I am truly excited about the FACA Reunion... but its not because I can't wait to see all of my old friends. (To my old friends: I can't wait to see you... keep reading and I'll clarify my point.)
First Assembly Christian Academy closed in June of 2007... a mere 20 years after it began. It's a small amount of time for a school to exist. When I think of a school, I often think about the stories of a teacher who taught over generations of family (e.i. father and son). I think of a gym filled with sports accomplishments reaching back into past decades. I think of the old mixed in with the new, the wise influencing the unwise and the coach and mentoring the inexperienced.
What doesn't matter as much are the rules, dress codes, and tests. These are tools but not the end goal. FACA utilized many of these tools - some might say there were too many rules... or that dress codes were hideous, like the ties I had to wear in elementary school. But, when these tools were used within the context of relational mentoring, they were effective.
Giving a test to a student is a great tool for evaluating educational progress. Just don't expect too much if all you've done is thrown a book on a desk and said "Good luck kid!" Now luckily, the only time I had a book thrown down on my desk while at FACA was when Mr. B caught me sleeping in 8th grade. Most of the time, teachers made extreme efforts to work through the materials and help me understand them before a test. I think of Marty Lee who spent his lunch with me 2 or 3 times a week so I could keep a C average in Pre-Calculus. It turned out to be one of the best C grades I ever earned. The tools were effective, but only in the context of relational mentoring.
When rules are used to conform students to a "mold" (the proper student)... they often fail. In this case, the rules are supported by some detached ideals (Biblical or not) rather than the weight of a mentoring relationship. This may sound harsh, but I believe that this is how FACA lost so many good families over the years. Rules over relationships. A school doesn't exists to accomplish the feat of getting its students to follow rules and pass their tests. A school exists to be a community that provides an opportunity for the transfer of life's most important lessons. And even though there was plenty of room for improvement, FACA was that community to many of us.
That's why I'm excited for next Friday night (Dec. 28th). We have a chance to celebrate the community of people who sacrificed so much time and money to the goals of mentoring us... the FACA students. Our teachers will be honored during the program portion of the evening which begins at 8pm in the "CLC". The reunion officially begins at 7pm with appetizers and a timeline of FACA history in the "Fellowship Hall".
So to my friends... I can't wait to see you on Friday, December 28th!
And to my teachers, thank you for:
taking a terrible paying job
listening to all of our complaining
working through lunch
picking us up when we fell
encouraging us to do better
coaching us into new skills