Is the Ordinary Extraordinary?

Is the Ordinary Extraordinary?

By Angie Copetillo

We are so glad to see the children’s smiling faces return this week. I don’t know about you, but as thrilled as I am for the freedom of summer every June, I am just as thrilled for the routine of school life every August. I know that the discomfort of new routines now will soon give way to the comfort of the known and ordinary. And smiling kid faces sure do add a spark during that transition.

But the freedom and flexibility of summer was fantastic as well. In particular, this summer provided ample opportunity for professional development for our faculty and staff. We kicked off the end of May by finishing our year-long focus on the habits of Charlotte Mason with an excellent video series by Dr. Bill St. Cyr, a gifted educator, counselor, teacher trainer, and conference speaker. Ideas such as “Be a friendly ally” and create an atmosphere where “It is good to be me here with you” are still resonating.

Then, in June, with helpful gifts from the Patriot Club and the Patriot Parent Organization (PPO), we were able to send more faculty than ever to the Society of Classical Learning Conference in Dallas, Texas. Featured speakers James K.A. Smith, Rod Dreher, and David Kinnamon powerfully delivered ideas on this year’s theme, The Good Life. We all left not only knowing more about how to teach, but also having grown in understanding of the significance of our work.  The speakers’ books include: You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians In A Post-Christian Nation; Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme.

Last, but certainly not least, Habersham friend, author, and speaker, Dr. Charles Evans, led two full days and evenings on developing universal learning goals. Evans is author of the book, Wisdom and Eloquence, a foundational work on modern classical education and a work we highly recommend for everyone, especially new families. These universal learning goals are nothing new. In fact, they seem fairly obvious. But once again, the comfort of the ordinary spoke volumes. To truly teach well, we don’t need the latest glitter and glam or projects and posters. But we do need active thinking, effective communicating, integrated understanding, and disciplined self-governing. I invite you to read more about our learning goals (add hyperlink to learning goals on family updates) so you too can partner with us in investing in these ideas at home.  

As we embark on a new year, may God gives us eyes to relish the ordinary. The consistency of routine. The beauty of family dinner. The active mind. The development of strong habits. The joy of community. The work of relationship. The simplicity of quiet.

The ordinary is extraordinary.

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Class of ’17 College Acceptances

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We’re excited to announce our Seniors have been accepted to the following schools!

Agnes Scott College, Appalachian State University, Armstrong State University, Baylor University, Berry College, Clemson University, Covenant College, Furman University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Southern University, Hardin-Simmons University, James Madison University, Kennesaw State University, Liberty University, Mercer University, Montreat College, Prescott College, Samford University, Savannah College of Art & Design, University of Georgia, University of Kentucky, University of North Georgia, University of the South, UNC – Asheville, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Wofford College


Alumni Spotlight | Jack Gibney ’16 | Georgia Tech


Why did you choose Georgia Tech? 

When I was looking at colleges junior year, I was not as focused on the size of the school or athletics as I was academics. I knew I wanted to pursue a business degree, and a school with a renowned business school was a priority for me. Tech had both: strong academics, and a reputable business school. Even better, it is in Atlanta and being in a big city was an added bonus – there are always events happening in Midtown Atlanta so you are never bored. Atlanta has so many opportunities and going to school right in the heart of it, as a business major at a top business school was an opportunity I could not pass up.

What is your major? 

As I mentioned, I am a business major; my concentration, however, is undeclared. As a business major at Georgia Tech, you graduate with a BSBA (bachelors of science in business administration) – in a sense it is a liberal arts degree of the business school. As general requirements, the degree has you take introductory classes in accounting, finance, information technology (IT), leading and managing human capital (similar to general management and HR), operations and supply chain management, and marketing. The purpose of the requirement is so that students may receive a broader understanding of the different business fields and determine which concentration (the six fields I just listed) they will focus on. As for me, I am currently leaning toward a concentration in finance with an interest in pursuing investing or consulting and getting a certificate (similar to a minor) in business law.

What is your favorite part about being a Yellow Jacket?

My favorite part of being a Yellow Jacket is experiencing the diverse community of students who are all devoted to their work. It is truly a place where inventive and dedicated people come together to help each other in pursuing their career goals. There are so many opportunities available to us by being at Tech and living in Atlanta that the rigorous course work does not seem as bad because you know that your hard work now will pay off soon.

What is your favorite class and why? 

My favorite class that I am currently taking would be CS1301 which is an introductory computer programming class. You learn the programming language Python. It is very rigorous and fast paced, but I really enjoy it. I have never coded before, but I have come a long way and learned so much in this class. Coding is very analytical and in a sense is like solving a puzzle. My favorite part is data analytics because it is a real world application to the material we are learning and is practical in the business world.

How did your education at Habersham prepare you for college at Georgia Tech?

Mr. Manley’s Science and Religion class is one of the classes that I am very thankful I took as it helped prepare me for college. Not only is Mr. Manley a great teacher, but the material in that class is something that all kids should know. Being able to defend your faith, as well as write well and think critically in an academic and scientific style is a skill that is needed not only in college, but in the workplace, and Mr. Manley helped me develop that skill. Similarly, the “dreaded” Senior Thesis class is one I am thankful for. Everyone should write a lengthy research paper before graduating because it a necessary skill in college. I just recently wrote a research paper similar to Senior Thesis this semester, however, it was 10 pages long, I had to give a powerpoint presentation on my paper, and write an annotated bibliography all in about one month, not all year like Senior Thesis. Writing papers will never go away in college, so Senior Thesis definitely helped prepare me for that.

What advice would you offer to future Habersham graduates?

My biggest advice would be to develop strong time management skills now, as well as to learn how to be diligent in the work you do, no matter what it may be. Similarly, learn to get comfortable with public speaking. It is a necessary and important trait in life that everyone should have. Also, figure out what your passion is, pursue what you love, not what others want you to do, or what makes the most money. If you are doing what you love, and you can make that into a career, then you’ll never go to work a day in your life.

What are you most looking forward to in your upcoming years at Georgia Tech? 

I am most looking forward to taking more business classes next semester and pursing an internship for next summer. I am studying abroad this summer in Metz, France and am excited that is right around the corner.

What is the most important thing you have learned in your first year of college? 

I have strengthened my time management skills and diligence in my work. College is hard and so is being independent. Independence is a big responsibility but it is worth it and I have come to learn over the semester how to balance my social life and course work.

Summer ’17 Camps

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Dancing the Jitterbug with Grandma

by Angie Copetillo on December 19, 2016

My grandmother lives in a nursing home in Round Rock, Texas. She isn’t just any grandmother. When Daniel was born she moved across the country to the foreign land of Tucson, Arizona (that’s as foreign as Egypt when you’re born and raised in Kentucky) to help me care for him while working. The working didn’t last long. Motherhood was my calling, but Grandma stayed nonetheless. And she kept moving with us. St. Simons, Bluffton, Auburn. For the next 12 years, after Grandpa passed away, she lived with us and helped me raise the boys. She sacrificed and gave so much. The boys know her with great fondness and trust. Their childhood memories will always be filled with her.

Today is Habersham Service Day. My group of 8th-12th graders arrived at my doorstep this morning to bake goodies and wrap gifts, in preparation for singing and visiting with the residents at Thunderbolt Nursing Home. Twelve students with little understanding of the pain and loneliness of growing old prepared to visit those all too familiar with such.

I have visited nursing homes many times, but I was unprepared for the emotion of watching these young people I adore sing for the elderly, only a few of whom had any idea what we were singing, or even that we were singing. This was a different kind of song. Singing not for the applause or even for the smiles. This was a song of selflessness. The few guests who sang along heartily provided much-needed joy amidst the awkwardness of such obvious age, illness, and loneliness.

Following our caroling, at the express urgency and instigation of our senior girls, we were given permission to pass out bags of treats we had made for those guests without dietary restrictions. You could tell the girls were eager to connect and help alleviate the loneliness, if only for a few minutes.

And here is where the mission met the road. We split into groups – East Wing and West Wing – and distributed gifts, stopping whenever someone was able to converse. They wanted us there to help wrap gifts (which we did too!), but we wanted to be with the people. Two precious moments stood out among the rest:

1) Meg Stautberg, 12th Grade, met Joan, a lady who once loved to read but couldn’t anymore. Photographs of a beautiful family and great grandchildren adorned her side table, but she didn’t know clearly who they were. An aide told us part of Joan’s story, including her love of reading, and how much it meant that we stopped by to visit and took time to speak. Joan was eager to know the words written on the goodie bag. Meg read the scripture to her, Luke 2:10-11. She was confused by Luke and our student’s signed name on the bag. Meg patiently explained Luke from the Bible, and I explained how our students signed the bags. Her aide handed Joan her magnifying glass and thanked us again while Joan asked more questions. Her aide explained Joan would spend most of the day reading that scripture with her eye glass.

2) One of our last stops before heading to wrap gifts was Ms. Nancy, a sprightly resident from North Carolina who once lived in Germany. It was Nancy’s 90th birthday today, so Mr. Hart, Jacquelyn Harn, Abigail Blanda, and Reeder Chambers had found her on a special day! It didn’t take long to see Nancy loved the company and loved to dance. She shared stories for nearly an hour – telling us about her music CDs, her family, her husband who died, and her love of dancing. As we left, she called her daughter and told her all about the new friends she had made and how it made her day. Well, she certainly made ours, and we’re all better dancers for it! At the Hop by Danny and the Juniors filled the air as she took turns teaching the jitterbug to Reeder and Jacquelyn.

Our mission talks about every child being made in the image of God. Our hope is that today, our Habersham students all came to a deeper understanding of that mission by serving others, others who also are fellow image bearers. We became more fully human today. And your children blessed me in that process too. I know I wasn’t the only one. At other nursing homes and community centers and neighborhoods, scores of citizens were blessed.

I hope Round Rock, Texas has a school that visits nursing homes where children sit and patiently listen to my grandmother tell sweet stories of her youth and share memories of our family, like I heard today. What a blessing it is to pause and take time to listen, for we all have stories to share; we all are image bearers of the most high God, who sent his son to become man. 

For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given. And the Government will be on his shoulders. And he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

~ Isaiah 9:6-7

Merry Christmas!