Canterbury’s Classic Men

“A successful father will produce a child greater than himself.” -Troy Vincent

Based on my five years as a Canterbury parent, I am touched by the fathers’ participation at the school. The definition of the word “classic” is “judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.” Canterbury fathers are indeed “classic.” They are engaged, involved and committed in helping shape the direction of the school and of their children’s lives.

When I was growing up my mother worked, attended PTA meetings and found time to chaperone field trips. I don’t recall a time, however, when my dad jumped for excitement to attend field trips or made himself available for parent meetings without being told “you need to go.”

In fact, growing up in the early 80’s, I don’t recall fathers overall volunteering as much as they do now. If I had never become a parent, I think my perception would have continued to be that women bear the sole responsibility of volunteering in schools. Things are different today, however; and Canterbury dads, in particular, seem very engaged. When I view the fathers at Back-to-School Night, Community Dinners, family picnics and committee participation, the men at Canterbury stand out.

Edmund Fitzgerald

Edmund Fitzgerald

Chip Bristol

Chip Bristol

Albert Som-Pimpong

Albert Som-Pimpong

Stanley Harrison

Stanley Harrison

Bob Buccini

Bob Buccini

I also am impressed by the male faculty at Canterbury. I see the school continuing to increase its numbers of male teachers and staff members, and they serve as wonderful role models for our children. Looking back, the first time I noticed a male teacher in my school was not until I was in 7th grade wood-working class. The presence of male teachers gives young males (and females) a new perspective in their education, and I am glad to see that times have changed.

Unlike Canterbury, many schools face the challenges of male participation in programs. Some seek out resources such as National Center for Fathering, All Pro Dad, PTA, National Fatherhood Initiative and The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. These organizations cite research supporting the idea that children perform better in school when their fathers are involved in the school community.

Canterbury School does a wonderful job bringing dads into the school community to enjoy quality time with their children. Father’s Chapel, Father’s Lunch, and the Father Daughter dance are just a few of the opportunities for engaging dads. This is one of the many things that makes Canterbury and its men outstanding — a “classic” example of the impact they can make at their children’s schools and in their children’s lives.

“We share the same values that Canterbury instills in our children. We do not have to worry when they are in school because it is the same message of inclusiveness and kindness that we want them to hear and perceive.” Bolaji Bakare

“What our children learn at Canterbury goes far beyond academics. They are taught self-confidence, empathy and inclusiveness. Led by loving and invested teachers, their character is shaped in a way that lines up perfectly with the intent Jane and I have in raising our children.” Billie Pope

“Canterbury develops the whole child, not just the academic side. Inclusiveness and growing spiritually are equally important. I also like the fact that the athletic teams have a  ‘no cut’ policy. Every child who wants to compete has the opportunity. These things allow for the development of a well-rounded individual.” Jim McKee
“I see my daughter coming into her own, and I have to think that the Canterbury motto of ‘To Learn, to Love, to Serve: to Live’ has become a part of who she is through every great teacher and every great experience she’s had.”  Kevin Spencer

natellNa’Tell  L. Miller is a Canterbury Parent to Natalya I. Jones (5th – Niegelsky). She values the nurturing environment Canterbury offers students along with the education. When time permits, she enjoys a quiet room watching ESPN Films: 30/30. 

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Chrismon: A New Canterbury Tradition

Parent volunteers had a vision for the Christmas tree in Phillips Chapel, and they have made that vision a reality for the second year in a row. Throughout the season of Advent, the tree will be adorned with chrisma handmade by students in 4th through 8th grade.

Chrismon comes from the Latin term meaning “monogram of Christ.” The plural is chrisma. Christian churches of various denominations will decorate trees in their sanctuaries featuring chrisma and white lights.

5th graders put together their chrismons.

5th graders put together their chrismons.

This year’s chrismon is the Greek cross made using wire, white and gold beads, and a lot of parental guidance. Each student receives a starter kit with the supplies, and parents are on hand to help with the creation of the chrismon.

Last year was the first time Canterbury students made chrisma for the Phillips Chapel tree under the guidance of Amy Kreimer, Alison Dodge, and Marty Keeton. A new Canterbury tradition was born! The goal is for students to make a new chrismon each year based on a different pattern.

“I hope it will continue for years to come,” Marty says.

This initiative is now led by the Altar Guild committee of the CPA. The chairs of the Altar Guild this year are Leigh Jones, Marty Keeton, and Becky Clodfelter. In addition to chrisma, Altar Guild is in charge of the holiday flower sale (a CPA fundraiser) and the annual greening of the chapel. Parents are encouraged to come the Sunday after Thanksgiving to help put fresh greenery cuttings in the chapel. The best cuttings are holly, nandina, magnolia, and evergreen branches of all kinds. Please come, bring whatever you have in your yard, and enjoy getting in the spirit with fellow parents.

Want to go to the annual greening of the chapel? Drop by on Sunday, Nov. 30th in Phillips Chapel from 2:30-5pm. 

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by Kelly McKee

mckee Kelly McKee is a freelance writer and community volunteer. She has three daughters and a very high golf handicap (these two facts are not unrelated).