Tuesday, July 6, 2010

End of an Era - GCS

Motor Mouth's first school in Tulsa is closing it's doors after 32 incredible years. This was a private Christian school set on a beautiful and sprawling campus which once served 700 students in grades K4 through 12. Academically, this school was top notch and won competitions every year. Graduates of this private school went on to college and many are successful business owners and professionals who had, in turn, sent their children to the school. 

I knew most of the teachers as I had been on staff at the church the school shared a campus with. I knew of many of the students as I had attended church with their parents or rocked them to sleep in the nursery on a Sunday morning. So it hurts me to know that these great people are out of a school for their children and out of jobs. It's hard to fathom that this once formidable institution is just, over. No more alumni games, no more homecoming. No more children laughing and playing on the playground or walking up and down the halls or having P.E. in the gym during the day. 

Of course the school will live on in the hearts and memories of the many who attended. But as a parent who once thought her children would form lifelong bonds with fellow students and would graduate from this school, it's hard to take. There was a public school almost literally in our backyard that we did not know the name of because we never planned to send our children anywhere but to this school. 

For the past year, I've worked at a private Christian school in downtown Chicago. My job is to market/promote the school and increase enrollment. I know first hand how difficult it can be to think of creative ways to bring new families to your school. From time to time, I would think of how the school in Tulsa sometimes advertised by hanging huge banners on either side of one of their school buses and parked it on the front lawn where lots of cars drove by. That was genius. More than once, I wished we had a bus here!

My heart goes out to the pastor of our former church. I can't imagine the torment he went through in making (or approving) this decision. In addition to the families and teachers affected, his children are graduates of the high school and his 4 grandchildren were attending the school. It wasn't just about the financials for him.

As I was writing this, I came across this Alexander Graham Bell quote: "When one door closes, another one opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us." So true! 

I was feeling really sad but I should celebrate 32 wonderful years of great memories and rich history. Celebrate an independent school being around for 32 year and all of the great that was accomplished. 

Celebrate great friends we made through the school, like Jennifer, a teacher, who gave me a scripture verse to stand on to believe we would have children. And Babette, another teacher who knew the exact thing to say to comfort me when I was going insane before Motor Mouth's arrival. And the teachers and administration who cried tears of joy with us when we brought Motor Mouth to staff devotions 2 days after he was born. 

I will always remember Motor Mouth's very first day of school ever. And the great friends he made - like Gabriel who traveled with his family to visit us in Chicago last year. I don't think I'll soon forget me volunteering to read a story to Motor Mouth's class and their parents at the class Christmas party - which turned out to be the longest storybook ever written!! Hahaha! 

Congratulations Grace Christian School on 32 years of teaching children to love God, treat others with gentleness and kindness, to give to their community, to be good stewards, and for providing academic excellence.

No comments: