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Encouraging Words

Words of Encouragement from our Fantastic WCA Families
As we navigated through the new territory of remote education, our WCA parents were supportive and uplifting the entire time.  Thank you for your prayers, support, and wonderfully encouraging words.


“We pray for you daily to feel inspired, encouraged and refreshed as you give so much to your students!”

“We appreciate your diligence and care of our children during this difficult time. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. We thank God for you.”

“As a former educator I mourn with you all as this should be the best part of the school year. I always loved the 4th quarter! I can see how much you love and care for my children and I’m forever grateful for this. I cannot imagine going through this remote learning experience with anyone other than WCA. I am honored to have had you as a part of my childrens’ lives this past year. Thank you for continuing to pour into them. We miss you all and long for the day where we can see you face to face!”

“You are a blessing to all of us.May the Lord grant you strength, health, rest, joy and a deeper understanding of how much you are loved by Him and all of us.”

“You have done a fabulous job.! You rose to the challenge in submitting to God’s plan for this year.  You didn’t lose your focus, but, rather, taught the kids through your actions that it’s ok to refocus based on God’ s direction and still work with excellence. What parent wouldn’t want that model for their children. You are loved!  We are very proud of you!”

“Just thank you for all you do!!!!  I have always appreciated teachers….now I appreciate them even more!   They truly are a gift to our children!”

“You are all faithfully and generously serving. I know it must be incredibly challenging, especially while caring for the needs of your family also. Thank you for how you serve the Lord by serving our children.”

“Thanks for all of your hard work.  School has continued to be a place of learning and engagement to the glory of Christ.”

“I have really been blessed by seeing them act professionally and with integrity in front of the kids for live streams.  They have encouraged positive attitudes in conditions where I could have almost cried for them considering the frustrating circumstances they found themselves.  I think they have gone above and beyond in many circumstances with the efforts they put forth to provide a quality school day for each child.  Their patience and perseverance has been Christlike from what I have witnessed and it inspired me to also keep on pursuing Christlikeness in my attitude.  I am very thankful for their efforts of support and a pursuit to keep the kids engaged and having fun learning.  Great job, just a great job!!”

“I never realized until now how much effort, energy, thought, diligence and love all of you put forth for our children! Saying thank you is just not good enough and I believe all of you deserve so much more than what you receive but please understand from the bottom of my heart how much gratitude I hold for all of you and that you are always in my prayers!”

“This has been a really trying time for all.  But WCA and all of you – staff and teachers – have been a blessing to our children and our family.  Thank you  and God bless you.”

“You’re doing a fantastic job!  Us parents will really appreciate all that you do on a whole new level next year!”

“Thanks for their help and support, during these trying times for everyone. I personally appreciate all the help and kindness I have received during the time my kids have been at WCA. I think they are Great!”

“Keep up the great work!!!  You’ve accepted the challenge with a positive attitude, taken the bull by the horns and made it your mission to put your best foot forward…..not allowing Satan to gain even an inkling of footing.  Well done good and faithful servants!  We so appreciate your efforts!!”

“Thanks you for all you do in these tough times”

“God bless you all! Thank you!”

“We are praying for you!”

 “Thank you, thank you, thank you! And may God bless you for the wonderful example, focus and grace that you show our children. I could not be more thankful to God for this school.”

“We adore them and their efforts- we miss them!”

“I appreciate their efforts and care for our children.  Thank you!”

“I am so grateful for our WCA teachers!!! This has been an AMAZING 11 years of education for my children.  It has been worth the financial sacrifice time and again to have such loving, shepherding mentors in my children’s lives day after day.”

“Keep encouraging the students–your kind words do make a difference.”

“Thank you for all of your love and support for our kids (and parents) across the digital connections! Your hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed. Thank you for all you do! We are so grateful for you and are praying the Lord will use this for good for us all!”

“We know how hard you have all been working.  Your love for the kids is so evident in each class that I over hear.  I appreciate all that you put into each class and each student.  Thank you for loving, teaching, and praying for our children and families.”

“Thank you for loving our children and for all the extra work required in making virtual learning possible.”

“You are all loved and appreciated. And we know this is tough especially for those that live far away. Not every teacher is able to stop by their students’ houses and provide them with messages, but we know the ones who can’t do things like that are just as dedicated. Thank you for all your lesson planning, for making helpful videos, for investing so much time and attention into your work. I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe and above all, staying positive.”

“Thank you for all of your hard work behind the scenes, for putting yourself in our shoes and making adjustments for at-home learning. We are grateful for your leadership and the love you put into all you do!”

“I know the teachers would rather be in the class , but they are still having an important impact on their students.”

“Thank you, Thank you for not giving up on educating our students well!”

“You are doing amazing! Thank you for all of the instructional videos and little touches to connect with the kids.”

“You are doing an amazing job considering the circumstances. Thank you for your help and guidance during this unprecedented time. Thank you for the encouragement and love you give to our children! We are blessed to have you in our lives!”

 “The teachers have been very available, helpful, and understanding. I really appreciate their patience as there has been a bit of a learning curve. Thank you!”

“The teachers have been so gracious and encouraging! They each have their own stressors and own families to care for and yet they are making time to write cards, get on class live streams when my child is having a rough day to encourage them, and even stopping by the home with a treat or special sign. I’m so thankful for how well they love my children and our family and their self sacrifice does not go unnoticed.”

“Thank you for your flexibility, ingenuity, positive, Christ-centered, and continued investment in our children.”

“Thank you for all the time you are putting into your class. I recognize you are also a parent and helping with your child’s ‘at home’ schooling. Thank you for how often you are available to help us.”

“Please stay strong in the knowledge that we love you and support all the extra hours you are putting into these last weeks of the 2019-2020 school year.”

“You are all amazing! You have handled this transition from classroom to distance learning with grace, making it look effortless! Thank you for all you do!”

“They are doing an EXCELLENT job. We are very thankful for their extra work they are doing to make this online teaching successful. We understand that this isn’t easy to do. You can see the effort they are putting forth for our daughter. We are blessed by each one. We have friends in other schools and have not had much Interaction with the teachers. Praising God for WCA teachers.”

“We appreciate the efforts of teachers who have reached out in special ways and accommodated requests for more help and/or more time.”

“I know this is challenging, but keep up the good (and hard) work you are doing! You are making a difference in our children’s lives.”

“May God bless them and hold them close to Him.  Their roles are now seen as even more important than before and that’s a wonderful thing.”

“The teachers did a great job with quickly organizing assignments and setting up google classroom.”

“Incredible job learning a whole new way of teaching on the fly. I imagine you’ve been busier than ever. Thank you. And thank you for your patience as parents and kids adapted.”

“I am proud of how quickly the teachers got google classroom up and running, this has been a learning curve for most of us. They have done a great job in communicating what is expected each day.”

“We SO appreciate their love for our children and grace when things may not be done their way!! SO THANK YOU!!”

“We think all the WCA teachers are very cool. :)”

“We are so grateful for all you do! One of the “silver linings” to all of this is that we have been able to see and hear you working with our kids in a way that we never have before. The love and patience that you all have for your students and their families is amazing! I couldn’t imagine a better team of people to help us shepherd our children into adulthood! Thank you! ❤️”

“Teachers are trying to teach as best as they can remotely as we can see and trying to stay connected with all kids.Fantastic job!”

“We are so grateful for your positive attitudes, patience and helpfulness. Thank you for doing your best to help our children finish the school year! May the Lord bless you and keep you and give you strength and endurance to finish strong!”

“Thank you. You are a blessing and a treasure.

“Thank you for being available for google meet and FaceTime one on one sessions with my kids in areas that they struggle. They don’t want to receive all the instructions from me. It is nice from them to learn from their teachers who are way, way more educated than I am in teaching.”

“The teachers have handled this with such patience, and kindness and grace to us parents, who were totally overwhelmed at first. I’m so thankful for that. When I’ve dropped balls, and I’ve dropped many, the teachers were there to encourage, never condemn. I really needed that.”

“Great job!!! Very thankful for the “consistency” and “creativity” that they try to provide the students and try to adjust themselves as well. Well done!!! Praise God!”

“you have been amazing and wonderful. you have even figured out how to love on my kids via the computer!”

“We so appreciate the support, encouragement, flexibility, and love the teachers have poured out over these last few weeks. Thank you for all your hard work!”

“I Cor. 15:58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

“I so appreciate all the extra things the teachers have done to try to stay connected and maintain consistency for the kids. They put a routine in place with lightning speed which has made all this possible.”

“We know this was stressful for everyone but I pray we all learned and grew from the experience. We also hope you all have a wonderful summer with your families and that your time together is blessed.”

Prepared

Dear students, it has been a pleasure to be your teacher these past years. I remember with fondness your first discoveries of the joy of Shakespeare in Room 116 as we performed Romeo and Juliet together. I remember, perhaps with less fondness, how I terrified Javy and others of you on my first day teaching you. I remember field trips downtown, college visits, compass group mafia games, and many, many other things with great fondness. It is with great joy that I address you on this, the capstone day of your academic career thus far. You stand at the pinnacle of one achievement looking at the rest of your life ahead of you. 

As you enter life as adults, I feel certain that you will be charged to “bring the light of Christ.” Specifically, though, what does it mean to bring the light of Christ? In this time, I could point out that you are particularly equipped to those who Christ called “The least of these”. I could point out that your reading and practice here has particularly prepared you to proclaim the gospel. I could point out that your preparation here has particularly suited you to enter a world where immorality is cherished and redeem that world. I want, however, to show how you are particularly well-prepared to address three other challenges facing our world. 

First: Fractured Communities. Our communities are fractured and broken. The people within them are distanced from one another (this separation runs deeper than just the social distancing policies with which we are now all familiar). The people in our communities have neither the close knit community of the monastery or the guild, nor the civic duty and sense of camaraderie of the earlier decades of our own country. Neighbors not only don’t speak to one another, they don’t even know one another. We live in a society which not only cannot love its neighbors, but doesn’t even know its neighbors down the street. A society which even has a hard time envisioning a world in which true community exists.

You have been given the vision of what redeemed community looks like. You have seen the way a community operates as you have been members of the WCA community. You have read books like To Kill a Mockingbird, Life Together, and The City of God that cast this vision for you. This will require you to take steps that will make you feel uncomfortable, because people who seek to build genuine community in our society are frequently socially uncomfortable. The way to go about this is also to do the uncomfortable things – meet your neighbors; talk to, cry with, build up, and listen to your friends; host meals and eat with others (even in a dorm room), build community in a thousand small ways.

You are all equipped to do this: I see that equipping in the tutoring you have done as you participated in our community by helping younger students. I have seen it in your desire to encourage and build up one another, younger students, and your teachers. I have seen it in your service in the kindergarten classrooms and other Grammar School classrooms. I have seen it in your senior theses where you thought deeply and carefully about precisely this activity. Don’t let this preparation go to waste – do the hard work of building community wherever you find yourself.

Second: A World Without Imagination, Wonder, or the capacity to appreciate Beauty. Our society’s conception of the world has neither the color of Chaucer, nor the mystery of Lewis. People in our society do not love beauty. Folks around us don’t care about it because they haven’t seen enough of it. Their environments are filled with ugly, practical things. They have been made to live in cities and buildings which are designed not for beauty, but for efficiency with much of the same mindset as that used to design particularly inhumane dairy farms. The language they speak has none of the imagery of Shakespeare nor the tripping lightness of Frost. To people who speak a purely utilitarian language, the beauty of Christ as the Word makes no sense whatsoever. If people do not know what beauty is, they will not desire it. If they do not desire beauty, they will not create or contemplate it. Without beauty, the people perish. “Sin is the receding of the soul from the beautiful” – Gregory of Nyssa

Yet you have the ability to see the world as miraculous; to see the world as George Herbert did: 

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

You also have the ability to create this beauty all around you. You have practiced this with Mrs. Halleland and Mrs. Ziegler. You have studied from those who are greatest at this – Homer, Michelangelo, Milton, Bach, and Monet. I see you creating and loving this beauty in your writing, in your music, in your art, and in your dance. Continue to do so. The creation of beauty is not a hobby or a secondary task, it is vitally important to make us fully human. 

Third: Metaphysically Misled. Those around us do not know who they are or what their place is in the kingdom of God. They question even the nature of reality, but are too intellectually indolent to ponder what the true implications of that may be. This is not to disparage anyone, but to point out that as a society, intellectual indolence is valued. People in our society are not only metaphysically misled, but dangerously metaphysically lazy. 

As the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe has said, we live in a world where “things fall apart.” The philosophical basis for understanding and interacting with reality has been taken away by men like Derrida and Beckett. Aquinas, Augustine, and Plato have been left behind. We must call people back to a world where truth is valued and where inquiry and the quest for truth is both acknowledged as hard and yet daily attempted. 

You have been prepared to address this dangerous lack of truth in the world around you. You have read and considered the deepest thinkers of the Western World. You have written so much that your writing is precise, efficient, and logical; an excellent vehicle to communicate and seek after truth. You have sought for truth in class debates, in socratic discussions, in essays, and in presentations. Keep seeking for truth, and keep inspiring others to do it as well. 

A warning before I wrap up: You have well-sharpened intellects. You have been given all of the necessary tuning, sharpening, and oiling. You have been prepared in all the right ways. Sharp tools, however, can be used for the wrong ends. It does not matter how much you sharpen the axe, if you use it to cut a hole in the boat, you will still drown. Use what you have been given in the right way and for the right purposes. 

Now,
Calvin, who is always ready with a witty remark and a wise word

Morgan, who is always full of joy and who brings that joy to others

Jayna, who motivates us to excellence because of her passion to pursue it. 

Javy, who is unceasingly kind to everyone, regardless of circumstances

Danny, whose writing is sharper than a knife

Stephen, who blends wit and a search for the truth in an incredibly winsome manner

Benjamin, who leads others well in every situation

Olivia, who loves and shares beauty in all she does

Priscilla, whose passion for Christian service is always evident

Abby, whose big laugh and big heart blesses everyone with whom she comes in contact

Eden, whose ability to build relationships and encourage others amazes me

and Helen, who thinks deeply and creates meaningful beauty as a result

It is for you that I give you this last charge which is especially dear to my heart: Continue to learn, be life-long learners. Search out truth with a vigor unfamiliar and strange to your contemporaries. If you do not continue to learn, you waste what you have learned so far. Learning which does not lead to more learning and more of a desire to seek out is sterile, useless, and wasted. Learn not only because it helps you to achieve other things, that is the vacuous route of Pragmatism. Learn as an end in itself.

The Eternal Things

By: Caleb Sasser, Chair of Upper School Humanities Department at WCA
After a whirlwind few weeks we have found ourselves living in a world where terms like “social distancing” and “shelter in place” are common parlance. We live in a world so different from the way it was just a few short weeks ago that we question whether anything is the same. When we do see things that are completely unchanged, such as the relentless approach of spring, the song of a Robin, or the bloom of a flower, they strike us as almost odd or discordant. Our world seems frozen in place, so it is strange to see spring move on. As we feel gloomy and downtrodden, it is odd that crocuses and daffodils are as beautiful as they ever were.We live in a time when it seems like everything is changing, when history is being made, a time of upheaval; and we are not particularly enjoying it. As Tolkein reminds us in The Fellowship of the Ring:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Scary as these times are, they are historically the times when the Christian church is strengthened. There are many reasons for this, but one is that tumultuous times cause us to be hyper-aware of the mutability (or changeability) of things we formerly thought immutable and direct our attention to the truly eternal, unchangeable, immutable things. That is what a WCA education is all about. Our desire is to direct our students’ attention to the eternal things. We desire to be constantly directing our students to love God and the Truth, Goodness, and Beauty that we see in the light of Him.

Have you ever noted that one of the primary reasons for praising God in the Psalms and throughout the Old Testament is that God does not change? Remember the refrain of Psalm 136? “His love endures forever”? God does not change, though all the world around us does. David praised Him for this, so did Moses, Jesus, the apostle Paul, and so has the church throughout the ages. As God does not change neither do the things we see only in light of Him: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Truth is still true, goodness is still good, and flowers are still beautiful. That is why our educational endeavor at WCA is more important now than ever, we all are badly in need of a vision of the eternal things.

I will conclude with the words of the Apostle Paul as he points his students to the eternal things:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

A Response to Lewis

The ability C.S Lewis has to convey such a deep meaning with only two sentences is unmatched. In 1942, Lewis delivered a sermon entitled “The Weight of Glory.” To conclude his speech C.S. Lewis said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” These two sentences encapsulate the verses in Genesis 1:26-27, which proclaim man was made in the image of God or imago dei. Man is unique. There is nothing ordinary about his possession of a soul, his ability to decipher morality, his capacity to create, or his imperfect reflection of his intelligent maker. No man is ordinary because he is formed in the image of God.

No one has ever spoken to a mere mortal, because all men’s souls last for eternity. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that “God has placed eternity in the hearts of men,” saying that all men desire to live forever, and all men in fact, will live forever. The unconverted soul perishes eternally, while the converted soul will rejoice eternally. C.S. Lewis says this to remind his listeners that every word they say, action they complete, and smile they share, can have an impact on the kingdom. Man has intrinsic value because he is made in the image of God. Eternal glory is more than enough incentive to share the Good News with everyone.

This is the “weight of our [future] glory,” that we might share the truth that all men are valuable and created in the image of God, so that all men may know that their sinless Savior died for them, and they have the chance to be glorified in heaven and perfectly reflect Christ. This quote is more than a reminder–it is a call to action.

Lifelong “Learner” Not Just “Earner”

By Kristen Zuccola, Upper School Dean

The text of Ayn Rand’s novella Anthem depicts Equality 7-2521, an attractive, well-built, astute man whose ultimate goal is to rise to the vocation of “thinker” in the House of Scholars, but his aspirations are not possible in the dystopian society of a Dark Age during which workers submissively accept assigned vocational roles. Equality 7-2521 is a street sweeper. For him, there is no discretionary time. He and his fellow citizens work in gender-specific assignments separate from family, separate from love, separate from everything that makes man man except for the toil with which he was cursed in the Garden of Eden. This is no life. 

This tragic dystopia is a far cry from today’s society in which men and women are encouraged to pursue the formulation of family in any form, follow their dreams by becoming all that they can be, and fulfill the vocational goal of earning large sums of money while enjoying leisure time. Humans live in an era of choices, dreams, and plenty. We are the happiest and the best that we have ever been….The world is now, almost perfect. 

Crime has nearly diminished; disease has been eradicated; poverty is virtually non-existent; suicide is unheard of; marital relationships remain intact; depression and anxiety are essentially but memories in the annals of psychological history. We are living our best lives…right now. 

We all know that this is untrue. We are, perhaps, much closer to the culture in which Rand imprisons her character, who proceeds to seek knowledge as his liberator throughout the text. 

You see, society tells us that who we are is what we are, what job we perform, that our vocation is our identity. Education has become a means to an end— we are educated so that we may work. Education is only as useful as it will help us to acquire gainful employment. Any growth apart from one’s earning potential is superfluous. We have been duped. We have fallen for the bait and switch. We have sought to gain the whole world; as a result, some of us have lost our souls.

It all begins with this: we have been led to believe that financial success will lead to happiness. We only become “learners” to become “earners.” Follow this logic with me. We need education so that we may become workers so that we can earn money so that we can be happy. However, we are not happier, and we are not richer. According to Ryan McMaken of the Mises Institute, NYU economist Edward Wolff’s research indicates that the median net worth of American homes between 1969 and 2013, when compared in 2013 dollars, has actually decreased. This means that Americans are actually less wealthy. Even with more dual-income homes, Americans are less happy. Depression, oft called “the disease of modernity,” has exponentially increased. In a study published by the American Medical Association called “A 40-Year Perspective on the Prevalence of Depression,” we learn that between 1970 and 1992, the rate of depression has increased (Murphy et al.). According to the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System data, between 1999 and 2017, the rate of suicide in the United States has increased 33% (Keller). 

I propose a different paradigmatic understanding of education: Education liberates man, enabling him to better live in this world, share the Truth, love others, and emulate the one in whose image we have been made— the Lord. We need education in order to be liberated from the self-centeredness that plagues man, that we may consider others above ourselves. We need education that we would be liberated from the imprisonment of ignorance that we may be more fully able to recognize ourselves in relation to a holy God who has ordered His creation.  We need education to be liberated from lies and ultimately dismiss the schemes of the devil. We need education so that we can intimately learn of the glory of God’s creative genius. We need education so that our creativity, which appropriately models a creator God, can be both developed and refined. We need education so that we can be sanctified, ever growing into the likeness of the omniscient God we serve. 

The purpose, then, of education, is far less about vocation than about fulfilling the more global calling of man— to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength. Education done correctly for the right purposes can cultivate the mind, body, will, and affections. 

Having escaped from his vocational imprisonment, Equality 7-2521 together with the Golden One, a beautiful woman whom he first meets while sweeping next to the field in which she works, finds an abandoned home in the forest from the “Unmentionable Times.” Within its walls, they find shelves and shelves of books. He takes the name “Prometheus” after the Greek figure who championed mankind, defying the gods by giving man fire. In this story, we do not model Rand’s pursuit of individualism or rejection of authority. Instead, we recognize the liberating power of knowledge, of education, and its essential force in truly living. We recognize that the good God we serve has entrusted man, who has been made in His image, with yielding dominion over this world for the sake of the kingdom. In doing so, we must not degrade this mighty task as simply a quest for employment as an inanimate cog in the economic machine. We educate not to GET but so that we are better equipped to GIVE, that we may serve Him better. We can find true joy in becoming the one whom God the Father, Creator, and Redeemer intends for us to become. 

Works Cited

Keller, Jared. “The U.S. Suicide Rate Is at Its Highest in a Half-Century.” Pacific
Standard, The Social Justice Foundation, 4 Dec. 2018, psmag.com/news/the-suicide-rate-is-at-its-highest-in-a-half-century.

McMaken, Ryan. “Median Household Wealth in America Is Going Nowhere.” Mises Institute, Mises Institute, 20 Sept. 2018,
mises.org/wire/median-household-wealth-america-going-nowhere.

Murphy, Jane M., et al. “A 40-Year Perspective on the Prevalence of Depression.” Archives of General Psychiatry, American Medical Association, 1 Mar. 2000,
jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/481578.