Written by Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School
Since The First Academy started in 1987, the school has embraced all students who desire a Christian school education. That commitment began with our founding Senior Pastor at FBO, Jim Henry. It continues with our current Senior Pastor, David Uth. Several years ago we took steps to grow stronger and we created Diversity Committees. Participants included board members, parents, and staff. The Diversity Committees review the school culture, curriculum, student discipline practices, Human Resources processes, and the school’s philosophy/position statements to identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth.
As a result of their work, a wide range of diversity initiatives have successfully moved our school toward a greater sense of belonging for all stakeholders. Today, we are still growing as a community of Christ-followers who desire to experience Oneness in all that we say and do (Eph. 4:3-6). Coach Leroy Kinard said, “Our past has prepared us to respond to today’s events the way Jesus would.” Our story is one of perseverance, not perfection.
While unrest and division seem to be all around us, my prayer is that we can focus on being what Martin Luther King, Jr. called a beloved community. He said that means we pursue a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love that is “creative and redemptive … that builds up and unites.” My prayer is that our love for one another will be a light in the darkness, pointing others to the One who brings peace and the promise of eternal life (John 3:16).
As a visual illustration of how we become a “beloved community” at TFA, we recently installed several posters around campus to provide our students and staff with a daily reminder of what the Bible says about loving others and embracing our diversity (see photo above). The message of the Gospel is clear. We must love others and serve others the way Jesus did (John 15:13). We must do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8). I am confident that if each day we can focus on loving one another as Jesus did, our campus will be a source of light in today’s world.