Just the other day, LeeAnne Griffith shared with me that her family has seen a lot of changes on the Cougar campus over the six years her son has been at Covenant. I immediately remembered our first day of school at Covenant on the campus of Conroe Bible Church almost 18 years ago. I could not help but think about the legacy we now enjoy.
Legacy is defined as anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor. Those who came before us left a legacy, and we will do the same. What kind of legacy will we leave?
Jay and I were much older first time parents when we adopted our eldest child, Sarah, and immediately Jay decided our children would attend a private Christian school. When Becca was born seven months later, he was even more determined to make it possible. Before Sarah turned five, we nervously completed an application, turned in the required recommendations, provided the necessary documentation, and were scheduled to interview with Covenant’s administration.
The day before the interview, Jay woke up with a nasty case of pinkeye, but we didn’t know it was pinkeye. You can imagine what he looked like 30 hours later as we drove to Conroe Bible Church to interview. Sarah told her daddy to stay in the car while Becca, Sarah and I attended the interview without him. I remember laughing, feeling grateful for the humor, because I was nervous. What if they didn’t like us? What if we weren’t accepted? Where would we go?!
Covenant graciously accepted our family, and Sarah began her first-ever day of school in August 1998. Becca grieved the loss of Sarah’s companionship that entire first day. What if Sarah was homesick and missed us as much as we missed her? We could not wait for 2:30 p.m. to arrive, so we could finally go pick her up. (That was the only time I was eager to wait in carline.) What had her day been like? Was she making new friends? Was Covenant where Sarah should be? My questions were immediately answered. Before getting in the car, Sarah threw her arms open wide giving her new teacher, Catherine Davis, a big hug. Mrs. Davis hugged our girl tightly in return and said, “Sarah, I am so glad you are in my class! I love you - have a great evening. I’ll see you in the morning!”
Conroe Bible Church was located across from Conroe Recreation Center in Candy Cane Park. School classrooms were actually Sunday school rooms. School supplies were stored inside closets - Sunday school supplies on one side and school supplies on the other. Many upper level classrooms were in temporary buildings nestled close to the church’s main building. All restrooms were located in the main building. The church allowed parent volunteers to use the kitchen two days a week to serve lunch to students. We ordered hot lunch two days a week, but it wasn’t always easy to keep up with hot lunch and sack lunch days. I messed up a few times and had to bring a lunch or two to school at the last minute.
The school began gathering books to create a library. Conroe Bible did not have a gym on campus, so team practices and homecoming pep rallies happened at Conroe Recreation Center’s gym located across the street. Kindergarten and first grade students had recess on a small pre-school (Sunday school) playground surrounded by a chain-link fence. It was also where moms gathered to visit at the end of each school day. Occasionally, students had recess at Candy Cane Park where they had space to run, play tag, slide, and swing. I realize everything my family enjoyed about Covenant then, someone else had made possible.
We were so grateful for our little school, and we appreciated that Conroe Bible Church was willing to share their building and Sunday school classrooms with us, but Covenant’s school board was searching for a campus of our own. God directed us to the 35 acres we now enjoy, and soon the board found themselves pouring over architectural designs for the main academic building we use today.
Jay was blessed to serve on the school board when we moved to our current location. Parents worked weekends to clear away debris, and we finally broke ground. Elected officials, pastors, administrators, staff, teachers, and families came together to dedicate the grounds to the Lord and His plan for Covenant. When construction on the main building was far enough along, it was also dedicated. If walls are ever torn down, scripture written by those who came before us will be found inside walls and on structural beams.
The new building and grounds were ready for the first day of school in August, 2001. We had our very own classrooms and a kitchen equipped to serve lunch 5 days a week. For the Lewis household, everyday was now a hot lunch day. We also had a clinic, a library, and a gym located smack-dab in the middle of the building!
Becca and Sarah were in the second and third grade when we moved to our current location. We didn't know it at the time, but David would be born in 2002, and he would grow up to enjoy Covenant as well. I am so grateful to those who came before us. We have enjoyed so much of their legacy.
Fast forward fourteen years to today. Even though the location has changed, Covenant’s foundation remains the same. Covenant still offers strong academics and solid biblical worldview. Administration and teachers still care deeply for students and sincerely want to see them succeed academically and, more importantly, spiritually. However, a lot has changed on the Covenant campus.
As the result of hard work, private donations, and fundraisers, we have added:
- Softball, football, and baseball fields
- Field lights
- Batting cages
- Concession stand
- Field House complete with:
- Public restrooms
- Boys and girls locker rooms
- Fully equipped weight room
- Activity room
- Coaches offices
- Fine Arts Building complete with:
- Drama room
- Elementary and secondary art rooms
- Elementary and secondary music rooms
- College counseling office
- Technology office/Web Team classroom
- Elementary boys and girls locker rooms
- Commons area for students
- Bus, van and athletic trailer (sporting very cool vehicle wraps)
- Updated technology in classrooms
- Ceiling mounted projectors
- Smart boards
- Lower and upper elementary playground equipment
- Gaga ball pit
- Temporary buildings housing additional classrooms
Guess what? Much of what we enjoy on our campus today was made possible by those who came before us. Updated technology in the classrooms, a bus, the protective awning across the front of the school, and almost everything you see in the Fine Arts Building are some of the additions made possible through Covenant’s bi-annual fundraisers. Contributing to these important fundraisers is one way we can leave a legacy for those who come after us.
The first Covenant families provided the school’s foundation - what we believe, who we are, what we do. They also provided our first classrooms, but I doubt they imagined the Covenant campus as it is now. I certainly never imagined this campus when my children started, but we are not done. The campus was purchased, planned and designed to serve 800 students and their families. When you think about the impact for Christ 800 students each year could have on this world - WOW!
We are growing. This is the first year Covenant has had 3 classes in one grade - 1st grade. This is also the first year Covenant has closed enrollment in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 10th grades because we have no more seats available. We’ve got some work to do!
Starry Night is this year’s first of two annual fundraisers. Have you made your donation? Great or small, your contribution is important. Just like the “seven loaves and a few little fish” Jesus blessed and then multiplied in Matthew 15:36-38, no donation is too small. A handful of Conroe Bible Church families started Covenant, and God has faithfully grown us. Jesus fed thousands with what appeared to be not enough, and God can do the same with your donation. Again, nothing is too small.
We will all leave a legacy. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to leave an eternal one.