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Archive for the ‘Headmaster Messages’ Section

A Word From Mr. Satterly—October 12, 2017

October 12, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Ralph Waldo Emmerson once quipped, “People only see what they are prepared to see.” While I doubt that he had topics like educational philosophy or the development of technology in mind when he made that remark, his insight is nonetheless useful. Consider, for example, that the world’s largest taxi company (Uber) owns no taxis; or that the largest real estate firm (Airbnb) owns no property. Most of us were not prepared to see these developments, so we didn’t.

Now we live in a world where most people believe that the best way to find yourself is within yourself and that one should not criticize someone else’s life choices. It is a world that increasingly sees people of faith, as either irrelevant or extreme; one that embraces leisure and indulgence over work and patience; and holds pluralism and tolerance as sacred.

Gabe Lyons, in his book Good Faith, seeks to address our response as Christians to these trends reminding us that God is our reference point for truth—not ourselves—and that while a judgmental spirit is not reflective of the gospel, neither is tolerance for sinful and destructive behavior. Our theology insists that God is in the center of our lives, not on the periphery.

Since it is difficult to project how quickly technology will develop, making particular jobs and tasks obsolete, or to forecast exactly what issues our children will face as adults; we must, then, focus on teaching them how to think biblically, to invest in their character, and to equip them to effectively engage culture. It is into these times and into this particular space that God has given the Christian school. As we strive toward our mission, let us begin with the end in mind.

Grace and Peace,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—October 5, 2017

October 5, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend the annual CESA Symposium in Dallas. CESA—Council on Educational Standards and Accountability—is a relatively new organization consisting of some of the very best Christian schools in America. Westminster Academy is a candidate for full membership. One reason we have joined CESA is our desire to vigorously pursue improvement and to stand among other top schools. No other school is South Florida is currently a member.

The conference featured outstanding and accomplished speakers including John Couch, Director of the Education Division of Apple; Gabe Lyons, a leading author and leader of Q Commons, a Christian think-tank in NYC; and Andy Crouch, Executive Editor of Christianity Today. The week prior, I was privileged to represent Westminster Academy at the Next Summit at Gordon College. There we heard from Mike Ullman, an accomplished corporate CEO with successful leadership in North America, Asia, and Europe and also from Bishop Claude Alexander, author and pastor.

I will look forward to sharing pieces of what I learned with our faculty, students, and community. A good place to engage this conversation is at One Cup on Thursday, November 2.

If you spend much time around our campus, you will likely hear the word community. One application of community is service. Today the lower school computer lab was teaming with community—school materials, iPads, and cleaning supplies on one side with lots of volunteers filling boxes bound for St. John Christian Academy in the U.S. Virgin Islands and on the other, Miss Polhemus, who began her career at St. John will deliver these supplies on our behalf. So very proud of how our families have responded to the need. Our upper school students will soon have the privilege and opportunity to serve those impacted by Irma as they gather needed supplies and head to the Florida Keys for a work day. For those who have been given much…well done!

Grace and Peace,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

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A Word From Mr. Satterly—September 21, 2017

September 21, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Over the past week, one significant change I’ve noticed is how people in south Florida greet one another. “Hi, how’s it going?” has been replaced with “Do you have power?” Even as we restart school at Westminster Academy, another hurricane churns its way through our Caribbean neighbors. I am very encouraged by the manner in which students, faculty, and parents have jumped back into school. It is good to see how everyone has embraced getting back to work and to re-engage learning. As we long to get back to a sense of normalcy, adjustments and flexibility will be the order of the day as we look to recover instructional time and to resolve displaced events. We anticipate announcing revisions to the school calendar on Friday.

The resolution of Irma-related issues also affords us the opportunity to consider ways to serve our community—locally, regionally, and internationally. We are working with Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church to explore potential partnerships for student service projects related to both Irma and Maria. Also, we are talking with our school organizations such as Christian Schools of Florida to consider how we can help.

Grace and Peace,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

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A Word From Mr. Satterly—September 14, 2017

September 14, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear Westminster Academy Family,

Our community has experienced a rather harrowing week, but our school has emerged largely unscathed—praise God from whom all blessings flow. Many were evacuated and are making their way home. Others of us rode out the storm here. All of us have stories to tell. I suspect this past week will quickly become part of our journey together.

Sunday morning, as the storm approached, our family gathered for a time of prayer and worship. Perhaps unsurprisingly we were drawn to Mark 4:35–41, “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet, be still!’ Then the wind died down, and it was completely calm.” The storm not only reminded us about the power and might of our Father, but it also highlighted the brokenness of our world. As Irma’s winds howled, they echoed that this is not the way things are supposed to be; and so on that Lord’s Day, even though we were not able to gather for corporate worship, we celebrated that in His resurrection. Jesus conquered not only death but is conquering the brokenness of our world.

Crisis and calamity have a way for forging relationships and bring out the best in people. I am very proud of our staff as we have worked together throughout the storm. Our facilities team hit the ground just as soon as the winds died down. Even now, members of our team are working to prepare for school restarting on Monday. Now that hurricane shutters have been removed, and power is being restored, albeit a bit slow for some, we can assess the damage and get on with recovery. It appears that most of the damage to the east campus was confined to landscaping, fencing, and trees. Out west, the damage was a little more substantial as all venues received some impact. Fortunately, none of that will be a long term issue.

All of us have questions regarding moving forward. Events will need to be rescheduled and in some cases canceled. Certainly, we want to maximize instructional time to meet our academic and program goals, so consideration will be given to the school calendar as well as accreditation standards and direction from state officials. The discussion will center on mission critical priorities, opportunities and logistical matters, and simple viability. Many of our events, such as athletic contests, involve other schools and will require coordination. As soon as decisions are made, we will communicate changes and necessary information. We will need to exhibit flexibility, patience, and discernment.

Every school year affords challenges and opportunities. This year ours is called “Irma.” Let’s work together to move forward well.

For those of you still traveling home, please be safe. For those of us here that are dealing with inconveniences such as no power or drivers who don’t understand four-way stops, please be considerate. As a reminder, the campus remains closed through the week to allow our team to get things in order for Monday.

I will look forward to seeing you safe and sound on Monday, September 18, which will be an “A” day for the Upper School.

Grace and Peace,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

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A Word From Mr. Satterly—August 31, 2017

August 31, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

On Wednesday morning, we held our annual New Parents’ Breakfast, and the highlight was our students. They provided musical entertainment—both instrumental and vocal; served as hosts and hostesses; and shared testimonies about the impact of Westminster Academy in their lives. It is always good to be reminded about how God works in the lives of our students and for our new families to witness the Westminster Academy experience firsthand.

In recent days, we’ve all been watching the disaster unfold in Houston. Many of you have asked about how our school can respond and help. Several of our sister CESA schools are in the Houston area, and we get regular updates from them. At this point, they are asking for prayer. Until school officials can return to their campuses, they do not know exactly what they need. We will stay in contact and see how we can help as things unfold. In the meantime, you can pray and make a donation to an established disaster relief organization such as the PCA Missions to North America, the American Red Cross, or one of your choosing.

As a reminder, please do not drop off your students in front of the school on 56th Street as that creates a traffic problem and is a safety consideration. It is important to follow the traffic plan for either side of the street even if you are running a little late.

Friday night is our first regular-season home football game of the year. If you aren’t getting out of town for the holiday, we’d love to see you at the west campus Athletic Complex.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

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A Word From Mr. Satterly—August 24, 2017

August 24, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Typically, the second week of school represents more settled routines, better-rested students (and faculty), and regular homework. One unique feature of week two at Westminster Academy was the opportunity afforded by the solar eclipse. Alongside our students, I enjoyed the view through special glasses and particularly relished how much they responded to the experience. We were even able to practice our severe weather dismissal! Thanks to all those who facilitated the day.

As this year begins, I am also reminded about the scope of our mission. Perhaps this is best evidenced by our alumni. Just this past week, Michael Taylor ’09 of the Washington Nationals made two of the “Top Ten Plays of the Week” on ESPN and recent graduate, Paul Atkinson ’17, was one of 16 members of his freshman class named a Yale Cup of New York City Scholar. Additionally, two financial planners, Philip Piedt ’07 of Benchmark Financial and John Novoa ’02 of Thrivent Financial—both members of our alumni board—have developed a seminar to assist parents in planning and saving for college that will take place in conjunction with our Christian College Fair on September 18.

I’ll look forward seeing you at one of our upcoming events.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

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A Word From Mr. Satterly—August 17, 2017

August 17, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Have you noticed how June and July pass like lightning, while February and March creep along? It seems that we were just concluding the Commencement Ceremony when it was time to prepare for the Convocation. Summer break or not, one great thing about South Florida living is that the beaches are always open.

One group that didn’t make it to the beach is our facilities team. Matt Jarvis and his crew labored long hours this summer implementing the first phase of our campus reinvestment plan. Over the next couple of years, we plan to revitalize the Blanche Collins Foreman (east/main) campus and also to improve our west campus Athletic Complex. This work is being funded by the family capital fee as well as a commitment of operations resources. In the next couple of weeks, we expect to wrap up the summer projects with the installation of new lockers and benches.

We are very excited about the new teammates joining the Westminster Academy family. Great people, delivering a great product is a key commitment, and we’ve had the opportunity to add some excellent faculty members. Each of them fit our vision of school improvement, and recently, senior leadership participated in a workshop with the board to highlight those initiatives.

On Monday, we will experience a rare event—a near total solar eclipse. This is a unique educational opportunity. While our participation will require a balance of safety and inquiry, we are excited to take advantage of this encounter. Our school plan will be distributed in a separate communication; please take note of it.

As we begin this new year together, we are grateful to partner with you in the education our children. May God grant His richest blessing.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster