teachers blog

The Place That Really is a Haven of Peace

International Day 2016

Like the Olympics, Haven of Peace Academy does their own “Parade of Nations” for their annual International Day.  This year it was 39 nations represented.

This year, for the first time, we had a representative from the nation of Israel.  Everyone clapped and cheered, because as you can see, she was an especially beautiful little representative.

But what was incredibly ironic and wonderful about our little Israeli parade was that it came directly after our Iranian representatives, and directly before our Pakistani representatives, proudly marched around the circle.  And everyone cheered just as loudly for them.

In that way, it was like the Olympics, where everyone throws off their country-bound grievances against each other and cheers for what we have in common and for the beauty in our differences.  The difference is that the Olympics lasts just a few weeks, but at Haven of Peace Academy, it’s life.

The Israeli and the Iranian, the American and the Tanzanian, the Spaniard and the South Korean, the Christian and the Muslim–we all work and play and eat and learn side by side.  Sometimes this life together is tricky and it’s not without bumps and hurts.  But the staff–who are almost as diverse as the students–have made Jesus the center and the purpose, and in the end, most days, something incredibly beautiful is being created.

HOPAC is recruiting teachers for next year.  There are a lot of openings, both for elementary teachers and all sorts of middle and high school teachers.  But there’s also openings in administration, in the library, in communications…and we need a new chaplain, who is basically like our own youth pastor.  So we need lots of teachers, but also some non-teachers who love the vision of HOPAC.

If you could be one of those people, I wish I could sit down and tell you what a remarkable place HOPAC really is.  Not just because of our diversity, but because it is more than just a place to work–it is a community.  A community that has ridiculous fun together, a place where teacher’s toddlers roam the playground after school and are doted on by dozens of children, and where staff members are genuinely friends and genuinely love every student.

HOPAC is a school with high academic standards but yet looks out for the artistic, musical, physical, social, and spiritual development of children, and where a biblical worldview is infused into everything we do.  Where classrooms are enriched by deep conversations from diverse young people who want to wrestle with poverty and privilege and God.  It’s a place where learning how to serve is a priority, where every secondary student has weekly opportunities to go serve in the community, and where almost every day local disadvantaged school children are invited to use our facilities alongside us.

I can’t tell you how many teachers I’ve talked to, beleaguered by the politics and cynicism in other schools, who have told me, “I would have quit teaching if it wasn’t for HOPAC.” 

Maybe you’re feeling God’s call to leave this American mess.  So….want to join us?  I don’t know if you’ll ever find another school quite as wonderful.  Or as life-changing.