A Change of Heart for Max
On a regular basis something happens that causes me to rejoice that I have the privilege to be at a school like Summit. Recently Erin Perryman and I received a text from Jay Lynn Corneil, mother of Kindergartner Max, to which the above picture was attached. The first sentence of the text was, “We’ve come a long way since the first week of school!” How true it is.
It was the first week of the 2012-2013 school year—therefore my first week as Headmaster—when Miss
Perryman, our Kindergarten teacher, came to my office and said, “we have a problem”. My pulse went up. “What’s the problem?” I asked. “Well,” Erin continued, “we have a little boy who is not at all happy that he must now come to school.” “Oh,” I said to Erin in complete—and completely feigned—calm. I then said, “I’ll be right there”. After she left I looked up at the ceiling, not at all calm, and said in trepidation, “LORD, WHAT DO I DO NOW!?” Well, I went to the Kindergarten class to find little Max Corneil sitting at his desk quietly weeping. I asked Max if he’d like to take a walk and talk about it. Max said yes. We left the classroom and I asked if he wanted to hold hands. Max said yes. So, we took a few turns around the school while Max told me repeatedly and on no uncertain terms that he would much rather stay at home with his Mom than come to this school. I employed my most subtle reasoning skills and powers of persuasion to convince Max that being at Summit was the best of all possible outcomes for him, all to no avail. The week proceeded with little progress and Dad and Mom came to my office seeking wisdom (of all things) on how to shepherd their little boy through this crisis; I coughed and sputtered dribbly things like, “this is age-appropriate,” and “Max’ll get through it,” all the while praying to the God of heaven-and-earth that he would.
What I witnessed over the next few months was a wonder to behold. Absent of all my powers of persuasion, Max began to flourish in this school called Summit. It is a hallmark of this place that loving, professional teachers build redemptive relationships with their students, helping them build redemptive relationships with each other and with their Maker. Among his fellow students Max Corneil had gotten caught up in this magic and, like the rest of them, had added a little of his own. Where at one time there had been tears, there was now joy and laughter; Christ’s kingdom might have come. Max has even set himself the daunting goal of never getting his initials on the whiteboard (something Miss Perryman does with students needing discipline).
Fair to say that, back in September, Max Corneil hated the thoughts of leaving home for an education. As the journal-entry pictured above suggests, Max’s experience at Summit has changed all that. I agree with Max’s sentiment—I love this school. Summit is filled with sixty children all as wonderful and wonder-filled as Max Corneil in their own unique ways. It is a unique privilege for me to witness the transformations occurring in the lives of these little ones (and their parents), and to see, day-in and day-out, the good work of all those who make it happen (faculty, board and volunteers).
While I would agree with Jay Lynn, “we’ve come a long way,” I would also add in another sense that we have a long way to go. Where we have sixty students this year, it is likely that we will have ninety next year. Of course this is sobering and, if you find me quietly weeping at my desk, please don’t give me any of my own dribbly platitudes. What we need in this place is God’s wisdom, His discernment and His blessing– and you can pray about that. Summit is in it for the long haul and, regardless of our size, this school must always be a place where loving, professional faculty and staff build redemptive relationships with students like Max Corneil; a place where our children can experience a change of heart.
Heads-up for the coming week:
- Parent-Teacher conferences will be held on Friday, April 5. The registration sheet is in the library.
- Parents, please submit your re-enrollment contracts ASAP. Deposits and emergency forms are due the end of April. The next Summit board meeting will be Monday April 8, the public session of which will be from 7:00PM-8:00PM.
- As we have been reviewing report cards for the third quarter I have noticed that there has been an upsurge in students being tardy—which translates into parents being tardy. Parents, please help cultivate the good habit of punctuality in your children by delivering them to school each morning in a timely and punctual manner.
- Please remember to bring your empty cartridges which can be given to teachers, or can be placed directly into the Cartridge World box in the library.
- Half-Price Books in North Seattle is donating a box of books to Summit. Is there a volunteer in the house who would be willing to go get them on April 23 @ 10:00AM (they bring the box out and put it in your car)? If this might work for you please contact Triona Anderson for details.
- By all indications the Summit student body will grow by half-again as much next school year. Please PRAY for our school: 1. That our good God will bless us; 2. That God will give the board and administration wisdom and discernment as we wrestle with decisions about facilities and staffing!