Archive for December, 2017

Buy-Sell-Trade at GRACE

The GRACE PTF invites you to join the “GRACE Christian School Buy/Sell/Trade” Facebook Page.Search Facebook Groups for “GRACE Christian School Buy/Sell/Trade” and ask to join. It’s that easy!

This page is a space for GRACE families to buy, sell or trade GRACE related items such as GRACE wear, athletic wear (cleats, clothes, etc.) or GRACE costumes (such as penguin day costumes, Egyptian day costumes, etc.). 

GRACE Christian School/GRACE PTF will not mediate any sells or trades and is not responsible for any transactions that take place between members.  GRACE PTF hopes you find this to be a helpful service.

December College Update

The Class of 2018 has already received 89 offers of admission from 40 different colleges and universities! This class brings GRACE first-time acceptances to twelve schools, including

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Hollins University
  • Taylor University
  • Xavier University
  • Richmond, The American International University in London
  • Kent State University
  • University of Kentucky
  • Marshall University
  • University of Michigan
  • Transylvania University
  • Western Michigan University
  • Xavier University


#WhatsUpAtGRACE December 19, 2017

Merry Christmas! We pray that in the weeks ahead each GRACE family will have time to rest and enjoy not only time with family, but also to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Please enjoy our 2017 Video Christmas Card and it’s unique retelling of the Christmas Story. You can also find this video on our Facebook page if you want to share it with friends and family. We also invite you read about the history of three popular Christmas songs in the Christmas Season, Christmas Songs blog post in GRACE News.

In the December 19, 2017 #WhatsUpAtGRACE, there is much to celebrate. Our seniors have received acceptances to over 40 colleges, our students are using their gifts, talents, and time to benefit others, and our PTF continues to work hard on our behalf.

If you missed a previous edition of the weekly newsletter, they are all posted in GRACE News on the GRACE website. Keep up to date with all future events by consulting the GRACE Calendar.

Christmas Season, Christmas Songs

Written by Head of School Eric Bradley

My first education job was as a history teacher. To this day, I love finding odd or little known stories in history, one of my favorite things about teaching the subject. A few weeks ago, I came across an article about Do You Hear What I Hear and its connection to the Cuban Missile Crisis. This led me to read about several other Christmas songs and their background.

  • Do You Hear What I Hear — Noel Regney was born in France and educated at the best music schools in Europe.  When the Nazis took over France during WW2, he was forced to serve in the German army. Regney began working for the French Underground while serving as a Nazi soldier, an incredibly stressful and dangerous situation. In one instance, he knowingly led a group of German soldiers into an ambush, getting shot himself in the process, allegedly in order to provide more cover for his role as a spy. Imagine the emotional toll of being in this type of situation. Shortly after the ambush incident, he deserted from the German army and spent much of the rest of the war in hiding. After the war, he worked in France briefly before moving to New York City where he served as a songwriter for TV shows and commercials. In October 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he was asked to write a Christmas song. Imagine being in this position — come up with a Christmas jingle while everyone in the country is consumed with the the threat of nuclear war. In this environment, working with his wife, they created Do You Hear What I Hear, which they intended to be a prayer for peace in the middle of the Cold War. “A star dancing in the night with a tale as big as a kite” might have been meant to represent something much more menacing. Here is the last stanza:

Said the king to the people everywhere

Listen to what I say

Pray for peace people everywhere

Listen to what I say

The child, the child

Sleeping in the night

He will bring us goodness and light

He will bring us goodness and light

  • O Holy Night — This song was written in 1847 by a French poet, Placide Cappeau, when asked by the local parish priest to compose a Christmas poem. After writing the poem, the author decided it would be better as a song, and asked a Jewish composer friend to set the poem to music. The song became quite popular and spread throughout French churches. However, years later, when Cappeau renounced the church and declared himself a socialist, the song was officially banned by the French Catholic church. The ban had little effect as the song was already very popular among churches throughout Europe. Shortly after, American abolitionists fighting against slavery helped spread the song throughout the United States. Think of the third stanza being sung in the United States on the brink of the Civil War, “Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother; and in His name all oppression shall cease.”
  • Joy to the World — This song was written in the early 1700s by Isaac Watts, but was not intended to be a Christmas hymn, but rather, a song about the second coming of Christ. The lyrics were based on Watts’ interpretation of Psalm 98:4-9 which opens, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.” While it is interesting to think through the lyrics with the idea of the song being about the second coming, the central idea of the song does work for the incarnation as well — “Joy to the World, the Lord has come! Let Earth receive her king!”

All of these songs are fascinating on their own, but like many things in life, they take on more meaning when you look into them more deeply. In these three songs, we are reminded that God works in ways we do not fully comprehend.

  • In Do You Hear What I Hear, a man who experienced the horror of war first-hand, penned a beautiful prayer for peace, hoping for a better future for all of our children.
  • In O Holy Night, a socialist poet and a Jewish musician, two men who had no connection or commitment to the Christian faith, combined their talents to create a powerful song that celebrates “The Thrill of Hope” that comes in the form of the Christ child.
  • In Joy to the World, a hymn intended to honor the triumph of the second coming of Christ has become one of the most recognized of all Christmas songs. Now, knowing the background of its origin, when I hear the song in the future, I will think not only on the joy of the incarnation, but also of the incredible promise of our King’s return.

As we prepare for the Christmas season and all of the busyness that may entail, I encourage you to stop and think about the incredible way that God may be moving in your life and the lives around you, and never lose sight of the incredible, awe-inspiring, life-changing message of Hope that came to us in the form of the Christ child. A hope that continues on still today.

Merry Christmas, Eric Bradley

“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,

It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!

O night divine! O night when Christ was born.

O night, O holy night, O night divine.

Placide Cappeau, 1847



Staff Spotlight: Beth Hawks

If you have spent any time paging through a GRACE yearbook, then you have already benefited from the gifts and talents of middle and high school science teacher Beth Hawks. In addition to teaching science at GRACE, Beth is the organizing and motivating force behind our student produced yearbook. If you are a student at GRACE in any grade, you will see her multiple times a year as she strives to make sure every student is represented more than once in The Torch.

During her 15 years teaching at GRACE, Beth has taught 8th Grade Physical Science, Chemistry, Physics, 7th Grade Health, Freshman Health, Algebra I, Photography, and Yearbook (not all in the same yeaer). Science and the space program are Beth’s passions and she would have pursued being an astronaut if she hadn’t grown above NASA’s height limit of 5’8″ when she was 12 years old. As it relates to science, Beth loves seeing students discover science and enjoys teaching many students twice as 8th graders and again in high school.

Beth had a hard time picking a single memory from her own time in school, but shared that her 6th-grade teacher taught her not to take herself so seriously; at that time, she cried if a person looked at me wrong or said something I didn’t like. 

When asked to share advice, Beth was quick to say, “Be open to whatever new opportunity God brings your way.” As a point of illustration, Beth shares that she didn’t know she would love teaching yearbook, but she said yes to it when Kathie Thompson asked her to try it. Now, thirteen years later, she can’t imagine what it would be like not to do it.

Beth believes that God has given the gift of singleness so that she can have undivided time in her ministry to the students at GRACE. She loves working at our school because everyone is committed to serving God with their work instead of viewing it only as a way to get a paycheck. When asked to share her favorite Bible verse, Beth quoted Mark 9:24, when the father of the boy with the unclean spirit says, “I believe.  Help my unbelief.”  The recognition that even though he believed, he still had a long way to go and needed the help of Jesus to believe is something she relates to.

As far as sharing something that others might not know about her, Beth let us know that she was a clown for a few years in a church ministry; her name was Peaches. 

2018 ACSI Creative Writing Festival

GRACE Christian School participates in the annual ACSI Creative Writing Festival. Finalists for the ACSI event are selected from among entries submitted for the school level event. The GRACE and ACSI Creative Writing Festivals provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their writing abilities and skills. This student activity is not a competition but rather a program geared to help students improve their creative writing abilities.

  • General Information: All students in grades 4-12 are encouraged to participate. Students can submit a writing piece from this school year or create a new one. Submissions in multiple categories are welcome.
  • Deadline: Entries are due by Friday, January 12, 2018 at 3:00pm to your English teacher.

For more information read: GRACE Creative Festival 2018

#WhatsUpAtGRACE December 5, 2017

The December 5, 2017 #WhatsUpAtGRACE has lots of information about things going on at GRACE. Don’t forget to re-enroll your student for the 2018-2019 school year. Re-enrollment is completed in RenWeb and a link to instructions is included in the newsletter.  Please note, RenWeb does not support mobile devices for re-enrollment.

Included in this week’s newsletter:

  • Link to the live stream of today’s Elementary Christmas Program (watch live or later)
  • Two important “Save the Date” events
    • Play4Kay (Hoops for Hope) on January 26, 2018
    • 3rd Annual Celebrate GRACE Fundraising Dinner on March 2, 2018
  • Information about the summer missions trip to Costa Rica
  • Important reminders for parent and student drivers on the Upper Campus
  • Service opportunities for students and families

If you missed a previous edition of the weekly newsletter, they are all posted in GRACE News on the GRACE website. Keep up to date with all future events by consulting the GRACE Calendar.

Staff Spotlight: Sharon Martin

If you have spent any time on the elementary campus (especially the car pool line), then you know who Sharon Martin is. For fifteen years, Sharon has been sharing her many gifts and talents with the GRACE community as the 3rd grade assistant and one of our many dedicated car pool monitors.

Sharon has a degree in electrical engineering and worked at CP&L (now part of Duke Energy) running the dispatcher training simulator to teach dispatchers how to take care of major outages in the power system (i.e. tornadoes and hurricanes).

Sharon grew up in Ohio and moved to North Carolina after college. Ironically, her identical twin sister also lives in Raleigh and they frequently run into each others friends who cannot tell them apart.

When asked to share something from her own school days, Sharon recalled that in her neighborhood elementary school, everyone walked to and from school each day and that everyone went home for lunch. She also recalls breaking her right arm in 3rd grade and learning to write with her left hand. Sharon credits this event for transforming the quality of her handwriting which went from “horrendous” to “beautiful” during this time. Fun fact – Sharon still has the plaster cast that was on her arm!

Sharon and her husband, Ken, have been married for 35 years and have two daughters adopted from Thailand. Both Melanie and Molly attended GRACE from kindergarten through high school graduation. After adopting the girls, Sharon quit work so she could stay at home with them. When they were old enough to enroll at GRACE, Sharon came on staff so she could have the same hours and holidays as them, and to help pay for their tuition. While both girls have long since graduated (Melanie- 2011 and Molly- 2014), Sharon stayed on at GRACE because, as she states, “I really enjoy working here.”

When not at GRACE or spending time with their daughters, Sharon and Ken like to do long distance biking. They recently rode 175 miles in two days (100 miles the first day and 75 miles the second day) as part of the 2017 Bike MS: Historic New Bern Ride which raised $1,661,078.92 to fund MS research.