On the first day of school for the Classes of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, students at Smithville Christian High School were asked to think about their legacy.
Principal Ted Harris said he has been recently pondering his own legacy, prompted partly by the death last week of school supporter and family patriarch Richard Hoekstra of Dunnville. Hoekstra’s funeral program included pages and pages of testimonies to his loving Christian character, posted by his grandchildren on Facebook. Many of those grandchildren are graduates of Smithville Christian High School.
Harris said June’s graduation ceremony of the Class of 2015 was similarly a chance to reflect on the characters of the students. As the graduates received their diplomas, the commentary which described them included words such as “called by God,” “love for the Lord,” or “spiritual leadership that enabled others to thrive.”
Thinking about what one’s legacy will be is part of what it means to live for Christ, Harris said, “thinking about what our impact will be.”
Quoting Psalm 78:4 Harris said our lives lived well can “tell the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,” and the way we do our schoolwork, or use our gifts or interact with others becomes part of our legacy.
“You need to understand that every single one of you can be a blessing to others here,” he told students. He urged Grade 12s to use their personalities and gifts to shape the culture of our school, the Grade 11s to dig in to their studies and their gifts during this year of academic rigour, and the Grade 10s to be as welcoming and hospitable as they can to the Grade 9s.
To the Grade 9s Harris said they are in a powerful position.
“Today you start forming your learning community, which becomes your legacy,” he said. “Form a strong bond. Be inclusive.”
The opening chapel also included prayers of thanks and blessing from representatives of the various people who make up the community of Smithville Christian High School. Spiritual life director Gord Park prayed for teachers, student council member Brandon Masselink prayed for students, teacher and parent Robert Gerryts prayed for parents and board member and parent Lorraine Vermeer prayed for the board and community of support that surrounds the school.
We also introduced new students and welcomed the new art teacher, Amanda LeBlanc.
Students were also invited to get involved in things like homework club, computer gaming and robotics, yearbook, praise team, boys volleyball, girls basketball, athletics council, cross country, yoga or art club.
Student Tamara Ng'ambi thanked students for praying for her as she obtained her visa to travel from Zambia last year and for making her feel so welcome.
Student Harrison Exelby thanked students for praying for him last year as he battled cancer. Harrison and his family showed their gratitude for the way the school was part of the praying community that supported them by sharing donuts with everyone after chapel.
We were also pleased to welcome so many parents to the opening chapel. Everyone is always welcome at chapel, held Wednesday mornings at 9.
We’re off to a great start!
We’re off to a great start!