TCPS President Dr. Bill Balzano said the school is proving it can provide a quality education without being addicted to a constant increase in school budgets that provides frills without substance.
“We intend to make that a way of living,” he said during his welcoming remarks before presenting the Spirit of Service Award to Cleveland businessman and civic leader Steve Robinson.
The annual award is designed to show the school’s respect for the greater Cleveland and Bradley County community and a desire to participate and contribute to the vibrant life.
“As an educational institution with a Christian world view, Tennessee Christian Preparatory School values service to others,” Balzano said.
Robinson said during his acceptance remarks that at one time in people’s lives, they wonder how they are perceived by others in normal day-to-day activities.
“I think at times we see ourselves positively when others might see us in a negative light,” he said. “Sometimes I think we might see ourselves in a negative light when others see positive things. It’s very, very, very difficult to have a genuine view of how we go through life.”
He said it was humbling to him that a group of people would think he fit the description of such a candidate for the award.
The evening was billed as one of conversation and fun. During his welcoming remarks, Balzano seemed to turn serious as he began talking about the results of research he conducted on the nation’s economy. His areas of interest included nine points. Part of the research included personal interviews.
One of the questions was: Do you feel like we’ve been in a recession?
“The first person I asked said, ‘Well, I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail today.’”
But, the school president’s demeanor did turn serious for about 20 minutes when he spoke of the battle to reprogram American society. The battle, he said, is being fought through schools based upon political correctness and disregard for the foundational principles of the United States of America.
“In the world of education, there is constant turmoil, change and upheaval academically, socially, financially and unfortunately, more and more politically,” he said. “Education seems to be the very battleground for the soul of our nation.”
Balzano said he was happy to report to the parents, teachers, students and friends of TCPS that through the educational mayhem, “Tennessee Preparatory School is strengthening its programs and we are maturing in our ability to represent the very, very best of independent Christian education in our wonderful community.”
He said their goals have not quite been reached, but the school is following the carpe diem mandate to seize the day.
“And we think this is our day and for our community,” Balzano said. “This is the day when private independent Christian education can take its rightful place among the rest of the educational systems in our community.”
He said other programs dilute academics and change report cards to be politically correct. While other programs establish state-mandated educational tests that raise academic scores by lowering academic requirements, “We continue to raise the bar and expect students to learn the old fashioned way: to study.”
He said through studying TCPS students learn to read, write, speak and compute. Staff and faculty are expected to be dedicated professionals who love students and teaching, and love to serve God through teaching.
The school has just concluded the first year of a five-year strategic plan that focuses on the school’s sustainability. The plan is showing positive results. The most recent Scholastic Aptitude Test results qualified the school for the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence two years in a row.
“Only 3.9 percent of the schools in our nation become eligible to receive that award,” he said.
He listed accomplishments of TCPS students in competition with Bradley and Hamilton County private and public schools. He spoke of high ACT scores and finishing second to Baylor at the Lee University Constitution Bowl competition against Bradley Central and Cleveland High School.
“I have three pages of accomplishments for me to select from and there are many, many more I don’t have time to go through,” he said. “We’ve accomplished the things and many, many more on a budget that would starve a flea to death.”