Monthly Archives: February 2016

World’s Best Practice Rebounder

As a child, I had a violent temper that reared its ugly head any time I lost, and manifested itself  in kicking basketballs into windows, throwing board game pieces at my siblings, and being sent to my room.  I hated losing (and still do), and challenged my family’s ability to patiently love me through every rant, outburst, and loss.

In middle school and high school my dad and I would go to the gym before school so I could shoot and work out.  I have never been a morning person, and to start some days by missing shot . . . after shot . . .  after shot . . . would exasperate me into punting the basketball across the gym as a release of my frustration.  My father’s response: go dig the ball out from whatever bleacher it was wedged under, run back to the basket, and give me another pass.

Despite my father’s incessant self-proclamation of being the “World’s Best Practice Rebounder”, I consider the number of times he hunted the basketball down and brought it back to me again to shoot another lousy shot, and I have to admit that he really was the best.  And as we so often see in our earthly fathers a reflection of our Heavenly Father, it was in those moments that I began to understand God’s love for me defined as both long-suffering and kind.bball

In 1 Corinthians 13:4, Paul says love is the ability to “…suffereth long, and is kind; …” (KJV).  To love someone means you develop a kind of loyalty and commitment that boils down to choice far more often than emotion.  There is no way my father felt like chasing the basketball that I had kicked across the gym – and some days he expressed this truth; however, he still chose to do it because he needed me to know two truths: he loved me, and he was in it for the long haul.

Every teacher has undoubtedly recognized the choice we are asked to make daily on behalf of our students: to love them with long-suffering and kindness; to choose daily to commit ourselves to their development intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually; to hold them accountable in their work and actions; to cheer on their identity, character, and excellence.  Furthermore, parents and students alike are asked to love their teachers with long-suffering and kindness; to trust their judgment; to know that every teacher chose their profession with students in mind.  When teachers, students, and parents respond to each other in this way, we extend grace and reflect a partnership that must make God proud.  He epitomizes a long-suffering love and kindness towards us as he daily chooses to withhold his righteous judgment towards us and honor our faith in His Son, Jesus.

So thank you, Dad, for pointing me toward God’s character.  Thank you, students, for trusting me as your leader.  And thank you, parents, for choosing to send your students to Evansville Christian School.  I can promise you that every teacher here deeply desires for your children to know the same truths my father expressed to me many years ago:            we love them, and we are in it for the long haul.                                                                          

In His Love,                                                                                                                                                                 Paige Rudolph                                                                                                                                                           5th Grade Literature & Language Teacher

Quality, Commitment, and Christ

best-quality-graphic“There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit…” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Olivia Hallisley, 16 year old sophomore at Greenwich High School in Connecticut, crosses the stage with a nervous grin to receive the top prize at the 2015 Google Science Fair. This young woman has created an expedient Ebola detection kit to meet the growing need worldwide. She was inspired after watching 10,000 people around the world die from this ravaging disease. (Huffington Post)

Her heartfelt rationale to TIME Magazine for this project was simple: “We have to work together to find answers to the enormous challenges that threaten global health, our environment and our world.” This young woman has been educated, empowered and now entrusted with a great calling to lead her generation.

As she excitedly took her trophy and prize in hand, she no doubt recognized the enormity of her work and the far-reaching impact her efforts will have. But, she stood alone. Olivia alone was honored. Olivia alone was praised. Olivia alone was rewarded.

However, I believe this one young woman represented dozens of educators who, through the years, were committed to developing Olivia’s inquisitive nature, challenged her academic thinking and offered a safe place to develop as a learner. The goal of her educators, both in the classroom and the home, was not to take the stage themselves, but rather to engage, equip and empower Olivia for greatness.

In the five years I have had the opportunity to be a part of the dynamic team of educators at Evansville Christian School, it has not escaped me that a group of such quality, committed and Christ-minded people under one roof is a rare find. The words of Emerson quoted above are embodied by the faculty and staff of ECS. As our ECS team is pursuing excellence and growth in the ever-changing world of education, there is not even the consideration of leaving someone out of the conversation when it involves student learning. We are many parts that function as one in our pursuit of excellence. We are not driven by competition but rather collaboration.

When a student, regardless of all factors, is surrounded by a team of professionals willing to tailor learning, accountability and relationship based on his/her individual needs, the result will be student achievement. While external measures and assessment for each student will absolutely be unique to the learner, those scores will be far outweighed by the long-standing, unmeasurable changes occurring in our classrooms as children transition from students to learners.

While the list of accolades our team of educators have earned is growing with every passing year; the true source of this excellence comes from the work begun at ECS by the Lord over 40 years ago. It is by His name we have been empowered to do the work of teaching and training and by His Spirit that the hearts of so many have been turned toward eternal salvation in Jesus Christ. Not for our praise but rather His glory. When our eyes are fixed on making disciples rather than earning praise, there is no limit to what can be accomplished.

In Service,

Nicci St. Clair
English Teacher/Middle School Team Leader
Evansville Christian School