The king's subjectS
Reflections by the People of TKA
In 11th grade U.S. History, Ms. Rychen gave her students a "Choice Board" with nine different opportunities for researching the Civil War. Although there were no musical options, Denzel Chin asked if he could create his own song (a rap) explaining the Civil War, including key battles and people.
Now, whoever is out there ready to write Civil War - The Musical, you have your first big hit song! Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents, Denzel!
On August 5, 2020, about a dozen students and staff met to start work on my Boy Scout Eagle project, which is a project intended to help the community. My project was to create four different exercise structures (pull-up bars, two exercise benches, a low-rising platform for sit-ups, and a structure with a low and high platform with two bars for dip exercises) next to the track for P.E. classes, students, and staff members to use. I picked creating this exercise structure for my Eagle project because it was the perfect chance for me to give back to our school.
Roughly three weeks prior to the beginning of my project, the school had removed three large redwood trees right next to the track around Kellogg Field. Coincidentally, this was the exact location we decided to use for constructing the exercise structure.
Redwood trees have an extensive root network that runs several feet underground, connecting and intertwining the tree roots so that the trees will not fall over. When these trees were removed, it was impossible to remove the roots that were underground as well.
Since my project required a lot of digging (we dug two dozen holes about two to three feet deep), we quickly realized the roots were a major problem. We were hoping shovels could break through the roots, but imagine trying to cut down a tree using a shovel. The roots were pretty much everywhere and refused to budge! After spending dozens of hours trying to pierce through the roots, with little luck, we decided to rent a stump grinder. A stump grinder is a huge circular electric saw that vertically grinds through roots like a slab of butter. However, the only problem was that the blade of the saw only goes down about a foot deep. We still had a couple of feet left to go with no options on how to proceed.
Instead of giving up, we managed to gather some help. We learned that the smaller roots could be removed using a digging bar (a twenty-pound heavy tool) so we started hacking away. For the larger roots, our only choice was to hack at them for hours with the digging bar and hope to make progress. For some holes, it took up to five or six hours just to get another foot deep!
After about a hundred hours of combined digging, we managed to finish all the holes, and we also installed the wooden poles as well. After a few final steps, we will hopefully be done soon. I had never imagined this project would take several months to complete, but I haven’t regretted a minute of it. I’m glad that I’ve been able to give back to my amazing school!
Without the help of my fellow Troop 103 Scouts, various staff members, family members, and some of my friends, this project would have never been possible! Thank you to all of the Knights who came out as well to help me with my project (some of you may know Jesse McIntyre, Joshua Taylor, Joshua Ching, Benjamin Yi, Kayden Stern, and Angelin Tharp).
And finally, a very special thank you to Mr. Nisbet, who has been my project coach and has put an incredible amount of time, energy, and passion into supporting my project and encouraging us along the way.
-Devan Choksi, Sophomore, Class of 2023
Epilogue by Matt Nisbet, Director of Operations
Devan’s Eagle Scout project is one of the most formidable and functional on the TKA campus in recent memory. Plus, it has the serendipitous distinction of meeting the needs of our time. As concerns linger over exercising at indoor locations, Devan’s project allows for individuals and small groups to exercise safely outdoors. This is true, not only for this current pandemic season, but because of the durability with which the structures were built, this will ensure they can be utilized by P.E. classes, TKA athletic teams, staff workout groups, or individual students or staff members for many years to come. What a blessing to be equipped with another way to fulfill Christ’s admonition to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength!
In 2017, I launched a club at TKA known as United2Care to help spread hand sanitation awareness to rural communities around the world. So far, we've done several projects in India and Kenya, spreading our message and have grown to be a 501(c)3 nonprofit. We were planning many more projects through TKA service trips in the spring, but most of our plans were canceled due to COVID-19.
Instead, we decided to launch the STOP COVID19 AT HOME project (partnering with another local nonprofit, MiOra Connection) and offer an array of other projects this summer.
United2Care's STOP COVID19 AT HOME project revolves around building and distributing COVID-19 prevention kits across the Bay area to testing sites. Each kit includes the following:
- Two adjustable clear face shields
- 10 FDA surgical masks
- a portable curtain
- a fillable contact tracer sheet with a link to the Department of Health contact tracing resources
- a multi-language COVID-19 infographic for home display
- CPR kits
So far, we've distributed over 60 kits, with over 1,000 contents valued at around $2,500, to Oakland at Risk and Valley Medical Foundation, impacting over 1,500 people. We still plan on expanding our project with MiOra this school year and hope to launch it on a national level. We have fundraised over $5,000 through gofundme and are currently looking for company sponsorships to fund our second wave of COVID-19 prevention kits.
Also, this summer, we launched two more COVID-19 awareness projects:
- United2Care partnered with The Literacy Initiative, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, to host an e-camp course to younger children explaining the global importance of handwashing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
- United2Care launched a webinar series on their Instagram hosted by Christina Kilgore, a rising junior at The King's Academy, talking in-depth to healthcare professionals about the growing COVID-19 pandemic for our high school audience. Recently, Christina interviewed Dr. Jacob Glannville, a world-renowned researcher who potentially has discovered the world's first COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Glannville has been on CNN, CNBC, ABC, FOX this summer to talk about his COVID-19 research. Our next two webinar guests are Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s Dr. Enoch Choi (Wednesday, September 2) and Stanford’s Dr. Maya Adam (Wednesday, September 9).
- Arun Mommileti, Class of 2021
- For more information, follow our Instagram @united2care or check out our website, united2care.org.
- Read the 9/6/20 Mercury News article about United2Care.
- United2Care Featured on ABC News: Click on image below.
This year, the yearbook staff proudly introduces to you our theme: Beneath the Surface. In a society that focuses on outer image, we wanted to remind everyone that people are more than they appear. Beneath the Surface represents delving deeper into what we see on the outside. The classmates that surround you each have unique traits and characteristics that will only be revealed upon a closer look. Our hope is to bring to light the importance of looking past the facades we put on daily.
Our theme verse this year is 1 Samuel 16:7, which says, "People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." We chose this verse to emphasize how God loves us for who we are at our core. It is a good reminder to us that we need to look beyond physical appearances, beyond actions, and beyond words. We need to take time to get to know each other because we are all unique and valued just because God made us. We all have inner beauty, and by looking Beneath the Surface, we can see each other the way we were made to.
When you look out over an ocean, it's very beautiful, but hardly compares to the beauty beneath the surface. Diving below the waves, entire ecosystems flourish in balance with one another. Each creature is necessary for keeping their habitat alive. At The King's Academy, every student is valuable and essential to our ecosystem. As students and staff members, we define what the ecosystem looks like. So while we may look like an ordinary school at first, when you look beneath the surface, everything comes alive.
Yearbook Staff 2019-2020
Good morning, and thank you so much for joining us today.
I started to think very hard about what I might say two days ago. To be honest, I’m not very qualified to give you advice. In fact, I’m not actually quite sure how I made it here, and I’m not sure what I will do next in life. And I believe that you shouldn’t try to follow the path that I took, the path I will take, or anyone else’s path. Each of us is preparing to embark on unique adventures that we cannot imagine right now. So don’t try to plan too far ahead. After all, this year showed us that we can never really know what the future holds.
This was not the senior year we were expecting. I know for many, this was not the high school experience you were expecting. Maybe you didn’t get into the college of your choice. Maybe a medical condition prevented you from playing a sport you loved, or from going to school. Perhaps you struggled with addiction. Or, you lost a loved one. And this year, we were looking forward to our last service trip. We were looking forward to our last performance or last sports season. We were looking forward to spending time with our friends. All of this was put on hold.
More than once, we were diverted from the paths we had originally planned for. Yet through all of these unexpected occurrences, we have grown stronger. Our class has grown stronger. We have gone from being people who just went to school together to becoming a tightly-knit family that the other classes look up to. We’ve grown stronger not in spite of these difficulties, but because of these challenges. Each unexpected trial we have encountered has allowed us to connect with new people and to acquire new sets of skills.
As we head to new places, let us embrace these challenges. Don’t limit yourself with a set of expectations for the future. Don’t try to be like others. Don’t even try to be who you think you are. As we progress through life, we will change. Our goals and life direction will change. In fact, it is the uncertainty of the future that allows us to appreciate the present. The future is constantly changing. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, and don’t think too hard about what you could have done. Instead, anticipate the amazing things God will lead you to do in the future.
Class of 2020, I love you. Over the past years, each one of you has become family to me. And over the past few weeks, I’ve realized how much all of you have been such an influential part of my life. I’ll really miss this class. Family and staff, thank you for everything you do. Thank you for sacrificing your time and energy for us. To all my teachers, the lessons you taught me in the classroom I will remember for a while, but the lessons you taught me outside the classroom I will remember forever. Thank you.
Finally, remember that only God’s love is truly unchanging. So wherever you go, rely on His love for stability and for comfort. Our class has come a long way, and I can’t wait to see what all of us will accomplish. It has been a privilege to be a part of this family. Thank you all for the honor of speaking today. Congratulations, Class of 2020. God bless you.
-Darren Chin, Class of 2020 Valedictorian
“To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.” - Oscar Wilde
The play from which this Oscar Wilde quote hails, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” is required reading for TKA high school students as well as for students across our country. I’d like to take some literary liberties and apply this idea to the role we play as fathers and to show the importance of the role well-played in the lives of our sons and daughters. Let’s face it: For anyone who has been a father for more than a day realizes, it is a relational role that is joyous at best and heartbreaking at worst. And it’s the highest calling to which a man can aspire...to be God’s representative in the lives of the children in our care.
After 27 years of fatherhood, I find myself still wondering if I’m giving it my best at being Dad. Am I fulfilling this role in our sons’ lives in such a way that honors God and enhances the lives of the sons with which He’s blessed us? Am I getting through to them? Am I leading them in the right direction? And why is it so difficult at times to communicate to them about...well, anything??
What does it mean to strike the natural pose, to live out the life of being Dad? We can answer that question by first asking, “Why is it so frustrating at times when we’re seeking to do our best?” We’re great professionally. People listen to us. Goals are accomplished. The mission moves forward. Whence the challenge with the “natural pose” of being Dad?
Well, we can see things that our children cannot fathom. We know about the long-term consequences of poor choices in critical areas of life. We know the heartache inherent in adolescence, and we often want to help our children avoid unnecessary hurt. We want them to learn vicariously from our mistakes. SOMEONE needs to learn from our often bungled approach to our teenage life! And as professionals, we can lose our identity as a father as we get wrapped up in the daily pursuits of life. The result is that we can be overcome with personal frustration, exasperation, and often a feeling of hopelessness as we seek to grapple with the very real challenges of parenting teens in this 21st century.
So let’s define the role of being just Dad. After all, that’s what our children desire most of us as fathers - only to be our human selves, expanding waist, graying hair and all. They’re not interested in our exploits as young men. They don’t really care about our financial status (unless they need money for a night out with friends!). Nor are they terribly interested in our achievements in the office or on the job site.
Then what ARE our children looking for when it comes to Dad? Here are my findings over nearly three decades of experimentation:
AVAILABILITY ON THEIR TERMS - Our children need us to varying degrees throughout our lives, and that begins with making ourselves available to them as a source of counsel, as a fan at their sporting or performing arts events, or just as a family member seated at the dinner table on a nightly basis. Really, it’s our presence that is most necessary and desired, even subconsciously in a teenager’s life. I remember as our sons were growing, one of them, in particular, would rarely interact with us around the house. But, he would always enter the room where my wife and I were seated, briefly linger, and then return to his regularly scheduled activity in the family room. My being present was enough for him; he just needed to know I was around and engaged in family life. Don’t discount the role of availability and presence in your childrens’ lives.
BALANCE - In a world of myriad and powerful influences in our children’s lives, that of Dad still reigns prominently. Our sons and daughters thrive in a home that values a balanced approach to living; they long for the harmony that comes from a dad who lives his life in balance. His life is not all about work or leisure or home repair or church business. It’s about living joyfully in the home, balancing our responsibilities while remaining present in family life. Our time, talents, and treasures are appropriately meted out for the overall well-being of our family, specifically of the children in our care.
FAITHFULNESS - Our children will thrive under the example of a father faithful to his family and to his word, even to his own hurt (Psalm 15:4). Faithfulness on our part provides the security and trust our children need to thrive in their individual life situations while living under our roof and, more importantly, when they venture out on their own as students, professionals, spouses and parents.
We are called to cultivate a climate of growth in our home...growth in family relationships; growth in our children’s awareness of the world around them; growth in their unique skills; and growth in their relationship with God their creator and savior.
As we lead the life of an available, balanced, and faithful steward, we will begin detecting signs of cultivation and growth in our home. We will find contentment. We will recognize our higher purpose in life. And we will find that the natural role of being Dad is a less difficult pose to hold and more joyous than we had ever thought possible!
Junior High Principal
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