As the school year came to a close this year, it brought another opportunity to reflect on the past school year’s challenges, successes, and memories. A friend of mine asked me to share with her my most memorable event from the last school year. I excitedly told her about a student named Tristen.
To share my favorite memory of the last year as the principal of Burton, I have to go back two years to the fall of 2013, when a parent came to me with a story about a baseball player his son had been playing with over the summer. This young man, Tristen, had become friends with some of the Burton students that played on the Summer League team and had noticed such a difference in the Burton students that he was asking if he could attend Burton. After our conversation, I was very anxious to meet Tristen myself.
Soon after, I had an appointment with Tristen and his mother as Tristen enrolled in the eighth grade at Burton. Tristen became involved very quickly, already knowing several of the students. After eighth grade graduation, he continued his education in the ninth grade at Burton.
Once in a while, I have the opportunity to fill in for the Religion I teacher and I had the chance to get to know Tristen. While teaching about Jesus calling the disciples and instructing them to “Go, tell others, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” The Freshmen were encouraged to “Go, Tell, at Burton.” Even as Freshmen, I believed that they could make a difference in their world. They were to come up with a plan, then put it into action. After missing a few deadlines, I was fearful that perhaps the assignment went over their heads. They were struggling to put their plans into action.
At the end of a particularly difficult week, with people lining up in front of my office door, Tristen and his Religion I partner, Elizabeth, approached my desk. After asking them how I could help them, they responded with their plan for the assignment. They wanted to put their plan into action and were asking my permission. Finally, the first students from Bible class had understood the assignment and had plans to make a difference at Burton. I was beyond words.
Tristen and Elizabeth’s project contained a series of posters to be placed in prominent places around the school. One poster had the words, “Tell the person next to you that Jesus loves them.” Another poster had verses on tabs that could be torn off. The poster read: “If you are in need of faith, hope, love, encouragement, or prayer, pull off the appropriate tab.” In one day, all the tabs were taken and Tristen and Elizabeth replaced it with a new poster. The last poster said, “If you need prayer, write your name on the poster.” Throughout the remainder of the year, I saw many students stopping at their posters.
Shortly after, pastor Kent Rufo informed me that Tristen had requested baptism on his birthday in May. With much excitement faculty, students, and parents attended Tristen’s baptism at the Arlington church. All of heaven and the Burton staff and families rejoiced when one student came to know the Lord.
Through the behavior of a few baseball players, the Holy Spirit worked on the heart of a young man, introducing him to Jesus, who transformed him into a disciple.
– Written By Mrs. Darlene White (High School Principal)