There are numerous opportunities for students to be involved in the sports programs at ACS, including soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, golf, and cheerleading. Students are challenged to develop their talents and their character as they learn from coaches who stress Christ-honoring sportsmanship.
The “Finishing Philosophy,” which embodies the central truth expressed in 1 Corinthians 10:31 (Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God), is at the heart of the sports program. With multiple state championship titles and numerous sportsmanship awards, the ACS Warriors are widely regarded as formidable opponents who play with character and respect.
Coaching in Action
Jerry Bailey has been on staff at ACS since 1997. He’s the varsity boys basketball coach. He also teaches 7th grade Bible, Gym and Shop class.
It’s a Tuesday afternoon, and he’s standing courtside during an ACS gym class. The squeak of sneakers echoes off the bright red, white, and blue painted walls as two teams of high school boys dressed in navy and white PE duds dodge and weave around the court. There are two green industrial trash cans stationed at opposite ends of the courts near the foul line.
“It’s called handball,” Mr. Bailey says, whistle in mouth. His eyes are fixed on the action. “It’s like soccer with your hands. You’ve got to hit the trash can with the ball, but you can only hang onto the ball for five seconds. The guys love it. It’s intense.”
And it’s obvious he’s right. The pace is relentless. There are about twenty guys on the floor sharing one ball. The goal tenders seem to be glued to the trash cans, protecting the prize from a barrage of offensive attacks. There’s plenty of teamwork, plenty of running, and a healthy dose of good-natured ribbing among the players as the score draws level.
Then the bell rings, signaling the end of the PE period. Mr. Bailey blows the whistle and the sprinting digresses to doubled-over hands-on-knees as the Warriors slow down for the first time in half an hour.
“Get changed and don’t be late,” Mr. Bailey calls out. “Good job today!”
The class is over and Bailey chats a bit with a few of the stragglers. His genuine interest in each kid is hard to miss, whether he’s helping a stand-out basketball player improve foul shot percentage or inquiring about home life with a 7th grader.
It doesn’t matter if he’s teaching a Bible class or doing a devotional before a game, Mr. Bailey stresses the importance of integrating spiritual principles into all aspects of education.
“My goal is to teach these kids life lessons through games and practices,” Mr. Bailey said. He often challenges the kids to think about where they’ll be in 5 years. Then tack on 5 more years. How will the decisions they make now affect them down the road?
“We teach them about setting goals, being resilient, being disciplined,” he said. “We’re not just reading verses, but we want them to think about how this fits into their Christian walk. I want them to think about how this principle applies to everything they do. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don’t,” he said. “For some it takes longer than others, but at least they’ve heard it.”
But Mr. Bailey is more than a coach and Bible teacher. He is a parent who has had his own children graduated from ACS.
“I believe that every Christian parent has to make a decision about their children’s education – what philosophy do you want influencing your kids 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months per year? They’re going to be persuaded against the very things I want them to know. Either I’m teaching, or they’re being taught. The alternative is letting my kid sit in a classroom where they’re being fed humanism through evolution.” Mr. Bailey admits that even in a Christian school negative elements can exist, but the fundamental philosophy behind the education is in line with what he wants for his children.
“It’s my privilege to teach and coach here,” he said. “I love it.”
(Click here to learn more about A Place to Grow.)