Written by Philip Williams,
When the teachers and principal of Greater Memphis Adventist Academy boarded the school bus on a sunny Sabbath afternoon, they knew they were in for an adventure. What they were not sure about was how many miles and hours it would take.
They wanted to physically see their students after teaching by teleconference for seven weeks. They wanted to thank parents (“co-teachers”) in-person for their hard work during the pandemic. So, they agreed to take one Sabbath afternoon to visit all their 20 families. The challenge? The school is in the largest (755 sq. miles) and most populous county in the state of Tennessee – Shelby County (which includes Memphis). And their students live all over the county. Some students even make a daily two-hour round trip from northern Mississippi to attend GMAA!
But they did it! They took gifts, flowers, and smiles (sometimes hidden behind masks). They tried not to touch and hug, and they practiced social distancing. Students and parents gave gifts, waved signs, and poured lemonade. Everyone shared the joy of being a part of an SDA Christian school family where teachers and parents work together for the salvation of young people. Ellen White once wrote: “Love is the best teacher” (Fundamentals of Education, p. 58). After six hours and 200 miles of travel, the GMAA teachers had taught and been taught and were already discussing how to make the tour even better next year!