Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Rev. “Kahu” David H Jackson To Congregation, “Do The Opposite”

Below is the prepared sermon delivered by The Rev. “Kahu” David H. Jackson during Episcopal Schools Sunday at Christ Church in Greenville, SC on January 29th, 2017.

Opening: Sad-sack George from “Seinfeld” – his every initial decision has caused him to trip up and to incur long runs of bad luck, even his scheming backfires. Jerry advises him to “do the opposite” of what he would instinctually do. The result: By now being totally honest, George develops a “devil-may-care” attitude – meets his dream girl, gets a job in management with the New York Yankees (his favorite sports team), and gets to move out of his parents’ house.

Gospel Reading from Matthew 5:1-12: Jesus is telling his friends that the Kingdom of God bids them to “do the opposite” of what they would find normal living. In parallel to what Moses had done with the Israelites after escape from Egyptian slavery and just prior to their coming back to inhabit the Promised Land, Jesus is also prepping his disciples for living God’s “upside-down values” in this world, especially with his opener of the 9 Beatitudes (those nine verses you see starting with the word “blessed”). However, this will mean that, in order to truly be God’s people, they would have to be willing to “do the opposite” of what they have been taught by the world.

At Christ Church Episcopal School, or CCES, we are more than about academics. We are about the godly formation of both the individual and the school as a community of support. We aim to live along the lines of Jesus’ Beatitudes.

If you go to CCES’ website, you will find that the initials “CCES” also represent four qualities we cultivate: Character, Community, Excellence, and Service. We can take a look at each of these four in light of the Beatitudes:

Character:  Beatitudes 1-2 (poor in spirit, those who mourn): When we realize our own lack and stop trying to rely just on our own resources to “look out for #1,” that is when we open ourselves to surprising things God has to offer, and even to esteem the abilities and contributions of those around us.

Community: Beatitudes 3-4 (meek inheriting the earth, the hungry and thirsty getting satisfied). Cooperation over competition, valuing over victimizing. The spirit of the South African Nguni Bantu term “Ubuntu” is “whatever is good for you is good for me,” that we find our true selves within the community. Where we lower ourselves to be meek within the community, when we realize that we are hungry and thirsty for things beyond ourselves, that is when we get filled with the truly satisfying things that God provides through healthy community.

Excellence: Beatitudes 5-6 (merciful, pure in heart). At CCES, we promote striving to become more than we think, constantly to look upwards and sideways (like the shape of the cross – vertical and horizontal). We urge qualities in our students and in our community like mercy (enabling the other and cutting each other slack when we fall) and purity (making good moral choices, looking beyond our own individual concerns).

Service: Beatitudes 7-8 (peacemakers, the persecuted for righteousness’ [justices’] sake extended to kinship with the prophets of old). At CCES we encourage service both within and beyond the confines of the school. We want our young people to grow to become not just great students, but even more importantly positive forces for change in our world – to be the peacemakers, the reconcilers, in a society that is often at odds, partisan, and tribal. And to stand up for what is right, even at personal cost. A line from the CCES prayer: “Help us to choose the harder right over the easier wrong.”

I’d like to close my portion with what our lives would be like by NOT following the Beatitudes, by NOT doing the opposite of the standards of our world: The “Me-Attitudes”.

  1. Pity those who only look out for “number one,” for they cut themselves off from the thrill of the fellowship of heaven.
  2. Pity those who cannot say “I’m sorry,” for they will not know the joy of restored relationships.
  3. Pity those who grasp at what they think is their due, for like wet soap, it will just slip through their fingers.
  4. Pity those who give up leading a pleasing life, for they themselves will find no lasting pleasure.
  5. Pity those who are ruthless, for what goes around comes around.
  6. Pity those who fill their lives with entertaining distractions, for they will obscure what really matters in life.
  7. Pity those who create discord and foment splits, for they are at odds with the God of reconciling love.
  8. Pity those who live large at the expense of others, for that will be their only reward.

Sports Turf Management Association Names Carson Stadium & Linda Reeves Field 2016 Fields of the Year

The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) has announced its 2016 “Field of the Year Award” winners.  Since 1992, STMA’s Field of the Year Award is a national recognition presented to members who manage baseball, football, soccer, softball and other sporting playing surfaces at the professional, collegiate, schools (K-12) and parks and recreation level.  CCES is the 2016 winner in the Schools and Parks category for Carson Stadium!

The STMA for South Carolina also awarded Linda Reeves Field the Sporting Grounds 2016 Field of the Year, a recognition at the state level.

Brian Dossett burns a pattern into the field at Carson Stadium. Oxner Landscape continues to mow and blow off the field every week during the season to keep a clean playable surface.

Congratulations to Brian Dossett, Head Sports Field Manager with Oxner Landscape, Jack Haynes and Zach Dees, Turf Technicians with Oxner Landscape, and Travis Frost, Hunter Frost and Coach Larry Frost who manage all of the field painting.

 

Click here for a complete list of the 2016 winners,

 

 

Travis, Hunter, and Coach Larry Frost put many long hours into painting and putting the finishing touches on the field. Even during the summer, the sidelines and center of the field are in great shape providing a great canvas for their work.

“Through the ‘Field of the Year Program,’ the members of our Awards Committee independently select the most superior natural grass playing surfaces that exemplify both safety and playability,” says Kim Heck, CAE, CEO of STMA.  “We are excited by the significant number of applicants, which made for difficult decisions but shows the size, scope and continued innovation of the sports turf industry.”

A panel of 11 judges independently scored entries based on playability, appearance of surfaces, utilization of innovative solutions, effective use of budget and implementation of a comprehensive agronomic program. Judges may not award a field in each category.  Winning fields will be featured in a 2017 issue of SportsTurf Magazine, the official monthly publication of STMA.

Awards were presented at the 28th annual STMA Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla. Jan. 24-27, 2017.  Nearly 1,200 leaders in the sports turf industry met at Disney’s Colorado Springs Hotel for four days of cutting-edge educational seminars, exhibitor demonstrations and networking opportunities.

Senior, Matthew Mahaffey, Named Epiphany Scholar

From left to right: Senior Chaplain, “Kahu” David Jackson; MS Chaplain, Betsy Burton; Headmaster, Leonard Kupersmith; his brother, Andrew Mahaffey ’22; his mother, Laura Mahaffey; Matthew Mahaffey ’17; his father, Joe Mahaffey; Rector of Christ Church Episcopal, The Rev. Dr. Harrison McLeod; LS Chaplain, Valerie Riddle; and Caroline Henderson ’17

At the Upper School Epiphany Chapel service, Matthew Mahaffey was named this year’s Epiphany Scholar. Senior Chaplain, “Kahu” David Jackson presented the award which was established in 1991 to honor a student who exemplifies a commitment to Christian values through worship, sensitivity, and outreach to others. The award is advanced by the Rector of Christ Church Episcopal, and the Rev. Dr. Harrison McLeod joined our chaplains in this wonderful celebration.

Asked to say a few words about her friend and classmate, Caroline Henderson ’17 said she could not “think of anyone more deserving” of this award. She went on to describe Matthew’s joyful spirit of adventure, his fun-loving nature, and the ways in which he seeks to bring a smile to others’ faces, often sacrificing his own comfort. “One time when we went camping,” she began, a smile spreading across her face at the memory, “he woke up before everyone else, cut down a tree, and decorated it around the fire as if it were Christmas. He then proceeded to wake everyone early in the freezing cold by screaming Christmas carols.” She paused then added, “In October.”

She continued, describing Matthew’s heart as one that “radiates Christ’s love to everyone he encounters, no matter who they are or how well they know each other.” She spoke of the strength of his character which she said was a “role model for everyone” and of his ability to support and encourage the people around him to “take leaps out of their comfort zones in order to further serve the Lord.”

In his time here at CCES, Matthew has shown time and time again his passion for serving others. He has been on at least three mission trips (including to South Africa and Costa Rica), serves at the breakfast kitchen every Monday before school, and is a member of the CCES Interact chapter. Since the ninth grade, he has served as a Student Ambassador for CCES, helping new students transition into our community. He is also a long-standing member of the Vestry and works with our senior chaplain to help lead weekly Chapel services.

Matthew received the award with what many of his teachers describe as his signature humility. “That’s the thing about Matthew,” said his college counselor, Linda Schulz, after the service. “He is so incredibly humble, I bet he was embarrassed. But I can’t think of anyone who deserves this award more.”

Embracing the Unknown: It’s Ok If You Don’t Know What’s Next!

By Bartley Sides, Associate Director of College Counseling

Originally published by the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC) where Bartley serves on the Board of Directors.

Recently, I was completing a questionnaire for my alma mater’s Alumni Office.  The questions focused on how I ended up where I am today professionally and how my college had prepared me.  One particular question asked, “What motivations fueled your career path? (Meet a need, inspire a team, life/family event, financial, values/ beliefs, learn/use a skill, advancement, passion)” I stared blankly at the screen unsure how to answer.  Eventually, I typed, “All of the above.”

My career path isn’t particularly interesting and isn’t particularly unique.  However, the question reminded me that the best laid plans rarely work out – and that’s ok.  As cliché as it may sound, life happens.  The dream college followed by the perfect job will very likely happen for you.  However, it’s also very likely that when you achieve that perfect job, you’ll look around and wonder how you ever got there.

As I work with high school students each day, we discuss their goals, their dreams, and their aspirations.  Some students have a “life plan” and college is without a doubt the next step as a part of that plan.  Other students have no idea what may lie ahead but sense that college is an expectation which must be fulfilled.  As a college counselor, I agree that higher education is a vital next step, but I always hope to remind students that college should be a fluid part of their lives.  College gives you a free pass, even encourages you, to explore new opportunities, make mistakes, and ultimately figure out who you are.  With that being said, here are just a few pieces of advice I hope you’ll keep in mind as you enter one of the biggest times of change in your life:

1.  Take advantage of opportunities that surprise you.

Any college tour will lead you past numerous flyers, banners, and chalk drawings advertising upcoming events and the clubs that are sponsoring them.  In addition, colleges will typically also host an Activities Fair which caters to freshmen looking to dive in and join the Squirrel Club, Concrete Canoe Club, or Clown Nose Club (by the way, those are all REAL clubs).  So join one. Don’t be afraid to break a mold and use college as an opportunity to create who you want to be – not who your high school friends expected you to be.

2.  Write the unexpected essay.

While this piece of advice certainly applies to your written admission essay, I’m really referring to “your story”.  When counseling students about the admission essay, I’ve always told students to “not write what you think I want to read, because if you write that, I’ve already read it 100 times.”  This applies to the path you will take as well.  If you do what you think others expect of you, chances are, that’s been done many times before – and where’s the excitement in that?  Pick a college, pick a major, pick extracurricular activities that make you happy and satisfy your needs and desires – not those of others.

3. It is ok if your plans change.

More than 2/3 of college students change their major at least once – many up to three times.  I think it’s nearly impossible not to change your mind about your life’s path.  There are so many external factors that play a role in the path our life takes and we’re too often caught up in the “what if’s” instead of the “what now’s”.  So take a quick read of some inspirational Dr. Seuss and be ok with being flexible.

Former Cavaliers Win National Championship Titles

Fans all over the country were jubilant on January 9th as the Clemson Tigers went on to defeat the University of Alabama 35-31 to capture the College Football Playoff National Championship Title.  Just two days prior, the No. 4 James Madison Dukes controlled the NCAA Division I FCS Championship matchup against Youngstown State, defeating them 28-14 for the National Title.

The common denominator in these two significant championship games is that CCES has a football alum playing for both the Clemson Tigers and the James Madison Dukes!  Michael Batson, CCES Class of 2015, played defensive end and also punted for the Cavaliers and is a current redshirt freshman for the Tigers (#96).  Braxton Westfield, CCES Class of 2016, played wide receiver for the Cavaliers and is a wide receiver for the Dukes (#89).  For one high school to have two athletes on a national championship team in one year is pretty remarkable!

These wins were not only special to players and fans, but emotional and pride-filled wins for CCES Varsity Football head Coach Don Frost.  “Both Braxton and Michael are hard workers,” Coach Frost said.  “They’ve both worked hard to get themselves where they’re at.  It’s really nice to see their success in a program that follows the same guidelines we give our kids— love each other like brothers and play for each other.  The camaraderie that exists on these teams is very similar to what they experienced here at Christ Church.”