By Bethany Lee
“Man, I hope this ain’t like [my old school]. That’s the first thing I said when I walked in,” tenth grader Patience Kirk said. A new year brings changes for everyone at the upper school, whether they’re transitioning from the modular to the new building, switching from a different school to this one, or even moving from one grade to the next. No one knows quite what to expect, especially when experiencing CCS for the first time. “I expected to not be liked at all, like to be by myself a lot. When I first came in all the kids were talking to me and stuff and they were asking me questions. The kids are like, they’re really cool. And the teachers all have a great personality. Everybody just seems so happy here,” Kirk said.
“This is the most welcoming school I’ve ever been to,” twelfth grader Laney Rivera said. “On the very first day of school, a couple of students from my grade came to say ‘Hi’ and that they hoped I would have a good day. That’s not something you usually get at other schools.” Seventh grader Evan Nichols summarized his brief experience at CCS: “My old school was very, very rude. The reason I moved was because of the people. Here, there are no mean people.”
Nichols had the privilege of being one of nearly forty seventh graders to enter the upper school for the first time, an experience mostly described as, “I feel really small and puny,” seventh grader Jackson Latham said. Because they are used to the lower school—where they were the oldest—the upper school, which holds junior-high all the way up to the senior class, can be a little daunting for the young students. “They look like giants!” seventh grader Lauren Morace said. “We’re used to seeing little midgets walking around.”
The other major change for the seventh grade is the freedom that comes with being an upper school student. Seventh grade teacher Meredith Mayes, who also moved from the lower to the upper school this year, has had the unique opportunity to see the differences firsthand. “We don’t have to be as strict because the students are older. They’re a little—hopefully—more responsible,” Mayes said. “When you’re a sixth grader you feel like you’re almost being infringed upon, like, ‘I’m in sixth grade, why do I have to walk in a straight line down the hallway?’ And then they come over here and, what is a line? No one has to line up. So they definitely enjoy the freedom that’s offered.”
The influx of new students has been met with a lot of optimism from those who are already at the upper school. “I actually love them. All the new students I’ve met are great kids and a great fit for the school,” teacher Jon Alder said. Alder also thinks that the biggest difference they’ve made is simply in the amount of people at the school. The overflow of students led the CCS staff to creative alternatives for classroom spaces, with many classes being held in the kitchen, and a few in a corner of the cafeteria, separated from the rest of the room by a long partition.
Among all the changes, the important things have remained the same. Math teacher Evan Beyer said, “I think our goal is still to produce quality graduates who love the Lord and go do excellent work in whatever they do.” In other words, our mission remains: “…To love educate, and equip our students to transform the world for Jesus Christ.”