To say the start of the 2017-2018 school year has been unusual would be an understatement. We were barely “off the ground” before Hurricane Harvey swept through Houston and washed away, almost literally, some of the best-laid plans. The amount of devastation our city saw in Harvey’s wake was almost too much to comprehend, but the outpouring of love and support and supplies and encouragement (etc., etc.) in the days and weeks that have followed have shown us God’s goodness and providence are stronger than any natural disaster.
I know many of you, and your students, have given of your time, money and more in so many meaningful ways since Harvey left large portions of Houston under water, and I am truly grateful for you and your servant hearts. I love the way each of you is rising to the challenge of this year’s theme verse, Micah 6:8, and “walking His way” as you act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God in service to your friends and neighbors.
Harvey interrupted us, but he couldn’t squash the spirit of excitement and promise that comes with a new school year, and I am so proud of how our teachers and students didn’t skip a beat when we returned back to school following the unexpected week-long break. I don’t like the circumstances that brought it about, but I must admit having two “first day of school” experiences in close succession has me more energized than ever about what lies ahead for our students, and our school, this year.
Our campus weathered the storm well, and we even have some new equipment in place (or soon to be) that will enhance the quality of services we provide students and the learning taking place in classrooms. At the end of the summer, we installed brand new ovens, stovetops and warming stations in our kitchen, through the generosity of the elders at the Westbury Church of Christ, who funded the upgrades. Chef Jay and the SAGE Dining team have been putting the new equipment to good use, continuing to provide all of us with delicious, and nutritious, meals each school day. The interactive projectors we purchased with the funds raised via the 2017 Funathon have also arrived on campus and will be installed in selected classrooms soon.
Students involved in fall extracurricular activities are fully engaged now in their favorite competitive and performance endeavors. At both the middle and high school levels, student-athletes participating in football, volleyball and cross country are giving it their all and representing the school with a grace that shines beyond just the stats in the record book. Our Big Blue Band that plays a big role in firing up school spirit at home football games is also very impressive this year. There are 65 members in the band with a repertoire of 35 songs in their “arsenal.” They know how to have fun and make a “joyful noise.” Our theatre students are rehearsing for the November 9 opening of their production of “The Addams Family” musical. Da Da Da Dum (snap snap), Da Da Da Dum….
I want to take a moment each month to introduce to you one of our dedicated faculty members. This month, I am highlighting middle school math, science and Bible teacher Jay Roberts. This is Mr. Roberts’ first full year at WCS — he was a substitute for us some last year — but he is no stranger to a classroom or working with students. He is the youth minister at the West University Church of Christ, a position he has filled for the last nine years, and he taught 7th grade math for four years in a Spring Branch ISD school prior to coming to WCS. Mr. Roberts is a great example for our students, having served in and retired from the Air Force after 23 years. I asked Mr. Roberts, a University of Houston grad, to tell me why he chooses to work with middle school students, and he told me an encouraging story about the students taking the initiative to ask him if they could pray for him and his family after they learned he had lost his father. “Seeing the kids realize the advantage they have in calling on God for His intervention is the greatest ‘aha’ moment a teacher can witness,” Mr. Roberts told me.
As I close, I want to follow up on Associate Head of School Mr. Wagner’s recent email concerning our accreditation survey results. The accreditation process is very important to us at WCS. It’s not a “chore” or an annoyance. It is an opportunity for us to re-examine what we are doing and identify, and make improvements in, those areas where we could be doing better. I truly appreciate your willingness to be candid with us about your experiences. I always welcome constructive feedback. WCS is your school too.
Michael D. White
Head of School