This is My Story –
Late last spring when the teachers selected this as the theme for this school year – we had no idea of the full potential and depth of this theme. Our original ideas was to have speakers during our chapels come who would be willing to share their story of how God was first revealed to them or how they have seen God at work in their lives. People young and old connect to a story – and we wanted our students to be able to connect to a story.
Then, as teachers we started seeing how this theme can become alive in our classrooms. Health class, reading class, drama class, Bible class all had opportunities to expand upon this theme. Just one example is the grade 6 – 8 class who are working on writing a biography of a resident of a local nursing home. After a series of interviews they are using the answers and conversations shared to write the resident’s story. In the process of planning and preparing for a project of that scope you realize the immense responsibility it is to be the storyteller of another person's story.
But as we go through this school year we don’t just want students to hear other people’s stories. We want them to be able to understand their own story, and to develop an understanding and have an appreciation for the stories of others in their classroom.
One of the goals and now initiatives we have had for our school this year is to bring what is known as Responsive classroom practices into our classes. Our school day now opens and closes with classroom meetings, a place for each child to be welcomed, to share and ultimately to be valued. As Jesus finds value in each child, we are striving to help students find value in each other as well.
Last week when the staff were away at professional development the theme that resonated with me throughout the three days in different seminars I attended was the importance of being known – and the difference between being known and noticed.
In our school I believe our students are not just noticed but known. We know their strengths and weaknesses. We know their interests and after school activities. We know what will make them smile and what will make them sad.
Not only are the students known to the teachers, but the teachers are known by the students. What a wonderful privilege we have in a Christian school to as teachers share our life story with our students. We can share moments in our lives, where God has been at work, we can share with our students when God has been present in our time of need or in our weaknesses. We can share where we see God at work, or our favourite and most meaningful Bible verses – and what God means to us.
Back to our theme - This is My Story – Now what is the story of Sonrise’s 31 years.
I think of the following words.
Faith – Sacrifice – Commitment – Loyalty - Passion
And when I think of the story of Sonrise – I see the faces of Sonrise.
I see the volunteers who out of their commitment to the school and their passion for God who have donated hundreds, thousands of hours to this ministry. Through the years volunteers who have been board members, committee members, volunteers who have taken care of lawn maintenance, snow removal, and overall school maintenance, classroom volunteers, parent drivers, hot lunch helpers, volunteers in our office, volunteers producing newsletters, working on technology, or spending hundreds of hours working at the school clothing sale, craft sales, E-waste days, or catering events. The list goes on and on.
I see the faces of many people who have been generous donators and have been willing to donate to the school financially. People, like many of you who freely and joyfully give.
I see the parents over the years who have made sacrifices to allow their child(ren) to have a Christian education. Parents, who have committed and invested far more than just their tuition dollars into the school.
The faces of Sonrise – I also see the staff – both teaching and support staff. Many who have sacrificed prep time, greater pay, and pension opportunities to be able to teach in a Christ-centred environment. I see these individuals who have a passion for teaching, a passion for learning and a passion for the Lord, come to work each day to serve Him. Many teachers have walked the halls of our school through the years, but they all have been invested in the work of Christian education.
Finally, I see the faces of all of the children who have attended the school, either for one day or for 10 years. Everyone's commitment comes out of a desire to see children learn in a positive Christ centred, God honouring learning environment.
These are the faces - the story of Sonrise – This is our story – but more importantly this has been God’s story. I have seen God at work in the lives of students, families and teachers. I have seen spiritual growth not just in students but in teachers and board members. I have seen God provide over and over and over again. I have many times called upon God in time of need in the school and seen Him work through and in the lives of his people.
Sonrise – this is our story. But, the story is not finished yet; there are many more empty pages yet to be written and many more pages to be filled as we look forward to what God has planned for the school.