If you walked down the hallways of CCS this week, you probably noticed that something felt different. Ask any upper school student if they sensed a slight void among the student body. Thankfully, this change in the air was due to a good thing. CCS Seniors are away on their Senior Service Practicum (SSP) trip. While CCS senses a part of our body is missing, our travelers are being filled to overflowing with the amazing things God has prepared for them beforehand.

While SSP is a hallmark and much anticipated experience, our students are regularly serving others in a variety of ways. For example, CCS Concert Choirs sang at the Cary Annual Veterans Day reception, athletic teams have collected supplies for those in need across the globe and at home, and presently, our House System is coordinating a canned food drive. It warms the heart to see students inspired to serve and doing it as unto the Lord.

At the onset of the 2016-17 school year, the CCS Varsity Field Hockey team kicked off our first service project of the year collecting school supplies for students in Busia, Uganda. Below is the backstory of how relationships forged at CCS impact future generations and eternity!

Mrs. Kanode was my 2nd grade teacher, but she is also my mentor. When she left CCS to form 7 Billion Reasons with Mrs. Wertz, I was so excited for what God was doing through her. Then, when she explained that the Global Leadership Academy was starting, and that school supplies were needed, I knew I was called to help. My coach and field hockey team pulled together and we were able to donate supplies for that first class of 25 last year. This February, there will be 75 children, and thanks to the generosity of CCS students and families, these students in Busia, Uganda will be excited to have the supplies that they need to go to school and to learn about the love of Jesus. Thank you for joining me and the field hockey team in blessing these children.

– Katie Peele, CCS Student (’18)

As a second grade teacher at CCS, I had the privilege of teaching many wonderful students. However, some years there is a student who truly captures your heart. For me that was in 2007/2008, when I taught a happy, loving, caring little girl named Katie Peele. Katie always had a smile on her face, gave hugs freely, and always gave her best. That year she struggled with reading and I worked with her after school. She and I quickly formed a bond that lasted even after she left my classroom.

Last year Katie learned about the work our non-profit organization, 7 Billion Reasons, was doing in Busia, Uganda. We were in the process of building our first Christian school named, Global Leadership Academy, where we would provide excellent academics, sound biblical instruction, and the skills needed to help the children in this community break the cycle of poverty. Katie became so excited about our project and approached me about ways she could get involved. My heart was truly touched. The Lord was now using one of my former students to help students in a school in Uganda. I told Katie that we had limited funds that were completely committed to the construction of the school. It was our desire to be able to provide the students with school supplies and supply the teachers with the materials they needed. Immediately Katie said that she would find a way to gather supplies for us. So, Katie enlisted the help of her field hockey team and in the fall of 2015, the team presented 7 Billion Reasons with boxes and boxes and boxes of supplies. The generosity of the girls was overwhelming. Katie’s leadership and drive in the project was amazing to watch. It has been said that “so often you find that the students you are trying to inspire are the ones that end up inspiring you.” That’s how I felt about Katie!

In February 2016, we were able to take the school supplies with us to Uganda. On February 8, Global Leadership Academy opened its doors to 50 students who had pencils, erasers, markers, crayons, puzzles, and even books to read. For most of the students this was the first time they had actually held a book in their hands or even used a marker to color. The teachers and parents were also amazed at all the supplies provided by the CCS families.

After hearing about the girls’ Field Hockey Team project, the CCS administration decided to extend the project to include the entire school. So, this year’s donations will go towards providing supplies for 75 students when Global Leadership starts the new school year in February 2017.

We at 7 Billion Reasons are so grateful for all of the support of the CCS community and especially the efforts of one special student, Katie Peele.

– Lori Kanode, Former CCS 2nd Grade Teacher