One of the defining aspects of a Brook Hill education is the culture and environment created by the Christian worldview that is embodied by our community. We got the chance to hear more about how this culture is changing the lives of our families from the Albea’s. Travis has worked at Brook Hill since 2012, and in 2018 his son, Levi, started Pre-K. We’re excited to share his story with you!
I am a native of Tyler. I grew up here, went through the public school system and was involved in my church. I still see someone I know almost every time I go to the store or out to eat, especially at Don Juans on a Wednesday night. I mean, what Tylerite doesn’t love a good deal on tacos, right?
I had a good childhood. My parents raised me right, and I had good people who discipled me and invested in my life. I even had, what I thought at the time, was a good education. I graduated top of my class and took dozens of AP & Dual Credit courses. I went to college and was able to be relatively successful. In fact, I used to make fun of my friends from church who went to private school.
It wasn’t until college when I attended a private university myself, that I began to see the value of a Christian education. The realization of that value only grew during my years working at Brook Hill. As I reflected on my own education growing up, I began to compare my own experiences to the experiences of the students I taught and interacted with on a daily basis. I began to see what I had missed out on and the opportunities that weren’t made available to me. I was also drawn into a community and a culture like nothing I had seen before.
A few weeks ago, I was talking at the football game with John Falls, another Brook Hill parent, and one of the many friends we’ve made during our time here. Our kids were running around, playing in the grass with what seemed like the entire lower school. Our kids were laughing, playing tag, and throwing balls while the adults were able to talk and watch the game.
What John said about that moment stuck out to me, and I don’t think I will ever forget it.
“You can’t find this anymore.”
By “this” he meant this experience, this culture, this feeling. Kids running free. Playing, without a care in the world. Perfectly safe, surrounded by like-minded families in a community where they are known and loved. As parents, we didn’t have to worry about where they would go (the fences keeping them within eyesight). It was a moment when you got to step away from the cares of this world see your kids being just that: kids.
The thought occurred to me, “This is what Brook Hill is all about.” What John was saying, and I’ve now made part of my own story, is that Brook Hill is a special place – the kind of place that is quickly fading from the world we live in today.
Brook Hill is a community, a culture, a family where kids are free to be themselves. They are free to play and live without worry. They are perfectly safe. It is a community of students, teachers, and families who are like-minded in both their faith and their educational goals. A family where students are known and loved.
I’ve seen this over and over again as a teacher and administrator during my last 8 years here at Brook Hill. Our students think deeply about the world and their place in it. They have friendships and relationships with a global community. Our graduates are prepared for college and thrive in their careers.
Now, over the last two years, I’ve also been able to experience “the Brook Hill magic” personally, through my own son’s education.
Levi is thriving here. He has incredible teachers. He has learned to read so quickly. He’s made kind and inclusive friends. He is confident. He is hungry to learn each day, excited to do his homework, and he really really loves going to the innovation lab.
Like seriously, he talks about it all the time. We have to schedule dentist and doctor appointments around when he goes, and he still gives me grief that I didn’t sign him up for the after school club.
Of course, Brook Hill isn’t a utopia – nowhere is. Levi might have a bad day with a friend, but to be perfectly honest, most of those experiences are at least partly if not entirely his own fault. Along with all the good things, conflict is also part of living in a community – but Brook Hill is the kind of place he can learn about healthy conflict, overcome challenges, and grow into the person God has created him to be.
The world wants us to think that freedom and community is at its best when there are no rules, that kids thrive when you let them form their own identity, and operate under the assumption that anything goes so long as no one gets hurt. But the gospel of Jesus Christ says something entirely different about freedom.
When we do what we want, when we want, so long as no one gets hurt, we become a slave to our own desires. In contrast, we are most ourselves, and most free when we live in service to God – when we love him and love others with our entire being. What is more, our identity isn’t something we create from within, it is something given to us by a God who loves us and gave himself up for us.
This is the vital role of Christian education and specifically of a Brook Hill education – to take the hearts and minds of our children captive with the capital “T” Truth.
And I think that is the main point.
The school you choose for your family is the culture and the community you’re choosing to influence your kids the 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 10 months a year they spend away from you.
My son spends a lot of time here. Starting next year, my daughter will too. It is where your child will grow up. Where they will learn how to look at the world. Where they will learn how to resolve conflict. Where they will learn about their identity. Where they will learn how to be a friend. It is a place, along with your church and your home, where your child will learn what it means to be human.
For me, that place is Brook Hill. The kind of place that is getting harder and harder to find, and maybe you even have to go out of your way to get. The kind of place where kids get to be just that: kids. The kind of place where kids grow up and become the humans God has created them to be.
If you’re ready to take the next step and learn more about Brook Hill, we’d love to talk to you! Learn more by filling out our form below. Our admissions office will reach out to you!
(Boarding School: Grades 8-12) (Lower School: Grades PK-5) (Middle/Upper School: Grades 6-12)