Anyone who has met Corey McGuire knows that he is a man that knows how to have fun himself and he also knows how to help kids see the fun in what they are learning and doing. When asked to share a favorite memory from his own school days, Corey stated, “My most memorable moment from elementary school was feeding my pet goat a bottle of milk in front of my first-grade class for show and tell.” If the pet goat coming to school doesn’t give you a glimpse into Corey’s fun-loving nature, perhaps the knowledge that he used to own a birthday business where he would dress up as Spiderman and perform tricks for the guests, will help give you insight into Corey’s playful nature.
Corey graduated from Methodist University with a degree in physical and health education, so being the PE teacher on the lower campus is something he is both trained and well suited for. He was first introduced to GRACE as a parent when his daughter was part of the transitional kindergarten class. His observation of GRACE students was one component of his desire to become part of our staff. Corey comments that he loves the way GRACE kids act around campus and describes them as well-rounded and true examples of Christ. He is confident that when his daughter graduates from GRACE she will not only be ready for the world academically, but she will also have a strong faith component that will keep her safe and true to herself.
Corey’s favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Corey shares that as a teen and young adult, and even today, if he ever has questions about what God has planned for him, this verse always helps him come back to where he is supposed to be. It reminds him to trust in God because, He’s God and He knows what He’s doing!
All GRACE high school students are expected to serve our community each year for at least 20 hours.
If you are in need of service hours, and can use scissors, you are invited to contact Mary Kelley at Kelleydm1@nc.rr.com to set up days and times to help with cutting coupons to donate to our local military.
Students who want to serve with Hope Connection International can contact Ms. Barkett at DBarkett@GRACEChristian.net for one-time and on-going service opportunities.
The Celebrate GRACE Auction opened today and has some great items including a basketball signed by Golden State Warrior Steph Curry, a full orthodontic treatment, Disney World tickets, a corvette for the weekend, specialty cakes made by Miss Pat, artwork created by GRACE students of all ages, and so much more.
Are you planning to attend the Celebrate GRACE dinner?
Already RSVP’d? Consider inviting a friend to sit at your table. The newsletter has instructions on how to get your guests seated at your table!
No RSVP? No problem! You can still reserve a seat for yourself and it’s still possible to gather a group of eight and reserve a whole table!
Get tickets for The Music Man on February 23-24
Community Service Opportunities
Shout Outs due March 5th
Lower Campus Library renovation thanks to the Annual Fund
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.
Second grade teacher Paula Green has been teaching for 21 years with the last 16 years being at GRACE. After teaching in the public schools, Paula was happy to make the switch to GRACE because she wanted to share my faith with the children while teaching. Paula doesn’t think education can be or should be separated from your faith. She says, “We are so blessed to live in a place where we can freely share our faith, why would I not want to use that blessing in the most maximized way possible? It is my desire to see the next generation serving the Lord and leading others to Him in every walk of life.”
When asked to share a memory from her own 2nd grade year, Paula remembers that her class took a trip to a farm where they found and cut down a Christmas tree. They brought it back to school and her teacher, Mrs. Seviers, put it up in the middle of the classroom. The students all arranged their desks in a circle around the tree. It was the most magical time she can remember having at school!
Paula’s favorite Bible verse is Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” After Paula came to know Jesus as her Savior, this verse became very meaningful to her. She knew that her focus must be on Him or she would be drawn away by the things around her. Paula admits that she easily gets distracted and hyper-focus on things that need to be done. This verse is an important reminder of where her focus should remain. Another favorite is Psalm 139. This psalm speaks to Paula’s heart reminding her of how omnipotent and sovereign God is.
Paula grew up in Greeneville, Tennessee with two brothers that were a lot older than her (12 and 14 years), so she admits to being the spoiled baby princess. She has two nieces and a nephew who were much closer to her age and who spent a lot of time at her house growing up – so much so that they seem like siblings to her. Something you might not know about Paula is that she is a painter! She enjoys both painting pictures to hang on walls and painting pictures directly on the wall.
Paula met her husband, John, when she was in middle school. They were summertime friends and began dating during her senior year in high school. They’ve been married for thirty years, and have two children who both graduated from GRACE. Paula enjoys seeing their daughter around campus as she is the Varsity Girls Basketball coach!
Earlier this week, at a time when we should have been focused on the solemn commemoration of Ash Wednesday or the pageantry of the Winter Olympics or the fun of Valentine’s Day, we instead, were once again joined together in outrage and horror by news of another school shooting. This time, the tragedy took place in Parkland, Florida. In the almost twenty years since the Columbine High School massacre, there have been too many headlines announcing another tragic school shooting. According to an article in this week’s Washington Post, “at least 170 primary and secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus.” Some media outlets use a much higher number; others a smaller one. Regardless of the exact number, all would agree that news of another school shooting has become much, much too common. My greatest concern is that we, as a culture, have become numb to tragedy. Amidst the immediate debates and discussions about gun control, governmental response, or mental illness, let us not lose sight of the tragic loss of seventeen lives, and the shattered families grieving in south Florida.
In the aftermath of these tragedies, it has become common practice for schools like ours to do two things. The first is to issue calls of prayer and support for those impacted by the tragedy. This is entirely appropriate since, as followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to mourn with those who mourn, as Paul so eloquently shared in Romans 12. So, we will pray for those directly impacted by this most recent tragedy and for our nation as a whole. We believe in the power of prayer and we ask that in this time of mourning, God would provide a comfort, support, and peace that can only come from Him.
The second thing schools often do is to provide school families with information concerning safety measures in place to prevent such a tragedy or to address how the school would respond if such an event were to take place on site. This is entirely appropriate and something that I will share with our GRACE community, but not in this communication. Please be assured that we review our policies and procedures frequently in an effort to provide a safe environment for our staff and students. We have a School Safety Committee that exists for this purpose alone. However, instead of focusing here on current plans and procedures, what I would like to consider is the important aspect of preventing another tragedy. Our mission statement opens by stating, “GRACE Christian School is a loving community.” With all of our drills, security cameras, professional development sessions committed to security, and other appropriate means of providing a safe environment, our greatest source of protection is our loving community. In many cases, school violence is the result of a disconnected, disheartened, and desperate individual lashing out at those around him. Being part of a loving community means that we actively seek to make sure each child is known, valued and loved. This is our sincere desire for each child, every day. This means investing in the lives of the students who walk our hallways in more ways than simply teaching lessons. It means that we support families in times of crisis. It also means that we develop trusting relationships with parents. Sometimes honest dialogue means that we have to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations, but this is what we are called to do as part of a loving community.
Recognizing the value of having candid, honest dialogue, as is age appropriate, I encourage you to speak to your children about the importance of sharing concerns they may have about a peer or a situation and bringing it to your attention. Specifically, if a young person is sharing thoughts of self-harm or harm to others, either in person or via social media, it is imperative that students understand the importance of sharing that information with an adult and the school administration. Likewise, if you, as an adult, find yourself in a situation where you fear that a threat of violence could affect your child or any child at our school, you must contact the proper authorities and/or the school administration. It is impossible to overstate the value of this type of proactive intervention.
The Association of Christian Schools International, one of our accrediting bodies, provided us with the following resources to share with our families: Children and Crisis: COPE Leads to Hope and Teachers and Kids and Crisis. My hope is that these resources may provide you with some guidance for important conversations with your children. As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve your family and work with your children. It is a tremendous blessing and responsibility that we do not take for granted.
Anyone who has walked the halls of the upper campus and stopped to pause at one of the art installations has seen the results of having Elizabeth Walters on our staff. Ironically, Elizabeth didn’t always know she wanted to be an artist. When she was in middle and high school, she was also very good at math. As a high school senior, Elizabeth won both the best math student and best art student. Elizabeth attended Wake Forest University, and at the start of that journey, she did not know what she wanted to do with her life, or even what she wanted to major in. She took many high-level math courses and tutored math while in college, but decided to major in art, because she enjoyed it more. Elizabeth is thankful for her dad who told her to choose what she like best, because “When you get a job, it’s important to like what you do because you spend a lot of time working.”
Prior to joining the staff at GRACE, Elizabeth worked for eight years as a commercial carpet designer. She created patterns of carpet tile for the open line collections, large corporations, and the Canadian market. Even though most designs were very plain in neutral colors, she can recognize the designs that she created. She admits that she always looks down at the carpet when she enters a room. In the Raleigh area, she has seen her designs at the NC Museum of Art in the special collection gallery of the old building, the elevators at NRCA, a building downtown, the Eva Perry Library, and at St. David’s. Elizabeth shares that it’s fun to recognize her work.
It was never Elizabeth’s plan to teach middle and high school art, but she recounts that while it wasn’t her plan, it certainly was God’s plan. She remembers having a conversation with a “stranger” at the post office in Cary and sharing that she was an artist and had experience teaching design classes at all levels from preschool to college and professionals. This stranger was GRACE’s Academic Dean, Julia Taylor. At that time GRACE was in need of an art teacher, Elizabeth interviewed for and received a job offer, and then turned it down. During the following year, she “randomly” ran into then Head of School Don Payne frequently and in the most unexpected places. These frequent “chance” meetings led Elizabeth to pray about coming to GRACE. As it turned out, the teacher who had been hired the year before was leaving to take care of her newborn baby and when Elizabeth called, the position was open. Elizabeth felt certain that God orchestrated all the “coincidences” and that it was His plan for her to join our staff which she did in the winter of 2010.
During her eight years at GRACE, Elizabeth has helped her students participate in many local art competitions. Her favorite was from the fall of 2010 when the GRACE entry, Hamina Biscuit won the “Best Overall Creation” award in the Farm Animal Frenzy competition at the North Carolina State Fair. Hamina Biscuit and her piglets were created from recycled food and beverage containers, boxes, advertisements, and wrappers. Hamina’s body was a recycled pickle barrel and her head was a recycled 5 gallon water jug. Her legs were recycled table legs covered with food boxes and wrappers. The piglets were created from recycled milk jugs. This environmentally friendly herd won $1,500 for the GRACE art department.
Elizabeth grew up in Birmingham, Alabama where her family has lived for many generations. Her great-great grandparent’s home is now a restaurant on the Southside. She has three older brothers and is the youngest and only girl in the family. As for the Alabama and Auburn rivalry, her family is divided. As a group, they aren’t ardent football fans, so they don’t argue about it. When asked to recall a memory from her own school days, Elizabeth shared a high school trip to France in spite of not speaking French well. Thankfully, her roommate spoke fluent French, so she helped Elizabeth get around. Elizabeth was impressed with the expansive gardens of Monet at Giverny, the magnificent stained glass in Chartres Cathedral, and the opulence of Versailles.
Elizabeth has a son with Cystic Fibrosis and she works with the planning committee for the Joey O Bocce Tournament, a local fundraising event that raises money for awareness, research, and medical expenses of those impacted by this disease. Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive genetic disease that affects the lungs and the ability to breathe. Every year, teams compete in a Bocce Tournament at Cardinal Gibbons. Last year, the event raised over $25,000. This year, the event will be on April 29, 2018.
Elizabeth shared that her favorite Bible verse is Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Elizabeth shares that this verse is a reminder that the words that come out of her mouth and the thoughts that she has need to be pleasing to God. Elizabeth strives to be mindful of what she says and thinks, especially in this day and age where what we say and do can be spread so quickly on social media. The most important words, she thinks, are those that praise God.
When asked to share an important life lesson, Elizabeth commented, “Perseverance and grit are the best indicators of success. I used to feel inferior when compared to better artists or more intelligent people. But, throughout my 45 years, I’ve seen many brilliant people fail and not recover. Yet, the people that persevere and work through difficulties, those with grit, ultimately push through and succeed. Natural abilities and intelligence aren’t as importance as diligence.”
Congratulations to the students who placed at the District 3 ACSI Spelling Bee hosted by GRACE on Friday, February 9th. The winners in grades 5-8 all participated in the Spell-Off event after their grade level bees.
Congratulations to Asher Hickman, first place winner in the Spell-Off, and Meredith Wells, second place winner in the Spell-Off. These students will proceed to the ACSI Southeast Regional Spelling Bee in March. Winners from the Regional Bee will go to Washington DC for the National Championship.