I'm sure it will come as no surprise to say that the current health crisis caught us completely off guard. In many ways I wish we had been more prepared, but also in many ways I am grateful that we didn't see it coming. At Coram Deo, one of the highlights of the year is the annual Read-a-Thon, which ends as Spring Break begins. We pack in daily fun with games and decor all based on a reading theme. This year was "Reading Takes You Places". Every class moved their marker round the game board of an enormous global map, to which had been added locations such as Narnia, Middle Earth, Neverland. We had a cake walk along the yellow brick road. We watched pirates walk the plank and have swashbuckling swordfights. And every day students had their passports stamped with new locations they had visited. On that Friday, the students walked away from school tired but happy, many having read more than an hour per day extra for their team's Read-a-Thon minutes. We had worked and played and laughed and loved, all in Christian community. We walked away that day full of joy, not knowing that by Tuesday there would be a state-wide lockdown for all schools that would not permit us to return for the rest of the school year. It was normal. I am so grateful that we were able to give our students those memories of joy and community and normal before their worlds were turned topsy-turvy.
Things were difficult right away, as I'm sure you know, because it was difficult for everyone around the country. But now that the school year is done, I have to say that I'm really proud of our little school. First of all, our teachers stepped right up, giving up their Spring Breaks to train and prepare for distance learning. But then our students followed suit, trying and trying despite failure and stress and, worst of all, lack of community, lack of normal. Community is what they missed, and community is what kept them coming back, to see their teachers and to see their friends, at least virtually. Even though we may not have had "normal", we had a vision of what normal looked like and a hope for the future. So as we finalize things for 2020, we honor all our students and staff who worked till the end, giving their best, not giving up. That's what Christian community looks like.