Monday, November 23, 2020

CCS Thanks God for This Thanksgiving Day...

As we pause for a short break from the rhythm of school days, we are more eager than usual to be together again. It's been that kind of year. Family gatherings will be different this week. For some they will be especially hard, and we grieve with those who have lost loved ones in this season, but we also thank God to have known "the kind of love that all these years can't wash away."

Those words come from a new song by Ben Rector released especially for Thanksgiving 2020. As the song says, "...put your dishes in the kitchen sink and let the left-over year just wash away. 'Cause we made it through, I do believe, the longest year in history... Thank God for this Thanksgiving Day."

Click THIS LINK to see the CCS version of this Thanksgving Video.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day Concert and the "Virtue of Reality"

 Dear Veterans, Grandparents, and CCS Family,

Today was to be Grandparents Day at CCS. For over twenty years, Grandparents Day was in May, but last year we began a new tradition of hosting this event on Veterans Day in November. We were so glad that we made that change because the COVID-19 pandemic closed the schools for in-person events last spring. This school-year, we are open for daily classes, but the same pandemic makes it impossible to have hundreds of grandparents in our building. We miss you guys! I mean that with all my heart. If today were normal, we would all have met in the chapel briefly before going to your grandchildren's classes. So if you don't mind pretending with me for just a few minutes... imagine that we are all gathered in the chapel as we've done for all these years. 

I usually share some brief remarks that take us back in time a bit before Mrs. Kapanka explains the plan for the present day's events. If I could talk with you in person today, I would talk about "the virtue of reality.If you click on that link in quotation marks, you can read something I wrote twelve years ago about "virtual reality," a term I had never heard before 1993. In the decades since, virtual reality has become big business--mostly in the world of gaming and entertainment, but during the limited in-person reality caused by the current COVID pandemic, the word "virtual" has never been more used. We speak of virtual classes, virtual textbooks, virtual church, and the links below have been called a virtual concert.

I'd like to go on record, however, as saying that there is nothing virtual about the virtue of reality. The "here and now" that CCS students are experiencing by being in our building here and now came through the reality of hard work and preparation to make our building the safest possible venue for in-person classroom instruction. We take our present circumstances very seriously even as we comply with the "unreal" realities that were unimaginable just one year ago when we were all together in the school for this special day. 

So as you watch the video links below, please know that there is nothing virtual about the work the students put into preparing their songs for you. Due to our COVID protocols. The students came to the auditorium, temporarily removed their masks, and sang separately in their class "cohorts." I then did my best to bring them together "virtually" via video editing. But trust me, there was nothing virtual about the nervousness the soloists experienced... nothing virtual about the desire to get each note right... and the hours or practice and performance that produced the moments we now share virtually with you. It was all very real... as life should be. 

If you're like me, your eyes may blur a bit with tears as you think about what these kids are so bravely facing at this time in their lives and as you listen to songs old and new that make us mindful of the important role of grandparents to our students... the role of veterans to our freedom... and the role of freedom to the nation we all know and love.  

Please take a few moments during this special day to watch all three parts of this "virtual" concert, and do us a favor: click on the small "like" (thumbs up) icon at each video portion. It will mean a lot to the kids. Also please share this post and these videos with all the veterans you know. They deserve our thanks and a reminder that "our flag [is] still there." 

Click on the links to see the video.