Much like branches are grafted together to become one tree that shares the sustenance of a common root, TC Christian has a similar story. Long before we were a combined Preschool – 12th grade program on one large campus, TC Christian was two schools: Living God Christian, an Elementary school (which in time became Cornerstone Christian); and Traverse City Christian, a Middle and High School. Of the many blessings that came from that grafting together, one was the great people at TCCS who traced their teaching story back to those early days at Living God Christian.
One such person is Marsha Parrish who recently retired from TCCS and relocated with her husband, Mike, to their dream home in the Great Smoky Mountains. Marsha shares this reflection of her time at Traverse City Christian School.
Looking back upon my life, I can certainly see God’s hand and guidance every step of the way, including my 25-year Christian school career and my “happily ever after” retirement story. Serving the Christian community in the capacity of a Teachers’ Assistant has been both a privilege and an answer to prayer, providing a wealth of blessings and a lifetime of precious memories. Here is my story in a nutshell…
Having experienced the loss of our son, Joel, in 1978 (following unsuccessful heart surgery), I was keenly aware of the value of life. So it was, with a deep desire and heartfelt responsibility, as well as with the knowledge and admonishment of Proverbs 22:6; “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.,” seared upon my heart, I began to research educational options, as our daughter, Michelle, would be entering kindergarten in the fall of 1985. That led me to the discovery of Living God Christian School, which was less than a quarter mile from where we were setting up housekeeping and taking on a new position as apartment managers, having moved to Traverse City from the Detroit area. Though a financial hardship at the time, knowing God would provide, we enrolled her in the school, which far exceeded our expectations for educational excellence, as well as having strong and sound spiritual underpinnings. Being hired the following year as a kindergarten assistant was, indeed, icing on the cake! Though no child could ever replace the one that we had lost, I felt blessed beyond measure with this opportunity to mold and shape countless lives, as well as knowing our own children would be nurtured and educated in a Godly environment. God is so good!
And so it began. I embarked upon an extremely rewarding 25 year career, with one leave of absence, having taken off 5 years upon the birth of our 3rd child, Jennifer, until she became school age in 1995, at which time God provided another opening for, you guessed it, a Teachers’ Assistant at Living God Christian School! Feeling an overwhelming sense of responsibility to be the best mom I could be, coupled with a calling to pass on a legacy of love and a principled foundation to the next generation, I couldn’t have been more blessed! Over the years I have worn many hats in this capacity, enjoying each and every one. My duties included tutoring, making copies, collating, correcting, grading, overseeing art projects, designing and implementing bulletin boards, lunch room supervision, playground monitoring, substitute teaching, carpool attendant, as well as having performed certain health related tasks, as needed. Needless to say, I kept very busy!
Though my duties varied from year to year, the general scope of my job description remained much the same. But, like most institutions maintaining longevity, many changes took place during that 25 year period, the primary one being the metamorphosis of Living God Christian School into Traverse City Christian School, with Cornerstone Christian School bridging the gap between the two. Like any growing pains, change is always difficult to adjust to, but in the long run, merging with Traverse City Christian School, produced a spiritually strong and academically solid school, which I am so glad to have been a part of!
Though now I am living happily ever after in the Smoky Mountains (a dream I could never have guessed would actually come true), from time-to-time my mind is flooded with bittersweet school-day memories of precious children, beloved colleagues, and dedicated parents. These memories also warm my heart. In those moments I simply open up my treasure box filled with child-like drawings, hand-written notes coupled with misspelled words, eloquently written letters of appreciation from parents, heart-felt cards from co-workers, and mementos by the dozens, all of which I have painstakingly hoarded throughout the years. The bitter-sweetness quickly turns to joy with the knowledge of knowing I made a difference. Looking back…I can certainly see God’s Hand and will forever be grateful for the memories!
Thank you Living God Christian School, Cornerstone Christian School, and Traverse City Christian School! I have met the most wonderful, sincere, and Godly people throughout my career who have impacted my life and blessed me and my family in ways I could never have imagined. I am proud to have played a role in such a meaningful endeavor that will live on for generations. May the whistle rest in peace.