PPCA Head of School Jason Cook announced the annual theme during this week’s Professional Development meetings.

“After praying and studying God’s word, I’ve come to the conclusion that “Look Up” will be this year’s theme,” said Cook to the room of 60+ faculty and staff in Boatner Hall.

He went on to say that the theme came from three different passages of Scripture: Psalm 121, Acts 22, and Luke 21.

There are three reasons we need to look up,” continued Cook. “We need to look up for remembrance (Psalm 121), for forgiveness (Acts 22:6-16), and for redemption (Luke 21: 25-28).”

He went on to remind the faculty and staff gathered around the tables that they are charged with teaching God’s truth to the children now, that “Scripture doesn’t say to wait until the children are older to hear it.”

Jason Cook challenged the PPCA faculty and staff to “Look Up” this next year.

“Tell them the truth about God,” Cook said, “and let the Holy Spirit work in them.”

“Always remember” Cook said, “God’s word doesn’t return void. What you say today will be a seed.”

He advised everyone to live with the urgency of knowing that the Lord’s return is imminent and the knowledge of that should change the way Christians live.

Cook acknowledged that the Professional Development (PD) days at PPCA look different than other schools as they prepare for students to begin a new school year.

“Our PD always ends up being personal, real, and powerful,” Cook remarked. “I wouldn’t want it any other way, but for the LORD to do whatever He wants to do as we get ready for the students to return.”

His comments came following a special time of remembrance as former PPCA School Board chairperson and founding board member Jan Miller recalled the early days of the school.

“It all began with prayer and seeking God,” Miller said about the school’s beginning in January, 2000.

She testified to God leading people to provide specific things as they were needed, whether it was money to open a bank account for the school, letters of approval for non-profit status or school accreditation, or furniture for classrooms.

Jan Miller (left) and Michelle Jenkins shared stories about PPCA’s early days with faculty and staff..

Also giving witness to the school’s early history was Michelle Jenkins, former preschool teacher and current elementary secretary.

“It all began and ended with prayer,” said Jenkins. “We were small, but the Lord blessed every aspect of this school.”

She went on to tell an amusing story about Jan asking her to drive the school’s first van, which turned out to be a former tour bus.

“I had to get a special license to drive the thing,” said Jenkins, “but the Lord was in it all the way and he used that bus to reach into the lives of the children we picked up for our after-school program.”

She emphasized the importance of PPCA and the responsibilities of the teaching staff to remember they are doing God’s work.

“It’s a legacy! We teach our children that their real purpose and destiny comes from the Lord,” she said.

About that, Jenkins recalled, “We always had great curriculum that taught discipleship, but really, the love shown to our students has always been and is to this day more important than curriculum.”

As she finished, Jenkins reminded the faculty and staff to have “true Love-of-Jesus connections with our families.”

PPCA’s administrators gave daily devotions, beginning with Mrs. Cindy Goodwin, elementary principal, who spoke about I Corinthians 13 and the importance of loving children the way that God loves them.

Secondary principal Stacey Sykes spoke about Growing in Christ, using John 15:1-8 as his text.

Sykes challenged PPCA teachers to ask questions of themselves and their students, “What area in your life do you need to increase your faith?” and “What is God leading you to do?”

On Thursday, Mrs. Donna Hunt, Director of PPCA’s Dyslexia and Resource Center shared from Matthew 8:23-27, encouraging teachers to confidently walk into classrooms because “our Creator is in control.”

Guest speakers included Rankin County Youth Court Judge Tom Broome, members of the Pearl Fire Department, including PPCA parent Billy Stegall, and Dr. Darren Scoggin, PPCA Board Chairperson.

Others who led in special sessions were Dr. Keith Grubbs, Senior Pastor at Park Place Baptist Church (PPBC), Col. Jim Jordan, PPCA Director of Security, and PPBC staff members Jeff Jones and Reid Stevens.

Breakfast was served on Tuesday by members of PPCA’s parents’ organization, Partners, led by Partners’ President Wendy Hathcock, and on other days by The Lunch Lady, Debbie Hartung.

A special lunch from Amerigo was provided on Thursday by AFLAC representative O’Hara Owen.

School begins Friday, August 6.