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Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,

"Uh, Teacher, I think you need to see this."  It was the shrill note of alarm if the aide's voice that caused the preschool teacher to stop what she was doing and divert her attention.  In the nick of time, I might add.

Little Billy was sitting at the classroom's coloring station.  (Life was much simpler when we all sat at coloring stations, wasn't it?)  Somehow--and I'm convinced this is innate behavior, something that kids are born knowing--Billy had positioned himself at the table so that both the aide's view and the teacher's view were obstructed.  He then grabbed a bright blue Crayola marker and began working feverishly to color his entire left arm blue.  By the time the aide had caught on to Billy's colorful caper, he was up to his sleeve, nearly two-thirds of the way through an improvised prison tat.

But, the teacher knew the routine.  She knew just what to do.  "Billy, I can see what you are doing.  Do you think that coloring your arm blue is a good idea?"  This tact in questioning is a solid routine; it helps the students to see the error of their ways.  It gets the job done.  Nearly every time.  Nearly.

Billy paused amidst his feat of autonomous artistic expression and his face grew contemplative.  He was being genuinely reflective.  "Yes," he said after some thought.  "It is a good idea."  His little mind continued to process, he became emboldened, "And, I think it might be my best idea ever."

Once we're done laughing, in Billy's defense, we should probably consider the relative merits of the thirty-six months that this little preschool perpetrator has been on planet Earth so far.  If we're honest and gauge Billy's thirty-six months against the entire span of human history, the truth is that this particular set of thirty-six months really does not rank very high on humanity's list of most momentous months.  In fact, I cannot help but wonder if Billy is right.  Unfortunately, this might actually have been the best idea that I've also seen in the last thirty-six months.

But, here's the thing.  We're not a blue arm school.  We're just not.  If Billy would just stop and look around, he would see there is nobody out on that playground or in his classroom with a blue arm.  It's just something you don't do.  People are going to look at you funny.  The student handbook doesn't say it's forbidden per se, but it has to be implied in there somewhere.  Somewhere.  I think.

We celebrate it as "Advent"--the beautiful moment where a God desperately and crazily in love with fallen humanity became one of us in order to help us understand true Love.  But, if you put yourself in that first century story of shepherds, angels, miracles, and more, I think Jesus may have had a blue arm.  The more I consider it, I'm pretty sure of it.  You can't just walk around all over the place telling people that you're God's Son, doing miracles and whatnot,  and saying that you're the Guy that created everything.  People are going to look at you funny.  You know, blue arm crazy.

In closing, and in the light of Advent, here's my Christmas gift to you.  As we each look at our kids, sometimes we wonder if our kid is the one that is blue arm crazy.  You know what I'm talking about--all the other kids seem normal and we can't help but reckon that our kid is the one blue arm kid in the bunch.  But, if I have learned anything in the years of doing what I do, it's that the blue arm kids are the ones that change the world.  How?  They look at it differently.  They see things in a shade that most of us don't see.  They do odd things...things that seem strange at first, but then the rest of us catch up and finally realize, blue arm thinking is what is needed most in a world gone this crazy.

If you're still looking for one last, perfect Christmas gift for your kid, make it this:  consider not worrying quite so much about their blue arms.  In fact, you might even consider buying them a big box of bright blue Crayola markers.

Grateful for the opportunity to serve this school and your family,
Geoff Brown
Northwest Christian School
(623)225-5573 (cell)
Spotlight on Crusader Christmas Chapel

Cannot stop 'Feliz Navidad'.  The Governor's Covid-based December 3rd Executive Order--which limited gatherings to less than fifty--hit just days before what would have been the first in-person chapel of the school year.  Scheduled for December 9th, the All-School Crusader Christmas celebration had been slated for the football field but was quickly reorganized so that it was live-streamed into every classroom on campus.  History may be grateful for the change as that many of the fun Christmas chapel traditions--most notably high school Spanish teacher Mr. Garcia leading a rousing rendition of 'Feliz Navidad'--were recorded for posterity.
Spotlight on Big Boys on Campus

Welcome to Fighter Country.  Lieutenant Colonel John Boyer is a Wing Chaplain based at Luke Air Force Base as well as a Crusader father.  December's Big Boys on Campus prayer breakfast had to go virtual but John's message to the men of Crusader country was virtually inspiring nonetheless!

FILL THE BUS:  Annual Sutton Project Looked Different But Shared the Love and Light of Christ within Needy Communities

Two busses full of vital donations as well as $20K produced through enduring partnership with BHHS Legacy Foundation made the difference

With ten years of history and tradition behind it, the annual "NCS Sutton Project" was a bit different this year.  From its origin a decade ago when Northwest Christian High School Student Council worked to provide 125 Thanksgiving food boxes for needy families at J.B. Sutton Elementary within the Isaac School District, the project has grown by leaps and unbounded blessings to eventually include an annual budget of nearly $50K, 1,500 meal boxes, and both Thanksgiving and Christmas efforts for numerous needy schools within three different districts.  

High School StuCo remains at the helm of the effort through partnerships with different foundations (BHHS Legacy Foundation is a primary partner) and churches, including, most prominently, Calvario Phoenix.  Recognizing that during the atypical 2020/2021 school year this project would require a wholly different strategy, the student leadership group worked with public school administrators
 to design a unique, Covid-proof campaign.  "The needs of these schools are different this year," explains high school principal Jeff Parsons.  "In years past, we have provided Christmas gifts, Thanksgiving meals, and volunteered hundreds of hours working with students.  This year, however, many of these students are homebound, unable to attend classes in-person.  And, working through the administrations of these schools, that is where we met these needy families--sharing and showing the love of Christ by providing some very basic necessities for impoverished families."

This years Sutton Project campaign was called "Fill the Bus" and worked to literally fill two busses, donated for the campaign by First Student Transportation, with basic necessities like toiletries, food staples, medical supplies, books, games, and the like.  All of these items then went into the food pantries within the partner schools and enabled school leaders to transform their campuses into areas of provision and hope for their most needy families and students.  Though the focus of the project shifted, there was still an aspect that enabled Crusaders to provide Thanksgiving meals to the families that needed them most.  "This was the yield of the enduring partnership with the state's largest largest, most charitable non-profit foundation:  the BHHS Legacy Foundation," explains superintendent Geoff Brown.  "Through tax-credit donations, matching funds, and original grants, Legacy brought $20K to the effort.  Beyond that, the foundation's leadership invested time and energy with our student leaders to train them to write grants and help them learn the inner workings of non-profit, charitable work."

"This was a very special year," continues Geoff Brown.  "Without question, the efforts of our students were a huge blessing to the families.  But, I was moved by how our efforts really served to encourage the teachers and staff within these public schools.  Their jobs are harder than ever this year and enabling them to bless their families was amazing."  For those that are interested in helping give the campaign a financial boost to help carry the day through either a tax credit donation or a tax-deductible gift, please visit this link:

Spotlight on Students

"Do-Gooders" Movie Trailer.  Vigilantes?  Heroes?  To find out, you'll have to wait until the debut of the seventh annual NCS High School film, "Do-Gooders", a partnership between Cabin Fever Films and Northwest Christian School.  The school's first foray into the superhero film genre hits six screens at Harkins Norterra on January 21st.  Tickets go on sale at 5pm on January 4th...this event sells out...they will go very fast!

Spotlight on Veterans

Air Force One.  The powerful and enduring message of our annual Veterans Day Chapel didn't lose a step in its adapted, online context.  We heard from the children of veterans and active service members and from 1997 NCS alumni Chad Steel.  Chad serves as a Presidential Advance Agent, head of pre-ops security for Air Force One, and as a Crusader dad.  

Spotlight on "Crusaders' Got Talent, Season 2"

Crusader's Got Talent.  The Students from all divisions of the school--Elementary, Middle School, and High School--contributed their diverse talents to make for a memorable Facebook Live event on November 23rd:  "Crusader's Got Talent".  The event was the second time the school had put forward the talent show and, as you can see in the video above, Crusaders certainly have talent!

Crusader Athletics Finishes Topsy-Turvy High School Fall Season in Winning Fashion

The first foray into 4A football surprised everyone, volleyball three-peated, and cross country pulled in a state-runners-up trophy

With the count now standing at ten titles in six different sports since moving up to the Arizona Interscholastic Association's 3A Conference in 2014, you might be tempted to think that the story of the Northwest Christian athletic department is the simple pursuit of wins.  "Wins and losses don't tell the story of our athletic culture or our athletes," says Geoff Brown, school superintendent.  "The story here is one about student athletes working unbelievably hard.  Championships are won in the off-season.  That's when our students are working hardest.  It's the hard work, the vision, the discipline, and the spiritual focus that define the school's program.  The wins and losses are the inevitable fruit that results."

The 2020 Varsity Volleyball team certainly characterized that discipline and vision.  With three players already signed to NCAA Division I volleyball programs next year (Hope, Wise, and Kipp), this is a team for whom hard work was second nature.  The young ladies moved through the 2020 state tourney without dropping a single game to Sabino High School, Empire High School, Thatcher High School, or Valley Christian.  The championship win was the third straight for the eight Crusader seniors that will graduate from the team this year.

Hard work and discipline is also the only way to describe Coach Brandon Southall's Crusader cross country program.  Running throughout the brutal summer off-season heat, this particular Crusader team has been relentless in pursuit of the state championship podium over the last few seasons and the team has always done well within its section.  But, Fall 2020 was when the team struck gold with the girls' team grabbing a spot on the state podium by winning 2020 AIA 3A State Runners-Up trophy.  In addition to Coach Southall, the team is coached by Tanner Webb, a young man who is a strong spiritual leader, a Northwest Christian alumni, and a perennial top ten finisher when he was on the team himself.

Of course all eyes were on the Northwest Christian Varsity football team after the Arizona Interscholastic Association unilaterally bumped the team up another division, the second time in five years.  This set the team up for a memorable season with the Crusaders lining up against high schools that are four to six times larger than Northwest Christian.  The move to the 4A meant that the team schedule included area schools like Cactus High School, Greenway High School, and Moon Valley High School among others.  In the end, the junior varsity team finished undefeated, setting up strong teams for future seasons, and the varsity team shocked everyone earning the #6 spot in the 4A and claiming a spot in the Covid-truncated tourney bracket.  The team confirmed its spot there by taking down Marcos de Niza High School in its first tournament play before losing to Mesquite High School, the team that ultimately won the tournament.
Spotlight on Secondary Band

The Band Plays On!  Mrs. Hutson has the Crusader band rolling on steel wheels. Within days of the Governor's Executive Order limiting the size of events, realizing that her Christmas concert would need to look much different, she transitioned the performances of every secondary band to an online format. This was no easy feat but one that was glorious to watch!
Spotlight on Elementary Art

The Tree of Life.  After weeks and weeks of collaborative effort, Mrs. Barb Manne, the elementary art teacher, reveals "The Tree of Life" artistic impression of the Tree mentioned in Revelation and Psalm 1.  This was a project that pulls together the artistic expressions of every individual elementary student!
Spotlight on Affordability

The Arizona Tuition Organization has a long history of helping families to keep private, Christian education affordable.  Recently, AZTO released video of a Zoom-based workshop.  This workshop, accessible by clicking above, is brief and could make a huge difference in your monthly budget!
Spotlight on Secondary Choirs

You have to see the finale!  While the finale is truly awe-inspiring, although it was virtual and not in-person, was beautiful.  The broadcast, which first hit on Wednesday, December 16th, pulled together solo performances as well as songs from each of the several choirs within the Crusader secondary program.
Spotlight on Students

BMX National Champ.  Congrats to Northwest Christian eighth grader Cooper Rhoades!   Copper competed at the USA BMX Gold Cup Finals in Tucson during October and won the Southwest Region Gold Cup Championship.  The win, over racers from AZ, CA, NV, UT, and CO, qualified him to race as the #1 ranked racer at any USA BMX event in 2021 as well as the USA BMX Grands in Tulsa, Oklahoma over the Thanksgiving weekend where he sealed his national championship with a win over racers from around the country.
Spotlight on Elementary Music

How Great is Our God...with a twist!  The annual Grandparents Day performances did not lose a beat online under elementary music teacher, Kathy Taylor.  Kathy pulled together performances from every elementary class, K through 5th grade, for a rousing, collaborative rendition of "How Great is Our God (World edition)".  The twist?  Students were taught how to perform the song in multiple languages!
Spotlight on the Grinch

Special guest on campus.  During the week of December 7th, the campus was graced by the presence of Dr. Seuss' "The Grinch" who, through a series of morning devotions and chapel, had some fun in discussing how we can enjoy a "Grinchless Christmas" in spite of the adversity of 2020.  You can see some of the devotions, presented by the Grinch and Santa, by clicking here:  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Spotlight on Forty Year's of God's Faithful Provision

December 18, 2020
Vol. 11, Issue 5
Galatians 4:4-5
"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship."
Crusader's Got Talent, season 2
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