To Glorify God and to Enjoy Him Forever
By Principal David T. Miller
The famous missionary and Olympic gold medalist, Eric Liddell, famously said, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Liddell had discovered one of life’s truths: when we pursue the giftings and talents that God gave us, we experience the joy of the Lord. Since Covenant’s founding, the motto of the school has been “To Glorify God and to Enjoy Him Forever.” This motto permeates everything we do at Covenant High School. Just as Liddell felt God’s pleasure when he ran, we desire to feel God’s pleasure when we teach lessons, take field trips, hold a club meeting, or put on a school social.
The members of our faculty view teaching as their calling, and when I observe them teach, I often think of our school motto as I can see it coming to life. The faculty at Covenant are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their subjects, and they are equally excited about each student in their classroom. These men and women desire to shepherd the hearts of each student to grow in their faith through building strong relationships with each student. At the same time, they also love to challenge our students and foster deep thinking and reflection while developing our students’ skills and abilities. This faculty culture creates a place where students flourish.
With a strong faculty culture, we collaborate as a team by intentionally defining the characteristics and virtues we desire in our graduates. Here are some of the characteristics that our faculty desire to see in our graduates:
To be confident and winsome communicators: At Covenant, we require our students to take four years of speech and rhetoric. We believe speaking to be a skill that must be practiced just as an athlete must practice their sport. Each year, the speeches become progressively more challenging and complex. Like an athlete has a final championship game or meet, students in their senior year are asked to propose a thesis on a controversial topic of their choosing and argue this thesis to the faculty and their classmates. As they argue this thesis, their faith must be central to their thinking and articulation. Speaking extends beyond the speech class: our faculty in all subjects require speeches in their classes and foster Socratic discussion among the students. Our student-led clubs and co-curriculars create other opportunities for students to inspire classmates through speaking.
To seek truth through careful investigation: There is a plethora of messages and views expounded as truth in the world today. Our faculty aspire for our graduates to be prepared to sift through information and discover truth. We train our students to read carefully, think logically, and ask difficult questions. Our science curriculum emphasizes training in scientific method through project-based learning and hands-on processes. Students are asked to extract DNA, sketch drafts of potential designs, collect samples of various specimens, and perform careful recordkeeping and analysis. Our math curriculum emphasizes not only the proper steps of problem-solving but the reasons and logic behind the steps. In Interface Design and Technology, students learn the logic of coding, while having discussions regarding ethical consideration of coding. Throughout all classes, our faculty teach careful reading and logical thinking. You will frequently hear a faculty member ask, “Is this Christian?” and “What does the Bible say about this topic?” All of this equips graduates to identify arguments quickly and not be easily persuaded to the latest fad or in-vogue thinking.
To appreciate their Christian heritage: At Covenant, we want students that think logically and identify arguments, but we equally desire graduates that feel passionate about their faith and enthusiastically make faith part of their daily habits and practices. We believe one way to achieve this is to identify the heroes of the faith. Our faculty enthusiastically tell stories that spotlight Christian heroes in history that demonstrated commitment and perseverance in their faith. This culminates in our biannual UK and France Historical Tour that brings students to historic Christian sites, where students sing hymns on the very ground of where martyrs died for their faith. This outstanding trip fosters an imaginative faith in the students as they picture history, while standing in these historic Christian sites.
To cultivate a love of artistic beauty: Given God is our creator, we believe creativity and a love of aesthetics are essential to a healthy Christian outlook. We also believe that appreciating beauty must be taught as a skill to the students. All students at Covenant are required to take an art appreciation and music appreciation course in their freshmen year, where they are exposed to a wide variety of styles. After freshmen year, students delve deeper into either choir or a visual art through elective choices that are prioritized in the schedule. We celebrate the work of our musicians and artists by putting on a festive semester choir and art show. Students are given a fine arts half day the previous week to put the finishing touches on art projects and do a complete rehearsal of their choir performance. By emphasizing fine arts in our scheduling, the students can see how much we value the fine arts in our school.
To live and enjoy Christian community: Covenant is a tight-knit community where everyone belongs and matters. Our student council designs inclusive socials and encourages all students to participate, while our ambassador group regularly reaches out to students through “day makers” to make all students feel welcome. Students occasionally come to the school to be greeted by a table of donuts and juice at the entrance of the building. The intimate class size encourages the opportunity for students to build deep friendships through discussion and collaborative projects. Covenant has an extended Thursday lunch period built in to the schedule that alternates between student-led clubs and a house system. The student-led clubs give the students a variety of options such as political discussion club, chess, or rock painting. The house system divides students into ten different houses divided by boys and girls and named after Christian heroes with each house having a corresponding brother and sister house. These houses compete against each other to build fellowship and comradery across grade levels. In addition to these opportunities, students have a variety of after school and weekend clubs they can join. This includes a hiking club, photography club, WIAA speech and debate team, and a boys and girls discipleship group.
Covenant High School is a unique place where students are challenged academically and spiritually by a nurturing faculty. We consider the virtues and characteristics we desire to see in our graduates as we seek to shepherd our students. Our desire is that our graduates are students that are intellectually equipped and that their heart’s desire is “to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”