The greatness of community is most accurately measured by the compassionate action of its members. Coretta Scott King
In March of 2020, my daughter and I somberly walked the halls of her high school. The silence was deafening. Normally these halls would be buzzing with the sounds of slamming lockers and teenagers shuffling to their next class. Tears welled up in my eyes as we emptied her school locker. Thanks to COVID, she would not be returning to the classroom to finish her senior year. I grieved the loss of community, tradition, and the senior celebrations we had looked forward to for years. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I realized very quickly just how much I had taken for granted.
Thankfully, CCA’s school leadership worked tirelessly to find a way to make socially distanced senior robing and graduation ceremonies happen on the football field. The Dean of Students and College Guidance Counselor personally delivered t-shirts to the homes of every single graduating senior. Senior academic achievements were also personally recognized with drive-by home visits from teachers and administrators. A group of CCA senior moms rallied to plan a Spring Formal in the summer months after graduation. My daughter claims Spring Formal was the perfect ending to her senior year.
When you are grieving for what you thought was lost and it is redeemed with something better, the whole thing feels more significant. The senior celebrations transformed from ordinary and expected to something more sacred. Seniors worldwide were unable to graduate in the traditional ways, but our school partnered with parents to make it happen for the class of 2020 seniors.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
As the 19-20 school year came to a close, the big question on everyone's mind was, "Would students be able to return to the traditional in-person classroom in the fall?" Research confirms children thrive when they know what to expect in their homes, schools, and relationships. Unfortunately, the pandemic thrust children and all of us into a world where the unexpected is the norm. Children dealt with unprecedented levels of stress from the pandemic. The crisis hit them on so many levels all at once: from the challenges of remote learning to social isolation to disappointment from just about everything being canceled or changed last minute, to fear of the disease, to financial instability in the home, and for some, grief over losing a loved one to COVID.
CCA's school leadership vigorously wrestled with how to help students and families know what to expect for the upcoming school year. They worked with medical professionals to find a way for students to return to school in person safely without compromising academic excellence or the relationships vital to learning. They also implemented a Covenant at Home plan so students would know what to expect when illness or quarantine required them to return to remote learning.
CCA students returned to school in person for the first day of school in the fall. Students were allowed to be in their classrooms without masks. They were only required to wear masks in transitions and when near other students. Teachers of younger students solved the problem of class parties by moving the grade-level parties outdoors. Athletic and fine art leadership also worked night and day to make sports and performances happen. Against all odds, CCA won a state football championship and performed a musical on stage in front of a real audience!
From the beginning of the pandemic, CCA’s Moms-in-Prayer group never stopped praying. They started with zoom prayer and then moved to socially distanced prayer at the park. When the weather turned cold, one of our generous CCA families opened their church doors so CCA moms could continue fighting battles on their knees. They prayed for every single CCA student by name, delivered over 40 COVID get well baskets, sent bread and water home with every Pre-Grammar/Grammar school student, mailed stickers to every Logic and Rhetoric student. CCA’s Moms in Prayer group is an excellent way for moms to connect with the CCA community; when you pour out your hearts to Jesus in intercession for each other and the school community, beautiful connections and friendships form.
Over the past 12 months, despite the social isolation of the pandemic, our CCA family fought for connection and community. It wasn’t easy or perfect, but it was a precious gift to witness the administrators, teachers, parents, and students serving one another in love.