Luke stood quietly as his mother talked to the school principal. His eyes traced the brightly colored leaves on a large paper tree mounted to the wall. Each paper leaf had a name on it. Red apples were scattered on the tree’s branches as well. Luke wondered what they stood for.
“That’s our Achievement Tree,” the principal said, leaning toward Luke and looking at the wall. “The leaves and apples are awards for good behavior by students. When students do something to help others, they’re awarded a leaf or an apple at our Friday assembly. It’s lovely, isn’t it?”
Luke nodded. He wondered if he’d ever win such an award.
“Why don’t you bring Luke back next week and let him try Newbold School for a few days,” the principal said. “If Luke likes the school, you can enroll him.”
Mother thanked the woman. Then as she and Luke walked out of the school, Mother asked, “Do you think you’d like to try Newbold School for a couple days before deciding if would like to study here?”
Luke nodded and smiled ever so slightly.
Luke had been attending a pubic school. He was quiet and felt no one liked him. At times other students picked on him. He was a good student, but sometimes he didn’t want to go to school. Mother feared that if something didn’t change, Luke would begin hating school. Then a friend told Mother about Newbold School, a small Adventist school not far from their home. She decided to see if it would work for Luke, and that’s why Luke and Mother had visited the school.
On Monday Mother urged Luke from bed and told him today would be the first day at his new school. Luke got up and dressed. He was nervous about meeting a new teacher and new classmates, but he hoped that he would find friends at his new school.
The principal walked with Luke to his new classroom, and the teacher greeted him. “Boys and girls,” the teacher said, “this is Luke, your new classmate. Let’s make him feel welcome today, shall we?” And the children did. They invited him to play with them during recess and sat with him during lunch break. No one bullied him or teased him during school, and his teacher praised his work.
When school ended for the day, Luke walked out of the school with one of his new classmates. He saw his mother waiting for him.
“How was school today?” Luke’s mother asked.
“It was good!” Luke said. “I’ve made three new friends, and my teacher is nice!”
Mother smiled at Luke. “I’m glad you liked school, Luke. Do you think you’d like to study here all the time?”
“Yes, Mum,” he said. “I like this school.
There was a lot about the school that Luke had to get used to. He had never had Bible classes before or worship in the classroom. But his teacher and classmates helped him find the Bible verses they studied and helped him learn the songs they sang for worship.
On Friday the whole school gathered in the auditorium for assembly and worship. The principal stood to announce the awards for that week. As each name was announced, the students clapped while the student receiving the award walked forward to receive his or her leaf.
And one Friday when the teacher called the award names, Luke heard his name called. He was surprised, but his friend nudged him. “Go get your award, Luke!” he said. “You’ve earned it!”
As Luke walked forward to receive his award, he could hear the students applauding. He smiled as the principal gave him his leaf. “Luke, you’ve earned this award, and I’m so proud of you.”
That night Luke eagerly told his mom and dad about his award. “I’m so glad you let me attend Newbold School,” he said. “I really like it there.”
Luke knows the difference an Adventist school can make in someone’s life. Our mission offerings help establish Adventist schools around the world. Let’s pray for children such as Luke who are learning about Jesus because they can attend an Adventist school.