What I am Thankful For
By: Theresa Erb
As I reflect on my first full year as director of the Foothills Faith Academy I can’t help but acknowledge all that has been accomplished and the wonderful team of people that are a part of each day.
This year we had many firsts, some for just me, several for the entire school. I got to celebrate the first day of school for the first time. It was a pleasure to welcome back families that had been with us previously and greet those new to the school. It was the first year of the Foothills Faith Academy which includes the infant center, preschool and kindergarten. Two-parts of the academy are brand new, the infant center and kindergarten. The infant center has been well received by the community. Under the direction of Kay McLaughlin it continues to grow and will soon be at capacity. Because infant care is in short supply in our area (and many others) we have not had to advertise for our center and we are filled by the siblings of those in other programs and through recommendations of our families. It was also the first year of providing a private kindergarten. In spite of the fact that we are suspending kindergarten for next year there is much to celebrate. Pat Chagnon has been an enthusiastic teacher and has offered a fun and enriching class that is able to boast that 100% of the class is reading, all students have had keyboard lessons, and a personalized learning experience. The Faith Academy also sponsored "Trunk-or-Treat" for the first time last Halloween. We held our first Christmas Sing-A-Long and at the same time had a pajama drive for Scholastic Books. The last day of the school year we will be sponsoring a Hop-A-thon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association and to raise awareness for those with physical disabilities.
We have enjoyed many celebrations: Open House, Thanksgiving Feasts, He & Me day for students and Dads, or the special men in the lives of our students, Easter Egg hunts, Mother’s Day Teas and we just had our annual picnic and silent auction. This year’s fabulous parent team was able to raise more money than our auction has ever before – over $5000.
One of my favorite traditions at the Faith Academy is the annual Christmas craft Faire. Besides raising money for the school, it is rewarding to see the community return each year. It is a kind of homecoming for the crafter (many of whom have been with us for many years), the church, the school and neighborhood families. For the past two Christmas and Easter seasons we have had See’s candy fundraisers. I took a picture of all the supplies and toys that we were able to purchase after the Easter sales this year and it practically filled one side of my office and did not include some of the larger items that we have been able to buy: a new computer for Kay and cribs for the infant center.
I am thankful for a dedicated and professional staff of teachers and aides who always put the safety, development and care of the students as their primary concern. I am grateful for the smiles and hugs and laughter of over 150 students that fill the school each week. I appreciate so much the parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles that trust us to care for their children. I am happy that the preschool has been at or near capacity for the vast majority of the year. I am blessed by the staff and congregation of Foothills UMC that supports and prays for us all.