Another year is coming to a close, but this is a year unlike any other. I have been so proud of our students, parents, and staff as they have faced the challenges brought on by the pandemic. This year we offered both in-person and online learning for our students and they finished strong. We found new ways to teach our students their core academic classes, as well as play games, create art and even learn to play the ukulele. The Lord has been with us every step of this journey and we’re so happy to say that our students are well-equipped to move on to the next grade.
I can’t tell you how many times our students made me laugh this year. It never ceases to amaze me how children can be so resilient and find joy, even when things are going on in the world that seem scary. Hearing the students play together at recess, helping each other with any challenges they may be facing, or just telling each other funny stories about their weekend activities brought a return to normalcy. Our small school environment makes everyone feel as though they are part of one big family and the way they interact and support each other is very touching.
This school year we resumed our monthly field trips. It’s hard to choose a favorite, several were especially fun. We counted our blessings that we got to visit the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium with ease and watch in awe as the fish swirled around the large tanks. Our lower-grade classroom studied California history this year and so we were happy to visit Wilder Ranch and get to see what life had been like in the 1800’s. Another favorite has to be visiting the USS Hornet and learning a little more about our nation’s defense while enjoying stunning views of the San Francisco Bay.
Along with the closing of the school year comes the closing of my time at SSLS. I have been honored to spend the last five years as a teacher in our lower-grade classroom, the last two I have also served as the school principal. While I am happy about the next chapter in my life, it is definitely not an easy thing to say goodbye to SSLS. There are many things to love about our multi-level classrooms, but one of my favorite things is to watch the progress that our students have made over multiple years. It’s so gratifying to watch the students that I have taught how to read and write go on to do research projects, creative writing, reading directions and then assembling something, or just picking up a book and reading for fun. Also, the mentor relationships we have at school are special and watching a child move from being the one mentored to the one doing the mentoring is heartwarming. I remember with fondness the days when I taught Home Economics and the students made their own homemade ravioli or decorated a cake. Or when we observed honeybees and reported our findings. I think our STEM challenges and problem-solving challenges may have been my favorite. The students impressed me with their creativity as I would give them materials and a challenge and then they would all find different ways to solve the problem. Even when they failed in their attempts, we managed to use that as a learning opportunity and support each other. SSLS is a special place and I will miss it tremendously.
I take comfort, as I wrap things up at SSLS, that I am leaving the school in good hands. The staff has been working together so that there will be a smooth transition into the next school year. Our staff is dedicated to the school’s mission of helping our students build a strong foundation for their life in the world, and more importantly, in the Word. Our Board of Education is also committed to the success of our school and continues to support the school with their time and talents. And finally, I have to mention the parents of our students who have been such a blessing to work with, especially since the pandemic began when we all needed a little extra grace and compassion.
We finish this school year with a prayer of thanks for the many blessings bestowed on us this school year. For our students graduating and going on to high school, I’d like to remind you of these words, spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ:
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” -John 14:27
These words are a great reminder for me, as well, as I tearfully say goodbye to our SSLS school families. God is with you and will be with us all of our days.
Peace be with you always,