Submitted by Jon Sonbuchner:
There was a time when I did not do traffic duty at the intersection of Westminster Drive and the Preschool/Gym driveways on the Opelousas Campus. I used to think, "Boy, I am glad that I don't have that job!" That corner is always too hot or too cold or too wet. Now I have been doing this duty for over a decade. Thankfully the road is now paved, because it used to be dusty too! I have had some people regularly give me bottles of water, others have donated umbrellas to me on the days where I was "surprised" by rain. One year I got a Christmas gift from a thankful parent. I even made it on the radio one time as a DJ parent talked about the "Traffic Guy".
This year, however, has been different. About halfway through the year, during the rainy season a parent rolled down their window and yelled, "Your dedication does not go unnoticed!" I did not know his name, even as he did not know mine. But it was such an encouraging thing to say that I don't think I will ever forget it. Recently, I got a note with a gift certificate addressed to: "The Awesome Traffic Guy", The Card said, "Thank You! No matter what the weather is like, you're out here making sure traffic runs smoothly. We just wanted to say, 'Thanks a bunch!!!!' Paul, Pam & Connor.
So I, too, want to say thank you for your appreciation. Your expressed gratitude is a great encouragement to me. Even in the little things we do, such kindness can go a very long way, and your actions are a concrete example of the truth Christ proclaimed, "It is more blessed, to give than to receive." Thank You!
Computer Teacher/IT Director/Traffic Guy
Coach Standiford is our son's hero. Matthew loves to play basketball, but he is not very good at it. Last year he asked if he could be on the basketball team. My husband and I went to speak to Coach Standiford because we knew he would guide us in the right decision. Together, we talked about the pros and cons of having a socially awkward, physically unskilled player on the team. Coach inquired as to our overall goal of Matthew being on the team and then he led us in prayer, which is the most important thing of all in making a decision. As we prayed, a peace came over us that God would have His way.
Coach Standiford could have told us he did not have room on the team for Matthew or enough time in the season to improve his skill. He could have been overwhelmed with the thought of adding Matthew to the team, which already had freshmen and sophomores who had never played. However, that is not who Coach Grayson Standiford is! He accepted Matthew on the junior varsity basketball team.
Matthew loved the days when he and his friends, (he now has friends because of the team) had a game and could show what they had learned in practice. Matthew was accepted as a member of the team and was expected to work just as hard as everyone else. Coach Standiford did not cut him any slack. Although Matthew complained about running during practice, as others did, he absolutely loved it! His social skills grew. His confidence grew. My husband and I saw growth and maturity at home as well.
Through a very difficult season, Coach Standiford kept his team positive and focused. Matthew did not become the world's greatest basketball player, or the best JV player, but he did become part of the team. That is the gift Coach Standiford gave to our son. For once, Matthew was just like everyone else. Some people might think that is no big deal because they want to be better than the average Joe. For some that is an achievable goal, but for our son being like everyone else has always seemed like an unreachable goal. Coach Standiford gave that opportunity to him this year. All of our Westminster family celebrated when Matthew made a free throw basket that tied the score in the last game of the season. No one celebrated more than Coach Standiford!
Coach Standiford nurtures and coaches Matthew on and off the court. His care and interest doesn't stop at the gym doors. He supports us, as parents, and has often stepped in when Matthew is having a rough day and seems overwhelmed. Coach is more than a coach to my son; he is his friend. Although, Coach is quick to tell Matthew, "I am not your friend," he cannot get Matthew to believe it. To Matthew he is both Coach and friend.Coach Standiford has done the same thing for hundreds of young men as they have progressed through Westminster. We are so blessed to have him here. He is raising up real men of God who are compassionate and caring of others. His emails always end with "One duck doesn't make a row!" While that is true, it takes a good leader to get the ducks in the right line. Coach Standiford is that kind of leader. Thank you so much!
My daughter came home from school and shared the following with me. My daughter and her friends found a letter a classmate had written. I know God placed it where they would find it. In the letter a young girl wrote that she was not good enough to have friends, that she was stupid, ugly, and worthless. My daughter and her friends knew these were lies the enemy was telling her. They decided to cover her locker with encouraging notes rebuking those lies. They took each lie and spoke truth to her in those notes. It brightened up her day and they could see a real difference in her. They have taken her into their circle of friends.
Recently, the girls decorated her locker with sticky notes wishing her happy birthday. They threw confetti at her and gave her gifts they each had made. She told them she was really glad they were her friends and she appreciated what they had done. The look on her face was "thank you" enough.
My daughter said that it showed them that simply writing a little note or giving someone a hug could turn one's life around. Now she feels wanted, loved, and cared for by her friends. My daughter says God walked with them hand in hand to help them tackle this situation. She said she wonders what would have happened if they had not done anything. So, she says SMILE more, because we can literally turn someone's life around. WOW..."Thank You," God, and "Thank you," teachers for setting a GODLY example for our sons and daughters.
Long ago, we had a new student coming from Canada to Westminster. Our school was starting a football program, and he became our first quarterback. It was the day of our first big game against OC and that morning he cheated on a French recitation. His coach benched him and the entire school was upset and concerned to have lost their quarterback. I went to the game that night and made myself very small, because I felt very bad. Everyone came, including the Board members to thank me for doing the right thing. I was living by Bunkie at that time, which is far from school. This student showed up at my house one afternoon with flowers. He thanked me for his consequence and told me that he loved me. Many, many years have past and he still writes me sweet letters. He is now married and has 2 children and is a very successful businessman in Texas. I never forgot him and apparently he still loves me!