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