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February 21, 2023

The Danger of "Getting Back to Normal"

In many ways, it feels like things have returned to normal after the last few years. But we believe God wants more for us—to reset our lives on a new and better trajectory.

Because of a major, pandemic-like event in his own life, New York Times columnist David Brooks realized that there were two different sets of virtues to be cultivated. Résumé virtues are the skills we bring to the marketplace, that help us get ahead. By contrast, eulogy virtues are talked about at our funeral—whether we were kind, brave, generous, honest, and faithful. Whether we really loved others.  

The pandemic years won’t have been wasted if they taught us that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé ones—because the résumé virtues are all about me, and the eulogy virtues are about others.

So many new people have reached out to Hope Academy because they want to be part of something good happening in Minneapolis. Educational inequality continues to be one of the greatest racial inequalities in our city. Low-income and non-white students were hit hardest by the learning disruptions throughout COVID-19, exacerbating the achievement gap beyond belief. Today, the front line of the civil rights movement runs through our schools.

But even if there was no achievement gap, we would still be neglecting a deeper issue. All of us need a heart transformation—the kind of transformation that only God can bring about by His Spirit and His Word.

As a K-12 school, we’re thankful for the time we’ve been given to point students to Christ (as many as 14,000 hours per child over 13 years!) and to engage hundreds of urban families in their children’s education. Together, we can shape the hearts, lives, and perspectives of children in a way that few other things can. One family shared:  

“The school has been a tremendous blessing and support . . . for our whole family. [Our son] has been nurtured at Hope after several family tragedies. He has grown in a way that would not have been possible in public school. Most importantly, Hope’s firm foundation in Jesus Christ is taught and lived out in a way that makes an impact on even the most troubled kids.” 

This has the power to transform future generations, as well.

“If I had not gone to Hope Academy from 2nd to 8th grade, I do not think I’d be sitting here today,” shared DaShawna, one of our very first students. “Now, I get to work with kids in the West St. Paul community . . . reintroducing them to Christ and showing them that yes, you can come from very rough backgrounds, but that doesn’t have to define who you are or your future.” 

Together with parents and financial partners, we’re helping to grow hundreds of servant leaders in Minneapolis. A remarkable 96% of Hope Academy students have graduated on time (nearly 1 in 6 with a full-tuition college scholarship!) Graduates are becoming first-generation college students, completing higher education/vocational training, working in a variety of rewarding fields, and returning to mentor students, volunteer, and even work or enroll their children at Hope Academy!

All of our families pay a sacrificial tuition amount (together providing 10% of the cost to educate our students). Thanks to hundreds of financial partners who provide the remaining 90%, we’re grateful to say that no child has ever been turned away for lack of funds.  

As we continue to see widening achievement gaps and a lack of hope in our cities, Hope Academy is pursuing growth to serve more students. We invite you to consider partnering with us in this important work for urban youth.  

The content in this post is based on powerful words spoken by our Head of School, Russ Gregg, at Hope Academy’s annual gala. Listen to the full talk here.

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