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CDS Stories

CDS Stories

Three years ago our family decided to become a host family for international Chinese students coming to live and study in America. My husband and I have talked about hosting a student from another country over the years, so our hearts were open to the idea when New Oasis International Education started a partnership with Calvary Day School. We were one of three families to commit to hosting a Chinese student that first year and we’re so glad we did. Torres Zhang joined our family two years ago and Daniel Lyu joined us last year. This is our third year as host parents and we plan to continue our journey with Torres and Daniel until they graduate from Calvary in 2019.

We are so blessed with the opportunity to host these two fine young men and grateful to Calvary Day School for providing us with this opportunity. Our whole family, including our two sons Jackson and Davis, have benefited from getting to know Torres and Daniel. We have had our perceptions about China and its people changed after living with them and discussing their families, culture and way of life. I have come to appreciate this ancient civilization through the eyes of people who actually live there and can tell us about their country first hand. Hosting them is an enlightening experience, not just for me, but for our sons as well, as they start their future in our ever changing world that becomes more global.

I had the great honor of representing host families and Calvary Day School at the student orientation in Beijing, China this past summer. What a fantastic opportunity to interact with Torres and Daniel in their own country. It was fascinating to meet their parents, make dumplings at Daniel’s house, and experience life for two weeks in one of the biggest cities in the world. I will cherish the memories I made with them and will always appreciate the hospitality that was shown to me by their parents.

Three years ago our family was the typical American family living and working like most of us do. But after adding our two Chinese sons, our lives seem just a little different for the better. I have friends that live half a world away, have added foods like ginger and sesame paste to our pantry, and formed a new appreciation for the people and culture of China. Calvary Day School gave us this opportunity and the impact it has had on our family will last a lifetime.

Becky Wood, Development Coordinator/ Mom of a Senior/ Mom of 2 International Students

We came to Calvary as a broken family. My kids and I moved back home, to Winston-Salem, over the Christmas break of my oldest child’s kindergarten year (2012). I had no idea what to do about putting her in school since we didn’t even have a place to live at the time. My mom suggested Calvary because that is where my children’s cousins were and one of them was in kindergarten. I called and found out one kindergarten student had left over the Christmas break so there was an open spot in Mrs. Gauer’s class (which happened to be the class my daughter’s cousin was also in). From the first time we walked in Calvary, to meet Mrs. Gauer, see the classroom and get a quick tour, I felt comfortable. We had been and were going through a lot and leaving my daughter was hard for me to do but every day I took her to school I knew she was safe and where she needed to be. There were days she was just sad and needed extra love and she got it. She never once told me she didn’t want to go to school, she loved being there, came out of her shell and has thrived at CDS. And her two younger siblings have followed in her footsteps.

I had planned on Calvary being a temporary school, somewhere for my daughter to attend the rest of her kindergarten year, to get myself and my kids settled and then send them to the public school we were assigned to. But the love we received from the school, teachers, parents, and new friends led to my decision that I would do whatever I needed to, to keep my children at Calvary for as long as I could. As a single mom, this has not been an easy task. And the only way it has even been a possibility is because of the financial assistance Calvary provides.

Each year, I sit my kids down and talk to them about the expense of school. And each year they have chosen school over being able to take vacations and other things. This past spring, I sat my oldest down and told her I really didn’t think I would be able to afford three tuitions (since her brother would be starting kindergarten in the fall). She was determined to stay at CDS and went to work on applying for the Alumni Scholarship. She was awarded a partial scholarship, enough that I could afford to keep them at Calvary this year.

What started as a place for my daughter to finish up kindergarten has turned into a place I can’t imagine life without. They say it takes a village…and Calvary has become our village. I cannot fathom doing this single parent thing without the love and support of the people that have come into our lives through Calvary Day School.

Sarah Smart

The Smart Family,

I attended Calvary Day School from fourth to eighth grades. As a student who needed guidance academically, Calvary provided a perfect atmosphere for me to grow and flourish. Through the love and support of teachers and faculty, I was able to overcome some of my difficulties in learning as I was taught the value of hard work and living up to my God given abilities. Through these experiences my teachers and friends became family and now 20 years later, with two children of my own attending Calvary, I can say the same thing is still true.

My two sons, a second grader and kindergartener, get to explore the same halls, experience some of the same traditions while making new ones, and be loved and taught as I was. Sending your kids off to school is a whole lot easier when you know that you are entrusting them to the care of another "family" member. I have received personal phone calls from their teachers when my children have done well on a certain project, needed a little extra coaching at home, or just to keep us informed as to what is going on — the personal touch is priceless! Calvary Day School has made a tremendous impact on my family and me. There's no better way to describe it – it's just a really special place!

Emily Ackley, Lower School Parent and CDS alum

I came to Calvary at the start of my sixth grade year and have been here ever since. I appreciate the challenge that my teachers have given me to reach my potential whether it is in the classroom, in the pool, or on the stage. This guidance has created a drive in me and taught me the work ethic it takes to be successful as evidenced by my earning my Eagle Scout, being named captain of our Varsity Swim Team at CDS, and the various lead roles in our plays and praise band.

Calvary has provided a perfect environment to create lasting relationships. I have always enjoyed the trips we take as a class where we are able to get a hands on learning experience and bond as a class. Spending time with my classmates in these settings showed me what it is like to work together and the importance of the friendships I have made. Our class trips to Florida, Washington DC, and our 11th grade college tours have all been great experiences. I am looking forward to our mission trip to Costa Rica this spring where we will be serving the Lord by ministering to the people there.

But most importantly, I am forever thankful for the Christian example that is shown to us by the teachers and administration. Mr. Hardee (Head of School) demonstrates to all of the students how to let the Lord lead you in your decisions. I have gotten to know him through the student ambassador and student council programs and have been able to observe how he leads the teachers and students by a Godly example. My teachers have also consistently shown me how to put God first in all that I do and how to interact with people and challenges in a way that glorifies the Lord. One of the biggest lessons I have learned during my time at CDS is that no matter how difficult situations may seem, I will be better for it in the end when I have the Lord with me and I give it to Him. As I prepare to enter college this fall, I will remember this lesson and the Godly examples that have impacted my life, preparing me to be successful.

Ethan Harris, CDS Student, Class of '17

Calvary Day School has been an integral part of my family over the past 13 years. Having three children, (upper school, lower school, and early ed) and being a upper school science teacher, it is safe to say that I have invested in the school. But more importantly, the school has invested in me and my family. As a staff member, I know that the teachers and administration have a desire to invest in each life we are blessed to have come through our school. We pray for our students and want to see them succeed. We find what it takes to reach them and that is how we interact with them. As a parent, there have been many occasions that teachers have spent time outside of normal school hours to invest in my child’s development and partner with my wife and I to help them grow into the well-rounded young people that they are now. Another aspect of Calvary that had been a blessing is the “family” atmosphere between the administration, staff, and families of Calvary Day School and Calvary Church. Family is important to me and I feel as if we are a part a family here at Calvary. Over the better part of the past 2 years, my wife has been unable to work due to medical reasons. The faculty, staff, and CDS families have shown us the love and support of a family in the way they support us through intentional prayer and providing meals and gift cards. We have been more than blessed to be a part of this school.

Lastly, I love how the school challenges my children academically and with the extra-curricular activities offered in the form of athletics, clubs, and arts. The classes are challenging, but with caring teachers, they have every opportunity to live up to their potential. I love Calvary Day school and love the way they love my family.

Scott Tolentino, Upper School Science Teacher

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He replied: Love God. Love people (Matthew 22:37-39). Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus. . .”
Calvary Day School was my “second home” from the ages of ten to eighteen. Within the walls of Calvary I learned what it meant to love God above all else, to love people, and to do everything for God’s glory.
Academically, Calvary challenged me and pushed me to be the best student that I could be. Teachers not only taught me, but also came alongside me and helped me understand the concepts that I was struggling with so that I could be successful in school and in life. I was taught to think critically and in a way that would glorify God.
Spiritually, Calvary provided me with an environment of people who above all else loved God and loved people. Having the opportunities to pray in school, open God’s Word, and worship together in chapel, taught me what it meant to have God as the foundation of my life. The understanding that God is in all things – in the classroom, in life outside of the classroom, and on the athletic fields allowed me to see how God is woven into our daily lives and should be the center focus in all we do.
Most importantly, Calvary taught me to love people by teaching me what it looks like to serve in the community and helped prepare my heart for the future God has planned for me. My senior year I had the privilege to organize a “Blue Ribbons for Kids” campaign in honor of Child Abuse Awareness month. During this campaign, the high school clubs joined together to raise money and supplies for the local Domestic Violence Shelter. This was the first of many blue ribbon campaigns I have now organized and participated in. During the spring of 2014, I founded the first annual Child Abuse Awareness Week at Liberty University School of Law.
Today, by God’s grace and loving kindness, I have the opportunity to work in Winston-Salem as an advocate for victims of child abuse and domestic violence. Through my work, I have the opportunity to walk alongside people in some of their most difficult days. I am reminded daily of the three lessons I have been continually learning . . . Love God. Love people. Do everything for His glory.

Molly-Catherine Goodson, M.A., J.D. - CDS Class of 2007

I attended Calvary for high school from '03-'07. I came from a similar small private school structure so the coolest thing for me was that Calvary felt like a tight knit family from the very beginning. It was neat that the culture was so inviting. It made the jump from middle school to high school and to a new school relatively seamless for me.

My senior year, I took Marsha Scott’s Senior Bible class. In this class she challenged us to think critically about our faith and what it really means to have a relationship with Jesus. We also dove deep into the foundation of other world views so that we are able to better use our personal faith to impact the world. The biggest takeaway for me, which is so important in today’s climate, was for me to be quick to listen and understand others who may not share my worldview before I react. Funny how the things you learn still stick with you years later. I still think about that class and the impact it made on me to this day.

After high school, I attended NC State for undergrad where I got my Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Right after college, I got a job in Winston-Salem working for HanesBrands. I recently graduated from the Evening MBA program at Wake Forest, and currently manage part of the Walmart business at Hanes. Calvary taught me how to prioritize all the competing tasks in life. Education is so important, but at Calvary it’s about more than just graduating. I learned the importance of strong relationships and prioritizing them among our hectic daily schedules. This is a skill that is very beneficial in my line of work, and I credit Calvary for helping me develop this skill.

I always joke with people that the Calvary community might be small compared to other schools, but you can’t escape it! I graduated with 39 students and a few lived on my hall freshman year at NC State. While I attended Wake Forest for business school, there were Calvary students there also! We joke about always running into fellow alum, but it’s encouraging to know wherever you go after your time at Calvary there’s a fellow student not far behind (or right next to you)!

Jason Adouli, MBA, CDS Class of 2007

I entered Calvary as a first grader. When I came, second grade was the oldest class. Each year as the class ahead of me advanced, a grade was added until they reached sixth grade. I graduated from sixth grade (the highest grade offered) with Phyllis Mills as my teacher. That was Mrs. Mills’ first year at Calvary. I never fully appreciated what those six years at Calvary had done for me until I became a parent. I realized then that Calvary had taught me to view the world like God does. I will never forget my favorite teacher, Mrs. Penny Alexander, carving a pumpkin and telling us only God had seen the inside of that pumpkin before us.

The morning that my oldest son turned two years old I went to the school office to turn in his application for the three year old class because at that time the application could not be turned in before a child's second birthday. We knew without a doubt that we wanted a Christian education for our son. That son has now graduated from Calvary and his younger brother is in high school at Calvary.

When I graduated from Calvary, I went on to public schools in Forsyth County and then went to Wake Forest and earned a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Latin. I inquired about teaching at Calvary when I graduated, but there was nothing available. Finally in 2010, in God's perfect timing, I was called to teach Latin at my alma mater. I am thankful for the opportunity to freely share God's view of the world with my students while fulfilling a dream of teaching Latin to elementary students at the same time.

Of all the schools that I have attended, Calvary is the one I attended the longest and the one that I love the most.

Catherine Stancil, Latin Teacher