I pray you are all doing well as our city and state continue to recover from tragedy. With the sunshine, the activity out on the major roadways, and the reopening of businesses, it appears that we are returning to a state of normalcy. At the same time, we know that workers are still busy assessing and repairing roads, people are still calculating their losses, and thousands of Columbia residents remain without clean drinking water.
I’m sure that those of you who are able have been out helping friends and neighbors in need. I wanted to let you know about a specific opportunity for us to participate as a school community.
From 12 – 6:30 PM tomorrow, Friday, October 9, Covenant is scheduled to help man a water distribution site at the old Sam’s Club located at 1401 Sunset Dr. (Not Sunset Blvd. in West Columbia. This is near N. Main St. where Broad River Rd. turns into River Rd. and then Sunset Dr. before turning into N. Beltline. Leave it to us Southerners to the give same road four different names, and multiple roads the same name.)
The United Way, who is organizing the site, would like at least 4 volunteers at all times. Amanda is organizing volunteers from our end, so email her at email@example.com to schedule a shift.
I also wanted to give you an indication about when school might reopen and under what circumstances.
The biggest concern for us, as I mentioned before, is making sure that we have clean water for students while they are here on campus. We are working on getting a large donation of bottled water and hand sanitizer from a fellow Christian school in Charlotte.
If we get enough water, we will plan to open full time on Monday, October 12. We’d ask parents to send students with a full water bottle from home to conserve our supply, but we would be able to provide students with clean water when that runs out.
In the event that we cannot get an adequate water supply, we will still most likely open on Monday, but go to half days with a noon dismissal. That way, students can still receive instruction, but they can also return home at lunch time to make sure they have what they need to stay healthy throughout the day.
We have not yet determined if after school care will be available. Again, that will depend on how confident we are that we can ensure student health while at school.
I will be able to give you more specifics later today or tomorrow. Please continue to check email, the school website, the Facebook page, and WIS TV for more information.
Like many of you I’m sure, I rejoiced in the sunshine that broke through the gloom this morning. The rain had me feeling cooped up, and so I ventured out to check the school and surrounding neighborhood.
I was thankful to see that, while the Father is graciously providing for those who suffered from the floods, He chose to graciously spare our little school from any real damage whatsoever. Mr. Collier mopped up some water that collected in the Art and Language rooms, we have a couple of ceiling tiles to replace, and a little wet carpet. That’s about it.
The roads around the school are passable as well. Covenant Road shrinks to a single lane at one point, but the school is easily accessible from the Beltline side. Even families from the Garner’s Ferry area can find safe routes around the trouble spots. If there weren’t other considerations involved, we could really open tomorrow for business as usual. Praise the Lord for that grace.
There are other considerations to take into account, though. First, just because I found a safe route to school from Elgin, that doesn’t mean everyone will find a safe route from their home. Second, even if many families could get to school, there are still several that are without power and water, and getting life back in order is still a primary priority. And even if all that were worked out, the city water supply is still compromised, so we would not be able to fully protect the health of students with clean drinking water.
For those reasons, we will most likely follow the same course of action taken by USC and Richland School Districts One and Two, remaining closed for the rest of the week. Please continue to check the school Facebook page, the website, and email for updates.
In the meantime, if you are in a position to help others, this is an excellent time to teach our children how to share the love of Jesus with people in a time of need.
Along those lines, I mentioned in yesterday’s communication that some of our Covenant families suffered damage from the flood. As the week goes on, more details will surface about specific needs, but one I’d like to share with you now is the Berry family. Beverly Berry started as a part-time teacher for us this year providing intervention for our struggling math learners and teaching our 7th and 8th grade Latin classes. I got word Sunday that the flood waters had swamped Beverly’s home, and received confirmation yesterday that they have suffered a total loss. Thankfully, they have a rental home that they can move into for shelter, but all of their family belongings are gone.
To help the Berry’s, we’ve set up a GoFundMe account through which they can receive gifts to help with expenses. If you’d like to contribute, you can do so here:
I’m sure other needs will arise in the next few days and weeks. So we will do what we can to keep you all informed about ways to help one another in deed as well as in prayer.
Finally, if you’d like to keep your children up to date on school, many of the teachers have lesson plans posted on RenWeb.
Our hearts go out to all those affected by the flooding in our state, and especially to those within our school family. I have already heard reports from families who have suffered loss of property, some to a catastrophic degree. Let’s hold one another, our friends and neighbors, and especially the men and women of various emergency response units in prayer as our city and state recover from the devastating rains.
Given the images and reports on the news, resuming school is obviously lower on the priority list right now than simply staying safe and recovering from damage. The school itself, as I’m told, has suffered minimal damage comparative to other churches, schools, businesses, and homes in the area. But roadways around the school and throughout the city are littered with debris and compromised by the foundational damage done by the flood waters.
In light of the situation, we will consider Covenant closed for as long as the city and county remain under a State of Emergency order. Please keep informed through the school website, emails, Facebook page, and WIS TV as you are able.
May the Lord hold you and keep you and be your strong tower.
I mentioned in an earlier edition of “the News” that I’ve been at Covenant long enough now to see students I’ve taught graduate from college and move into adult life. This week I wanted to highlight another of those recent college grads, Miss Rebekah Bowen, or as she was known when she served as president of the student body, Queen Rebekah I.
Her Majesty left Covenant as the valedictorian of her senior class to study Literature and Bible at Erskine University. While there, she earned numerous writing awards and accolades from professors. And just a couple of weeks ago graduated from Erskine with a double major, awarded honors from both the English Department and the Theology Department, earned summa cum laude status, and — you guessed it — delivered another valedictorian speech before her graduating class.
Despite her regal Student Council moniker, Miss Bowen is one of the humblest and soft-spoken young ladies you’ll ever meet, so she doesn’t like to take credit for accomplishments. When I congratulated her, in addition to praising her parents (who absolutely deserve it), she was quick to remind me that Covenant influenced and helped shape her character from the beginning. She started here in pre-kindergarten and remained at Covenant all the way to graduation.
But despite her humility, Rebekah’s accomplishments are all her own. Given the sort of character that the Lord has built into her, as she continues to come into her own, her impact on the world will be enormous, whether she pursues big ambitions or not. Every person that ever meets her will be better for it.
Those of us who taught Rebekah were blessed by the opportunity, and Covenant is proud to list her among our alumni.
We are currently switching over our website. Hopefully things will be up and running at full capacity in the next couple of days. All forms can be found under the ‘About Us’ tab or by clicking HERE.