At the beginning of another school year, new members of the teaching staff are introduced at Westminster. One of the new hires this year is Mrs. Perez. She teaches Spanish to the ninth through twelfth graders. Mrs. Perez was born here in Birmingham and is the oldest of the four kids in her family. She attended Auburn University where she majored in communication disorders (speech therapy) and Spanish. After graduating college she became an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in Mexico City, Mexico for two years. It was during her time in Mexico that she met her future husband, and they now have an eleventh-month-old daughter named Sofia. This is Mrs. Perez’s first year teaching, though she has substituted on occasion at Homewood High School. Mrs. Perez’s love for Spanish, and more importantly her desire to aid students in their understanding of the language, are evident in her teaching. Mrs. Perez is a wonderful new addition to the Westminster community, and we are thankful for the passion she has for teaching.
Monthly Archives: October 2016
New Orleans. A city famous for its food, music, and culture. Yet also a place where darkness is evident. Walking through the French Quarter in the heat of late June, my friends and I were appalled when we spotted children’s books featuring a voodoo doll as the protagonist. The street performers and artists were captivating, but one could not ignore the number of homeless people along the streets.
This summer my high school church choir volunteered to work in neighborhoods around New Orleans, picking up trash, prayer-walking, and ministering to local kids. Even over ten years later, the scars of Hurricane Katrina are still visible. Some houses still stand empty and abandoned; others bear the spray-painted mark indicating they were searched by patrols after the disaster. New Orleans is still a place of brokenness.
Standing on the steps of Washington Artillery Park, the sun blazing down on our faces, our student choir sang the gospel to New Orleans. Some people walked right by. Others stopped to listen. People passing in cars rolled down their windows. Some spectators on the street videoed a song or two on their phones—and took the message home with them. As uncomfortable as we were in the sweltering humidity, joy bloomed in sharing the good news of Jesus with people who may never have heard it before.
As Christians we are called to be lights breaking through the darkness of our world; we can spread that light right where we are. The joy of bringing healing light to a place of brokenness is a fulfillment found no other way.
Since school let out in May, I kept telling myself I wanted to end summer on an exciting note. I wanted to do something I had never done before. However, the days flew by, and after a long and very normal summer, I found myself at a friend’s house downtown on my last summer night — a fun party, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Suddenly, I noticed that I was truly not feeling well. It was one of those moments when you can just tell you are about to throw up. I distanced myself from my friends in order not to gross them out when I hurled. Just a few minutes later, I am passed out on the grass facing up at the night stars. Even though my friends saw me lying down, they simply thought I was stargazing. I was not.
You know that feeling you get when your foot falls asleep? Well, to get an idea of my condition, multiply by ten and apply to the whole body. I began to hyperventilate and was going downhill fast when my friends finally came to check on me. Realizing that I was not actually stargazing and in fact needed help, they called 911.
After being hoisted into the ambulance, I started to think about my summer goal to do something I had never done before. This was not what I had in mind. Plus, my ride in the ambulance was not nearly as fun as I had always imagined it would be. I learned that I had had a panic attack, no doubt because junior year was just one day away.
Isn’t that just like school? Sends a man to the Emergency Room before the very first day of classes.