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Showing Favoritism

Showing Favoritism

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One of the reasons that I love riding the U-bahn each day is because of all the different people that I get to see. I find people incredibly interesting, and oftentimes quite funny. One day this summer, a lady boarded my train, and I immediately did a double-take. You see, this person was rather flamboyant. She was dressed up so that when she walked into the train, all eyes were on her. She had this huge hairstyle, most probably a wig, tons of make-up, crazy stockings, a short skirt. You get the picture. She definitely didn’t fit in the commuter setting of the train.

I sat there quietly watching her, and then we both exited the train at the same station. Instead of heading toward the stairs, she walked to the side, so I thought that maybe she was meeting someone there. That’s not what she did. She fumbled through her huge bag to find some money, and then she bent over and gave it to the beggar on the floor.

I must admit that I hadn’t looked upon her favorably. She was an oddity to me. I hadn’t even noticed the beggar sitting quietly to the side, but she did. And she did not hesitate to go and share what she had with this man. I left the station feeling disappointed in myself. Why is it so easy to get a bad impression of someone just because they are different? Why do we form our impression of people by what we initially see? Why do we even think negatively about someone because they are different than we are?

This week in chapel, Mr. Totten, our school chaplain, challenged us all to look around us and to determine together that we will seek to support each other. ICSV now has students from 67 different countries! We are an incredibly diverse group of people. Mr. Totten challenged us to not view those who are different than ourselves in a negative way. He reminded us of the passage in the Bible where the Apostle James asks us to think how we would act if a rich man came into our church service or meeting and then a poor man came in who was wearing filthy clothes. Would our first thought be to treat the rich man well, giving him the best seat in the house, while telling the poor guy to sit over there on the floor? Is that not what I was doing when I immediately thought that person on my train was weird? Not as good as me? But that day in the subway station, who showed love to our neighbor? The lady with the big hair and strange make-up did. I was very humbled that day.

May we use this year as a time when we can show the world what it is like for such different people to come together in love and support of each other. May we never judge others because of our first impression of them. Instead, let us accept and honor those who are different, for that is pleasing to the Lord.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

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Showing Favoritism

IMAGINE!

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Welcome back! We have missed you this summer and are excited to finish our first week back at school already! As you walked around the school, I hope that you noticed the different places that the facilities team worked on this summer. Doesn’t it look nice? Also, did you see the new quotes that pertain to this year’s theme and the updated pictures from last year? I hope that you noticed our new banner in the reception area with this year’s theme – IMAGINE!

Last year a phrase from an old hymn jumped out at me. I had not really noticed it before. The hymn is “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” and the line said, “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.” What does ponder mean? Think about it deeply and carefully. Dwell on it. Chew it over. Turn it over in your mind again and again. I got to thinking about how I view God. Do I put Him in a box and limit what I think He is capable of doing or will do for us? Do I fall before Him in awe and reverence? Do I have a respect for Him that is mixed with fear and wonder?

When we were able to purchase the property next door, God got my attention. That was a God thing! There was no way humanly possible that ICSV could outbid an investor, and yet God influenced the owner to show favor on us. God stepped in and showed just how powerful He is. Our God is awesome!

My desire this year is that we not forget about how God has proven Himself faithful to ICSV over the years and that we will stand in awe of just how almighty He is! Our year’s verse comes from a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians. He reminded them that “God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or IMAGINE.” This year, let us not limit God. Let us not box Him in because of our own limited understanding. Let’s grow in our understanding of this God whom we serve.

I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in and through us this year! Won’t you join me and just IMAGINE!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Director

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Looking Back at the Year

This year, we have focused on growing in grit and grace. Our students have demonstrated these two qualities in numerous ways this year. Our athletes have played to win by showing perseverance and tenacity. Our musicians performed for us at several concerts, blessing us with God’s gift of creativity brought to fruition after many hours of practice. Our actors graced the stage with the combined performance of “Oliver,” showing how our high school students can serve as leaders and examples for our elementary students. Our high school leaders represented us well at the Student Leadership Conference and in our newly-organized Student Government. Our students served others on the Romania outreach trip this year, as ICSV community members donated items, demonstrating grace to those in need. Our scholars completed their two-year IB program after hours of studying, and our elementary students were recognized for working hard and showing grit as they reached for their personal MAP growth goals. Overall, I think I can say that our staff and students simply finished well.

One of the biggest achievements this year was the final purchase of the land next to our current campus. After two years of demonstrating grit, God showed favor on ICSV, providing us with this amazing gift of grace. We are truly thankful for how God has demonstrated His ongoing provision at ICSV.

Now, as the 2018-2019 school year comes to a close, we remember our graduates who have been accepted to universities in Austria, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the US, and as far away as Thailand. We have enjoyed having students from over 60 countries, up from 50 just a few years ago, and we celebrated the 300 enrolled students that God brought to our open doors. What an exciting year!

Once again, it has been my pleasure serving as the director of ICSV. Thank you for the confidence that you have placed in me and our awesome team of teachers. It is truly our privilege to partner with you in the education of your children. Enjoy the last week of school – with the field trips and final exams, and the eighth-grade celebration. And don’t forget to join us on Thursday, June 13, for graduation. What an exciting way to end the year!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

Curiosity, Part 2

This past weekend, I watched a TV show called “Nova,” a popular science series. It was about inventions leading up to the smartphone. What stood out to me was that each story told of how the person who invented something did so because of a hardship or tragic event in his or her life. For example, it started with the story of Samuel Morse, a painter and amateur inventor, who was working in Washington DC, when his beloved wife, who was living in New England, died during childbirth. He received a letter three days after she died, and then had to travel for three days to get to her. By then, she was already buried. He started wondering if there was a way to send messages more quickly, so he developed a system of dots and dashes that could be sent using the telegraph. This idea grew out of his grief over the death of his wife.

Another invention that was featured on the show was that of spread spectrum technology. Hedy Lamarr, an Austrian-American film actress, was born into a Jewish family in 1914. She married a man who had close ties to Mussolini and Hitler. She decided to leave him, fleeing to the US. During WWII, she learned that the Allies were losing the war on the seas to the Nazis because their radio-controlled torpedoes were easily jammed, sending them off course. Working with the man who invented the player-piano, she developed a device that could create a frequency-hopping signal that could not be tracked or jammed. Although the US Navy didn’t use this new invention until years later, Lamarr worked to create a new navigation system because she wanted to find a way to protect the Jewish people and her homeland of Austria from the Nazis.

As I thought about how going through a time of need or even tragedy prompted these inventors to take the time to work toward a solution to their problem, I was reminded that this is the exact way that God uses difficulties in our own lives. When one becomes a Christian, this does not mean that life all of a sudden becomes easy. In fact, the Bible tells us to expect trials and suffering. A couple of verses reinforce this very idea, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3); “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings” (I Peter 4); “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8).

When we go through difficult times, we are drawn to God as our source of strength. Just as Lamarr and Morse used their times of grief to want to find an answer, so we, too, can use our times of struggle to look to God for answers. He has promised us that “for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8). God has a purpose for everything that happens during our lives. He uses trials to teach us patience, so that we will become more and more like Him.

I’m sure glad that He is in control and that He knows exactly what I need, when I need it. This weekend, I encourage you to think about what God might be trying to teach you, whether you are going through a difficult time or a time of relative peace. Remember, God is working in us “to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2).

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

I Wonder?

This year in elementary chapel we have been going through seven intellectual virtues that describe what it means to have intellectual character. The school setting is the perfect place to define, explain, and then acknowledge when our students exhibit these qualities. So far we have covered courage, carefulness, tenacity, fair-mindedness, honesty, and humility. Our last characteristic is curiosity.

I volunteered to speak about this one, for I was a very curious child. When I first encountered a classmate who couldn’t speak English, I was intrigued, for I couldn’t figure out why his name was spelled with a J (José) when it was pronounced like an H. When I learned that not all number systems are created using Base Ten, I went out and created my own number system. When I was in sixth grade, we had a separate science teacher for the first time. He had us collect little bottles and regular household ingredients to make a sort of homemade chemistry set. We then set about mixing certain ones together to see what would happen. I loved making different colors or setting off a chemical reaction that gave off smoke. Why did these thing happen?

Maybe you demonstrated this quality or have a child that drives you nuts with all of his “why” questions. Curiosity can be defined as inquisitiveness. It’s the desire to learn about things by asking questions. It includes investigating and exploring in order to find answers. Scientists tend to be naturally curious, for they want an explanation for things and wonder what would happen if something changed. Without curiosity, we wouldn’t even have the field of science. Many people think that many of the early scientists didn’t believe in God, but were looking for an explanation for things in the natural world. My understanding is that there were many Christians who took to the study of science because they wanted to better understand God’s creation.

There is a US TV show called The Big Bang Theory that is about a group of physicists and an engineer who are brilliant academically but lack in social understanding. One of the main characters, Sheldon, is a self-proclaimed atheist. There is a spin-off show that shows Sheldon growing up. In one episode, a young girl dies, and Sheldon’s mother, who is a strong Christian, finds herself questioning God and why this could happen. She is sitting outside on the front porch looking up at the stars wondering if there really is a loving God out there, when her young son interrupts her thoughts. He turns to logic to help her with this crisis of faith. He asks her, “Did you know that if gravity were slightly more powerful that the universe would collapse into a ball? And if gravity were slightly less powerful, then the universe would fly apart, and there would be no stars or planets? It’s just that gravity is precisely as strong as it needs to be. And if the ratio of the electromagnetic force to the strong force wasn’t 1%, life wouldn’t even exist? What are the odds of that happening all by itself?” His mother explains that she didn’t need logic for what she was struggling with. Her problem was in her heart, not her head. Sheldon replies with “There are five billion people on this planet, and you’re the perfect mom for me. What are the odds of that?” His mother finally got it. Nothing in life happens by chance. It is all orchestrated by a Sovereign God who loves and cares for us.

I am so glad that God created us as curious people. Without curiosity, we wouldn’t have any of the inventions that we have today like the telephone, the computer, vaccinations, or even eyeglasses. Man wouldn’t have invented the printing press that brought the Word of God to everyone in his or her own language. Curiosity – I encourage you to keep searching for mystery and asking those tough questions, not being satisfied with easy answers. And I especially encourage you to never lose the innocent curiosity that we had as children that brings about such joy when we discover a new truth about God and His creation. Have a great weekend exploring!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

New Building Ideas

New Building Ideas

After we announced the purchase of the new property to the school community, the first thing that I did was to go to the students to hear their ideas about what we should try to include in the project. I was super impressed with the practicality of their responses.

The Middle School students asked for a bigger field and a gym with showers. They asked if we could separate the elementary and secondary students, with a bigger play area for secondary. They wanted larger art and music rooms and a larger nurse’s office. They requested a parking lot so you parents aren’t all congested out on the street when picking them up. Outside they’d love a swimming pool and a track.

The High School students’ comments were similar. They asked for a gym and more classrooms, with a stage that could be in the gym or in an auditorium. They requested changing rooms backstage and a nicer weight room. They advocated for more science labs and an outdoor eating area. And don’t forget the pool! When I asked if we could do either a soccer field or a pool, they unanimously opted for the soccer field.

The next meeting was with the school board, administration, and parents. Their comments were also very similar. The first request was for a nice library. One parent mentioned the acoustics in the drama space, and another asked for an industrial kitchen. A drop-off area was brought up with an area for green space. We talked about the potential of expanding our kindergarten offerings to younger children. There were several younger children there. They liked the idea of a garden where they could grow vegetables and a pool!

One parent asked about the school’s plans for increasing tuition. We assured her that the school board has a policy for the percentage that tuition can increase each year. I mentioned that we are planning on the increase in enrollment to help cover the additional costs and that our Tuition Waiver Fund would continue to help families who demonstrate financial need to be able to send their kids to ICSV. The school wants to grow so that it can educate more students in the same caring environment that we enjoy today.

If you were unable to attend the parent meeting, please feel free to send your ideas to the school at office@icsv.at. If you have a background in designing schools or have seen a school that you think we should look at, be sure to contact us. We are in the very early stage of planning what we want, so there is plenty of room to throw out those big dream ideas at this point. Enjoy the journey with us as we watch what God is able to do here in Vienna!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.
Director