2020.04.01 ─ School Is Back In Session!
This new virtual version of Veritas looks nothing like what was envisioned when the school was founded 16 years ago this evening. And yet the aggressive ambition and innovative initiative behind Virtual Veritas reflects the same spirit that’s been present since that first night when months of prayer, research, and cautious consideration became intrepid commitment. Into a completely uncertain future, we plunged with hopeful optimism and all the faith we could muster. And all these years later, our now three hundred co-founding families face a similar prospect as those first three* founding families. Undaunted by circumstances, let’s press forward.
Over the weekend the school’s senior administrators and Family Ministries leaders began─and are still in the process of─reaching out to all 300+ families in the school to check on the well being of everyone, to inquire about their experiences with the launch of Virtual Veritas, and to understand how we, as a school and as individuals, could be of help to anyone. Truly, we’ve heard some heart-rending stories, but even in those we were blown away by the admirable responses to adversity and loss that we heard. Those attitudes, coupled with the outpouring of genuine offers to help us and the hurting in our community, left those of us making the calls extremely encouraged and filled with a renewed sense of gratitude and energy at the confirmation that we, indeed, serve an amazing group of people. What a privilege you’ve given us. We want our efforts to meaningfully bless you and make you proud of our community.
Apart from some minor technical glitches late last week and Monday morning, the launch of this program seems to have gone exceedingly well. It was so good to reconnect with the students, the vast majority of them seemingly prepared to make the most of this experience. That kind of attitude will serve them well and ensure that they continue to grow and learn, perhaps in many ways that wouldn’t have been possible had everything just resumed as normal following spring break. Others will coast, and they will be the lesser for squandering an opportunity. But even those types of decisions present life lessons, either now (hopefully) or in the future when the pain of regret is more sharp.
Should you encounter difficulties with making Virtual Veritas work in your home, please speak up sooner than later so that we can quickly address concerns and fix problems. (Please start by completing the survey in today’s School Memo.) This is important, because as Gov. Abbott decreed yesterday, school campuses will remain closed at least until May 4th. We all know that there is a significant chance, perhaps a likelihood, that this order may be extended again, so we need to ensure that our online program works effectively for each family.
First up… Easter. We are not going to conduct classes on Good Friday. Instead, we’ll be sharing ideas of what families can do together that day to recognize and honor our Lord’s sacrifice for us. The Monday after Easter will be a school day, however, as it is a designated make-up day for missed school due to our beloved snow days. Before moving on from Easter, I’d like to share this request: at a time when so many need the hope of the gospel, please consider reaching out to neighbors and friends next week to invite them to “attend” your church’s online services. It’s never been easier for a skeptic or seeker to attend church, hear Truth, and be comforted by that message than it is now. This could be a powerful Easter Sunday if more people than ever “show up” from their homes to hear what God has to say to them.
Back to school events now… By continuing the instruction and education of our students, we are expecting to complete the spring semester according to plan on May 20th. Hopefully by then we are back together for the last few weeks of school, but if not, we will roll with the punches and endeavor to preserve at least these big gatherings: graduation, prom, year-end cookout. Plan A is to conduct them on campus (except prom?) and as close to their scheduled dates as possible. Plan B will be to push them back into late May or June and possibly combine them.
For example, if the year-end assembly/cookout cannot happen on the scheduled last day of school, then it’s likely that we will attempt to combine it with graduation on Fri, May 22, or as soon after that as we are allowed to gather together again. Envision fellowshipping with one another─long lost friends!─in a festive feast, capped by our community all coming together to honor, applaud, and rally behind our seniors (who are missing out on their final months together as classmates) as they receive their diplomas in an historic graduation ceremony, the first ever held on the Veritas campus. Believe with me. Then let’s make it happen for them.
The Senior Thesis, scheduled for the last week or so of April, has already been modified to occur online. Details will be shared with the community a little later.
The big fundraising events scheduled for April (Defender Dash and Back To Veritas) are still being evaluated, with committees continuing to meet and explore options; however, given this time of so much uncertainty and struggle for so many of our families and supporters, we will not be attempting to raise money for the general operations of the school. Instead, we are thinking that any ask we make to the community be for the benefit of those in our community most impacted by the fallout of this virus and its impact on our economy.
Bridge Fund Idea
To that end, our Finance Committee is working on the creation of some kind of Bridge Fund within our Tuition Assistance (TA) program that would be used to help our community avoid losing families because of the financial hardship that has suddenly befallen them. With the TA application deadline having already passed and award amounts already recommended to the Finance Committee that exceed the budgeted amount for returning families, we are exploring options for funding this Bridge Fund. Should your family be in a position to help other families remain at Veritas, would you please reach out to our Advancement Director Katie Luevano to let her know of your interest? We will keep you apprised as we determine the best means of administering this program, assessing financial need, and awarding tuition assistance that has suddenly become necessary in order for some families to continue educating their children at Veritas. Thank you for the willingness to at least consider this. And know that the school is also seeking to obtain government assistance that is being made available. At the moment, that is the biggest priority for me and other members of the Finance Committee.
Homework From The HOS
SR & SL students, it’s time to switch it up for the next week. SL, you’ll now learn how to do the laundry for your family. And SR students, it’s time to start Iron Cheffing, British Bake Offing, or Nightmare Kitchening in your homes. At least two fine meals, Mom approved and hopefully to include the ingredient shopping for at least one of those meals via ordering online or boldly venturing into HEB (where you might even run into Mrs. Fowler and me on our new date night routine...that is if I don’t win and elect Home Depot instead).
Grammar School students, as we approach the Easter season, I ask that you pick and arrange one or more flower bouquets for your mom and home. If shopping is required, then please pick individual flowers and arrange them yourself at home. Show Mom some creativity.
Lastly, parents, here’s your assignment: dig out your family scrapbooks, ideally those that predate your kids (you might as well be cleaning out your closets and storage spaces now, right? I mean if not now when the world has stopped, then when?), and share the stories behind those photos with your kids. Yearbooks that showed you at their ages are also good!
Well folks, that’s it for tonight. Onward and upward!
* The Petersons, Veritas’s fourth founding family, joined the Nolleys, McCrackens, and Fowlers in the month following that first April Fools’ night, as they were in Russia at the time adopting Alek, now a Junior at Veritas!