Volume II Issue I: Welcome Back!

“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”

Proverbs 13:12

Dear Middle School Parents!

It is my hope and prayer that summer has brought to each of you the freedom and opportunity to explore the world with family and friends. From long travels overseas to summer camp experiences, students have vacation time to break free from the structure and rigor of the classroom. In my own mind, the summer has been a period of waiting and preparing for new things. The anticipation and excitement of a new school year looms ahead and waits to greet us at the end of August. This post serves as the first of many opportunities to communicate with each of you about the school year, from student accolades to announcements about Spirit Days. The messages sent from this email address will often include a link to visit the Middle School Blog, “Better in the Middle,” which serves current and prospective families as a venue to read about educational teachings and spectacular moments during our school year. This issue will cross-post to the blog website.

In building this first installment, I am excited to discuss the theme of the issue: energy. There is quite a lot of this going around campus right now; I will focus on three facets that best represent how energy is generated in our hallways during the days leading to the start of school and throughout the year. The first area falls in the direction of our fine middle school faculty. I have met with every faculty member in our middle school community, welcoming new members and remembering those who have gone their separate ways. It never ceases to amaze me how diverse, how loving, and how inspiring our educator community truly is. Our new faculty members add to this incredible team, bringing years of experience and a dynamic energy to inspire us with renewed vision. We have a goal of heightened communication and increased availability for academic help this year. All faculty members are available by appointment between 7:15am and 4pm every weekday; however, they will hold office hours (no appointment needed) twice per 6-day rotation. Each will publish this information to your students and on Edline.

The second source of energy, of course, comes from the students. This energy comes from your child’s contribution to our middle school community. Every child has something to contribute to our St. Thomas family. From performance on stage or on the playing field to academic excellence, all St. Thomas students are incredibly gifted young men and women. Between your work at home and ours at school, we are tasked to find this potential and teach our young people how to develop. While this effort requires focus and grit, the STE Middle School is a perfect place to practice in the midst of temporary failure. Quite often I find that the child is not the only one doing the “learning” as we progress through the school year; the lessons we present to our students have an impact on all of us. So while we as parents and teachers are commissioned to inspire students to ride the wave, we should recognize that we are all out in the sea together.

The third and most abundant source of energy comes from the unfathomable power of our Lord. God has placed us in this school, in the 6th, 7th, or 8th grade this particular year for a reason. Though we know our mission, the opportunity to share Good News and lead by example presents itself all the time. It is through prayer and petition for guidance that we find direction and peace. Our school mission: “Forming honorable men and women through a classical education grounded in a Christ-centered world view.” He is our foundation and the starting point to every point. The energy delivered by the One “through which I can do all things” (Phil. 4:13) is unbridled and unending. It is ours for the days when there are two tests for which I must study in spite of a long soccer practice. It is ours for the days when there are 60 tests to grade while a family member remains sick in the hospital. And it is ours for the days when frustration manifests somewhere between my child’s story about the day’s drama and the teacher who seems unyielding. People say that “life finds a way.” This may be true, but I am certain that God knows the way; it is the job for each one of us to remain on the path.

I will always remember my first year as Head of Middle School; no one could ever train enough to understand, much less manage the unique experiences we all shared together. But we take our experiences and learn from them to build something better and facilitate a greater experience for your child. I believe that the one main thing I have learned through my first year at St. Thomas’ Episcopal School is that you cannot underestimate the power of family, friendship, and God. Through pitfalls, wrong turns, and unexpected events, your children, our faculty, and I gained a better understanding of the right way to handle challenge. We have better tools for holding tight to opportunity and raising the bar. Further, the faculty has shown me this week that they are as ready as ever to take your child’s middle school experience to the next level. We are just getting warmed up this week, but the true joy begins on Wednesday, August 20th, with the arrival of the first school day. We welcome the challenge, and are eager to reenergize our hallways with smiles, laughter, academic rigor and a year of building lasting memories.

See you Wednesday,

Charlie

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