It's all about the atmosphere
It's a new school year, with new clothes and new classes. But have you thought about why you come back to the same school? Why do students return to New Life Christian School rather than a traditional public school or charter school?
Haley Moody, a senior at NLCS, said, "The environment is special and you can't get it anywhere else."
I asked what is was that makes our school's environment so unique and special.
Nick South, another senior, said, "I can build a relationship with God and not be afraid because we are all one family."
With a junior high and high school of 45 students, we all know everyone on a personal level. I like what Nick said about not being afraid because we are all family. My experience is that we are a tightly woven group without the deep division of cliques.
NLCS Principal John Lewallen said, "I choose to work at New Life because providing kids with a quality education is one of the greatest needs in the world today."
Lewallen invests in the lives of the students because he knows it's worth it. Another example of this is our science teacher, Allison Harrell, who teaches the upper classmen what it means to have a solid foundation in Christ, and for the students to know not only what they believe but also why they believe.
I polled NLCS students in grades 8-12 and asked them why they like attending this school. The most common response was the atmosphere and the friendships they established here.
I feel that parents choose to send their children to a private school because atmosphere is so vitally important to both academic and personal success. Common problems in schools today include gang activity, fist-fights and a lack of moral support from teachers.
Why would students want to go there? Why would caring parents send their kids into such a hostile environment? Our school is not perfect, but having also attended public schools, I notice the difference here.
I asked third-grade teacher Stacy Smotherman why she sends her three kids to New Life, and why she chooses to work at the school. "I think about it often, and the reward of speaking into the life of a child is much greater than money," she said.
Regarding her children, she said, "It all has to do with the atmosphere. I drop my kids off feeling peace, having freedom to pray and be themselves."
There's that word "atmosphere" again.
The refrain that echoes each year from our teachers and administration is that if you apply yourself, you can get an education anywhere — but at New Life, our niche is a positive, peaceful and godly atmosphere.
Families send their kids to New Life because they know their children will not only receive a quality education but develop emotionally and spiritually as well. Parents witness the deep bonds of friendship and the visible growth of a strong relationship their children have with God.
I've received more than just an education at New Life. I have made long-lasting relationships with godly people. So for me and those who call themselves my friends, New Life Christian School is the place to be. It's all about atmosphere.
Aaron Vieira is a senior at New Life Christian School. His column appears every six weeks in Education.