Written by Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School

Throughout the school year, I send our faculty and staff a Monday morning email to help us all to stay focused on our mission. As we conclude the 2018-2019 school year, I chose this week to send one of the most important messages of the year to our team.

I thought it might be helpful for our families to see what’s most important to all of us who invest in your children on a daily basis. We are each an integral part of the three-fold cord of the church, the home, and the school. The question that I posed to our faculty and staff this week can easily be applied at home, whether you have a senior getting ready for graduation next Friday or a preschool graduate getting ready to enter K4 next year at “The Big School”. I hope the comments below will resonate with you as parents, as we all work together to prepare our children for the journey ahead.


Dear Faculty and Staff,

If you only had one day left to teach, what would your final lesson be to your students?

In Matthew 26 Jesus faced a similar situation. His students gathered around the dinner table on the final night of His life and He said, “This bread is my body – take and eat. This cup is my blood which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Shortly after these words were spoken, Jesus was arrested and then crucified.

While none of us is facing the prospect of arrest or crucifixion, we are facing the real prospect that in the next few days we will say our final goodbyes to a few of our students. Some will graduate and some will move to other schools. If you haven’t already done so, take time to teach your most important lesson before the year ends. If you have already shared a Gospel presentation in your class, don’t be hesitant to share it again. Give your personal testimony and explain the Gospel in its beautiful simplicity.

And then pray two prayers with your students. First, lead your class in a prayer that gives them the opportunity to invite Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. Second, pray a prayer of blessing over your students – this can be a powerful moment! Tricia and I did this every night as our kids grew up.

Thank you for keeping the main thing the main thing at The First Academy. As I have reflected on this school year, I am convinced this has been one of the finest years we’ve ever had during my time in Orlando. The name of Jesus has been lifted high in all that we have done – that is our most important calling. Our School Culture Team has invested deeply in strengthening the heart of our mission. Our Senior Class has led at the highest levels I’ve ever witnessed – they are an amazing group!

So, teach your most important lesson while you still have time! It is the Good News…It has the power to change lives and the power to change the world. I am humbled and grateful for your kindness in allowing me to serve you for another year. You have been patient, kind, thoughtful and a blessing in every possible way – thank you!

In His Joy and by His Grace,