Bilbo and Gandalf

I’ve been reading The Hobbit with my kids the past few nights, and because I haven’t read it since I was in 8th grade, it’s as if I’m reading it for the first time. J.R.R. Tolkien is a masterful storyteller, and as I re-read the tale, I’m once again fascinated with the characters, the setting, and the adventure.

The book is about Bilbo, a hobbit, who reluctantly goes on an adventure with twelve dwarves to take back treasure that was stolen from their ancestors and is now guarded by Smaug, a dragon. Bilbo and the dwarves are joined by Gandalf, a wizard, who orchestrated this whole adventure.

If you’re familiar with the book, we’re at the part where Gandalf leaves Bilbo and the dwarves at Mirkwood because he has "some pressing business away south." Up until this point, Gandalf has been right by their side, rescuing them when needed, but now Bilbo (because I haven’t read this in over 20 years I’m only speculating here!) will have to take risks, stretch himself, and assume the leadership role vacated by Gandalf.

As an 8th grader, I’m certain my perspective was vastly different than it is today. Now, I’m reading the story as a dad, an educator, and a person who has at times been adventurous and other times has played it safe— much like Bilbo. From the first few pages of the book, Bilbo is thrust into an adventure and challenged to be a hero by Gandalf when he’d rather play it safe because, as I’ve learned, it’s always easier to play it safe.

But as educators, we’re not called to play it safe.

In fact, much like Gandalf's, it is our responsibility to see in our students what they don’t yet see, and encourage them to reach their potential. It’s our responsibility to inspire excellence, to inspire independence, and to inspire a transforming faith in God. And much like Gandalf, we need to walk beside each student until it’s the right time to step aside and give each one space to take risks, to stretch, and assume leadership roles.

The hero of the story isn’t Gandalf— it’s Bilbo. He just didn’t know it when they started the adventure.

The hero of our story isn’t us— it’s our students. They just may not know it when they started their adventure.

As we think of our mission, it’s quite a responsibility to inspire excellence, independence, and a transforming faith in God, but I believe God has placed each of us here to live out that mission for our students.

I’m not sure what’s in store for Bilbo and the dwarves in Mirkwood, but I can guess it’ll be full of adventure, risk, and I bet Bilbo will do something he didn’t know he was even capable of doing— thanks to Gandalf giving him the opportunity.

  • Chapel was really good this week and very insightful thanks to Jimmy Teigen. It was great learning about Purim and to be reminded that God is always present, even if He isn’t center stage.

  • Lynnette Noble was gone last week attending a great professional development opportunity in Atlanta. Lynnette had the opportunity learn from the AP chief reader for the AP World exam and collaborate with several AP teachers and students. I’m thankful she took the time to attend, and I’m looking forward to seeing her implement and share the things she learned.

  • Tuesday’s 9th grade field trip to Pulaski Tech was a huge success this week. Thank you are in order for Jan Penrod (for arranging the trip) and for our chaperones/bus drivers Chris Morse, Tommy Shoemaker, Brittany Arnold, and Ashley Jamison.

  • Carrie Vick did an outstanding job running our health screenings for the 6th and 8th graders this week. Mrs. Vick’s goal was to minimize disruptions and to keep things moving, and it couldn’t have gone better. Awesome job!

  • Yesterday, the office was treated to an impromptu guitar concert thanks to Travis Kaye’s Intro to Guitar class. The students crushed their first office performance, and their excitement was evident. A big thanks goes to Mr. Kaye for teaching this new class and for encouraging students to take risks and try something new.

Upcoming Events
  • Today— HS Choir Assessment at Sherwood Baptist (3:00-5:30)
  • Monday, March 5— Split Chapel (girls in atrium; boys in auditorium)
  • Wednesday, March 7
    • Faculty Meeting (7:30 AM; library)
    • End of 3rd Grading Period
    • 2:00 PM Early Dismissal (click here for bell schedule)
    • Faculty Intruder Drill Training w/ NLR SWAT (2:30-3:15)— Mandatory for all faculty members (coaches included; please plan accordingly)
  • Thursday, March 8— Junior Class meeting to discuss Boys/Girls State (after intercom chapel)
  • Friday, March 9
    • High School Musical (matinee performance 9:00-11:00; grades 6-8)
    • Chapel in Gym
  • Saturday, March 10— High School Musical (7:00 PM)
  • Sunday, March 11— High School Musical (2:00 PM)
  • Monday, March 12
    • Author Visit
    • High School Musical (7:00 PM)
  • Wednesday, March 14— 7th & 8th Grade Choir Tour (8:00-1:00)
  • Thursday, March 15— Family Chapel
  • Monday, March 19-Friday, March 23— Spring Break
  • Friday, March 30
    • No School (Good Friday)
    • Cyber Day #2

Anything missing? If so, please let me know.

Responsibilities for the Week of March 5-9
Week B
  • Cafeteria AM— A. Jamison
  • Cafeteria PM— A. Almond
  • Parking Lot AM— S. Quattlebaum
  • Parking Lot PM— K. Quattlebaum
  • HS Lunch— C. Morse, A. Almond, & K. Holland
  • MS Lunch— S. Killgore, J. Wilhite, & J. Teigen
  • Chapel— A. Kyle
    • Monday Split Chapel (A. Kyle)
    • Tuesday— A. Kyle
    • Wednesday— Worshipful Wednesday (C. Tappe)
    • Thursday— Intercom Chapel
    • Friday— STUCO (Chapel in gym)
  • Detention— J. Teigen

Remember, it is your responsibility to find a replacement if you are unable to cover your assigned duty. Click to Download PDF of Duty Schedule.

Meeting Schedule
  • Faculty Meeting— Wednesday, March 7 (7:30 AM; Library)
  • Intruder Drill w/ Faculty— Wednesday, March 7 (2:30-3:15)
    • We will meet Wednesday morning and discuss our intruder drill procedures and communicate our plan for practicing it with students.
    • We will run a faculty-only intruder drill Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 and then debrief with a member from the NLR SWAT team. This is a mandatory meeting for all teachers (coaches included; plan accordingly).

Resources Worth Checking Out For Personal and Professional Growth

Book Recommendation

4 Values (in rank order)
  1. Model Christ
  2. Safety & Security
  3. School First
  4. Quality Instruction

Important School Documents & Links

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