Welcome Back! The August 15, 2017 #WhatsUpAtGRACE newsletter reflects how busy our school is as everyone gets back into the rhythm of school. The goal of this weekly newsletter is to quickly inform you of what is going on around our campuses and almost always there are links to more information in the GRACE News section of the website. You can search the GRACE News popular categories for #WhatsUpAtGRACE to see past issues.
New for this year is a “Staff Spotlight” section where each week we will meet one of our talented faculty or staff members. Be sure to read this week’s spotlight on Director of Christian Life, Isaiah Whelpley.
As with the start of every school year, there are lots of opportunities for you to get involved and support different groups at GRACE. Look for information about
Purchasing a 2017 Homecoming T-Shirt (they are not just for high school students)
The GRACE Family Owned Business Directory
Becoming a TK-6th Grade Room Parents
Helping with the GoPlaySave Fundraiser
Purchasing a GoPlaySave book (or the mobile app)
Donating a DSLR Camera to the GRACE Photography Class
In addition, this week’s newsletter has some pictures of our first week of school. Please join us in praying for a great time of spiritual growth as our middle and high school students finish out this week with a three-day retreat.
As you may know, on August 21st, there will be a solar eclipse that will be clearly visible to us in North Carolina (pray for clear skies). We are excited about our students being able to see and participate in this rare phenomenon. We have bought NASA approved safety glasses for each student and faculty member to protect their eyes and look forward to educating our students about and participating in this event.
Lower Campus (TK-6th) – 1:30 Dismissal
Students on the Lower Campus will dismiss at 1:30pm so that parents can be with their younger students for this event. Students will receive their safety glasses before dismissal. Students who normally attend After Care will stay on campus as After Care will run as usual until 6:00pm. Please contact your teacher directly if you cannot pick up your child at 1:30pm so that arrangements can be made.
Upper Campus (7th-12th) – Normal Dismissal
Students on theUpper Campus will dismiss at normal time and view the eclipse with their 9th period class. Our science teachers have done an amazing job providing resources to their non-science colleagues as well as planning relevant instruction during their classroom time.
The following websites have great resources for parents and teachers to make the most of this rare event.
Seven years ago, Isaiah Whelpley first came to GRACE as a substitute teacher. This led to a full-time position teaching middle and high school Bible and history. As a Bible teacher, Isaiah’s passion for the spiritual life of our students led to his increased involvement in the weekly chapel program on the Upper Campus. During the 2013-2014 school year, Isaiah left the classroom and became the Upper Campus Assistant Principal, a position he held for four years. During this time, he helped establish the missions trip program available to students in 7th through 12th grades. This year, Isaiah is stepping into a newly created role as GRACE’s Director of Christian Life. in this role, Isaiah will be focusing on spiritually equipping students, teachers, and parents in all grade levels. He will also continue to lead and organize school missions trips.
Isaiah received his Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from Hope International University with a focus in youth ministry. He is on target to complete his Masters in Administration and Supervision at Liberty University in October.
Isaiah and his wife, Kat (a former GRACE kindergarten teacher), are parents to Zeke, who is three and a half. They would like to expand their family and are currently in the middle of an international adoption from South Africa. The Whelpleys are famous for making goofy faces and having tons of fun regardless of where they are. They are avid card and board game players and Isaiah especially likes to play Settlers of Catan and Monopoly Card Deal.
When asked to share his favorite school memory, Isaiah quickly explained that in 5th grade he was picked by the “Yo-Yo Man” in a school assembly and learned cool yo-yo tricks that he was able to teach to his classmates. His favorite verse is 1 Corinthians 5:17 because it reminds him of his identity in Christ.“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” and is his favorite because
When asked to share about a memorable gift he had received, his first response was the teen Bible he received from his mom (seems apropos, given his current job description). This gift was “new and cool and mine” according to Isaiah. A pet rock named fluffy given to him by former GRACE student Josiah Vanderkin, was also mentioned.
Something you might not know about Mr. Whelpley? His first job was working the Mulan-themed parade at Disneyland as “Puppet Pusher #1 and #2” and “Dragon #9.”
From Isaiah, students have learned that they “get” to do amazing things at GRACE!
Like me, you were no doubt shocked and sickened by the events in Charlottesville this past weekend. We know that we live in a world filled with sin and hate, but in the last few days this fact has been placed vividly in front of us. For the majority of the individuals who read this note, we live a lifestyle that insulates us from the worst aspects of this evil reality. However, times like these shock us to attention and provide an important reminder that we can not sit idle while, as 1 Peter 5:8 states, “your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Earlier today, I read a post from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, the Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia. While many have shared condemnation over the events in Charlottesville, Archbishop Chaput’s words resonate. After sharing that “Racism is a poison of the soul” and calling for prayers for those injured in the violence from the weekend, Chaput shares:
But we need more than pious public statements. If our anger today is just another mental virus displaced tomorrow by the next distraction or outrage we find in the media, nothing will change. Charlottesville matters. It’s a snapshot of our public unraveling into real hatreds brutally exposed; a collapse of restraint and mutual respect now taking place across the country. We need to keep the images of Charlottesville alive in our memories. If we want a different kind of country in the future, we need to start today with a conversation in our own hearts, and an insistence on the same in others. That may sound simple. But the history of our nation and its tortured attitudes toward race proves exactly the opposite.
As a school community dedicated to Christ and with a mission to train up young people “to impact their world for Christ”, we have a profound opportunity and responsibility to change this narrative moving forward on behalf of our children, and their children. As a community, we must be willing to look introspectively at our practices to make sure that we celebrate the unity found in and through Christ, to have the “conversation in our own hearts” referenced by Chaput. Are we modeling a better way for our children? We, the adults in the community, must be willing to have uncomfortable conversations. We must also stand up for those who are suffering and oppressed. If we want our culture at large to change, we need to make sure that we are equipping our children with the ability to empathize, understand, and reflect the love of Christ to everyone.
In closing, I want to share a passage from Eric Metaxas’s book 7 Men and the Secret of their Greatness. I highly recommend this book, a collection of biographies of seven Christian men who impacted the world for Christ. In a paragraph about German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Metaxas writes:
Bonhoeffer was perhaps the first of his countrymen to see that Christians were obliged to speak out for those who could not, to “be a voice for the voiceless.” In the case of Nazi Germany, that meant the Jews. At one point Bonhoeffer made the incendiary statement that “only he who stands up for the Jews may sing Gregorian chants.” What he meant was that if we were not heroically and courageously doing what God wanted us to do, God was not interested in our public displays of worship. To sing to God when we were not doing what God called us to do was to be a hypocrite. Many were offended at Bonhoeffer’s outspokenness on these issues. But he insisted that Jesus was the “man for others,” and to follow Jesus meant to stand up for the dignity of those who were different than us.
Blessings to you and yours,
GRACE Christian School is a loving community that spiritually and academically equips, challenges, and inspires students to impact their world for Christ.