"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters"Colossians 3:23
In grade 1, my daughter came home and informed me that she had a new favourite Bible Verse. Her teacher Mrs. Hildebrandt had taught them about Colossians 3:23 and how it was our job as followers of Jesus to do everything we do with all our hearts. She helped instill the idea that "good enough" wasn't an attitude of a KCS learner. Instead, the desire was for each student to do their very best. This verse has come up many times in our house over the years as we talk about what it means to do things with excellence. In C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters, he warned, "there can be a danger in democratic societies of seeking comfort in the average while resenting the excellent – either that or making the excellent into an idol." At KCS, one of our core values is excellence. We believe wholeheartedly that it is our job as a Christian school to empower and encourage our students to see excellence as an opportunity to glorify God.
Over the past few decades in education (as both a student, child of teachers, and then a teacher myself), I have seen a shift in the definition of excellence. From a simple report card as an indicator of excellence, you either have it or don't attitude, to a more holistic view where everyone gets a participation badge. In the past four years, British Columbia has undergone a shift in curriculum. It has moved away from learning from a checklist of accomplished tasks to a more comprehensive system of whom we want the students to become learners. At KCS, we desire that all students look at the skills and passions that God has gifted them with and, in all things, honour the amazing call He has on their life.
At KCS, we desire that all students look at the skills and passions that God has gifted them with and, in all things, honour the amazing call He has on their life.
This fall, our entire staff had the opportunity to attend the InspireED conference virtually. The keynote speaker David I Smith talked about what we do and say as a school and as educators speak to what we deem important. This is no small call as we work towards ensuring that our students see our mission, vision, and values reflected in the fabric of how and what we teach, assess, and plan.
At Kelowna Christian school, we have never shied away from excellence. We are known in the community for our well-rounded students who demonstrate excellence in academics, the arts, athletics, and applied skills and design. Our desire for our students is for excellence not to become an act but a habit. Teachers focus on students seeing learning, not as a "am I done yet" destination but a lifelong journey. As God's image-bearers, we are to pursue excellence in all areas to reflect the nature of our Creator.
This year, we continue to look for ways to ensure that each student finds the great big plans that God has for them and that they are encouraged to meet their God-given potential. At KCS, there are so many opportunities for our students to show excellence in the Arts; helping lead worship, sing in the band or work the technology, in Athletics; on the court, in the pool or on the bench; In Academics; in attitude, preparedness and final projects; in ADST; in the shop, lab and foods room.
Every week we have the opportunity to celebrate excellence in our students and staff. This week, we learned that Emily Horrill, Grad 2020, has been invited to apply to the Classics Honors Program in English at the University of Alberta. Emily flourished in so many areas after enrolling at KCS during Middle School, demonstrating so many of our KCS core values, excellence in academics being only one of them. On both campuses, we see examples of excellence in leadership with students leading other students in Bible Studies. Taking their own time and initiative to help lead younger students into a deeper relationship with Jesus. In the Arts, our students are finding unique places to share their God-given talents. Jared Hannenburg and Owen Wood can be seen around town sharing their musical gifts. On the court, we see both current, and past graduates share their excellence in both basketball and volleyball, assisting in coaching teams and Sports Academy. Younger students benefit from the examples they see from these older students, not just in skill but also in character. In ADST, KCS students have used their design skills to sew, cook, and create resources to help others locally and globally (more about that coming soon). There is no shortage of excellence around the halls of Kelowna Christian school.
As parents, as you partner with us at school and with the church, encourage your children to Colossians 3:23 their day. Help them see failures as challenges as opportunities for growth, encourage them to look for opportunities to refine their talents and efforts, striving for excellence, not for their own glory, but to the glory of God. We'd love you to share any examples of students being excellent in the Arts, Athletics, Academics, Service, and ADST.