Whitefield Academy Blog
Building Shelves and Building Character
This past Saturday, my husband, my girls, and I spent the day in one of the buildings on Whitefield’s campus helping our students build some racks for the rowing team’s boats. “I’m sorry,” you say, “racks…in a building…in Kansas City…for boats?” Yes, much like Noah we are just going with this one. The racks went up great and now it’s super spiffy, but the thing that really struck me happened toward the very end of the day.
After we were done with the project and almost everyone had gone home, I noticed that all of the boats’ riggers were lying in a pile on the ground. (Riggers are the metal triangle things that stick out of the side of a rowing boat and hold the oars…woowee lots of lingo today.) I asked a few of the eighth graders who were helping to put them up on a shelf. As they did this, they noticed that the shelf above where they wanted to place the riggers was in the way. I told them to grab a drill and take it down. They looked at me with surprise, said, “Really?!” and scampered into the garage.
The next thing I knew saws were revving, drills were spinning, and the boys were happily dismantling the shelf. What ensued wasn’t just taking down a shelf but building a completely new shelf for the team that would accommodate the oddly sized riggers. They designed it and then built it and then installed it. All this was completed under the tutelage of my husband and Ed Buckner, Whitefield’s Building and Grounds Manager, who, I might add, they kept calling, “Sir.” I mean come on. Adorable.
These boys, and all the kids who helped build the racks and clean the building, could have been pretty much anywhere else on a Saturday. They could have had phones in their hands, buds in their ears, and attitudes on their faces, but instead, they chose to create things that would help others and learn skills that they will use the rest of their lives. One of the boys even snagged a ride home with us, helped my husband put all the tools away in the garage and was about to take down my Christmas tree for me when his dad pulled up to take him home.
Whitefield students are like no other students I’ve ever met. They are kind. They are thoughtful. They are hard-working. They strive for excellence. They are special because they know they are special. They know that they are in a school where God’s love for them is visibly overflowing in how their teachers care for them. They can take safe risks and try new things because they know that no matter the outcome, they are supported. They strive for big goals because they have big expectations set before them. I mean, sure, they sometimes use the floor mat pieces as weapons and forget where they left their sweatshirts, but at the end of the day, Whitefield students are one of a kind.
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Thanks for sharing this! I’m excited about the rowing program and I’m so glad they get to work as a team and build memories while they build shelves!
Rachel, thank you so much for sharing this story! I love hearing (and seeing) the tangible examples of virtuous character seen at Whitefield and the emphasis placed on the education and encouragement of these traits from Pre-K on!
Work is a good thing. There is something that ‘quickens’ when ( especially lads) get to be creative in a physical realm. We live into our created nature… of creating! Our cerebrally focused schema of pedagogy has left little room for this area of exploration. The kids need more. ‘Well done good and faithful…parent!’