Now that we are all in serious hurricane preparation mode, I thought I would share this comforting word from Rick Monroe. Many of you who grew up in Savannah were blessed to know Rick from Young Life or church youth group. You know his giant-sized heart. I know him well in that sense. He has been selflessly serving Savannah’s youth for decades. Rick is also part of my family and serves Habersham generously. I know he is praying for all of us. Please allow his words to encourage you. He allowed me to share them with you. I am prayerfully thinking of all of you, now and in the days to come.
by Rick Monroe
Hurricane season is upon us. Texas has had its life changed….no one even knows how much at this point in time. Hurricane Irma is coming this way…leading millions to wonder if their own lives will be changing forever in coming days.
Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis….these are called “acts of God”.
Flowers, hummingbirds, breath-taking waterfalls, awesome sunsets, snowcapped mountain ranges and even healing of wounds or injuries are attributed to “Mother Nature”.
It seems that God has a public relations problem.
Spoiler alert: Mother Nature is an act of God. God spoke words and everything there is sprang into existence as He called them forth. “Mother Nature” is our invention…not His.
Sometimes things go wrong in nature as a result of our fallen world. But, God is in control.
How do we know? When Jesus came He calmed a storm with a word. He did not calm all storms. Just that one.
Jesus walked beside a pool at Bethesda where all manner of infirmed people congregated. He healed one paralytic. Just that one.
Jesus was healing people in a large crowd when He stopped and said, “Let’s go to the other side of the lake.” There, they met one deranged man in a graveyard which Jesus healed in the dark of midnight. Just that one.
I always wonder who was lying beside the paralytic at the pool. He might have said, “Hey, what about me?” Or maybe there was a mother with a paralyzed child who had stood in a long line all day, and she was next when Jesus left for the other side of the lake. She might have yelled out, “Hey, what about my baby?”
The fact is Jesus did not come to heal everyone or calm every storm. He showed His power in doing so, but only as credentials to His deity. He said that He “came to seek and to save that which is lost.” His bigger mission was to heal everyone….to calm every storm…..but not necessarily here. Just hereafter….for eternity.
I believe God calls us to pray for calming of storms and healing of infirmities. He can and sometimes still performs miracles. But sometimes He doesn’t….here.
He didn’t calm the storm when Peter began to sink, but He got him back into the boat safely. He didn’t heal Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” but He led him into all the known world to change history. He didn’t deliver John from exile, but He did show him a glimpse of Heaven so he could communicate his Revelation to the rest of humanity.
Maybe today you feel like you are sinking with a thorn in your flesh that has you exiled from peace and joy.
Remember: Jesus cares for every sparrow. He numbers every hair. He considers ever lily in the field. But He came…and died… for you. As if you were the only one. Just one.
God could have stayed afar off where hurricanes look like beautiful swirls of spotless white clouds. But He came from that lofty place down on the ground……in the midst of the storm, to ride it out with us and even lift us up to that place where we see the storm from His perspective.
“Peace. Be still.” Hurricanes really don’t change lives forever.
by Leslie Waller
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It
Thoughtfully engaged. Culturally aware. Community minded. As we think about what a graduate of The Habersham School ought to look like, student travel is one of the means for accomplishing this goal.
Here are 3 ways student travel develops graduates:
- Having a cup of coffee or a meal with someone of another culture gives the traveler an appreciation for people and rituals that vary from their own.
- The Humanities that have been read and studied come alive for the traveler. Imagine seeing the remains of the Acropolis and standing where the Apostle Paul spoke to the men of Athens. Consider walking into the coliseum where Christians were persecuted and gladiators entertained thousands of spectators. Picture yourself driving the Appian Way and descending into the Catacombs outside Rome. Stand in front of The Declaration of Independence and imagine John Hancock signing his name. Visit Mount Vernon and wrestle with the idea that a man who fought for freedom also had slaves. Imagine seeing a work by Michelangelo or Van Gogh in person rather than in a book.
- Independence and problem-solving skills are developed when the student travels. Buses and planes are late. Bodies get tired and museum tickets get lost. How does the traveler respond in such circumstances? The very act of traveling is a test of one’s patience and fortitude.
Allie Waller and Sara Delk, both Habersham graduates who participated in the Europe trip their junior year, could not recommend the trip more. Sara admitted that a large part of her decision to participate in this opportunity was because most of her friends were going, but that she thinks she “…still would have gone…even if some of my friends weren’t going to be there, because of the awesome opportunity I was presented with.”
For Allie, traveling to Europe with her class “sparked a love for international travel” that is leading her to move to Scotland this fall. “We made some of the best memories there,” she added. “If I had the opportunity I would [go again]. The whole process was growing. I strongly believe everyone should take any opportunity to go.”
Sara concurred, recalling her most memorable experience of the trip to Europe: “…When we were at the Temple of Poseidon in Greece overlooking the Aegean Sea, it was like I finally had a visual to put with all the great books we had read and all the history we had studied, because sometimes I forgot that those places are actually real and it was so cool to see them in person.”
As these two graduates testified, seeing the world leads to a deeper understanding of people and things beyond Savannah and our daily paths. Travelers are rewarded with a new appreciation for both other cultures and their own culture, fresh opportunities to build independence, and a beautiful time to strengthen friendships.
By Connie Bayliss
I stepped out of my Old English class on a rainy morning in mid-June. Hardly a week into the summer term, I was still tired; thinking about a summer of Old English made me feel more tired.
I’ve been taking summer classes almost as long as I’ve been teaching, so the rhythm is familiar. Finish school in a flurry of final grades, rush through inspiration and hope for next year in professional development, fly or drive somewhere far away, and hit the books. I love taking classes, and reading books, and having discussions with classmates and professors, and writing papers. That’s what I told myself, anyway, as I crossed the slate walkway slick with rain to drop off my books.
But this summer it was hard to remember the feeling of curiosity, followed by the satisfaction of discovery, that drives academic pursuit. My mind was full of declensions and conjugations, and trying to distinguish the usage of þ and ð. 1 We’d been reminded that day of the mid-term paper just around the corner, and I steeled myself to skip the post-class croissant and coffee and head straight to the library. I bowed my head to keep the rain out of my eyes and trudged around the corner of Lincoln College, narrowly avoiding a septuagenarian cyclist in tweed as I turned down the lane toward the famed Bodleian Library.
Oxford is a city of small fortresses, all built up against each other. Carefully monitoring the comings and goings of tourist and scholar alike are the porters at every set of massive wooden doors. The walls of Brasenose Lane, the short alley between Lincoln and the library, are tall and crenelated. A venerable sycamore leans out of one of the gardens of Exeter College on the left. And beyond it, the close confines of the lane meet the hubbub and rough cobbles of Radcliffe Square, in the shadow of the library.
In the morning, the mobs of tourists are just beginning to form. They are mostly packs of Italian, or Spanish, or Chinese students studying English with a minor in Places Harry Potter was Filmed. Harmless individually, they are as formidable en masse as the rioting townspeople who originally stormed the colleges’ walls. 2
Entering the main quad of the Bodleian library is a bit like falling into Alice’s rabbit hole. The seas of tourists inside its confines ebb and flow, packed and deafening one minute, then appropriately silent the next as a tour empties back out into the street. The noise and the unpredictability of the crowds, distracted by audio tours, selfies, and the 17th century grotesques adorning the walls can be overwhelming. As Alice discovered, it’s best to keep moving and not try too hard to predict the patterns around you. But you have to keep your direction firmly fixed in your mind. Wander into the wrong door, and you’ll be herded back into the seething masses by the discreet security who zealously guard the Bod.
I entered the main building of the library (“Act confident. Brief eye contact, nod. Keep your card visible. Swipe. Don’t pause for the gate”) and clambered up the dizzying old wooden stairs. The Habersham Hall stairs were good training, but I was still breathless as I reached the top floor and prepared to enter the Upper Reading Room. 3 Anyone who enters a reading room gasping for air is sure to attract unwanted attention, so I waited as I caught my breath and watched the crowds out the window. Finally, I bolstered my courage and entered the room to see rows and rows of desks and scholars.
Each was oblivious to my appearance, engrossed in his or her own work. Piles of books littered most desks, and librarians efficiently and discreetly materialized with new documents. The energy of the room, so still and yet humming with the intensity of true focus, shook me out of my lethargy. As I found a seat and pulled out a well-loved copy of Beowulf, a feeling of awe came over me. The words of a poet, recorded around 800 AD but quite possibly even older, resonated in my ears. The fear and rage of the monster, tortured and torturing; the boasts of the warrior, ringing with confidence yet framed with respect and humility. The devout authorial asides that beg the reader to understand God’s control, while recalling the atrocities of kings of the past. 4 The characters and the emotions of the poem were not stale because I had read them before. They were like new friends, who cannot be truly understood until familiarity and trust has been established. I was not tired of reading. I had just gone too long without reading properly, carefully, deeply. I needed to wake up.
Renewed and reinvested, I worked for hours. I missed lunch that day, but found more satisfying sustenance in remembering what it was like to read to learn. My interest was amplified by knowing that every phrase I interpreted, every picture of Anglo-Saxon art I snapped in a museum, every idea garnered in class discussion, could be passed on to my class in just a few weeks. The only thing more satisfying than realizing truth is sharing it with someone else.
1 The letters thorn (þ) and eth (ð) both make variations of the modern English “th” sound.
2 The long history of town-gown conflicts in Oxford is well-documented, and might serve to put the problems caused by new SCAD cyclists on the streets in perspective.
3 The main rooms of the many buildings that comprise the Bodleian libraries are called reading rooms. They are full of books, but only a fraction of the library’s books are actually on the shelves, and others can be requested.
4 This can’t begin to do justice to the awesomeness of Beowulf. For a slightly fuller picture, find me in between classes or after school and I’ll try again. Or pick up Seamus Heaney’s translation and find out for yourself!
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.
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
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.