At the intersection of writing and life with the author of the Cameron Ballack mysteries

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What a School Should Be

I have worked at four different schools, presenting teaching Ethics at Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis. All of them have exhibited excellence, and I have had great relationships with students and faculty at each one. Every once in awhile you have those moments where you discover the strength of a school when it displays its true fiber (for example, I've previously blogged about how the Covenant School responded well to the 9/11 attacks).

This past Friday, at the conclusion of our Spirit Week at Westminster Christian Academy, our Wildcats boys varsity basketball team was in a ferocious battle with the John Burroughs School Bombers. A couple of minutes into the fourth quarter, Ronald Smith of Burroughs went up for the basket but ended up taking a terrible fall. After making impact with the floor, Ronald began convulsing. A pulse of terror gripped the entire gym. 

And that's when something truly amazing happened.

Hilary--that's Westminster's athletic trainer--immediately began attending to Ronald, and several doctors in our crowd did what they could to lend a hand. All that could be done to get Ronald prepared for transport to the hospital happened.

What was even more incredible was happening all around them.

Students, parents, and fans of all ages fell silent, holding hands and  linking arms while players from both Burroughs and Westminster bowed their heads and gripped one another. Our head coach, Doug Coleman, took the microphone and led the entire assembly in prayer. Cheerleaders wept while the whole community quieted themselves and showed the respect and honor the moment deserved.

In other words, Westminster didn't merely show sportsmanship. In the words of the MSHSAA officials who refereed the game that night, "Westminster transcended sportsmanship tonight and demonstrated the Christian love that is their mission."

The rest of the game was cancelled. The paramedics got Ronald Smith to the hospital, and Coach Coleman and many of our players joined the Burroughs team and coaches in going there to show support and offer prayer for Ronald. The convulsions were controlled and stopped, and before long Ronald was fully responsive and able to move all his extremities. 

There is a lot wrong in this world, to be sure. Jealousy and greed, unwarranted military aggression and AIDS, human trafficking and sexual abuse are splashed across a lot of newspapers. But just in awhile, you get to see what a community should be, what a school should be. I've never been more proud of Wildcat Nation as I am writing these words.

That is what a school should be.

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