June 14, 2021
Students had not gathered together for chapel, until June 11, 2021! What an emotional gathering, especially after Mr. Felton’s message:
"First I want to make sure there is recognition to those who did so much behind the scenes: Mrs. Rogers, Mr. Wagner, Mrs. Banducci, Mrs. Zallee, Mrs. McDonald, and Mr. Cowan have all done so much that I am incredibly thankful I didn't have to do. There is so much they did to keep us open and I am very thankful to them.
Wow, what a year! We've gone through fires, multiple schedule changes, online learning, quarantines, synchronous learning, and countless other challenges. Here we are now on the last day of school. It has been the strangest year. I have taught from my guest room when we couldn't leave the house because of smoke, from my deck in December (because my wife was teaching kindergarten in the dining room), from the classroom (while my daughter who was in my class, but only allowed on campus for two hours twice a week, was in a different house), and from my living room with my Chromebook on top of a cat-scratch pillar on top of a card table. There has been so much work and so many sacrifices made by students, staff, and faculty which have led us to this day. With each schedule change I would think, "This is not sustainable." Then a few days later: "I guess this isn't that bad." Then: "I think we can do this". As soon as I became comfortable, the thought process would start all over again with a new schedule.
I got out of my car almost every morning unsure I had the strength, skill, or knowledge to accomplish the day's tasks, but with a line from the old hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness" in my head: "Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow." We got through this year one day at a time and although so much work and planning was put in by the teachers and staff, and so many sacrifices were made by families and students, that wasn't the reason we made it to today. The reason was because of God's faithfulness.
As teachers, we do as much learning as the students. There are two major lessons I have been taught. The first lesson I learned was God's faithfulness. He gave us strength for one day at a time. I want you to know that this year will not be the last difficult year you go through. You may struggle with health, relationships, school, or something else. When that happens, I want you to remember this year and how God sustained us and got us through this school year.
The second is to be grateful for what we have, no matter the circumstances. I am so thankful for the activities like sports, drama, and music which we have received back, even if they don't all look the way they did a year and a half ago. I am thankful for the ability to see your faces, even if I only see the top half. I prayed so hard for in-person, five days-a-week school and God gave that back to us. Next year as we gradually regain what was lost, I pray that you don't forget how much you have, and are grateful for the ways in which you have been blessed.
Finally, as we complete this year, I hope that you leave with the understanding of how much we love you. We love you so much. We may have had great interactions with you each and every day and we may have had some less-than-positive interactions with you.
Still, know that we love you so incredibly much. BUT GOD LOVES YOU MORE. Thank you for bringing so much joy to us this year. Have a fantastic summer."