1/29/2020 – On Friday, January 24th, the Senior Class of 2020 from Covenant Christian Academy presented a check for $7,000 to local Peabody based charity “Ella’s Army.” The check represented a years…
1/29/2020 - On Friday, January 24th, the Senior Class of 2020 from Covenant Christian Academy presented a check for $7,000 to local Peabody based charity “Ella’s Army.” The check represented a years worth of work by the class. The students partnered with Ella’s Army early in their junior year and have been raising money for the charity ever since. Ella’s Army is a 501(c)3 Peabody based charity run by Dennis and Erin O’Donnell. The O’Donnell’s lost their beautiful daughter Ella Jade O’Donnell in 2016 at the age of 10, after a courageous 11-month battle with brain cancer. Ella was a dancer, an inspiration to those around her and a tenacious fighter against the brain cancer that eventually took her young life. The O’Donnells expressed that this $7,000 gift is one of the largest single gifts the charity has ever received.
During the presentation ceremony Pedro Tameirao, a member of the class of 2020 who was instrumental in organizing the fundraising efforts for his class, reflected how moved the entire senior class was by Ella’s story and by her parents commitment to come alongside other families that might be facing a similar diagnosis. “We learned that the research efforts supporting pediatric cancers are tremendously underfunded compared to other cancers. We knew as a class that this was something we wanted to be a part of.”
How did this fundraising effort begin? Each spring at Covenant Christian Academy, students in grades 7 -12 have the opportunity to travel with their classmates on an Academically focused trip that aligns with specific curriculum goals (called Academic Travel Week). It allows students to experience the world outside the four walls of the school, the living classroom all around them. This past Spring, while other classes visited the Battlefield at Gettysburg, explored Quebec, and did Marine Biology Science Labs on the Chesapeake Bay, the Junior Class did something different. Each year the Junior Class is asked to take on a challenge – to come up with a “hard thing” that will take great effort to accomplish – and use it as an opportunity to raise money to fund a charity of their choice. The Juniors at CCA decided early in the school year that they wanted to support the efforts of Ella’s Army. The trip they decided on was a feat of physical and mental endurance. Over the course of six days, they canoed down the Saco River in Maine, and then biked across 75 miles of Massachusetts, camping all along the way. They raised pledges from family and friends in support of the trip, and also organized numerous fundraisers at school.
“This trip was really a test of our endurance, both mentally and physically,” Pedro Tameirao shared with the audience. “Not only were we pushed to our physical limits with the canoeing and biking, we also had to endure things like an early spring attack by mosquitos in the woods of Maine and an overnight rainstorm that flooded a few of our tents. Even though our muscles hurt, and we were itchy and wet and exhausted, we never lost site of our goal. We encouraged each other to keep going for Ella.”
Mr. Michael Curtis, the Dean of Students at Covenant Christian Academy explained that “There are really two goals we’re hoping to accomplish with this experience for our students - first, before they graduate and go off to college, we think there is tremendous value for them to be given the opportunity to physically accomplish something together that they may not have thought they were capable of. Secondly, we want our students to have the opportunity to personally serve a cause they are passionate about. It allows them to develop a real understanding of what it looks like to serve others.”
With the help of teachers John McShane, Andrew Hoover and Richelle Denman-Joseph, students explored a variety of locations and routes. Rail trails provided an almost continuous path for the biking stretch. “This was quite a distance and a difficult goal,” said John McShane, a science teacher and junior class advisor at Covenant. “It’s great to see students willing to struggle through this and experience some discomfort along the way in the pursuit of serving others.”
Ella’s Army is hosting its 3rd Annual Night to Remember on Saturday, March 28th from 7:00 to 11:00pm at the Holy Ghost Society in Peabody. All proceeds from the event will go towards supporting families that are affected by pediatric cancer, and research. More information can be found on the Ella’s Army Facebook page. (https://www.facebook.com/prayforellaodonnell/)
12/12/2018 – Covenant’s Logic School Lego Robotics Team turned in an outstanding performance at the “Raiders Rumble” FIRST Lego League Robotics Tournament this past Saturday at Melrose Middle School….
12/12/2018 - Covenant's Logic School Lego Robotics Team turned in an outstanding performance at the "Raiders Rumble" FIRST Lego League Robotics Tournament this past Saturday at Melrose Middle School. In a field of 26 teams from all over Eastern Massachusetts, the Cougars walked away with the top prize for Research. This highly competitive award is a testament to the teams hard work over the past 3 months on the Innovative Research Project portion of the competition.
One of only nine awards given at the conclusion of the tournament, the Research Award "...recognizes a team that utilizes diverse resources to formulate an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the problem they have identified." The Cougars were asked to identify and solve a human problem that may be encountered during future long term space travel missions.
The Problem they identified was that Astronauts on long term space missions miss the familiar sights and smells at home. And while NASA allows astronauts to video-conference with their families, they do not allow the introduction of any smells to the space craft because there is no way to "air it out". Smells can become overpowering and toxic in air sealed spaces.
The team's solution, called their Big Idea, is a smell stimulator which works paired with a virtual reality headset and offers smells that were familiar to astronauts on Earth. The smell stimulator, which they named the Smell-O-Tronic 9000, extracts different combinations of chemicals and combines them to get a large range of smells for the astronauts; BBQ, pine, grass, ocean, and many more. The smell stimulator is designed to cover the nose only with a vacuum seal, to keep it airtight and the smells contained. The two tanks are made of carbon fiber and worn on the back. At the end of the simulation the gases that were released into the nasal chamber are sucked back out into the waste tank, preventing any unwanted smells from being introduced to the space craft living quarters.
After being identified as a Top Ten Project Team, the Cougars were invited to present their project on stage in front of the hundreds of people in attendance at the tournament.
The team also experienced great success in the completely autonomous Robot Game. The team received high praise from the judges for their sturdy and reliable robot design and for the intricate gearing system that controlled the arm extension. The team has a tradition of naming it's robot after a favorite teacher each year, and this year it was "The Joseph" after their Latin Teacher, Ms. Joseph. They paid homage to Ms. Joseph in a humorous way by placing a lego pony-tail hair piece on the top of their robot. The judges, and many others, thought this was both touching and hilarious.
Congrats to eighth graders Danni Lynn, AJ Hofeldt, Ezra Kline, and seventh graders Willem Hofeldt, Ian Pang and Dylan Curtis for representing CCA so excellently at the tournament and for bringing home this prestigious award!
12/2/2018 – This past Wednesday in Chapel, Mr. Lawrenz (left) invited two fellows from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) to campus to share their testimonies and in the process to debunk…
12/2/2018 - This past Wednesday in Chapel, Mr. Lawrenz (left) invited two fellows from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) to campus to share their testimonies and in the process to debunk two cultural myths that are prevalent in our secular society. Louis Phillips (center) and Will Tant (right) each spoke for about ten minutes and shared ways that God broke through and changed their lives. Later our students had a opportunity to ask questions of the speakers for the remaining time in chapel.
Louis Phillips addressed the myth “You are only as valuable as what you do as a career or what you accomplish.” He spoke about his own desire to go to a great medical school and become a doctor. Though he got into a great medical school he called them and turned down the offer. God had put a strong call on his life to serve Him another way. Louis learned, of course, that God values us infinitely because we bear his image and Jesus died for us. It is about who we are in God’s eyes and not what we do for him or how much we accomplish.
Will Tant tackled the cultural myth that “Your true meaning is found in following the desires of your heart.” He told the story of becoming a pro surfer and surfing all over the world for money and fame, but then he was diagnosed with a heart condition that meant he had to leave his surfing career or risk dying. This caused a crisis of identity in his life, but throughout all he met Jesus Christ and realized that God had a tremendous plan for him that differed from what he always desired. Will went on to get degrees from Columbia University (NY) and Oxford University (England) and the Lord has used his gifts in a very different way than when he was a surfer.
I appreciated the nuanced perspective that both Louis and Will provided on the questions of hearing the voice of God and the challenge of obedience. Louis was quick to say that being a doctor can be a very good thing, there is nothing wrong with that. But it should not become an “idol” or something we place above God in our affections. It should not be the thing that gives us value. In like manner, Will said that following our desires at times can be positive; good things can come of that. But we should not become slave to our desires and follow them as a ultimate thing.
It was clear that this unique chapel time captured the attention of our students and got them thinking. It may be possible for Louis and Will to return later in the school year and I will be eager to see how the stories they told and the challenges they presented to our students have borne fruit.
by Mr. David Church, Principal of the Upper School of Logic and Rhetoric
11/22/2018 – Dr. Richard F. Gross, who served on Covenant Christian Academy’s Board of Directors for 16 years, including five as Board Chair, passed away November 21st, following complications from mu…
11/22/2018 - Dr. Richard F. Gross, who served on Covenant Christian Academy’s Board of Directors for 16 years, including five as Board Chair, passed away November 21st, following complications from multiple strokes. He was 87.
“It is most appropriate to recognize that without Dick Gross, Covenant Christian Academy would not be the school it is today,” said Covenant’s Head of School Mrs. Andrea Bergstrom. “His personal investment of time, resources, and passion inspired us to envision the vibrant growing school we are today. Dick was a kind and impactful mentor to Dr. Tom Stoner, our first Head of School and I recognize that the wisdom and skill passed down from Dick, through Tom, to me has enabled us to carry forward their collective dream. I consider it a blessing and a privilege to have known Dick and I am thankful for the impact he had on the countless CCA lives he touched. We will miss Dick’s presence in our lives and his constant encouragement and support, yet we know that there is a homecoming celebration in Heaven for a life lived extraordinarily well. ”
Dr. Gross joined the Board of Directors of Covenant Christian Academy in April of 2002, under the leadership of then Chairman Bob Gough. Covenant, a Kindergarten through Grade 8 school at the time, had just completed a strategic plan with particular emphasis on fiscal stability and fiscal sustainability. Pulling from his many years of experience in educational leadership, Dick contributed greatly towards the establishment of a more realistic and sustainable tuition policy, pushed for salary and benefit increases for faculty and staff, and spent considerable time and effort towards the establishment of a high school.
Dick joined the Board of Directors during a time of transition that saw a group of parents leave to start another Christian school. The resulting drop in enrollment presented immediate challenges for the institution, and Dr. Gross played a critical role in navigating Covenant’s emergence through this period. During this transition, he continually encouraged the administration that even though the drop in enrollment made
them smaller, they should use the opportunity to focus on bringing excellence to everything they
did. Dick’s thoughtful leadership through this challenge was crucial to building the outstanding reputation for a high quality classical education, and the deep sense of community, that are the hallmarks of Covenant today.
Dr. Gross was born in Chicago and attended Wheaton College, where he earned an A.B. degree in Economics and Business. He went on to earn a M.A. degree in Counseling and Guidance from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Michigan State University. “My undergraduate years at Wheaton College were life changing,” Dick said in the spring of 2011. “It made me a believer in the power of Christian education. The longer I have been involved in it, the stronger my commitment has become.” Over a 40-year career, Dick served as an Assistant Dean, Dean of Students, Dean of Faculty and College President at three different institutions - Wheaton College, Michigan State University and Gordon College. He served as President at Gordon College for 17 years, during which time he was named one of the 100 most effective college presidents in the United States.
After retiring in 1992 from the Gordon College presidency, Dick served as President of the Gordon College Foundation. He remained active in educational leadership as a Board member of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund and he served on Covenant Christian Academy’s Board of Directors actively for 8 years, including 5 years as Chairman. He was then granted the title Director Emeritus, and remained a loyal friend of the school until the end.
Dick had a vision for a thriving Christian high school on the Northshore of Boston since beginning his tenure at Gordon College over 40 years ago. Covenant’s inaugural commencement ceremony for the Class of 2010 represented the fulfillment of this vision. Dr. Gross was the chosen commencement speaker for the historic day and in his address he challenged the graduates to consider the fact that the road to personal happiness was not based on collegiate success, or financial gain, but “in laying down your lives for the sake of Christ and the gospel.”
Dick was the proud grandfather to three Covenant alumni: Jordan ‘11, Moriah ‘12, and Toby Gross ‘16. “I simply believe in the life-shaping quality of the education at Covenant. I believe in it for my grand children, and I believe in it for the growing number of families that want the same for their children and grandchildren.”
Seated L to R: Moriah (Gross) John '12, Dr. Richard F. Gross, wife Jody;
Back: Jordan '11, Tyler, Toby '16, Sue
5/16/2017 – “One ball for 20 kids? Well that’s not the best way to get these kids excited about sport….” Twenty years ago Kathy Azadian stood on the small basketball court outside of the Beverly cam…
5/16/2017 - “One ball for 20 kids? Well that’s not the best way to get these kids excited about sport....” Twenty years ago Kathy Azadian stood on the small basketball court outside of the Beverly campus of Covenant Christian School, offering PE advice to a volunteer pastor filling in as gym teacher for her five year old daughter. It was her generous nature and passion for athletics that lead Kathy to offer suggestions that day, wanting to see all the kids involved, moving, and using their bodies. Two years later, Kathy joined CCA’s faculty and quickly became an integral part of the growth and success of the Academy over the next 18 years.
What people often notice first about Kathy is her radiant smile and infectious joy, and it is obvious that these are gifts given to her from her creator. She is just plain fun to be around and the joy that she radiates is contagious. These are among the many qualities that have made Kathy such an effective teacher, mentor, coach, Athletic Director and Dean of Students. No matter what role Kathy has been asked to play, she has done it excellently, whether it’s supporting colleagues and the administration, or bringing the fun to Upper School student activities.
Twelve years ago Kathy was tasked with creating a competitive athletic program for our growing middle and high school programs. And while Kathy had never been an Athletic Director before, she jumped in and got to work. Networking and building relationships with other area Athletic Directors came naturally, and Kathy listened and received good advice from veterans at schools like Landmark and Pingree. It wasn’t always smooth, and there were some mismatched games along the way, but after a few years, the result was a successful and growing athletic department competing as a part of NEPSAC and fielding 13 teams each year. Then came entry into the MBIL and GIL leagues and the string of soccer, basketball and softball championships that followed. In her tenth year as Athletic Director, all four basketball teams gave her a very sweet gift...four championship wins all on the same day.
Kathy is always eager to talk about the amazing coaches she’s had the opportunity to work with over the years. Looking at a list of over 35 names, she reflected that it has brought her great joy to find coaches that love their sport, love the Lord, and know how to teach students well. She has enjoyed watching these coaches celebrate the big wins with students, but also loves seeing them mentor kids through a tough loss, and teach them how to deal with pain and disappointment. Kathy lights up when talking about students achieving something they didn’t think they could do. “It’s just awesome to see the expression on a player’s face when they do something they didn’t know they could do, but their coach believed in them, coached them, and then they crack that huge smile...pure joy! It’s just so fun to witness!”
Kathy, leading by example, has established a culture within the athletic department that is not the cultural norm these days. “We love our opponents!” she is quick to say. “Without them, we wouldn’t have a game.” As much as Cougar athletic teams love to win and play excellently, Kathy and her coaches have always been more concerned with her students’ integrity on and off the court. “Attitude matters. We play hard, and sport can bring so much joy, but never at the expense of an opponent.”
“Having known Kathy for 20 years, I have the utmost respect and deep appreciation for the dynamic leader, wise counselor, experienced mentor and dear friend that she has been to countless administrators, faculty members, coaches, parents and students. CCA owes a great debt of gratitude to Kathy for her many contributions over so many years as she has selflessly given of her time, talent and treasure for the sake of this great place called CCA that we all love.”
-Vicki Best, Property Manager & Softball Coach
As Dean of Students, Kathy has been a trusted adult mentor and has been instrumental in the emotional and spiritual growth of CCA students. She listens well and is purposeful in her interactions with students, helping guide them through what can often be confusing and turbulent years in their development. She has worked with students to develop their leadership abilities and challenged them to reach further than they thought was possible. “I chose CCA for my girls because it most resembled our home environment. Teachers reinforced the same biblical truths I was teaching them at home.” And this is something that Kathy has continued to do as Dean of Students.
“It has been a real privilege to witness the growth of so many students in every way, particularly in their confidence and in their love for one another. Over the years I feel like I have had the chance to see the best of these students everyday at school. Sitting ringside to adolescent growth has been totally entertaining...I’ve laughed with students and I’ve cried over students. They’ve taught me things and hopefully I’ve taught them a few as well. But nothing has been more special to me than our Wednesday morning Chapel services. There is a oneness that spans the whole community, bridging age differences, bringing us together as one body worshiping our Savior and Lord.”
After a period of prayerful consideration, Kathy decided earlier this year that it is time for her to close this chapter in her career and make room for what the Lord calls her to next. We have all been blessed by her tireless efforts here at CCA and in the way she has faithfully spoken the truth of Christ into the lives of hundreds of students with love, humor, and humility. While we are sad to loose Kathy as a colleague, we know she will remain a friend and a fan of CCA in the years to come. Thank you Kathy for all your years of service to the CCA community. You will be missed!
The entire CCA Community, Alumni, and Friends of CCA are invited to join us for a "Thank You!" reception for Kathy Azadian, Friday, June 2nd beginning at 2:45pm in the cafeteria. We hope you will join us.
2/4/2018 – We live in an age of singing praise choruses. These are wonderful worship songs that form the backbone of our weekly chapel services at CCA. But sometimes the old hymns say it better that a…
2/4/2018 - We live in an age of singing praise choruses. These are wonderful worship songs that form the backbone of our weekly chapel services at CCA. But sometimes the old hymns say it better that anything else can. William Arthur Dunkerley (12 November 1852 - 23 January 1941) who went by the pen name John Oxenham, penned this hymn. It is based on theverse Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
In Christ There Is No East Or West
In Christ there is no East or West, In Him no South or North; But one great fellowship of love Throughout the whole wide earth. In Him shall true hearts everywhere Their high communion find; His service is the golden cord, Close binding humankind. Join hands, then, members of the faith, Whatever your race may be! Who serves my Father as His child Is surely kin to me. In Christ now meet both East and West, In Him meet North and South; All Christly souls are one in Him Throughout the whole wide earth.
This was on beautiful display in the CCA gym Friday night as peoples from many different heritages and ethnicities gathered at our third annual International Festival to celebrate our God-given diversity and also our God-given unity. Hundreds from the CCA family came out to celebrate the food, culture, musical and dance performances from places as varied as Brazil, China, Italy, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Greece, Germany, France, India, and Philippines.
Global Community Prefect, Kevin, Zhao, organized a great event complete with a “passport” for students to take to each table and get stamps. The passport was creatively designed by math teacher Robin Lawrenz. Kevin also had a map where people could indicate with a marker where they were from. There was also a puzzle with numbered pieces and people were encouraged to “put in a piece” to help complete the puzzle by theend of the evening. What a beautiful symbol of the mosaic of unity that we form at CCA than a completed puzzle of a world map.
The performance time was hosted by Global Community committee members Jordan Ann Sperounis (12) and Adam Farris (10). Some of the highlights included Jimmy Yanplaying a Chinese one-stringed instrument and Jason Li singing a Chinese song in a passionate pop style. There was Irish step dancing and Italian accordion playing and and Nigerian alphabet song in the Yoruba language. Freshman Hannah Goncalves sang theworship song, “What a Beautiful Name It Is” in Portuguese; Brianna Benkley opened theevening with “America the Beautiful.” It was a beautiful evening indeed.
In a time when racial tensions seem to be on the rise in our nation, it was gratifying to see a school community come together in the name of Christ and celebrate the beauty of our diversity and the strength of our unity. It’s good to remember and embrace the fact that in Christ there is no East or West — but one worldwide fellowship of believers. What a great message that is to model for our children! There was a happy buzz throughout the gym, even at the close of the evening, as CCA families reconnected and enjoyed the delicious food and drink from around the world. It was a bright, colorful, warm festival on a cold winter night — hopefully it serve to remind us to “love our neighbor as ourselves” all year long. This is something CCA is doing better and more intentionally with each passing year. Thanks to all who participated and all who came to celebrate and experience theInternational Festival. We are a part of an amazing Christian family, aren’t we?
1/19/2018 – Family. Faith. Sacrifice. Leadership and talent has Covenant Christian ready for new challenges. These were the words the Salem News reporter chose to use to describe the dynamic Gi…
1/19/2018 - Family. Faith. Sacrifice. Leadership and talent has Covenant Christian ready for new challenges.
These were the words the Salem News reporter chose to use to describe the dynamic Girls Varisty Basketball Program here at Covenant. The Salem News did a beautiful feature on our program and the dedicated girls on team. Click the link below to read the full article on the Salem News website.
Salem News: Bounce Passes: Leadership and Talent has Covenant Christian Ready for New Challenges.
Originally published on January 19, 2018.