Hello, my name is Naomi Dueck and I am Nick’s mom. If you ask me later where he got his height from, I will tell you it is from eating all his vegetables!
I was asked to share some of my thoughts about RJC and some of the things I appreciate about the school. This is the second year that we have kids at the school. Last year Nick and his twin sister Claire attended, and this year Nick is on his own.
I remember sitting in this gym last year, at this exact event, being amazed to hear the students sing together so beautifully and being nervous and excited for my kids to begin this adventure of boarding school. My husband and I did not think, or plan, to send our kids here. However, after many discussions and thinking about where our kids could really thrive, we decided to propose the option of this school to our kids. We offered the choice to come to this school, to try something different, something new and they both accepted our offer. The final decision was made in the last week of summer before school was to begin. It was a race to figure out what they all would need to live in dorm and get dress code so they could start school in 1 week. We managed to get it all together and we pulled up to the school a week later and dropped our two kids off.
I recall some of our early conversations with Ryan Wood. He told us the school likes to keep their students busy. He said that if your child wants to get involved they can have something to do all the time. He told us the school is intentional about building community and connections within the student body. He shared about the time and attention students receive in class and about some of the neat options students had the chance to take.
He was right about all those things!! We have experienced and have seen how all of those statements are true.
Last year as the school year kicked into gear, things were moving at 120 mph. School started and so did sports teams, class retreats, school get-to-know-you events, school meals and of course classes. It all came flooding into our kids’ lives and it was wonderful.
The school calendar is full, very full, but allows for such amazing opportunities for students.
As parents that live 7 hours away, we had to decide that we were going to partner with this school to “parent” our kids. We decided we would work with the teachers, staff and deans to give our kids the best experiences here as was possible. I was, and still am, continually encouraged to see all the ways my kids were and are maturing and growing by being a part of this community. And all the ways they are encouraged and supported by the staff and teachers here. The level of care and attention they received makes it so much easier to leave them here when I am so far away.
Absolutely there were also hard times. Living in dorm is not always easy, and being so far away from home that going home on weekends is not an option, is not always easy either. Living in community in the dorms can have challenges and be frustrating. But those are also experiences that I have seen such growth in both my kids. The life lessons learned from living in community are things our students take with them into the next season of their life. They leave here having a greater understanding of how to be in this world with other people. Such an important life lesson.
One other thing that is greatly valued by my husband and I is the way this school is working to make faith part of every aspect of our kids’ lives. They encourage students to see how their faith is a part of all the decision they make, how they take care of the earth, their relationships, their own bodies. They learn that their faith is an active part of how they see themselves in the world and how they are to interact with the world in light of their faith.
I am thankful for the way this school has welcomed me into life here as well. When I show up on a weekend for a sporting event, or a concert, I am welcomed with open arms by teachers and students and parents of students. It has become a great community to be a part of for myself as well. I am excited to see how this year unfolds for Nick and the new and exciting things he will get to experience. Here is to a great year for everyone at RJC.