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Being a "Real Gardener"

August 20, 2018
By Mike Skaggs

Years ago, I remember looking forward to the time when my kids would hit the teen years and my yardwork days would come to an end. Oddly enough, once they were big enough to run the mower, I didn’t want to hand it over! I found that while I enjoyed the labor and needed the exercise, I appreciated the isolation provided by the mower’s roar; it allowed me precious time and space to think. In fact, TCA’s motto of “Student Success for God’s Glory” came to me while mowing my yard 15 years ago!

Mostly though, I like the sense of accomplishment yardwork provides. Bringing order to chaos by trimming trees or laying stones to create a garden just feels good. Cultivating, tending, and helping establish something that will last seems to meet a deep, God-given desire within us all.

Author Ray Bradbury says puts it this way in his novel Fahrenheit 451: “...the difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

As we enter our 26th year as a school, I think we can learn from this.

We have been given a great foundation. We have a legacy of strong leadership to build on. Those who came before worked, prayed, and sacrificed together to see their God-given vision come to life. They left a garden that was in many ways well-tended and in order.

But the past is past. Today it is our time to maintain order in a world where, without a constant, intentional, caring touch, our garden will quickly fall into disarray and chaos.

So we work. We sacrifice. We pray. We dream. It will not be easy. The enemy wants to divide us and destroy the work, but we will not allow it. Instead, we will approach the next 25 years just like we did the first 25--together, in lock step, moving toward the common goal of helping students fulfill God’s purpose for their lives.

Thus, it is fitting that this year’s theme is “Stronger Together.” For only together can we move successfully into and through our next 25 years.

One day 25 years from now, we will proudly leave another generation with a garden that is well-tended, flourishing, and fit for use. But that doesn’t just happen. Thanks for joining us in the task.

25th Anniversary Legacy Dinner

April 23, 2018
By Mike Skaggs

Again and again I have heard from the TCA family and people throughout our community what a wonderful evening the 25th Anniversary Legacy Dinner turned out to be. Well, of course it was! When you combine a rich history worth celebrating and a group of staff and volunteers that are extremely talented at event planning, you can’t go wrong!

First of all, it was incredible to see our goal of $150,000 not only met, but exceeded! The final tally was just over $180,000 (after expenses). Praise God! As a result, TCA will purchase a new bus to transport students beginning next fall. How exciting! And not only can we proceed with improvements to the elementary playground, but we can also provide needed upgrades in the elementary building! Look for “in progress” updates on the TCA Facebook page over the summer months as those projects get underway. Finally, we will implement a variety of security upgrades including the installation of security bollards, improvements to campuswide video security systems, and the application of shatterproof film to exterior windows.

On a personal level, it was fun for me to tell stories that night about my great-grandfather Willie Skaggs and his brother Frank. I shared about these two “circuit rider” preachers to illustrate what it means to leave a legacy. Little did I know how that would resonate with those in attendance! It has been fun over the past few days to hear stories of similar legacies in other TCA families.

Perhaps the most touching part of the evening was seeing so many faces from TCA’s rich history. Our founder Dr. Marsha Barber was on hand along with former staff, board members, and even alumni from those early years to celebrate all that God has done through the ministry of Trinity Christian Academy. What a blessing to hear their stories! I love them all and it was good to be in the same room again.

But now...a couple of weeks have passed. Barber Gym is back to normal, and that special evening is itself in the history books. All that’s left are memories and that weird “morning after” sense that can leave us asking, “Now what?”

The answer is easy! We just keep doing what we do. We begin another 25 years by being faithful today. Alongside families and churches, we continue to help students identify the Lord’s purpose for their lives and reach their God-given potential. Through a Christ-centered, biblical perspective, we continue to devote ourselves to developing excellence in education, character, and leadership development. It may look different in 2018 than it did in 1993 (as it should), but the heart of TCA has not changed, nor will it.

Again, thanks to those of you who played a part in the 25th Anniversary Legacy Dinner. Looking forward, I also want to say thanks in advance for doing your part in laying the foundation for another celebration 25 years from now when those planning TCA’s Golden Anniversary gather to share OUR story. Let’s give ‘em a good one.

Let’s be good ancestors.


Taking Our Kids to Hard Places

April 03, 2018
By Mike Skaggs

In Six Reasons to Take Your Kids to Hard Places, Jamie Dew, Dean of the College at Southeastern in Wake Forest, NC encourages Christian adults to intentionally expose our children to “places where poverty and brokenness are rampant, the places where pain and suffering abound.” This thought was heavy on me a couple of weeks ago as I accompanied a TCA I-Term team for a week in Chicago.

It was not a fun trip.

Don’t get me wrong...we laughed, ate good food, and made great memories. In short, we had loads of fun, but but it was not a fun trip. We worked! Over the course of that week, our team served meals to the needy, sorted and bagged over 6.5 tons of potatoes for distribution, taught ESL classes to refugees, loved on low-income children, and gave dignity to the homeless by engaging them in meaningful conversations at a men’s shelter.

While we were always safe, there were times of real physical and emotional discomfort. Still, I never heard a word of complaint. In fact, as the week drew on, I heard our students say things like:

  • “He had a life just like us before coming to America” (about a refugee from Myanmar)
  • “They just want love and attention” (about kids at a childcare facility for low-income families)
  • “She is really smart, she just doesn’t know English yet” (about a refugee from Afghanistan)
  • “The only real difference between him and us are a few bad breaks or poor choices” (about a man spending the night in a homeless shelter)

Our first instinct is often to protect our kids from difficulties, but over the years, I have seen great benefit to stretching our kids (and ourselves) in service to others. At times this can include risk, but we don’t have to be reckless to take a trip to a nursing home, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter. It is there that we can give our kids the gift of an authentic look at what life is like for those who are oppressed or suffering. Don’t forget, those are Jesus’ people. He sought them out, and so must we.

As you read this on April 3, plenty of time remains (within proper limits dependent on age and maturity) to make plans this summer to expose our kids to some of the difficult realities of life. And for good reason! Here are a few Drew gives in his post…

  • It helps our kids see the difference between good and evil.
  • It can teach gratitude and thankfulness.
  • It nurtures a concern for other people.
  • It helps us consider the potential impact of our own lives for good in the world.
  • It drives us to pray. When burdens are overwhelming, there are times when we can do nothing but ask the Lord to intervene.
  • It follows the example of Christ.

May we see the world as Jesus does, for only can we respond to it as he did.



Re-Enrollment Reminders

January 08, 2018
By Mike Skaggs

Current TCA families may begin the process of re-enrolling their children for the 2018/19 school year one week from today. Each family will receive detailed re-enrollment information soon with instructions how to complete this important online process. If at any point you have questions regarding re-enrollment, please contact our enrollment coordinator, Dionne Wyly. She will be happy to help with any questions you might have about the process or other matters related to enrollment.

As always, we ask TCA families to re-enroll without delay for two important reasons.

First and foremost—several classes on both the elementary and secondary campuses reached capacity this year, and we expect that to be the case next year as well. We don’t want any of our current families to lose their child’s spot at TCA! Dr. Newby and Mr. Nobles have been busily conducting admissions interviews with new families for 2018/19 on an almost daily basis for weeks now, and we expect a strong turnout when enrollment opens to the public.

A second reason to re-enroll now is more practical and helpful on our end. We often see a last-minute “flood” of re-enrollment right at the deadline. Trust me...I can put things off with the best of them, so I completely understand the temptation to “do that tomorrow”! But, if all of our 300+ families waited until just before the deadline to re-enroll, managing that rush would be a huge challenge for office staff who are also working hard to daily serve our students and staff. Re-enrolling today can really help them manage that workload more effectively.

Re-enrollment begins Tuesday January 16. This protected re-enrollment period lasts for 3 weeks, ending on February 2nd. Open enrollment to the public begins on Monday, February 5.

We look forward to an exciting year at TCA in 2018/19. Re-enroll today and secure your spot in that great future!


Mike Skaggs
TCA Head of School

Lessons from a wooden duck

October 30, 2017
By Mike Skaggs

Three of my four kids are Korean, so it should come as no surprise that Korean culture has had a big impact on me and my family. I love the country’s culture and traditions that stretch back for centuries. And their food is amazing!

One of my favorite Korean traditions though, is the wedding duck. In Korean weddings, the bride and groom often receive a pair of hand-carved, brightly colored wooden ducks symbolizing peace, many children, and no separation.  An important part of the tradition is picking the right person to carve the ducks. The carver must be a person of integrity, prosperity, and peace. While at work, the craftsman prays for the couple’s happiness, peace, prosperity, and children. Carving wedding ducks is a matter of honor, and no money exchanges hands as the wedding ducks are the carver’s gift to the couple.

After the wedding, the ducks are displayed prominently in the couple’s home, and their position there sends an important message. If the ducks are tail-to-tail, facing away from each other, there’s trouble in the marriage. If nose-to-nose (or maybe beak-to-beak?), then all is well between husband and wife.

Now I don’t know if the wedding duck tradition has any purposeful ties to our faith, but I’ve always seen several aspects that I think could apply to us in our homes and churches, and even here at school.

  • God is a master craftsman. Not only has He created a beautiful world, but he has carefully made us, endowing within us reflections of Himself (Psalm 139:13-16).
  • Scripture makes it clear that God has chosen us, but there is a mystery here where we also have the freedom to choose Him. We certainly have the freedom to choose to follow His ways. God loves it when we do this (Joshua 24:14-15)! We are constantly on His mind, and he delights in speaking blessings over us (Zephaniah 3:17).
  • There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. His gift to us as believers simply cannot be purchased (Romans 6:23).
  • God loves it when His people walk in unity and single-minded purpose (John 17:20-23). It is when this happens in full view of an unbelieving world that He is made known!

May we and our children choose the Master Carver, receiving His gift of salvation. May His blessings continue to pour out over our families and school, and may we walk in unity as Christ followers, showing the world a better way.

Pretty amazing what all we can learn from a couple of wooden ducks!

Have a great week my friends,


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