We had a wonderful night honoring our hardworking students, talented teachers, and dedicated volunteers at our Academic Awards Ceremony yesterday. Our school chaplain, Randy Booth, wrote some reflections about the event that are worth reading. Thanks to all our students, parents, and family members who came out to a packed house event. I hope you enjoy Pastor Booth’s comments.
My wife and I attended the end-of-the-year school Award Ceremony last night for our local Classical Christian school. Honestly, my first thought when I heard that it was coming up was not one of excitement but more like concession…okay. Sitting for an hour, or an hour-and-a-half, while lists of names are called out, certificates and medals are handed out, and accomplishments are enumerated could be boring, especially when you don’t personally know most of the people getting the awards. It would be easy to justify staying home and skipping such an event since it seems so routine and unimportant, but that would be a very superficial understanding of what is actually taking place. Upon reflection, I thought about several reasons why participation in these kinds of events is so vital to our communities. Here are three of them:
First, an awards ceremony is not just about me and my children or grandchildren. We are part of something bigger that is of far more value than the sum of its parts. This event is not simply about a particular student receiving an award; it’s about the achievements of the community itself. No student accomplished anything by themselves. Every award represents family, teachers, administrators, staff, board members, donors and others coming together to assist individuals in becoming better than they would have been alone. The student is handed the tangible award but many others are also honored by that award. That student is the work of other hands as well. Our presence at the Awards Ceremony is a small way to recognize that — to honor all those who helped these students and to publicly say “thank you.”
Second, the only way the community can succeed is for all the individual parts of the community to do their share by way of self-sacrifice (which is what love is all about). Coming to the Awards Ceremony is part of the contribution. I could just have the award for my child sent to the house and not have to sit through all of that. Of course there are always a few families that slip out of the ceremony after their child receives their award, but that too misses the bigger point. By sitting through the program we are showing love as we serve one another; we are honoring the other members of our community as well as our children. We are also teaching our children (who might be indifferent, or who might not want to go to the ceremony), that it’s not all about them or us but that, as members of the community, we all have a duty toward others which transcends our personal preferences. This is one of the great lessons of life that our world is lacking (i.e., I am not the center of the universe). Selfishness is immaturity. Maturity is doing our duty toward others; loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Third, an Awards Ceremony provides the opportunity to learn. We have set before our eyes perfect attenders, academic achievers, athletes, artists, and writers. For our children and grandchildren, they learn and practice humility and poise — to stand before a crowd, to represent the community, to be gracious and confident. Younger children get to see the older students and many of them will be inspired to follow those examples. Teachers and staff are also encouraged and satisfied to see that their labors have some immediate and tangible benefits today. Parents also realize that they are not the only ones making these great sacrifices and that the sacrifices are worth it.
So, a full house at an Awards Ceremony is a lovely picture of community — a room full of loving sacrifice to the glory of God!