By Susan Shinn Turner
You might have noticed over the years that St. John’s has perhaps more than its share of teachers. So much so that Pastor Rhodes is fond of saying, “St. John’s is the place for teachers!”
Kelly Everhart adds, “St. John’s is also the place to be if you want to be a principal.”
He points out that four of the county’s seven high school principals are St. John’s members. Luke Brown is at Salisbury High School, Meredith Williams is at North Rowan High School, Maria Lowder is the executive director is at North Hills Christian School , and Tonya Brinegar-German has recently been tagged as the new principal at East Rowan High School.
“St. John’s has been a real big supporter of the school system, pubic education and educators in Rowan County,” says Kelly, a longtime coach and teacher at North Rowan. “And we absolutely appreciate it.”
The principals concur.
“Each day as I enter my school building, I am reminded of the importance of the connection between our faith life and our daily actions,” Tonya says. “St. John’s helps me to connect the reason why I do the work each day in my school and my daily work. I know I always have my faith family at St. John’s that I can call on when I need assistance in doing my work at East Rowan. Whether it be through collection of supplies, providing helping hands for a campus clean-up, or lifting our schools in prayers, our church has become a vital faith-based partner for our local schools.”
“Personally, St. John’s has been a place where I am challenged to work for God’s kingdom in every aspect of my life, including my work-life,” Meredith says. “From worship to small groups, I find members who support my calling and provide both wisdom and encouragement through the tough patches. I consider the work that teachers, administrators, staff, and coaches carry out in schools to be mission work serving the students in community in a very Christ-like way of teaching, loving, and sometimes even witnessing miracles!”
Meredith continues, “St. John’s Benevolent Foundation has supported North Middle School specifically by funding a day where every student in the school got to visit a college campus. It was a fantastic experience to have a completely empty school and be able to report, at the end of the school day, that North Rowan had gotten every student to college! Recently, a theater program has blossomed at North Middle. The Benevolent Foundation also supported their first production of Aladdin Junior. This show opened the eyes of our community to the talent and passions of our students in ways that aren’t typically witnessed in the classroom. St. John’s love and generosity made all of these enriching activities possible for our students and teachers.”
And Salisbury High School benefited from the St. John’s Serves project on Sept. 9-10.
“It’s so nice to see my church and school communities intertwined and embrace each other,” says Sandra Sullivan, who teaches at Salisbury High. “It just makes my heart full.”
For the past several years, Melissa Rhyne has led Vacation Bible School with a hardworking team of dozens of volunteers.
“I believe the role of a teacher is not only to educate but also to create an environment where God can transform us into the people God wants us to be,” says Melissa, who teaches kindergarten at North Rowan Elementary School. “ St. John’s helped me understand how God wants to use me in my classroom and gives me a purpose. VBS at St. John’s has helped inspire me to be a better teacher. I have always felt great support from St. John’s for helping lead VBS and my job as a teacher.”
The old saying goes, “If you can read this, thank a teacher!” Be sure and thank the many teachers and administrators in our congregation for all they do in serving Rowan County’s students!