100 days is a long time. Imagine eating the same dinner for 100 days. Or watching only one tv show, or wearing the exact same thing for 100 days! It seems unreasonable at best. But other times, doing the same thing for 100 days can be so fun, it can make time practically fly by! I’m 100 days in, working at ECHS… and time is flying by!
Coming to ECHS was a roll of the dice. When you leave one organization (especially a fabulous one) for another (reasonably unknown) one, faith takes center stage. The night before my first day on staff was one of mixed emotions, namely excitement and hope, if hope can be classified as an emotion. I had that desperate feeling of hoping I’d made the right decision. Hoping ECHS had made the right decision offering me the job in the first place! Hoping that I was following God’s voice! Hoping and hoping, and of course, feeling a bit of jittery anticipation.
And just like that, here we are – 100 days later! Every morning as I gather my belongings and clamber to the car in the dark to get to school by 7:40, I feel peaceful. Mostly. There’s sometimes the communal family panic of running late, the occasional three point turn in the middle of the street to head home for a forgotten textbook, the sleepy frustration of busy mornings, and sometimes sharp, uncalled-for words. But after kisses goodbye to my husband, my daughter (and sometimes a friend or two) buckled safely in the car, and all our necessary stuff in tow, we make the 20 minute drive to the steps of the high school in peace.
We talk about the day to come, sometimes do a bit of last minute studying, and sing along to the radio. Life is good. The jitters are mostly absolved, and my days at ECHS have been some of the most rewarding of my adult life. That’s a bold statement: that these past 100 days are among the most rewarding of my life. And yet it doesn’t seem absurd or overstated. The reasons for such a brave statement are two-fold.
The first: My personal experience. My technical job title at ECHS is “College & Career Office Assistant.” In short, I assist those who work in the College & Career Office, Paige Visser and Jesse Struck. There are lots of tasks to do that keep me busy: managing report cards, mailing transcripts, helping with college applications… I’ve come to see that in order for a school to run well, there are hundreds of little, moving pieces, and it takes many hands to ensure all of those pieces stay in order and make it to where they are supposed to. It takes even more cooperation to ensure that 400 people are safe and secure each day.
I enjoy executing my part in keeping those little pieces in order, but it’s been in the little things almost no one would see that my heart has melded to. It’s been in the reasonably unnoticeable, non-academic moments that my soul has taken root; things that can’t be represented in a job description or discussed at an interview. Like the moments we spend supporting a hurting child to see a smile return. The investment of time well spent when a student is accepted to college. The laughter echoing in the halls. Hands raised in chapel worship. The smell of fresh donuts baking. The happy chatter of teenaged girls. The tenderness of the hearts of freshmen. The dozens of unspoken moments when humanity trumps scholarship, and this academic building becomes a center for community.
And that ushers in the second reason for the peaceful drives to school each morning. My 10th grader, and the calming knowledge that she, too, experiences the community found inside these walls.
We brought her to ECHS from a brief stint in a New Jersey public school followed by years of homeschooling. It is an understatement to refer to her transition as a ‘leap of faith.’ It was a clash of mixed emotions like she (nor I) hadn’t experienced before. But we were rewarded. ECHS has not disappointed.
Of course, there are difficult days. Days when kids are mean, when homework feels a bit overwhelming, and when sleep has been elusive. But these days are few and far between. The majority of her days at ECHS have resulted in fits of laughter on the drive home, new friends for sleepovers, plans for the weekend with said friends, beautiful artwork hanging on our fridge, and generally, a new-found love for school. And again, it’s in the little moments of her days, when teachers encourage and new friends offer smiles and the cafeteria staff bakes fresh cookies… it’s in the times when a teacher reviews with her just one more time, when she’s included, when she’s reminded in Who’s image she is created…
These moments can’t be purchased. There is no price point to assign to them because there is no price high enough. They are simply part of the air we breathe here at ECHS. They are part of the spirit of this place; 125 years worth of the common purpose of thousands of students and teachers who have walked these halls. To seek Truth. To strive for excellence. To serve one another and to uphold this sacred community. And those are the unseen things that are happening all around me each day in this place. They are moments of unscholarly perfection. And they are where our souls are finding peace.