Written By: Dr. Steve D. Whitaker, Head of School


At seven years of age, he found himself in the cold waters of the Niagara River after the boat that held him capsized. As the current swept him downriver, he said he felt helpless and confused. Helpless because no matter what he did the current overpowered him. Confused because he saw people running along the banks of the river shouting instructions and pleading with him to swim their direction. The young Roger Woodward had no idea the fate that awaited him in just a matter of seconds.


The world in which our children are growing up can create a similar dynamic of helplessness and confusion. Even at seven years old, students report feeling pressured by the influences of television, friends, and the adults in their lives to do and say things they feel are wrong. Children can feel helpless if they are bombarded with pagan messages: stand up for number one, wear this and listen to that, a little Jesus is good – more than that is too radical.

Children can feel confused if they are receiving mixed messages – “Mom, the phone’s for you” … “I’m busy, son… Just tell them I’m not home.” The next day, that same child is punished for lying to that same parent.

On our way to church, children in the back seat are told to be nice to their siblings while we parents in the front seat criticize the overbearing boss or irritating neighbor in a manner that doesn’t reflect Christ. These experiences are confusing and leave our children feeling helpless as they try to connect the dots between what they hear and what they see.


What happened next is nothing short of a miracle. Roger was swept across the falls and plummeted more than a hundred feet toward what he thought was his death. He sank deep into the water and astonishingly returned to the surface with his life jacket intact. Moments later, he was rescued by a nearby vessel and taken to the hospital, where he fully recovered in a matter of days.

It would be great if every child could survive the raging water of our fallen culture as well as Roger Woodward survived the great Niagara. But the fact is, without the combined influence of a strong Christian home, an active church fellowship, and your Christ-centered school, the odds are not that great. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, we learn that a “three-fold cord is not easily broken.” The First Academy is grateful for the opportunity you have given us to join you in raising a generation of young people who will pursue with power and intentionality the plans that God has for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11).


In His Joy,

Steve D. Whitaker, Ph.D.
Head of School