As head of school, I am often privileged to hear from our alumni about how our faculty and staff, coupled with their individual Charlotte Christian experiences, positively impacted their lives. It is not uncommon for me, or one of my colleagues, to receive e-mails or texts from alums who want to let us know how a specific teacher or class or trip shaped them into who they are.
One of our alumna from the class of 2014 recently wrote an article for The Odyssey, a national online magazine for college students with more than 600 local campus editions. The article was entitled, “A Letter to Current CCS High School Students,” and was written by Sarah York, a sophomore at Wake Forest University. In the article, Sarah reflects fondly on her days at Charlotte Christian and urges current CCS students to cherish their time while a member of our community.
She writes, “Cherish your teachers. What I would do to walk into Mrs. McGinn’s room after a tough day just to talk to her and have a few laughs. Or to listen to Mr. Angley, with his many words of wisdom and love. From Mrs. Nielsen, Dr. Headley, Mr. Davis, Mrs. Ramsey, Mr. Runge, Mr. McLeod, and many more… These are the people who shaped me into the person I am today. They taught me how to stand for my beliefs, how to ask life’s hard questions, and most importantly – how to love others well. How did they teach me these things? It wasn’t just in the classroom. It was through example. They loved me well, and still do to this day. Please, cherish this. You can’t find this on a college campus. CCS is a one of a kind.”
Sarah continues, “Cherish the family. CCS isn’t a high school. It is a family. Charlotte Christian will forever be my second home. It is where I found myself, it is where I found a family, it is where I found a home. Ten years ago, I moved to Charlotte, NC. I was scared, I didn’t want to leave. Then, Ohio was my home. Today, Charlotte, North Carolina will forever be my home. And it isn’t because of the city. It is because of Charlotte Christian School. I will forever know there are people who are encouraging me, thinking of me, and praying for me. These are the coaches who cheered for me, the teachers who challenged me, and the friends who loved me well.”
One of Sarah’s classmates, Luke Dexter, contacted us this week to share that every day he re-reads part of a message I taught while a speaker on the annual senior trip. He wrote, “As much as I didn’t think (then) I would use those five life lessons, God works in crazy ways. I want to encourage you to keep stressing to seniors how precious their time at Charlotte Christian really is and that they should pay attention to the messages shared during this year’s senior trip and at remaining chapels this school year. Despite all the eye rolling or apathetic behavior you will see when you and the rest of the staff try to explain to them how special Charlotte Christian is (I know because I was one of those kids), whether it’s next week, next year or many years down the road, God will find a way to bring that message back into their lives at some point when He thinks they need it most!”
It is my desire that all of our students remember Charlotte Christian like Sarah and Luke do – as a second home where the faculty and staff care about them and where life-long relationships are nurtured and created. Beginning in the lower school with a warm and loving environment created by dedicated teachers, and continuing into the upper school with opportunities like J-Term and mission trips, our community thrives on building strong relationships as we seek to grow closer to Christ and one another. These students’ reflections are a great reminder to us of the value of Christian education as well as that we are planting seeds in the lives of our students.
Head of School