One of the summer activities I remember from my childhood are church revivals, open-air tent meetings at which a guest preacher would do all in his power to stir up the faithful to be more true to the mind of Christ, loudly and often tearfully condemn both sin and sinners, and call to the altar all who would renew their citizenship in the Kingdom. These were July or August weeknights that interrupted our usual evenings of hide and seek, king of the hill, rocking on the porch or pretending to be cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians. There was an intensity, a focus, a community formed by those revivals that carried my church family well past Easter.
Earlier this year, we began what could be described as a revival here at All Saints’ Episcopal School. A new tactic was adopted by our Board of Trustees, one meant to build upon the successes of recent leadership. Instead of hiring another head of school with extensive experience in public schools, the Board opted to call someone with experience in the independent school world – me. Beginning in February, my conversations with the faculty have bordered on those one might engage with a guest preacher. The outcomes are similar. Our work has stirred us up to consider again why we do school the way we do and how we can be as true to the mission of ASES as is humanly possible. Our strategizing has called us, often with laughter and joy but sometimes painfully, to consider who was doing what when with who and if that effort and/or that person was as good as it gets or could be. Our self-study allowed us to take time, the most precious commodity in any school’s life, to examine programs and procedures and protocols to discover renewed ways to serve the children we’ve been blessed to have as students.
At this school, we are very aware of and take delight in the passages that frame our students’ lives. In addition to joining our students in celebrating many of their firsts, we become mentors and guides to help them reach the next milestone, whatever that might be. For some that may mean working on phonemic awareness or the difference between a participle and a gerund, for others it may mean wrestling with multiplication tables or linear equations, for still others it may mean becoming more confident in themselves and the talents and gifts with which they have been born but have yet to break forth. For all of our students it means cultivating right and reasoned thinking based on strong academics, learning to take responsibility for their own actions and to work for the common good, developing a sense of community, a reverence for life, a respect for root values and an appreciation for beauty, and realizing the privileges and obligations of being citizens of the Lakeway Region and of the Kingdom of God.
We are honored that you are considering ASES as your partner in the education of your student, as a companion with which to travel these early years. To entrust anyone with the care and nurture of your child is a major decision, not to be made lightly or unadvisedly. Contained in our Admissions packet is information we believe will assist you in deciding if All Saints’ Episcopal School is the best choice for your child.
If you think your child might benefit from being a part of ASES, we encourage you to apply today. Space is limited and financial aid is available. Again, we are delighted that you are considering ASES as your educational partner and look forward to meeting you during the admissions process. As always, if we can answer any questions or be of further assistance as you make this important decision on behalf of your child, please do not hesitate to be in touch.
The Rev. Dr. Louis “Smokey” Oats