redemption and Restoration. We are redeemed by Christ, we go out to serve, which brings reconciliation. Some of the ones we serve will then be redeemed themselves, and they also will go out and serve.” Brilliant! I was done for the day!!
"Service is the arrow between Redemption and Restoration..."
One highlight for us has been hosting our outside speakers every Thursday. Our students are hearing from guests with service experience in organizations such as the United Way, Renew Our Community, the Salvation Army, and more. As we listen to the journeys of each one of our speakers, it is obvious that God is so personal in how He utilizes different gifts and passions for His glory in service to the world around us.
This week, we even gave senior students an opportunity to use their gifts throughout the Rock Hill community, serving in various organizations for Senior Service Day. Senior, Ann Preston Campbell chose to spend the day at the Adult Enrichment Center in Rock Hill. “I didn’t realize the number of non-profits in our area and the ways those non-profits extend help to our neighbors. I have come to realize the need for more services to effectively help [others] in our community.”
From these interactions and through various exercises which help us to explore our own gifts, it is a treat to see these students become passionate about various social issues such as homelessness, addiction, mental illness, veteran needs, and others. Our hope is that our students will develop the skills and discernment that they can evaluate any community of which they are a part—college, work, or town—and decide how they can use their gifts to help build into that community. These students have some amazing ideas, and I cannot wait to see how God uses them to continue to build His kingdom!
Below is a link to a comprehensive guide to serving in the Rock Hill Community. My prayer is that each one of us--no matter how old, or how young, would learn to serve wholeheartedly in this fallen world—to look for opportunities to truly be a blessing to those around us. I know currently our 3 year old classes are collecting socks for Renew Our Community (ROC), and in the month of November, our 4th graders will partake in “Box City” where they learn about homelessness and serving in a soup kitchen.
Won’t you join us in serving in this fallen world?
In this week's blog, Joanna Swofford, our EXCEL Director, shares a moment she had observing some of her staff recently that really gets to the heart of what makes a WCCS education exceptional. Read on!
I wanted to share with you all an encounter that I had with our WCCS exceptional ed team at the lower campus the other day, because I think it is so characteristic of what makes a “WCCS education” so distinctive.
I was sitting with three women who—combined-- have 90 years of experience in education. They were asking each other for advice and sharing the recent failed attempts they were working through in trying to facilitate learning. 90 years of experience, and they didn’t have the answers. 90 years of experience, and they were perfectly at ease with seeing ideas not work, not having answers, and looking to each other for insight. I was touched with their humility and dedication to the calling, and most importantly to the success of their students. They were not going to give up on working through the messy until the students could shine. During that meeting, I saw them LEAN IN to our Lord and Savior as they worked together for His Children. What a difference this makes in the education of YOUR child! I thought I would share a few other distinctives that I have noticed over the years of my serving here at WCCS.
A Westminster Catawba Christian School education is:
Christ-centered – whether our teachers are instructing students in math and science, to art and social studies, every part of a WCCS education is taught from a Biblical worldview. Students are taught to think critically in every subject and encouraged to know and support why they believe what they believe.
Led by Experienced, Christ-Called Teachers – Our faculty members are well-trained and meet ACSI and AdvancED certification requirements and over 43% have advanced degrees. More so, I have seen first-hand that each of our WCCS educators strive to see that there is no greater joy than to hear our children are walking in the truth (3 John 4) by pointing students to Christ as they teach through each subject area, desiring that students find and pursue their God-given and individual callings.
Focused on the Individual – It has been exciting for me to see WCCS teachers brainstorm together and be willing to try different and new strategies when working with individual students. They work hard to see that each student finds and discovers his or her unique path to learning and God-given strengths.
Grace-filled – WCCS strives to make the learning environment one in which students are shown God’s redeeming love-- through every learning situation, recess, chapel, and disciplinary moment. We realize that only when our teachers and administrators operate from a place of grace can our classrooms become a place of learning where true and lasting change can take place in the hearts of our students and God’s will shine through in their lives.
Whether you are a teacher, special educator, parent, or student, God has every one of our steps numbered and stays right beside us—especially when we get off track. Each day, when we are blessed with the opportunity of another day, He’s eager for us to get up and do something with it. We may not always have the answers, or many times, even the questions, but we do have each other. We do what we can, lean in to Him when we stumble, recognize failed attempts as opportunities to try something else, and work our way through it—together!
In this week’s blog, we are excited to have our new Upper School Assistant Principal, Michelle Embry, share some of her heart as she reflects on her own calling as a Christian school educator, and what she hopes this will bring to the students of WCCS.
As I look back over the twenty years of Christian school service the Lord has given me, I am confident that every step of the way the Lord has been preparing me for the next call that he has on my life. Most recently, this has brought me to this outstanding school, and I am so excited as I join the Westminster Catawba Christian School community. I have really enjoyed getting to know everyone in these first few weeks of school!
It is such a high honor and a special task to lead and disciple those children and teens the Lord has given to us. It’s also a lot of fun! The fact that educators are placed in a learning environment with our students for such a sustained amount of time each day and over the course of the year, creates a setting in which we can love them well and speak verbal and non-verbal life-affirming messages into their hearts. As Christian educators at WCCS, this is a calling that we do not take lightly!
My desire for the Upper School students at WCCS is that they fully understand that their identity and worth is based on who they are IN CHRIST…that they are beautiful image bearers of God. It isn’t based on academic, athletic, or musical performance. It isn’t based on how well they obey our rules. It isn’t based on the number of extra-curricular activities they involve themselves. I want our students to know they are invaluable to us because they are invaluable to God.
"I want our students to know they are invaluable to us because they are invaluable to God."
It is very easy to make a statement like the one made above; but a much harder thing to truly communicate it to students, because in order for this message to be received, it takes time. Students must hear the message of their value communicated in many ways and through many circumstances - when they do well, when they mess up, when they feel proud of themselves and when they disappoint themselves. The message of their great value must be communicated during exciting times and mundane times. Regardless of the circumstances of their lives, we, as Christian educators of WCCS, must pursue our students in a steady, constant, even relentless manner - so that our pursuit further communicates the message of their great value in Christ.
This call of reaching out and investing into others is placed upon all believers; however, as Christian school educators, we are tasked to do this as a part of our job! It is an absolute thrill and a privilege. Would you pray for us as we use every day classroom opportunities to reach the hearts of your children?
As many of you may remember, last spring, our lower school faculty members were privileged to work with Dr. Milt Uecker, an instructional consultant and coach. This was brought on by our desire to continue to improve and establish a strong foundation for mathematics. Teachers were provided with in-service opportunities, demonstration lessons, teacher observation and curriculum alignment across the grades. Dr. Uecker has been brought on staff for the 2018-2019 school year, and we thought we would let him introduce himself and his new role with you in this week's blog!
It was my privilege to serve WCCS last year, and I am thrilled to come on board part time in a school that is committed to providing classrooms where 21st century knowledge and skills are not just talked about but are becoming a reality! The lower school's desire is to take an already exceptional group of teachers and enable them to continue to grow professionally.
The children may have talked about someone’s “grandfather” teaching them math. That is because I am beginning my 50th year in Christian Schools. During that time I taught in all of the elementary grades, was administrator of a Pre-K through fourth grade elementary school, served as program director for early childhood at Regent University and finally as the Dean of the College of Education and the Graduate School at Columbia International University. My doctorate is in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in early childhood from the University of Virginia. My wife Linda and I have three sons and nine grandchildren. Two of our sons, along with their families, live in Indian Trail, NC and the third is in Waco, Texas.
What exactly does an instructional coach do?
According to the PA Institute for Instructional Coaching, an instructional coach is “ someone whose chief professional responsibility is to bring evidence-based practices into classrooms by working with teachers and other school leaders… instructional coaching involves two people: the classroom teacher and the coach. Coaches work one-on-one and in small groups with teachers, providing guidance, training, and other resources as needed. Together, they focus on practical strategies for engaging students and improving their learning.” (Retrieved on August 18, 2018 from http://piic.pacoaching.org/index.php/piic-coaching/what-is-an-instructional-coach).
As instructional coach my goal is to:
Shift the role of the teacher from telling to asking as a means of facilitating thinking within the classroom
Develops strategies that promote active engagement as opposed to passivity on the part of students
Promote understanding as opposed to memorization and simple recall of information
See that students have a positive attitude toward school and their role as a learner
Continue to develop math teachers that are confident, effective and enthusiastic when teaching math
Assist in providing a successful transition to a newly updated science curriculum
Assure that all students, as image bearers of God, have a greater opportunity to reach their fullest potential as they prepare to serve God and glorify Him.
I look forward to meeting you and interacting with you throughout the year as we together strive to bring up and “educate your students to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Scott Dillon, our Head of School, and his wife, Amy, share some wise words to families and students as we begin another school year at WCCS!
Today is the first day of school at WCCS. It is a day that will mark many firsts. And, as in my family, it will mark a day of many lasts. Today is the LAST first day of school (preschool-twelfth grade) for the Dillon family as our youngest begins her senior year today. Having four kids attend pre-school through high school, at the end of this next year we will have accumulated a combined SIXTY-ONE years of parenting school-aged children in Christian schools (not counting college). As my wife and I were talking about this subject, we rehearsed many highs and lows, joys and sorrows, and actually made a list of things that we hope and pray "stuck" with our kids in our decades of parenting. We wanted to share this list with you on this first day of school hoping to encourage and challenge parents with more firsts than lasts in front of them.
Kiddos, we hope you know that…
We have no greater joy than to see (hear) our children walking in the truth. We enjoyed celebrating your accomplishments in the classroom and on the field and court, but our greatest joy is seeing the fruit of the Spirit in your lives.
God's Word is True - seven days a week. This is the primary reason we have had you in Church on Sundays and in Christian schools during the week. God has called us to worship Him alongside His bride (the Church) on the first day of every week - and then to follow hard after Him every day thereafter.
Your family loves you and will always be there for you, although quite imperfectly at times. God, however, loves you so very much more than we do and truly does love you unconditionally and quite perfectly.
God created you to be in community. It is important, even necessary, to have good friends. But, remember that it is often more important to BE a good friend, especially to those who may be hardest to love.
We have chosen Christian schools for you because we want/need other adults coming alongside us, as parents, to partner with us in training you as you have grown. Your parents haven’t been perfect. Neither have your teachers or coaches. But, we have trusted the adults in your lives and believe that you will be better prepared to walk in the truth having had the truth spoken to you from so many.
We would often send you out of the house with the reminder to "make good decisions." We probably too frequently presumed that you knew that this is impossible without the work of the Holy Spirit in your lives. Remember that we are saved by grace alone (Ephesians 2) and are kept by grace alone (John 15).
We love you more than we can put into words (even though we have tried), but you are not the center of our world or the end of our existence. God is. God has lent you to us for just a little while to train you up in Him. His pleasure is a greater desire of ours than yours!
God has gifted and called you to be used by Him for Him. This is not always comfortable. It is often difficult. But it is definitely worth every tear and bead of sweat. Chase hard after HIS will, not your own.
Since before you were born, we began praying that God would be glorified in your life. This may include marriage and a family or it may not. It may keep you near or it may take you far away. You may see great fruit, but that is not promised. But, remember that God's got ya!
Walking in the truth includes being the light in a very dark world. May you be so thankful that God shed His light on you that you desire to BE THE LIGHT. Don't hide it under a bushel! Let it shine!
We are excited to introduce to our WCCS families several new faces for the 2018-2019 school year! We can't wait to see how God uses these individuals to point our students to Christ!
Click on each of the banners below and get to know a little more about our new Kingdom educators.
As I’m sure many of our current families are well-aware, it’s re-enrollment time at WCCS. And, for many of us, this time when we make commitments for next year also prompts the question: “Is what I pay in tuition at WCCS really worth it?” This question is one that many families, new and returning, grapple with as they consider how to steward their resources well for their families, and I have the privilege of sharing the value of a Christian education on a daily basis.
Last summer, one such family reached out to me for more information. The request went something like this:
“I am writing in regards to the tuition for my child. My husband and I want more than anything for her to continue attending WCCS. My heart breaks at even the thought of her not being able to attend. With the tuition going up each year, we are struggling to pay for her to attend. My parents have graciously offered to pay a portion but only if they know for sure that there are benefits outside of sending her to “public school.” There is no doubt in my mind that every penny spent is worth it for us. However, my parents living over 700 miles away, don’t get to SEE the benefits as we do. We love this school and staff with all our hearts and I pray each day that God will continue to make a way for her to stay at WCCS. If you could help guide us or point us in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it….”
"There is no doubt in my mind that every penny spent is worth it for us."
And, I got excited….so excited to share WHY we do what we do and WHY we feel a WCCS education has significant value.
When we use the word value, we expect a number to follow, putting a price tag on an item to communicate its worth. Yes, I can provide you with lots of data and statistics from our school showing student successes, growth, and achievement to suggest that you will see a return on your investment. And, educational excellence is important to us because doing our best brings glory and honor to God by preparing our students well to respond to God’s call in their lives, careers, service, and other pursuits. But, how do you put a number on the intangible? Take the feedback we hear from recent graduates (and their parents - here’s one for example) that they feel prepared for college as well as life, especially in the areas of writing, critical thinking, time management, and spiritual discernment – areas in which statistics and surveys who many of our young adults are lacking.
But, for those of us who also appreciate seeing numbers, take a look at some of our outcomes information, with more available in our High School Profile HERE:
*Although this article was written in 2018, the same statistics still hold true. Please click HERE for our 2019 High School Profile for more current information*
Our Class of 2017 graduated 30 seniors, all of whom planned matriculation at a 4 year college, university or technical school. As a group, they served over 2,000 hours in the school and local community. They were accepted to 39 colleges/universities and earned over $375,000 annually in scholarships. You can read more about individual members of the class here: WCCS Graduate Testmonials.
Over the last 5 years, we give God glory for a 100% graduation rate, with 80-90% of those graduates each year going on to the college or university of their choice.
Over the last 5 years, Our average SAT and ACT scores are consistently above national, state, and local averages, and we’ve celebrated several National Merit Semi-Finalists and Finalists.
Most importantly, however, what we experience at a place like WCCS shows the eternal value of Christian education. When you count up the amount of time our children spend in school from Kindergarten through 12th Grades, that comes up to a staggering 16,000 hours. Likewise, they have the opportunity to be in church roughly 700 hours if they attend 1-2 hours in church every week for 13 years. And, I’ll leave the formal calculation to you to prove how much time our children spend with their teachers compared to when they are awake with us as their parents. Certainly, the role of parents and churches is critical in the development of our children and youth, but the undeniable truth is that education helps define your child’s worldview. And, we cannot possibly do it alone as parents. In Luke 6:40, Jesus said “the student will become like the teacher,” and these hours spent in the classroom with teachers who are pouring into the souls of our little (and big) ones will undoubtedly have a huge impact on our children.
"Education helps define your child’s worldview."
BUT, it’s not just about OUR kids, is it? Yes, we want the very best, God’s very best, for your children and my children, but it is “so that” our students can take what they have learned here in skills, knowledge, resources, experiences, and training to bless others in HIS name, therefore bringing others to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Education is an expensive venture, and we recognize paying private school tuition is a sacrifice. We desire to make a WCCS education as accessible to as many families as possible. And, with the introduction of Variable Tuition last year for Kindergarten – 12th Grades, we have shared in many conversations with parents about how we can partner in the financial burden of that cost. I encourage you to seek us out if you are interested in exploring this option for your family. I would love to have the opportunity to speak directly with you about the value of a WCCS education for your family. It is worth it – every single penny!
Tis the season! We have just opened up applications for the 2018-2019 school year, and I hope you will share the good news about what is happening at WCCS! One of the best ways for prospective families to figure out if WCCS is a good fit for them is to schedule a tour and come visit us in person. Indeed, my favorite part of working here is that I get to meet new families as they visit our school. I think that those of us who have been at Westminster Catawba Christian School for a while can sometimes take for granted just how great this school is. Experiencing a tour alongside a WCCS “first-timer” is a great reminder of the many ways God has blessed WCCS.
Since most may not have the opportunity to join new families on a first time campus visit, I wanted to give you some inside scoop and share a list of common statements/questions I hear from new families as they encounter our school for the first time. For prospective WCCS parents, maybe this blog post will encourage you to come and check out our amazing school for yourself. For current WCCS parents, perhaps this will help you see our school in a new light, possibly even giving you some talking points to share with your friends and family about WCCS!
Here, in no particular order, is my list of the Top 14 (why 14? – it’s a fun number) Things I Hear on Campus Tours:
- “Wow- there’s a lot more going on here than I first imagined!” When you visit one of our 2 campuses for the first time, there’s a lot more going on than most imagine when first driving by. As a ministry of Westminster Presbyterian Church, we exist to educate students to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ. Our well maintained facilities, caring and professional faculty, vibrant academic, service learning, and extra-curricular offerings, as well as our successful outcomes communicated through alumni testimonials, college and career placement, and test scores all point to our quality. It is our greatest joy to see our students “walking in the truth” as they discover how their education is preparing them for an eternal life of service in God’s kingdom.
- “What does Christian Education look like, and how do you teach Bible/Religion?” Every WCCS student has a mandatory Bible class as a regular part of their education, and we teach all subjects with these statements of faith as our guide. We open every day with prayer and devotions. Students age 3 to 18 worship once each week in chapel. Most importantly, we integrate our Christian faith into everything that we do. As students learn about Christian worldview across the curriculum, we also provide opportunities for students to learn how to respond to God’s call to serve others in His name. Service learning is integrated into the curriculum to provide real-world application to the concepts students are learning at school.
- “This is so different than what I’m used to at XYZ school.” The Westminster Catawba Christian School culture is unique. You immediately feel the difference when you’re on campus. Our learning environment fosters personal growth in a setting that helps students feel comfortable. Students feel loved, valued and respected for their individual gifts and talents, and we value interpersonal relationships that grow our students and families in their relationships with Christ.
- “Are all your teachers certified?” WCCS is accredited by 2 different organizations, the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and AdvanCED. In order to maintain our accreditation, our teachers have to meet their requirements, including educational training and licensure, Christian education studies, and further concentration in content areas specific to the particular field in which they are teaching. Our Early Childhood faculty also meet DSS requirements. We are very intentional in seeking out the most qualified, well-trained, and mission-fit faculty to teach our students – view teacher bios here.
- “What is your athletic program like?” We compete with other Christian schools in the Metrolina Athletic Conference (MAC) and often scrimmage with other local teams. We have so many different athletic opportunities in Middle School and High School. Check out our website for a full listing of the sports teams we offer. In addition, ROAR Sports is a sister ministry of Westminster Presbyterian Church that offers year-round sports for our PreK and Elementary students.
- “What about fine arts?” We offer a variety of fine arts, including visual and performing arts, throughout our curriculum for all ages as a way to learn how to steward, celebrate, and appreciate God’s amazing creative nature and the beauty of His creation.
- “What if my child needs extra support (or extra challenge)?” WCCS partners with Christian families to give students the individual support they need. This means that we offer a wide range of instructional strategies for students from a wide range of academic abilities and interests. The educational jargon term for this is “Differentiated Instruction.” We meet your child where he/she is and tailor our education to meet those needs. If your child is accepted into Westminster Catawba Christian School, you can rest assured that he/she will receive the appropriate level of challenge and support in order to maximize his/her academic potential. In addition, our EXCEL department provides specific services outside of the general classroom for students that need that extra level of support and/or challenge.
- “What about extended school care before or after the normal school day?” We offer extended school care for infants – 8th grades, before and after school. Check out our brochure for more information on scheduling options and pricing.
- “Do you serve hot lunches?” Yes, for 3K – 12th grades, we offer prepared meals, salads, fruit, juice, and low fat milk as options. And, they are yummy! We faculty and staff even order quite a bit! Monthly orders are placed through our online parents portal, and we also offer a forgotten lunch program for students.
- “What will WCCS do to prepare my child for life after graduation?” We consider it a privilege to prepare your child for wherever God is calling him or her at the “next level”, making sure that we are not just focusing on the next 4 years but, rather, an eternity of service to Him. On average, 90% of our graduates each year go on to college/university, and we also work with students interested in technical training, military service, or missions. Our college and career counselor’s office is very intentional with students as they discover God’s plan for them in their next chapter of life, providing one on one support as families go through application, scholarship, and career exploration processes.
- “How does WCCS use technology?” Smart boards, computer labs, and classroom sets of iPads provide opportunities for our students to develop as 21st century learners, while still valuing the developmental appropriateness of pencil-to-paper lessons and real textbooks. More importantly, we invest in the things you cannot see, like a secure network and trained, professional faculty to help students safely and meaningfully integrate technology across the curriculum. In keeping with our school’s mission, we desire to teach students how to use technology as an educational tool that makes a positive impact for Christ in today’s world.
- “Everyone here is so nice.” Agreed!
- “I really would like to send my child here. But I don’t know if I can afford tuition. Do you financial aid or scholarships?” We desire to make Christian Education as accessible as possible and provide several discount and scholarship programs. Check out our Variable Tuition program, which adjusts your family’s tuition to your family’s unique financial position.
- “I wish I went to school here!” Me too! Think I could pass for a 17 year old?
I hope that gives you a sense of what a campus tour is like. But, don’t just take my word for it – come see WCCS for yourself! I would love to personally meet any prospective families you as you prayerfully consider the best school option for your family.
Contact me anytime to schedule your campus visit!
803.328.5472 | email@example.com