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Joy Pruden

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The Power of a Passport and a Completed School Year


Have you ever considered the power of a passport?  Until recently, I had not.  One way to measure the power of a passport is how many countries the bearer can enter without needing a visa.  I assumed a passport was a necessary travel document but had never considered that one passport had different powers from another.  Recently I learned that not all passports are alike.  Every year the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), a body through which our school is accredited, hosts a conference for school leaders.  Some of you may remember that I was able to attend last year.  This year, I had no plans to attend since I was not filling an administrative role.  RFIS was planning to send our assistant director (our name for a vice principal).  A few weeks before he was supposed to depart, he found that he could not get a visa.  Despite many attempts to obtain the correct documentation, we finally realized he would be unable to attend the conference.  We also discovered it was too late to obtain even a partial refund of the conference fees.  Our leadership team decided to send a substitute representative so the fees would not be wasted.  Even though I do not really enjoy travelling alone, I volunteered to go.  About a week after we received approval to send a substitute delegate, I found myself on a plane to Slovenia.  I was thankful for the power of my passport even as I was very sad for my colleague who was unable to attend because he held a passport from a different country.  After we decided that I would attend the conference, I discovered that one of the presenters was one of the two authors of a book I was using as a resource in one of my classes.  I was very excited and encouraged to hear him speak. The other speaker was sharing on a topic we are finding to be more and more of a challenge at our school, and I am excited and honoured to anticipate presenting during one of our professional development staff meetings early in the next school year.

After I returned from the conference, life became intensely busy.  The end of the school year has so many last things as we all work to transition well.  The week I returned to school we had the Staff Dinner to celebrate our year together and say good bye to staff who were changing roles or leaving for a year in their passport countries on home assignment.  As a class advisor to the eleventh grade, I was very busy helping them prepare to host the banquet to celebrate and say farewell to the graduating seniors.  Next year I will be serving as the Graduation Coordinator, so I was also busy shadowing the person filling the role this year so I would know what to do.  Then there was the final push of last classes, last projects, exams and report cards.  The last week for students is affectionately known as “Crazy Week” because it is so full of final activities.  The week after that is called closing week and only staff come to school.  Closing week is full of reflection on the year just finished and preparation for the upcoming year.  It is one of my favourite parts of the year because we have a chance to spend time together as a staff and truly evaluate the year and begin to prepare for the next one.  Saying good bye this year was especially challenging as I realized I would miss those leaving for home assignment for two years since I will leave for my own home assignment before they return.  Saying goodbye well is a big part of this life.

Rejoice with me for:
The constant knowledge that God was with us in the completion of a very challenging year
Safety and protection during my surprise travels
Healthy farewells
Two new teachers who are planning to join us this year

Request with me for:
Wisdom to balance rest, reflection, and preparation for next year over the break
Wisdom as I anticipate filling two new roles next year: High School Retreat Coordinator and Graduation Coordinator
God’s provision so the new teachers arrive in time for Orientation and the start of the school year

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