When I was in Grade One, I was the oldest of three boys in my family. I had two younger brothers, and my mom was pregnant, so I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new baby sibling. I remember very specifically hoping that my new sibling would be a girl (I already had brothers…a sister seemed like an exciting new adventure). I did not talk too much about this at school and hadn’t really shared with anyone that I hoped my mom would have a girl. The baby was due in early November, so when we were suddenly whisked away to my uncle and aunt’s house on October 8 because my mom was going to have the baby early, it was a bit of a shock. I remember feeling somewhat nervous and uncertain, and in the midst of that, finding my Grade One classroom to be a very safe space for me. The main reason my classroom was a safe space was because my Grade One teacher, Mrs. Patti Thomas (yes, Cloverdale Campus principal Patti Thomas) made it safe. One of my enduring memories of Grade One is confiding in Mrs. Thomas that, secretly, I was really wishing my mom would have a baby girl. Mrs. Thomas was a safe person for me, and an important part of my life as a six-year-old! I knew innately that Mrs. Thomas cared for me and was on my side.
Mrs. Thomas was a safe person for me, and an important part of my life as a six-year-old
One of the things I have come to realize since that time is the importance of people that God places in our lives who help us along on our journey. Mrs. Thomas was one of those people for me when I was in Grade One, and she has again become one of those people for me now that we are both employed at Surrey Christian School! I spent some time this past Thanksgiving weekend thinking about and being thankful for the large number of people who have travelled with me and helped me out throughout my lifetime; some who were a part of my life for a short period of time, and others who have been a part of my life since the beginning. God has placed a myriad of people in my life who have cheered me on, celebrated with me when things have gone well, carried me when things have been difficult, spoken truth to me when I needed to hear it, and loved me through it all. One of the things I am most thankful for is that God uses people and communities to help us travel through life, and that we do not have to do it alone. I am also thankful that for many students, staff, and parents, Surrey Christian School is a place where we encounter people that fit into this category. Thinking about my own journey as SCS, I can identify very clearly families and colleagues who helped me and supported me in my personal and professional journey, and for all those people, and for our greater SCS community, I give thanks. As we head into the second half of fall, and then into the winter, I encourage you to think about the people that God has placed in your life who have helped you along the way, and to give thanks for them as well.
On October 9, 1987, my little sister Elise was born. She is one of the funniest people I know, and she and her husband Brandon, and their daughter Lorelai, are all very important to people to myself and my wife, Heather, and our kids.
Danny Nagtegaal, Principal Secondary Campus