Journeying through the 2020-2021 school year has not been for the faint of heart. From executing Enhanced Hybrid Learning to remembering to wear your mask, and remembering to screen each morning, the year has certainly not been short of challenges. This, in addition to the responsibilities that already come with being a student during a non-covid year. Despite all that, the 2020-2021 school year has come to a close, and we have learned, grown, and accomplished much.
This past week, PCA’s Lower School, Preschool through 8th grade, celebrated the accomplishments of students, teachers, and the collective community in overcoming various obstacles this year to continuing the learning and growth of each student.
Starting with the Preschool Milestone, our littlest eagles were recognized for their graduation into Kindergarten, marking the start of their academic careers!
Next, in celebrating the Kindergarten Milestones, teachers thanked parents and kindergarten aides for their dedication and involvement toward each child’s completion of Kindergarten. Mrs. Brown recognized each of her students’ hard work, reminding them of an important lesson they had learned: You can! She said, “You can read, you can do math, you can write creative stories, you can be kind friends – You can do anything God directs you to do.”
Mrs. James followed this in sharing how proud she was of her class, concluding in a poem she wrote:
“My final challenge I give to you is to continue to be a kind friend.
Continue to spread many seeds of kindness,
and remember God’s love has no end.
Now it’s time to say goodbye for now;
No year will ever be the same.
God bless you this summer, have fun in first grade,
Lots of love, Mrs. James.”
Teachers presented each student with a bible for this significant milestone. As a bookend to their year together, the kindergarten class all recited John 3:16, together, followed by “If I Were a Butterfly” and the poem, “Growing”, underscoring how they thrived and maximized their potential this year.
Kindergarten was not the only grade growing and making great strides personally and collectively. The Lower School Annual Awards Ceremony recognized student achievement from first to 8th grade students.
The Annual Awards Ceremony takes place each year to mark the accomplishments of a school year and the labor that has been invested in honoring the Lord. While some students may have worked harder or progressed further in academic study than others, each student has invested greatly in learning at school and even more at home. This Annual Awards Ceremony celebrates what has been accomplished on the road to excellence by God’s grace.
Teachers gave each student recognitions based on their achievements. These awards included Bible Awards, Academic Awards, Merit Awards, Athletic Recognitions, Core Value Awards as well as Enrichment Awards for music, arts, foreign language, computer, STEM, PE, and Library.
At the end of each ceremony, Lower School Principal, Dr. Carrie Abood, thanked teachers with a gift for all the hard work they had poured into nurturing students, despite every COVID difficulty. She likewise thanked families from each grade for their partnership and sacrifice in enabling each child to thrive and grow at PCA.
The following day, the 8th Grade Milestone Ceremony celebrated students’ completion of their junior high careers. The evening honored each student as charges were presented, including bible verses and personal encouragements to each student before they received their certificate of completion.
8th Grade teacher, Mrs. Treadwell was first to deliver her address to the 8th grade Class of 2021 and the future senior class of 2025. She said, “I pray that you will all continue to have teachable hearts, especially when it comes to hearing the voice of Jesus. May you always know how much he loves you, and may it encourage you to be humble, persevere, and love learning. As you go forth from this school, I pray that you will be known as a class who encourages each other to learn and grow.”
8th Grade teacher, Mrs. Weisberg likewise thanked her colleagues and each 8th grade family for their support. She reflected on the past year together and mentioned how some cognitive experts have said that younger generations now have lower levels of intellectual curiosity. “I just want to say to these experts, they have not met our 8th graders,” she said. Mrs. Weisberg also left them with the reminder that, “Abundant life isn’t so much something we need to find or analyze or try to explain, it’s something we find in our experience and our relationship in Jesus Christ.”
The Golden Eagle is given each year to an 8th grade student who exemplifies PCA’s standard for achieving and sustaining academic, social, athletic, and spiritual excellence. This award was given to both Phoebe Gaulin and Gideon Beal.
A list of ‘thank you’s from the 8th grade class was read aloud to families. Students then gifted their parents with a rose of gratitude for their support in reaching this milestone.
Closing out the night, Upper School Principal Jordan Heckelmann said, “I am so excited to welcome the Class of 2025 to the Upper School and to pray over and bless those who will not be joining us at PCA. And, I am even more excited to see how the Lord will continue to work in your lives in the next four years. Heckmann concluded with a prayer, welcoming students as they graduated into high school at PCA and beyond.