Demonstrating the love and truth of Jesus Christ in both word and action propels staff and teachers in every aspect of academic and community life at SFC. “Spiritual foundation is everything. It’s everything we do. It’s constant.” Dr. Todd Deveau, Middle School Principal, sums it up as SFC teachers and leaders share how faith cohesively reinforces every fiber of SFC life. From pre-K to senior year, from academics and sports to campus life, everything SFC staff and teachers do revolve around giving students a faith-based foundation.
SFC teachers do “everything through a biblical lens to build and equip students as they enter the world.” – Amanda Walker, Lower School Assistant Principal
Nurturing a Love for Jesus and Learning
Staff and teachers engage students as individuals and collectively when it comes to discussions about faith. For some teachers, a faith-based foundation displays itself in how they interact with academics. Second-grade teacher, Eric Gamelson, conveys faith to his students throughout daily classroom life. “I feel like I have a role in modeling for them what a lifelong learner who loves Jesus looks like,” he says. “I want a student to leave this classroom, remembering ‘Mr. Gamelson loves Jesus, and I want to learn more because of him,’” he emphasizes. “With those two things, I think students can go on to learn and discover more about God and this lovely world He created.”
Jackie Lewis, a fifth-grade teacher, unites her zeal for education with her calling in Christ, energizing students in their hunger for learning. “I think God called me here. I have a passion for inspiring and developing young minds… I especially enjoy finding ways to be creative and fun in that,” she professes. Lewis navigates day-to-day academics with a broader conviction, “God has given me a gift to bring out this love of learning in my students, in hopes they will carry this on in their lives.”
Helping Students Build Their Own Faith
Infusing faith in education and campus life looks differently depending on the student’s age as they mature from elementary to high school. Students learn about how to have a “true relationship with Christ” through mentors and teachers from a young age, but that faith starts to “blossom when they get to Middle School,” Dr. Deveau shares. Students start asking, “deeper questions. Everything we do on campus is entrenched in Jesus Christ and spirituality,” he says. When students move into high school, “they’re going to make that faith more their own.” Staff and teachers are highly attentive to and intentional in the “developmental appropriateness of every division,” he remarks. “In terms of spirituality, it’s going to be poured into them, but look a little different,” depending on whether a student is in fourth grade or eleventh grade.
Leading students beyond a historical understanding of the Bible and into a personal faith and relationship with Jesus drives teachers like Mark Andriany, Middle School Bible teacher, and missions leader. “One of the biggest goals in my class is to basically take a kid’s hand and say ‘Hey, this is Christ. They get together, and the kid says, “nice to meet you,” Andriany suggests. Mr. “A” sees students’ minds start to open as “we talk about parables, the Kingdom, and how Scripture relates to present-day life. “Then it starts to become their own faith as opposed to the faith of their parents, or their churches, and even the shallow soundbite Christianity of our digital world.”
Fostering a Culture of Joy and Love
Faculty and staff’s shared beliefs foster a culture of joy at SFC, admissions director Vicki O’Rourke shares. “Because we all believe in the same thing and the Holy Spirit is active in each of us,” she says, “it knits us together and aligns us in purpose.” Visitors routinely comment that they “feel God’s love on campus.” O’Rourke clarifies that teachers and staff certainly aren’t perfect, but the beauty is in the spirit of authenticity at SFC. “We are not a flawless hallelujah chorus school – we all struggle with sin. However, we strive to be a school that’s real and relevant…for the good of our students.”
“If you look at God’s commandment for us, we’re just called to love.” Loving others “the way God wants us to love, becomes an addiction,” Miller conveys. “That’s how we were designed. We were designed to be in community, loving someone that is easy to love or hard to love. It feels really good, and you want to do it over and over again.” – Doug Miller, Athletic Director
Ultimately, impacting students’ lives transcends academics, programs, events, and staff activities at SFC. Kristi Ellis, Middle School Assistant Principal, reiterates, “it’s the whole picture. That’s what excites me. The more we connect the various aspects of school to the big picture of their purpose in life, the more we’re doing God’s work.”