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2018-19 Convocation Night: Headmaster's Address

Good Evening Everyone! We’re glad you’re here with us tonight. We fully recognize there are several options to educate a high school student, and you have chosen JRHS. We are confident that you will be challenged and blessed with what is going to take place this year at our school.

Headmaster, Jeff Philbrick

Tonight is one book-end of a school year – Convocation – a gathering of like-minded people who are answering a summons. The other book-end is of course Graduation – the sending out of those that were convoked. I want to suggest therefore, that JRHS is all about we, the likeminded people, answering the summons, not from the school, but from God above – to raise, train, and educate a group of young people to be educated, skillful, worthy vessels – embodiments really – of Jesus Christ. Convocation we gather in; Graduation, we send out. August 26 to June 15 are therefore the most important 10 months ever. I welcome us all to the task ahead, and may God guide and bless every step of the way.

Let’s see who is here tonight. When I call your category, please stand, and let’s celebrate a bit:

· Parents

· Grandparents

· Teachers and project leaders

· Board members

· Staff/Administrators

· Alumni

· New, Soph, Juniors

· Seniors, the class of 2019!

· Future Students, ages birth to 8th grade!

· Mission Aligned – this should be everyone!

Students, this year we are going to Climb Some Mountains, a great metaphor for life, particularly life at JRHS. When I think of a mountain, these words or descriptions come to mind:



Rough, Smooth Terrain

Ups, Downs



Goal – an end

The Goal will cost you something, maybe you won’t want to pay it

Risk, Danger, Decision Making

But in the end, the TEAM, has to make it to the summit

So, we are going to climb some mountains:

Think of this year’s Humanities Faire. Some are going to step out in Leadership – what an opportunity. Creativity and Collaboration will win the day. The Colonial era will come alive this year!

Another mountain is Math, glorious math! You all have the opportunity for new frontiers of Excellence in the classroom. Your teachers will lead you into the realm of the concrete and the abstract.

It will be a great year of Chapel and Koinonia and Devotions. We will pray as a community - Intercession, thanksgiving, supplication. We will see what God will do. A handful of you will lead us all in worship – wow what a responsibility! We will all grow as disciples of Jesus.

In the spring, we will again host an awesome Mission Trip, where we will be the hands and feet of Jesus to an underprivileged population! – a privilege! You will grow in wisdom, knowledge and understanding as an outcome of the experience.

Some of you are going to chart new trail for us this year, as pilot students with our new relationship with North Star Academy. As you take foreign languages with NSA, and you will grow in the knowledge of someone else’s language. You will appreciate them, their culture, and what God is doing there.

Creativity is an annual strength at JRHS - Painting, Marketing, Yearbook, Glass, Leather and more. You will learn that God is the Grand Creator, and we have been given the gift of creation. What will you create? How will it recognize and honor his gift to you?

Another mountain to climb for you is the Humanities, primarily History and Literature. You will come across other walkers on the trail, such as Winston Churchill, Brother Andrew, Emperor Charlemagne, Statesman Machiavelli, Martin Luther and countless other heroes and villains. Were they good leaders? How so, and how do you know? You will develop and tune your Biblical World View.

Athletics is part of the mountain climb for some of you. Basketball or soccer or lacrosse. You will learn to push, push harder – to achieve, to never surrender. You will learn fight on, all the way to the end, and to Honor and appreciate your opponent. You will grow in Godly character.

For others, it will be Debate and Drama and Music that will fill parts of your journey this year. Your gift of speech or voice will have its day. What will you do with this gift you have?

Everyone takes the trail called “Science class” – Anatomy, Physics or Biology. You will learn God is patterned, yet infinite. Obvious, yet subtle. You will grow in knowledge, and worlds of new knowledge and experience awaits you.

You see, what we are going to give to you is a rich, broad, liberal arts education. You will be offered a full studies journey, which will take quite the investment for you to accomplish.

At this opening event of the year, I will take the time to remind us all, that we are after the:

Development of your mind

Development of your heart

Development of your skills

Let me tell you about two very famous men, from 1930’s Germany.

· One was born into a not very functional family near Munich.

· He proved himself to be quite intelligent and capable in the elementary schools.

· He dreamed of being an artists, and studied the Renaissance and Impressionistic masters

· Sadly, he did not have a good relationship with his father, and their relationship was characterized by hostilities and fighting.

· His parents made no effort to expose their children to God, Christ or the Church. They would deem themselves true liberals.

· The young man did not pursue education after what we would call high school, but rather began to invest in political movements of the era to shape his thoughts and investments.

· He tried to become an artist, but was rejected from art schools, because he had not put enough time into maturing his skills

· At the end of his rope, he found himself at age 20 living in homeless shelters, often provided for by caring Jews.

· His god became a philosophy, called “nationalism” and he began to “Heil” the strength of Germany.

· As he became fixated on a strong Germany, he formed a hatred of Jews and Christians, and blamed them for the current troubles of his country.

· Politics became his pursuit, and beating all the odds, he became a very skilled, very capable, very strong leader for a political movement in his country.

· Incredibly, he actually became the chancellor, or president, of his country in 1933

At the same time, another young man was maturing in Germany

· He came from a wonderful, caring, educated, intentional family

· He was one of 8 children, and they all loved each other much

· They were very active in their German church, and emphasized a service to the less fortunate

· This young man was a tremendous student, very hard working

· He achieved the equivalent two doctoral degrees by the age of 25, a feat in any era

· He travelled far and wide to broaden his worldview including to America, where he worked with the poor of NYC, and came to see the racial segregation in our country as a real problem

· His heart was to be both a pastor and theologian, and like very few before or after him, he accomplished both. He was a fantastic preacher, and a prolific writer of advanced theology

· He too moved into politics, all with the goal of preserving the gospel and the church, which was being overrun by the nationalist movement

· You see, students, these two men were both very well educated, very skilled men. They were exceptional leaders, it is all just a matter of purpose and direction.

· The first, Adolf Hitler, has a legacy known the world over.

· The second, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, did what he could to stop Hitler.

· On April 9, 1945, Adolf Hitler personally ordered the execution of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as a very dangerous man to the Nazi Regime.

Students, to be educated, is not good enough. To be educated liberally is not good enough. To be skilled is not good enough. To be passionate is not good enough. Yet, doesn’t the world teach that to be liberally educated, skilled and passionate is the goal of schooling?

I’m here to propose that, it is all about purpose and direction. All education is in a direction. All education is persuasion. All education has the Potential to make you into something. All education is moral – the passing on of beliefs and value systems from one generation to the next.

We want to be very clear of the Direction and Purpose of education at JRHS. This is really the most important part of the evening. If we all get this right – faculty, students, parents, all – we will have a blessed year. What I am talking about, is of course, the mission:

Jesse Remington High School is a Christian Community of Students and Faculty, pursuing Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding, and is committed to raising this generation of youth to be effective leaders for Jesus Christ.

You will see that I have brought along a little prop here, a very important tool in the building trades – a plumb line, or plumb bob. It is a very ancient builder’s tool; in fact we know it factored prominently in the building of the pyramids in Egypt. It is a standard of accuracy and precision. Look about the walls of this beautiful church we are in. Without a doubt, our Colonial fathers who put this gigantic timber frame together used a plumb line just like this one. See, if it is used correctly, it can never be wrong, because it ties to an immovable law of God, called gravity. The object of the builder was to bring all of his work to the grand standard of gravity. If he would bring the wall to “plumb”, then it was perfect; everything else was substandard.

Plumb line: A very ancient builder's tool

Tonight we start the 2018-2019 school year, and I want to call us all the immovable, immutable, eternal standard of God as found in Scripture and His revelation. We can rest assured, in freedom actually, that the journey ahead of us is all marked out; we do not need to invent a trail, we just need to find the cairns along the way. We will come to the standard, not entertain changing it. We are Dietrich, not Adolph.

Students – people have been investing in this night for many years. There is a legacy of people ahead of you that are cheering you on to greatness. Now, tonight, students, these people hand you the pen, the pen called “2018-2019”. And they are expecting you to write the story of our mission, into the annals of history, into human hearts, for future generations to know. Starting tonight, classes of 2019, 20, 21, 22 – you are now responsible to be, and to give, and to serve the mission of JRHS. You are a chosen group – it is no mistake you are here. God has called each of you from your corner of the earth, appointed, and empowered you to carry on the JRHS Legacy.

JRHS is Community, Excellence, Leadership – raising up a generation, so that they can be sent out. May the Lord Bless our efforts this year, as we seek His perfect will for us.

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