I’ve delayed writing this article many times, and I’ve asked the editor and production team for multiple deadline extensions. For those who know me well or work closely with me, you can attest that this doesn’t happen very often. I tend to hit my marks. I’m writing this on an early Saturday morning, the day after the last day of the 2019-2020 school year. As I reflect on the single most significant year in Timothy’s history, I don’t know where to begin with this article. Requesting another deadline extension at this point will only slow down publication and, besides, it isn’t going to provide me any more clarity of thought than I have right now...so here goes.
At the start of every school year I offer a general challenge to the leadership and staff that we will work harder in the upcoming year than we ever have before. I suppose some could argue the merit of an annual challenge such as this. Every year I’m sure there are some who question the attainability or measurability of such an unrealistic goal. But this year I believe our staff would universally say, “You were right!” (In the same breath, if I offer this challenge after this year when we return to campus in the fall I’ll probably be run out of town!)
As the 2019-2020 school year started, I shared in the sentiment of many that Timothy was in the best of times. As you peruse and enjoy this edition of the Reflector, you will see plenty of highlights! Our school is on the move. Nationally-recognized Blue Ribbon award, exceptional program of academics, a performing arts program that is among best-in-class, extracurricular and co-curricular programs on the podium and in the spotlight, an athletic program with a statewide reputation for excellence, continued construction and renovation of the campus, real estate acquisitions to add to our footprint in Elmhurst, fundraising efforts for our school approaching the realm of $50MM over the last 10 years, and maintaining a fierce commitment to staying debt free! I could go on-and-on. You get the picture. The best of times!
It is my personal belief that no community can match the strength of this one.
Then on Friday, March 13 at 2:00 pm, I made the decision, in concert with our board of directors and leadership team, to close down the campus because of growing concerns and worldwide uncertainty about a novel coronavirus. Timothy quickly adapted to the most disruptive and most impactful year in our history.
I had started to assemble an educational task force to develop the blueprints for a remote learning plan weeks earlier on Friday, February 21. The team did not disappoint, and by all counts Timothy emerged as the gold standard in this new arena of learning and instruction. An expert finance task force was put together as well, and the Timothy economy [although bruised] maintained healthy vital signs. Our teachers victoriously pushed through weariness, discouragement, and the emotional toll of missing their students. They moved at lightspeed, yet with careful intent, to continue our program of education. Our parents fully supported the mission of Timothy as we partnered with the home in a more intimate way than ever before. Our students demonstrated an uncommon resilience in this new frontier void of companionship and so many other school experiences that provide for reward and fulfillment. The Class of 2020 in particular led the way for our student body. Timothy marched with courage behind our battle cry of Go Beyond!
In an effort to stick to my maximum word count for this article, I’m skipping thousands of stories from the school year. Someday I would love to tell the entire Timothy story during the pandemic—behind the scenes and all. As I’m writing this article, my “COVID-19” inbox label has 6,500 emails on this topic alone. But not every email is from a health organization, or an educational leader or association, or banker, or lawyer, or politician. Many are encouraging and inspirational communications from YOU—Team Timothy. It is my personal belief that no community can match the strength of this one. There is a deep sense of purpose and togetherness at Timothy that is special, and the spirit of Timothy was on full display this year. We even remain hopeful for a 6th consecutive year of enrollment growth as we prayerfully anticipate strong retention, and as we welcome many new families to our community.
Above all, God’s faithfulness was on full display at Timothy this year and more than ever before. I mentioned my “COVID-19” inbox label in the previous paragraph, but what I didn’t mention is where I nested this label in my inbox. (I’m very organized with my emails.) From the very beginning, the “COVID-19” label has been nested under a prominent or parent label that contains the greatest and most miraculous communications I’ve received in the last 10 years. The “COVID-19” label is linked to this one...it subordinates to it. It is labeled “Ephesians 3:20,21.” This email label holds some of the most incredibly consequential communications in the history of our school and many that very few people will ever even know about. It is where I place emails that are beyond my wildest dreams and imagination, which is why I titled the label “Ephesians 3:20,21.”
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
As I reflect on the 2019-2020 school year with a heavenly point of view, I’d have to stick with my conviction from back in August: These are the best of times. And, for the glory of God, the best days for Timothy are still ahead!
God chose and trusted us for this time in Timothy’s history. May those who come after us say that the good ship Timothy not only bravely weathered the storm and wisely navigated through it, but even displayed an uncommon calmness and assurance in the midst of it. How? Because Timothy held fast to the promises of God.
Press on, Timothy!