Tennessee Christian Preparatory School took Thursday evening to celebrate friends and plant the foundation for the school’s vision.
The school hosted its annual Presidential Celebration at Cleveland Country Club which also served as a fundraising event.
Attendees were treated to the sounds of gospel with members of the TCPS Staff Ensemble augmented with students from the Upper School Choir.
“This Little Light of Mine” and “I Go To The Rock” amplified the celebratory mood before the formal items of the night began.
Dr. Bill Balzano, TCPS president, gave a commentary on the school’s present and future.
He said being around such a group of people on a daily basis as those who sang preceeding his remarks “somehow invigorates a person.”
“We believe that to be a cutting-edge Christian school doesn’t mean you have to be old-fashioned,” Balzano said.
He spoke about appreciation and anticipation.
Balzano praised the trustees of the school for their continuing support of TCPS’s mission.
“Tonight is possible because of the dedication and sacrificial work by this team of leaders,” Balzano said. “These leaders have given financial support in lean times, they have sold tables, bought booths, at the fall festival participated in bidding, gave to the annual fund and supported me, the faculty and our school.
“Our trustees are the champions of our school, our first line of defense and our thoughtful and loving caretakers,” he added.
He also acknowledged the work and support of TCPS parents.
“They love their children and are involved in every aspect of their education,” Balzano said. “They pay taxes to support public schools and pay tuition, often sacrificially, for their children to receive an education that supports the whole child — body, mind and spirit.”
He talked of all of the volunteer work the parents do, especially in helping to activate the events that both honor the students and help provide for the school’s needs.
“Our parents love God and want to see their children develop a strong faith in Christ and learn to love their family, their church and their country,” Balzano said. “They make up the engine that drives our school.”
Balzano also had high praise for the staff that makes TCPS function on a daily basis.
“The older I get the more I realize it really takes a team to make things happen,” he said. “When you get too many big ‘I’s and little ‘you’s’ you have calamity coming. But when you have a group of people who love God, want to serve the Lord and who are willing to work beyond what compensation would suggest they do, that is an incredible staff, and we have one.”
He said the TCPS staff is made up of “some of the finest, brightest, loving, ministering staff members with which I have had the pleasure of working.
“Our desire is to serve our students, our parents and our community,” Balzano said.
He said the school had seen record enrollment in grades K-12 this year.
“I am anticipating another record enrollment in the fall of this coming year,” he said. “I anticipate our little classes will be full.”
He said TCPS is looking to become a “regional educational center for those families desiring an independent education with a warm and caring Christian environment.”
He said he also sees the beginning of the development of a new TCPS campus.
“You can say ‘Hallelujah and Amen,’” Balzano said.
He noted the school is not supported by any church or denomination.
“Our trustees are in the initial stages of determining what academic and athletic facilities will be designed in the first stage of development for a permanent home for our school,” Balzano said.
He said the campaign to raise the capital for construction is in its infant stages but will begin moving forward now that sketches and drawings are being done.
Balzano announced Brenda Lawson would be chairing the school’s capital campaign as it works toward the vision of a permanent campus.
“This is an exciting time in the life of our wonderful school,” Balzano said. “There are sometimes I wake up at 3 in the morning when I start thinking about building a campus so that our community can be proud of our school — a school that serves our county, our city and our public.”
Balzano also presented Dan Chord with the schools “Fourth Person” Award which recognizes a volunteer who serves the school family and excels in providing support, encouragement and accomplishment.
“As a result of his commitment to TCPS, [Chord] has spent countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars in the school’s behalf,” Balzano said.
TCPS also presented its “Spirit of Service Award” to Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland.
The award is designed to annually honor a citizen “whose life exemplifies Christian service to our community.”
Rowland said he hoped he could live up to the expectations the award represented.
“I love TCPS,” Rowland said. “When I think of TCPS, I think of young Christian men and women. They have a lot of discipline and they have a lot of respect.”
The mayor closed the formal proceeding with a bit of self-deprecating humor while giving an example of the community service TCPS tries to instill in its students.
“There is one of your students who lives in my neighborhood who came by and said they were going to take my garbage out on garbage day and take the cans back in that evening,” Rowland recalled.
“He said it’s a project ... I have to help the elderly,” the mayor said, bringing the full house to a roaring laughter.