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Students at Delaware County Christian School: a co-ed, independent, interdenominational college prep Christian school near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Inside the Christian School is a series of reflections on aspects of Christian school education. Head of School, Steve Dill and members of the Delaware County Christian School (DC) Community contribute posts to the blog. Readers are encouraged to email authors of the posts with feedback. The content of the writing often uses DC as the example, but hopefully these thoughts also apply to Christian schools throughout the world. God has used Christian schools to shape thousands of believers in the past, and we believe He will continue to use these schools to make significant “kingdom impact” for years to come. 

I’m Thankful for Today

Below is the Thansgiving Testimony shared by Delaware County Christian School Teacher and Alumnus ('99), Mark Dixon, as part of our All School Thanksgiving Chapel.

I have a black walnut tree right outside my backdoor.

Just before the Fall season begins each year, this tree sporadically drops large, green walnuts . . . in the yard, on the driveway, and even in the gutters.

These walnuts are impervious to conventional yard tools like rakes and leaf blowers.

Thus, on most Saturday mornings in September and October, my neighbors have the pleasure of watching me meander around my own backyard, wearing my son’s T-ball helmet for protection, picking up walnuts one-by-one and dropping them into a kiddie pail, normally used to construct sandcastles.

As you might imagine, these humbling mornings have afforded me plenty of time to think. This year, as I knelt in introspection on my three-hundred-and-sixteenth walnut, I stopped for a moment and surveyed several of the other trees in the neighborhood.

To my chagrin, the majority of the trees in my line of vision still possessed all of their midsummer green leaves, as their owners sat comfortably at their kitchen tables sipping coffee, reading the morning paper, not wearing a T-ball helmet. My tree, on the other hand, had already shed the majority of its walnuts and leaves.

A few days later, my walnut tree was completely bare. The time for it to bear fruit and shed its leaves came early. It’s been ready for winter for a few weeks now.


There’s another tree that I encounter on a regular basis which has consumed many of my thoughts in recent weeks. It is situated here on campus, right outside of the art building. At the foot of the tree there is a plaque which reads:

In Memory of Rick Rossi
friend, teammate, brother

Twelve years ago, Rick and I graduated from DC together. We were basketball teammates and good friends. As a sophomore, Rick fought through a year-long battle with Leukemia, which kept him bedridden most of that year. However, he returned to school to repeat his sophomore year and was cancer-free throughout the rest of high school.

Our group of buddies spent countless hours on weekends together, doing what high school students do: hanging at friends’ houses, watching sports, or eating huge meals at Denny’s at 10 o’clock at night. Rick was a soft-spoken and notably humble guy, uncommonly mature for a teenager.

By May of our senior year, Rick was already looking forward to beginning his college career at Temple University in the Fall.

I can vividly remember our senior trip to Virginia Beach with our graduating class. All of our academic requirements fulfilled, we were free to enjoy ourselves until Graduation Day.

During a day-long trip to Busch Gardens, an amusement park in Virginia, Rick asked if we could “wait up” for a few minutes between roller coaster rides. “My back is killing me”, he said, as he sat down on a nearby bench.

Later that night, a group of us were walking down Main Street, looking for a place to grab dinner, and again Rick stopped, doubled over in pain, and said he thought he needed to head back to the hotel to lay down.

A few weeks after graduation, a trip to the doctor revealed the unthinkable: Rick’s cancer had returned.

I can remember the surreal ride through West Philadelphia with that same group of buddies, going to visit Rick at Children’s Hospital. None of us knew what to say or how to act. What would we say to Rick? What would we say to his folks? Why would God do this? Why now?

I don’t recall many details about those visits to Rick’s hospital room; we were all pretty numb. But I cannot forget Rick’s smile and the inexorable peace that permeated that room for weeks. His doctors were confounded by Rick’s joy; to them, the timing of this recent onset represented the pinnacle of tragedy.

For months after Rick’s death, I asked the Lord “Why Rick? Why not me or one of the other guys?” As a parent now myself, I am keenly aware of the prayers that the Rossis prayed for their little boy as he lie in bed each night.

How could they have foreseen or prepared themselves for the path that awaited their family?

They couldn’t. And I can’t. . . And even when we are confident that our loved ones will spend eternity with Christ, the pain we experience in their absence is palpable.

Nonetheless, Christ calls us to trust him, and not to worry; He tells us that tomorrow will worry about itself.

So what am I thankful for? I’m thankful for today. I’m thankful for today. I’m thankful for flat tires and recessions; I’m thankful for dirty diapers and sleepless nights;

and I’m thankful that although, right now, we see in a mirror dimly, and cannot help but consider God’s ways mere anarchy, soon we will see Him face to face, soon we will understand.

Underneath Rick’s name on the plaque at the foot of the tree, Psalm 1:3 is inscribed:

“And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of living water which yields its fruit in season.”

I am thankful for DC, a community which, year after year, leads students to streams of living water. Rick and I are two of thousands of DC alums rooted in Christ, prepared for the exact course God ordained for us before the foundation of the world.

Like the tree in my backyard, none of us knows when we will shed our last leaf.

All the more, may I, may we, yield fruit in season.

Today is that season . . . and I am thankful for today.

Mark Dixon
DC Alumnus, Class of 1999
High School English Teacher

Posted by dc-connect in Students, Learning, Christian Perspective on Thursday November 24, 2011 at 06:59AM
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Blessings of Belonging to a Christian School Community

This is a wonderful time of year with the colorful mural created by the changing leaves and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday with family. This Thanksgiving, however, will be different for our family. Life's brush with trials and tribulations tends to focus one's lens from the blur of traditions and commotion associated with holidays to what is really important, invaluable, or priceless.

This year, we have a keen awareness of those who are a cherished part of our lives merely because we choose to have our children educated at a Christian School. This year, there is humble gratitude for friendships developed over the years during parent volunteer and service opportunities, field trips, school plays, play dates, parent-teacher conferences, intramural and extramural sports, birthday parties and, most importantly, various prayers groups at our school.

To preface, we have a renewed appreciation for these school bonds because our oldest child, diagnosed with scoliosis, required thoracic spinal fusion surgery. Being parents of a healthy 13 year old son, aspiring athlete with virtually no pain or discomfort associated with his scoliosis, it was a difficult decision to put him through such a major procedure that would cause him considerable pain, disrupt his middle school life, and temporarily remove him from the sport and team he loved. We prayed and sought prayer over this situation before, during, and after our son's surgery. What humbled us the most was the extent of the outpouring of support in deed and prayer from the Christian school families. The depth of concern, love, and sincere support received from the DC community was literally the physical manifestation of God's love and tangible embrace. He was using the very vessels that we had come to know over the last nine years at DC to remind us of how much He loved our children and how intimately involved He was in the details of this procedure and recovery process. Our Heavenly Father not only saw our son through this procedure, he excelled in his recovery above every expectation from the medical team. As a matter of fact, he was strong enough to attend Grandparents Day at school with his memah just a short two weeks after surgery. Today, less than two months post spinal fusion, our son is back to school full time!

Therefore, this Thanksgiving, we are thankful to God for the extended family in Christ we found at DC and the answer to prayers and intercessions. We are thankful for our school administrators, faculty, families, coaches, and teammates gathering for prayer and fellowship with us before surgery. We are thankful for every school family who included our son in their daily prayer at home. We are thankful for parents, teachers, and students pausing to pray for him at Back-to-School Night (the night of surgery). We are thankful for school faculty, families, teammates, and his coach coming to Delaware to visit him in the hospital and lifting his spirit. We are grateful that on the first day back home, he received two huge envelopes in the mail full of homemade cards from his entire class. We are humbled by his teachers supporting and helping him with work at home and in school so he can be in stride with his class. We are grateful for school families visiting and preparing meals for us as he healed at home. We are grateful for the huge banner hand designed and signed by his schoolmates which he received a few days before his return to school. Lastly, this Thanksgiving, we thank our Lord for the community and fellowship found at Delaware County Christian School; a place where we are blessed to know that we are not alone in lifting our children up in prayer and training them in knowledge and biblical truth to one day impact the world and not be consumed by it!

"…Give thanks to God. Call out his name. Ask him anything! Shout to the nations, tell them what he's done, spread the news of his great reputation!” –Isaiah 12:3-4

Denita Newsome Johns,
DC Parent

Posted by dc-connect in Faculty/Staff, Parenting, Students, Christian Perspective on Thursday November 17, 2011 at 08:58AM
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Today’s post ends a series of entries about DC's core values. Content for the blog is derived from both a middle and high school chapel led by Head of School, Steve Dill. The essential question asked by Dill was, "What Shapes DC?" His answer was DC's core values - those essential beliefs that shape what we do. During chapel, Dr. Dill and student chapel participants further developed the meaning of each core value.

Teambuilding - Healthy relationships built on trust create effective teams.

Romans 12: 4-6a, Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.

“It is obvious that teams outperform individuals”, “learning not only occurs in teams but endures”, Teams “bring together complementary skills and experiences that, by definition, exceed those of any individual on the team. . . bringing multiple capabilities to bear on difficult issues” The Wisdom of Teams

"Teambuilding is keeping good and healthy relationships with others. It makes the team stronger when you encourage people when they are down and prevents conflict. A benefit about teambuilding is developing leadership skills. A good part about teambuilding is keeping good friendships and encouraging them to do everything to the glory and honor of God."
~Olivia (7th Grader at DC)

Ian (12th grader at DC) emphasized that team building is best accomplished when team leaders are servant leaders and when team members can each lead the team in their areas of strength.

Ephesians 4:16: From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Posted by dc-connect in Unique Design, Students, Learning, Christian Perspective on Thursday November 10, 2011 at 11:28AM
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Parents as Partners

Inside the Christian School continues to take a look at DC's core values. Content for the blog is derived from both a middle and high school chapel led by Head of School, Steve Dill. The essential question asked by Dill was, "What Shapes DC?" His answer was DC's core values - those essential beliefs that shape what we do. During chapel, Dr. Dill and student chapel participants further developed the meaning of each core value.

Parents as Partners - Faculty and staff support parents in the training and instruction of their children.

Ephesians 6:4, Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

"The core value Parents as Partners means parents that work with the school toward the same goal and are aware of the things that are happening. It’s also parents who work with their kids and encourage them to do things that they might not really want to do. At DC this looks like parents going to meetings and involved in decision making. It’s parents helping around campus and parents who encourage their kids to do their best in school and to encourage them to do everything for God’s glory."
~Aaron (10th Grader at DC)

“Matthew 20:28 says, The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. This verse, along with Ephesians 6:4, explain why parents should partner with the school. The Bible tells us we should all serve, just like Jesus did. Jesus is our role model. Not only did He serve the sick and the poor but He died on the cross to save us from sin. Our parents serve DC not only to be more like Jesus, but to model servanthood to us. When I see my mom and dad serve, it inspires me to do so too.”
~Caroline (6th Grader at DC)

The school is not a substitute for parenting, rather, faculty and staff support parents in the training and instruction of their children. These partners highly value one another.

Posted by dc-connect in Faculty/Staff, Parenting, Students, Christian Perspective on Thursday November 3, 2011 at 09:30AM
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