I recently spent time with a friend and Hartfield patron at their workplace. He works in a corporate setting and they do some high-level decision making and negotiating, much of which I do not fully understand. It is interesting work and I’m thankful there are people like him that do that sort of thing. I was left with several impressions as I exited the office building headed back to our school. First, the quiet nature of his office was foreign to me. Although it may seem chaotic at times, I have grown to love the constant interruptions that school life brings to our front office – our day is never boring! With 946 students and over 115 faculty and staff, our job is never meaningless either. Our teachers, coaches, students, and parents have endless opportunities to influence one another and I don’t have to look far to see the work God is doing in and through our people. I would like to share some of that good work with you today.
Once you have been a teacher, it is hard not to be drawn to opportunities to teach. Having taught World History for nine years, I was privileged to get to do a review of WWI and WWII with one of our elementary grades this week. They are a bright and engaging group – energetic too! Just this week, I was also able to spend time on a teleconference with Miss Smith’s 4th grade class as a moderator on an interview with Lt. Col. Laketter Cannon, the mother of Ty Cannon, one of our 4th grade students. She is deployed to Kuwait serving to ensure over 2,200 troops there are logistically supplied and supported. It was a wonderful time for our students to ask questions and gain perspective of the sacrifice both she and her son, their classmate, are making. Thank you for visiting with us Lt. Col. Cannon, and more importantly: Thank You for your service to all of us!
Hopefully, you have seen our news about Elevate 6. This new approach to transitioning our 5th grade students successfully into Middle School is a big win for everyone. With a dedicated learning environment, their own schedule, and teachers that are assigned solely to our 6th grade, I think we are putting our students in the best position possible to be ready to grow into independent learners prepared with a Biblical worldview. Please read the details in our newsletter, including the Six Core values that will be implemented into their Elevate 6 experience.
It has been an exciting re-enrollment season! We continue to reach record enrollment numbers every year and we are both humbled and thankful for your commitment to Hartfield Academy. In many ways, our growth is unprecedented and we are now closing in on capacity limits. It looks like we will reach a record enrollment for the 8th year in a row! As always when speaking about our student numbers, I am impressed to emphasize two areas: First, we are committed to keeping our class sizes small. Our capacity for each grade is 72, with some flexibility in the Upper School due to the nature of Upper School schedules. Secondly, each number represents a child and a family. I was reminded of our school’s culture when I recently saw Middle School students hug the necks of their former Elementary teachers when they passed each other in the courtyard. This is part of what makes Hartfield so special- every person who re-enrolls is a vital part of the Hartfield family!
Speaking of our students… Our students’ academic, athletic, and extra-curricular achievements are endless, but I would like to highlight a few of them:
- Laura Wingo scored a 34 on her ACT and has been awarded Hartfield’s STAR student! We are incredible proud of her hard work and she represents the many top students who are excelling academically. Over 25% of our graduating class scored a 28 or higher on the ACT.
- Our 4th and 5th grade SOAR students recently promoted a drive throughout our school to fill the clothes closet at We Will Go Ministry in Jackson. They collected over 400 items.
- Our Upper School Robotics team recently placed 1st in their latest competition and are headed to compete in the State Championship round.
- Two of our freshmen baseball players, Lincoln Sheffield and Colton Bradley, committed to Mississippi State University in the past month. Be sure to mark your calendar for a few games this season. Coach Chuck Box and his staff have been preparing for a great season and you will want to see them compete on their new field. His leadership was recently recognized as he was one of only 3 high school coaches in the nation asked to speak at the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in Dallas. He spoke to an audience of several thousand coaches about organization and leadership in running a baseball program.
- Julia Dyess, a leader on our State Championship Volleyball team, was also recognized as one of the nation’s best when she was invited over the holidays to participate in a USA Volleyball camp at the US Olympic training facility in Colorado Springs, CO. What a tremendous honor!
Lastly, I want to extend a sincere thank you to Angela Remley and her parent volunteer team that recently blessed our teachers with a HOST luncheon between classes. Many of our patrons participated by bringing everything from colorful salads to desserts and treats. Our school is special for many reasons, among them the participation and servant spirit of our parents. I am constantly looking for ways to thank and motivate our teachers, but there is no stronger encouragement than a specific word, email, or text of thanks from the parents of their students. Well, that along with food!
I look forward to seeing you all at the Father Daughter Dance!