My story begins long before I was born. It begins with my grandfather, who dedicated 35 years of his life to bringing Christ to young athletes in his community on Hilton Head Island through a ministry called "Week of Champions." My story also begins with my great grandfather serving his small town in Ohio by ministering in hospitals, churches, and funeral homes. My story begins with the leaders of Calvary, whose vision it was to minister to our community through developing a Christ-centered school. They have taught me respect, perseverance, and humility. All of these people have set the tone for my own story.
From early mornings spent tediously working on the yearbook, to lunch breaks serving on Honor Council, to after-school golf practices, and finally, late nights studying for AP exams, my Calvary uniform represented many different aspects of the identity I found within Calvary. It wasn’t just the outfit I wore to sit in a classroom or the clothes I was required to play golf in. The purple and gold became a marker that I belonged to Calvary Day School.
My parents and I walked into Mrs. Karen Jones’ Pre-Kindergarten class. Cubbies for our bookbags lined the sides of the room, and the walls painted pictures of a fairytale with castles and knights and princesses. As my parents turned to say goodbye to me, my four-year-old self broke into tears, begging my parents not to leave me behind. Despite transitioning from the Calvary daycare, where this same routine of my parents dropping me off before work and picking me up in the afternoon was normal, I was afraid of what the “big school” would be like.
I know what many of you are thinking, because it’s probably the same thing that I was thinking when we decided to start FIRST LEGO League for our middle school: “This will be cool, but it may only appeal to a few students.” Prior to some research on FIRST LEGO league, I honestly assumed it would just be building some structures with LEGO kits and some basic programming. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is so much more and truly teaches countless life lessons and provides many long-term benefits for those who choose to participate.
Last Thursday, we began a new tradition for our rising 9th and 6th graders. The Student Ambassadors hosted a field day for these students. Each Student Ambassador was assigned a specific job, including team leader, serving snacks, and walking students through Calvary trivia. Throughout the event, I was so blessed to watch the Ambassadors cheer on the 5th and 8th graders on their team, encourage each student to participate and be involved in each event, and lead small group discussions in order to foster relationships.
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the University of Alabama. I knew UA was a large school, but I truly had no idea what to expect. The streets of Tuscaloosa, known as Ttown to the students, were lined with majestic, mansions, one after the other. The beautiful three story white mansion on the left was breathtaking. I thought to myself, this must be the president's mansion. It was. We ate breakfast there the following morning. This was not what I had expected, not at all.
Spring is the busiest time of year in schools. Students are studying for exams, collaborating on final projects, hunting for Easter eggs, and participating in playoff sports. Spring is also packed with school performances and concerts. Teachers spend countless hours practicing songs and dance steps to ensure our students are ready for performance day.
The Calvary Athletic Department is excited to introduce a new program we are rolling out this summer, the Jr. Cavs. This program provides an amazing opportunity for younger athletes, in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade, enrolled at Calvary or athletes representing other schools from the Savannah community.
Excuses. We see and hear them everywhere. Whether you are a parent, coach, or teacher, we all hate to hear them because it usually means something was not done. I can’t do it because...I am afraid. What will people think? I might not be good at it. Everyone else was doing it. I am tired. It won’t matter much anyway. I’ll do it later. We have all heard these excuses and many more. It only took three chapters into the Bible for Adam to make the excuse that it was Eve’s fault that he ate the fruit. Moses asked God to send someone else to lead the people from Egypt because he didn’t think he spoke well and didn’t think anyone would listen to him. Everyone has made an excuse not to do something at one time or the other.
Important things to keep in mind for your young athletes:
If your kids are healthy, do they really need a sports physical? Actually, yes. According to a PeaceHealth doctor who has worked with Olympic-level athletes, a regular check-up can give you and your young athlete peace of mind…not just for a season, but for life.“About 90 percent of the time, we don’t find anything that would be of concern during a physical,” said Kevin deWeber, MD, a family and sports medicine physician in Vancouver, Washington. However, those few check-ups that do reveal problems are potentially life-saving and that alone makes them more than worth doing.“Sports physicals are needed to make sure athletes compete safely—for their own health—and for the health of others,” said Dr. deWeber. Heart murmurs or hidden heart disorders are sometimes found during physicals. A few more-common conditions that physicians see that might limit a student’s physical activity include asthma, allergies, and high blood pressure.
This year we have partnered with the school photo specialists at Vidigami as the primary sharing platform for all school photos. From official photos taken by our Media and Public Relations departments to the candid shots taken in the classrooms and around the campus, Vidigami gives parents, students, and staff an interactive view into the students’ school experiences. A fully featured cloud-based software, it allows users to upload photos from any device, organize them by album, tag them with keywords, and create slideshows for our website, as well as OnCampus classroom and team bulletin boards. Vidigami is just one more way that we are adding value to your Calvary experience.
After reading Director of Development Gordon Hunter’s blog post entitled--“What is a Cavalier?”--I couldn’t help but reflect on the meaning of Calvary to me personally. I started my Calvary journey in 1981 as a classmate in Mrs. Smith’s 5th grade class. I pulled out the yearbook just now and can’t believe how many of my fellow 5th graders from 1981-1982 are still an active part of the Calvary family. Just to name a few: Michelle (Meyers) Smeltzer, Admissions Assistant, current Calvary parent, parent of CDS grad; Kim (Burgstiner) Zellner, Lower School Librarian and current CDS parent; Stacey (Black) Peacock, current Calvary parent and parent of a CDS grad; Michael Johnson, current Calvary parent; Spencer Thomas, current parent and parent of CDS grad; and Andrea (Mason) Turner, current parent and Director of the Calvary Afterschool Program. They have been a part of the Calvary family their entire lives, but, why?
Education in the 21st century is exciting and scary all at the same time. Change is happening faster than ever, and we do not know exactly what education will look like 10 years from now. Some of the burning questions are:
Over the past few seasons I have given each of my basketball players a booklet entitled “Calvary Basketball Notebook of Champions” for the upcoming season. I got this idea from Coach Don Meyer, former coach at Lipscomb University and Northern State. This notebook outlines what we will be doing over the summer, suggestions and information on becoming a better basketball player (as well as a better person), motivational quotes, and other information to inspire our players. It contains some of the best information that I have come across over my years of coaching. I have spent many hours on this notebook, trying to get it to fit our needs and get our players to improve.
Calvary High School offers a senior internship program (previously called minimester) implemented more than three decades ago which provides practical learning experiences for seniors. This program gives these seniors a first-hand view of the functions, purposes, and objectives of various professions. The student work at a non-paying status. This opportunity allows seniors to select a career of interest that they are able to observe first hand, which can in turn assist them in selecting their major and career path through their college years. Several students shared their recent experiences with us:
What a blessed opportunity we had to travel to the beautiful country of Italy. Over Spring Break, 32 Cavaliers traveled together to experience God’s handiwork and man’s creativity. We used Christian travel company Joshua Expeditions, so our entire trip was spiritually integrated.
Think back to the last time you read a good book. Was it a book that made you laugh out loud, brought tears to your eyes, transported you somewhere that you had never been, taught you something new, exercised your brain, or just fed your curiosity?
Whether you are in 6th grade, 8th grade, or even in high school, finishing the school year well can often be a difficult task. Many students struggle to finish the year with the same effort and enthusiasm that they started out with. Understand that this is normal, and they are not the only child that has a hard time pushing to the end. Quite often, many feel like they “just can’t take much more” or are “limping to the finish.” With that in mind, here are 5 helpful tips that you can use to try and help your children make the end of the year a success rather than barely making it by:
Every five years a new and very specific academic story is told about Calvary Day School. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) AdvancED team spends three days on campus evaluating our students and staff in all areas of academic life. In the years leading up to this visit, our teachers and administrators invest thousands of work hours, produce tens of thousands of pages of documentation, create a detailed website portal with all of this information, and craft a very detailed long-range plan for continued excellence.
Family can be understood by several definitions. At Calvary, family is used very often in context to describe the culture of this place. Often at open houses I will talk about family to those touring and looking at our school. I will begin stating that Calvary is very similar to your family--no one is perfect and no school is perfect--but what's important is the community that makes up that family and the impact it has on you.
Roald Dahl’s timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir comes to life in this stage adaptation of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, which features the songs from the classic family film Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. Come join us next week as we visit a world of pure imagination!
High school are some of the toughest years, but with the right attitude and humble personality, 2018 Homecoming Queen, J’Nyla English, has shown that it makes all the difference. When she came to Calvary from Bible Baptist her freshman year, she was eager for a new start because of some difficult experiences in the past.
Who Are You Again? An Editorial Feature on the Personal Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease
What is your name again? Who are you? How do I know you? Three simple questions that are heard daily in the life of someone affected by Alzheimer’s. These are questions that are not easy to hear, but remind loved ones that forgetfulness is a reality of the disease. Alzheimer’s is a disease that progresses over time by destroying your memory which is caused by brain cells losing their quality and dying, resulting in memory loss and loss of certain functions.
After seventeen years of being a high school soccer coach along with four years of coaching collegiately and four years of playing soccer in college--each new season begins with a Why? Why do we coach? Why do we play?
The Beacon staff’s 2018 book, Shift, was awarded Quill & Scroll’s Blue and Gold Staff Excellence Overall Award, which is given to only one yearbook staff in the country. Along with this, the staff was awarded the Blue and Gold Staff Excellence in Comprehensive Writing and the Blue and Gold Staff Excellence in Comprehensive Visuals.
As the decision of where to attend college starts weighing on your child’s mind, as well as your mind too, the best way to learn the ins and outs of a particular school is to visit. Why would one ever consider making the decision of attending a college for the next four or five years of their life without stepping foot on the campus? One might ask, “How do I set up a college visit?” One may sign up for a campus tour on the colleges website. Most schools offer tours every business day of the week, and tours typically run twice a day. Many schools also have Preview Days.
It is humbling to realize all the blessings we have experienced this past year as a school family. Campus improvement projects like the new kitchen and remodeled cafeteria; our new coffee shop, CAFE 252; the expansion of the STEM program and facility to include students in grades Pre-K through 12; and of course, the completion of our much lauded Specialty Sports Complex. In addition to our student-athletes enjoying countless victories these past three seasons, our High School Yearbook program won first in the nation for best yearbook team, and our Middle School Lego League Team travels to super-regionals after their recent regional win. Our Lower School, as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, did not rest on their laurels when expanding their Fine Arts program with amazing performances featuring vocal, dramatic, and visual arts. This pursuit of excellence across the grade levels paid dividends with the top 25% of our students scoring the highest ever SAT scores, with an average of 1350. In the spirit of Luke 2:52, we will continue to give God our best: academically, athletically, spiritually, and personally.
The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy members have been diligently working this year on their service and leadership skills. Each year, the students are tasked with creating, organizing, and executing a service project to impact the community. This year, members voted to partner with Hosana Helpers, a nonprofit organization that provides meals and Bible lessons every Sunday in Forsyth Park. In addition to Bible lessons, Hosana Helpers provides uniforms and school supplies for 100 children in need.
Spiritual Emphasis Week is a special time here at Calvary Day School. This is where our Upper School students will attend a week-long series of chapels that enables them to draw closer in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Throughout the week of January 28 - February 1, our students will hear and see how we BELONG to different groups, paths, and communities within our daily lives. Faith, Academics, and Excellence are at the heart of Calvary, but above all, we want to teach our children to be the “hands and feet of Christ” in our school, community, and world.
During Spiritual Emphasis Week, we are excited to partner with a local 501 c-3 nonprofit called P.A.C.K. (People of Action Caring For Kids). Among other projects, P.A.C.K. currently packs and distributes more than 6,000 bags of weekend food to kids in local schools and community programs each month. In our area, 1 in 4 children suffer from food insecurity. Calvary would like to host a packing event of our own on Thursday, January 31st. Our goal is to pack 2,500 snack bags during the week. If each student bought $8.00 worth of food items, this would allow Calvary to reach our goal. Students will be involved in every step of the process (gathering food, packing bags, making cards, and praying a special blessing over the bags).
Please join us in this special project by sending in the food items listed below by January 31st for our packing event. If possible, please allow your students to help with the shopping:
Single serve juice boxes - 6th, 7th, and 8th grade
Fruit Snacks - 9th grade
Single serve packs of Crackers/Cookies - 10th grade
Calvary Day's Lower School has logged over 14,000 miles already this year between our morning/afternoon bus service to four locations and our field trips for Pre-K through 5th grade. Safety and awareness are imperative in order to offer these services.
Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW) is a remarkably special week set aside each year for our Middle School and High School students to be challenged spiritually toward personal growth. I am energized every year by great student stories letting me know how their lives were changed. One particular student’s life that was changed during SEW is Senior Marmda Sun. Marmda came to Calvary as a foreign exchange student from China four years ago. Marmda is an amazingly talented artist from a small island off the coast of China. Two years ago during SEW, Marmda rededicated his life to Christ. His eternity and his outlook on life changed dramatically!
E-sports is a collaborative sport for students where students compete in both strategic and team-based video games. These games emphasize communication between players and logical thought to overcome different situations in real time against other schools. This year Calvary fielded a team of eight players in the game League of Legends. League of Legends (LoL) consists of two five-player teams battling in a large arena. Each player selects a champion and is assigned a specific role on the map, and through communication and collaboration work together to overcome their opponents.
Calvary’s FIRST Lego League Robotics team, the Legoliers, recently competed at the Central Georgia Regionals in Byron, Ga. The Legoliers, composed of eight CDS middle school students, have been meeting twice a week since September working on this year’s FIRST challenge theme, Into Orbit. The team, while focusing on the development of the core values and gracious professionalism of FIRST, excelled in the Robot Design, Programming, and Research/Project areas of judging. Their high scores from the judging presentations and their success on their Robot Missions has earned them a place in the Super-Regional Qualifier later this month at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base. Congratulations Legoliers, and Best of Luck at Super-Regionals!
Calvary Day School offers a Christ-centered educational experience for grades Pre-K – 12 through the development of the total student- spiritually, academically, socially, and physically. We provide the best, most affordable private education in Savannah, Georgia.