Adventure. Fun. Questions. Anxiety. Fear.
Starting at a new school can provoke a mixture of feelings, especially for secondary students. The beginning of something new holds the potential for new adventure, challenges, and fun. But it also holds many questions for students. What will it be like? What is the culture of my new school? Will I be accepted? Will I have any friends?
These are tough questions that deserve straight-forward answers. It would be easy to give rehearsed Christian answers, but the response would be better coming directly from one of these students:
Providence is unlike any other school I have attended. From the moment I stepped in the door, the students have been incredibly inclusive and welcoming. The first thing I noticed is that it’s like they are all one big family, and they adopt new students right into it. Community at Providence is strong; though I have been there for less than two years, I feel like I have known many of the students my whole life. While at other schools new students can often feel “left out” or ignored, at Providence new students are greeted with immediate excitement and interest. The warm, welcoming Providence spirit extends to new students and visitors of all ages. ~Bailey Robertstad, who began attending PCCS as a sophomore
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. . . . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
Providence Classical Christian School provides many opportunities for new students to become plugged-in: athletics, student ministries, Reformation Day, Family/Winter ball, drama, Forensics team, Yearbook, electives, etc. The school setting is Biblical, even in its structure. The first floor, dedicated to secondary students, is a circle… unending. Just around the bend is yet another friendly face.
The school also has a house system in which each student/family is placed. The houses are “families” at school—those who will especially look out for each other. Throughout the school year, the houses meet together for lunches, competitions, parties, and more. Extended house lunches are sprinkled throughout the year and are opportunities to have lunch off campus or to join the sister house for a longer lunch period.
During the third week of school, the secondary students head out for a four-day retreat on Whidbey Island. This is a fun, adventure-filled week for new and old students to play games, eat meals together, and compete in house competitions. Secondary students will enjoy team-building events, swimming, volleyball, and many other activities.
So what’s left? Acceptance. Friends. Ahh, yes. The Bible says, “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:32). We can always find acceptance with the Lord. But to have earthly friends, a community, is a blessing from God as well. He has designed us to want companionship. It is important to be a friend in order to have a friend, as the saying goes. Yet, putting oneself out there is difficult for many of us. Many of the Providence students have been together for a long time but genuinely want to include new people. Don’t be afraid to ask to be included; don’t be afraid to do the inviting.
I would exhort all of us, new and old, to be mindful of those around us, and to observe those who might be feeling left out. God calls us to minister to those with burdens, and He exhorts us all to lay these burdens at the cross. It is there that we will all enjoy the bountiful blessings of the Lord and enjoy a Providence community in “perfect harmony.”
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14