The Madness and Poetry of Church Hill Academy

I am constantly somewhere between whelmed and overwhelmed
and yet I still make the 35-minute drive into Church Hill every day.

I am a Richmond transplant who was touched by the work at CHAT and never left. Here's what gets me up everyday.


I wake up every morning knowing that some of my students won't smile at me when I open the church doors. Some will be mad that I said Hello in such a happy tone. Some will be mad that I asked them to take off their headphones, drop their phones in the basket and to pull up their pants.


I will welcome each student with a funny saying, a quote of the day from Renee (English Teacher) or Jason (Spanish Teacher) and laugh as they try to figure out what it means.

Some students will be carrying projects for presentations like live house plants. Some students will have basketballs with the hope that they can play ball for 15 minutes during lunch. Some students will walk in and immediately begin asking for grace on assignments, asking if certain field trips are still happening or when a certain reward will be awarded. 


Our students have a wonderfully unique and yet predictable pulse.


The staff has already arrived 15 minutes prior. Somebody, probably Renee or Gina, has brought a snack for the staff

to munch on. Mallory has already listened to the morning

messages from parents and is planning out her day as a counselor. Dylan and Matt are reading the devotional. Somebody prays. Then as a staff, we've discussed some random student activity from the day before.


Ten minutes later, the students pour into the gym and most eat because I've continuously told them how important breakfast is and most just don't want to hear me saying, "Did you eat breakfast?"

The students separate into their groups and gossip or hurriedly finish their homework. The teachers all arrive in the gym. Then, led by a Senior, the morning meeting begins. Skip or Gina addresses the group.


Another Senior grabs my phone to take electronic attendance. And another Senior, in good academic standing, rings the first bell. The Seniors run the morning show.


The wonderful choreographed dance of people, food and information ends at 7:59 am and the madness and poetry that is Church Hill Academy has begun.

I love this school — the students, the staff and CHAT. 

Support stories like this and more at CHAT.
Click here to become one of Ken's supporters.