Cavalier Feature: Things This Season Taught Us

Wherein the teachers become the students and the students become…well…they’re still students, too. Learning together will bring us together.
By Marissa Carpenter, CVC Director of Marketing & Enrollment

After a year of pandemic-induced sheltering-in-place, masking up, distancing, learning how to teach a new way, (or learning how to teach for the first time–go parents!) awaiting solutions, and creating our own, there are no shortages of lessons to be learned if we look carefully. I’ve heard it said that it’s not win or lose–it’s win or learn.

This season has brought out both the best and the worst in us. Almost akin to the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities in which Charles Dickens displays the simultaneity of opposing forms, we have seen the best and worst of humanity, a season of darkness and a season of light, the age of wisdom and the age of foolishness. Things could be viewed either way in almost any instance. We have seen people band together, and we have seen things completely fall apart.

I think, for the sake of all our readers, it’s a good time to focus on the positive aspects of this season–what we learned, what we appreciated, what we noticed, and how it will impact our lives in seasons following. Let’s consider it pure joy, sisters and brothers.

Marlyn Walker
CVC Parent
Even though we all have very different, passionate opinions about how school should be approached, we all agree that our children will be profoundly affected by what is going on right now. Rather than focusing on what my kids are missing, I appreciate the amazing amount of love, effort, creativity, and time that the administration, teachers, staff, and volunteers of CVC have put into providing an education for my kids that so many do not have access to. Rather than dwelling on the milestones it feels like they are missing, I have noticed, during lots of quality family time, that my kids are more optimistic, adaptable, and resilient than I gave them credit for. Recently, a friend shared a devotion with me that has made my heart swell with peace and joy that only our loving God can provide. Alex Cravens wrote, “Don’t feel sorry for or fear for your kids….God created them and called them for the exact moment in time that they’re in…. I know it’s hard to imagine [our kids] as anything besides our sweet little babies and we just want to protect them from anything that could ever be hard on them, but they were born for such a time as this.”

Nick Richardson
HS Science and Business Teacher
From the students’ perspective, I get the overwhelming sense that when regular school returns they will have a much deeper appreciation for it. I have discussed with many of my students the good things our school does that they have taken for granted until now. Personally, I have enjoyed the tighter community with my colleagues. I see them teaching their lessons so much more than I have in the past. I have especially enjoyed sitting in on an outdoor bible lesson with Mr K[ornelis] and talking with [Mr. Bryant] twice a week in his classroom about the “topic of the day”.

Stacey Morris
CVC Parent
P-people are very important and very lonely right now–initiate kindness.
R-relationships: find ways to keep building relationships. It’s OK to talk and laugh with each other during COVID!
A– abide in Him and He will abide with you. Always smile, even under your mask, it makes everyone feel better.
Y– YAHWEH always makes a way for our greater good.

Lauren Rodrigues
HS Student
Being a senior in this crazy year has not been easy, but many things have allowed for this year to have some of the Joy Christ gives to be shown. Throughout this year, I have been placed in a group of students that I would have never been close with, but because of the circumstances, we have all grown to be good friends. This year has also taught me how to be more flexible with not just school but all aspects of my life–I am so grateful for that because of how useful I feel it will be in the future. There are so many good things that we can bring from this year into the coming years–one thing everyone has had to learn a little bit more than normal is patience. This virtue has kind of been forced upon us because of the year we are in, but it will be something that will help us more than hurt us in the long run!

Blake Hiemstra
MS Principal and English Teacher

Energizing Value of Teamwork: After about three weeks of sheer, raw, survival-of-the-distance-learning fittest last spring, we regrouped as a staff and brainstormed how to make student life happen in authentic and engaging ways.  Rather than just working on it all together, we identified major middle school events to reimagine and broke the staff up into short-term (dream) teams to plan, create and execute.  The value of teamwork fostered and experienced will stick with us for years to come. 


Innovation/Creativity: This quotation from a church in Hudsonville, Michigan, says it all: “Innovation–we keep trying new things because it’s okay to fail from time to time, and the stakes are just too high to sit around and not try new things to honor a creative, grace-filled God.” This became our rallying cry, with the pinnacle of innovation being a completely virtual 25th Middle School Variety Show, watched by over 1500 folks online.  We simply learned that a desire to make things happen is sometimes the only prerequisite necessary, if we’re willing to embrace innovation and creativity. 


Relationships are Key: The knowing wink, the high five on the way to catch the bus, the carefree banter – these are not just extra perks of the job; they’re essential aspects of growing children. And they’re hard to replicate in a Zoom call. Getting back on campus this fall and fueling up with live conversations with these middle school kids that we love – well, let’s just say that we won’t soon forget how the power of face-to-face interaction shapes education like nothing else, even in the digital age. 


Well-Timed Encouragement: Somehow in the last ten months, parents and students have clutched divine timing with words of encouragement. Whether a text or a few words of thanks scribbled on a Starbucks card or even a well-played meme, just when the tank trended towards vapors, the right jolt of encouragement seemed to come. No matter the dire straits we’ve seemed to walk during this pandemic, we’ve learned the potential of timely kind words to buoy a weary soul. 


Rochelle Van Velson
CVC Parent
This season of life has been a burden for many but in the darkness of this storm, my family has found so many blessings. We have learned to lean in from the outward distractions of daily life and find the simplest of activities the most rewarding. Knowing that God is in control has allowed us to release the fear of the unknown and pour ourselves into friends, family and our community in ways we never knew possible. Friendships have deepened through weekly zoom cooking sessions with those near and far, family game nights have given us a chance to be still, CVC teachers and staff have reminded us of why we choose Christian education for our children and being able to connect with our church family has helped us to stay present in God’s word. Ultimately knowing that as one season ends, another begins. Moving forward, we won’t forget these lessons we’ve been taught but use them as a foundation to build something much stronger in our walk with Christ. 

Teri Girard
2nd grade teacher
I’ve learned to look for the gifts that are often unseen or unnoticed. I’ve been reminded what a privilege it is to be in a classroom with 20 students, watching their eyes light up when they smile and hearing their laughter throughout the day. We often end our school day with the prompt: “Can you share one good thing about today?” And every single day, one of my second graders will answer, “that we even get to be here!” In the midst of covid protocols and disappointments, I believe that’s a healthy perspective. If we look for blessings in this season, we can find them. In a world that sometimes feels unsteady, focusing on the good keeps our eyes on the One who is sovereign and in control – the One who loves us more than we can even imagine.

Carter Moons
HS Student
Throughout this odd period of time, there still remain constants I have faith in and aspects I am grateful for. A truth I have come to love and appreciate more is the idea that crisis creates opportunity. Whether that opportunity be enhancing skills in my free time or valuing the “face to face” time shared with others more, one thing that is certain is the simple fact that life moves on and we must make do with what we are dealt. That being said, my quality time with others in the future will not be overlooked. I am grateful for the fortunate situation I find myself in when contrasted with many other high schools in the area and I feel ready to take on future challenges with passion and a knowledge that this life is only temporary on the way to eternity.

Jodi Schotanus
CVC Parent
I sincerely appreciate how the school board and administration have worked persistently so that CVCS can be open for in-person learning and have maintained Christian values and integrity as they have purposefully and creatively kept within state guidelines to do so safely.  I look around and notice other schools in Tulare County that are still completely closed, and I am particularly grateful that my high school student can be learning in-school a few days a week.  It hasn’t been an easy year.  It has been inconvenient, stressful, frustrating, and challenging, but I am confident that God is in control and has a plan for our lives during this unpleasant time.  I learned that it is important for me to set an example for my son by showing him, especially during a season of disruption and unpleasant circumstances, that I imitate Christ in my actions and responses, that I am content in this tiresome situation, and I rely on and look to Him to lead us through an unfortunate chapter.  I believe God has a greater purpose, and I trust that even when I don’t see or understand, He is working through all things now and in the future. 

Is it actually that hindsight is indeed 2020? Did the almost-entire last year demonstrate for us to be thankful for those things we took for granted? Dining out. Traveling. Celebrating weddings. Income. Toilet paper. Visiting with friends. Random conversations with strangers. Attending concerts. Going to the movies. 

So much was suddenly removed from the equation, with a barrage of commercials telling us how many giant corporations suddenly cared about our families staying home in these “unprecedented times” (is there an echo in here? Maybe someone should have copyrighted that phrase….) Will “2020” become our cover-all adjective for absolutely strange, inexplicable, and bungled-up situations? Saying “hindsight is 2020” can probably stop being said now. We’ve lost that phrase forever.

And what did we gain? A new understanding of what we have and don’t have. 

Instead of swamped schedules, we have family time to focus on. 

Instead of a work desk, we have a home office (definitely business on top, very possibly sweatpants on the bottom).

And even if we ride out the rest of this season with at least 5% Lycra, we are still beloved by God–the one who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us. And will continue to do so through the rest of this season and through to the end of our days.

Do you wish your teachers cared for your students in the same way that you do? Do you have a deep hope to partner with a school to bring the joy of Christ to your children? Apply today!

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