Magic in Our Hands

By Christina Walker, Advancement Office

Do you ever think back on your favorite book from your childhood (or books … it may be impossible to narrow it down to just one)? Magic Elizabeth by Norma Kassirer took me into another world from the first words on the first page, a magical, mysterious journey that I remember to this day. For many years, my book was lost: it had disappeared at my parents’ house sometime between when I was a young girl and when I got married and moved out. I tried finding it online and discovered much to my dismay that I could get a copy for $200 or $500 (depending on if I wanted hardback or paperback)! One day, over a decade later during one of my visits back home, my mom brought down a box she had uncovered in their attic for me to look through. As I sorted through the contents, laughing hysterically at some of the papers and notebooks that had transformed this old cardboard box into a treasure chest, I came upon a book. I screamed with joy and amazement and tears sprang to my eyes as I realized that my Magic Elizabeth was not gone forever after all!

Even though pages turn yellow and covers fall to pieces, the power of good stories does not fade with time.

I was able to share this magical story with my youngest daughter, along with many other books that I had loved as a child or that I had discovered as a parent who read to my children. Reading with Michaela (‘19), Christian (‘21), and Eliana (‘26) is now one of my treasured memories (every now and then, Eliana and I will read something together still). The time spent opening up our imaginations and making our way into and through someone else’s world was (and still is) a multifaceted gift.

My oldest, Michaela, wrote her senior thesis for Geneva about the importance of reading for Christians. The title of her paper, “Make America Read Again: The Christian Need for Literature in a Consumer Society,” reflects her astute observation (and honest self-reflection) about the world we live in, especially as Americans. She notes that reading well helps us “combat this society’s cultural attacks on our ability to know and glorify God.” From shaping minds to developing thought processes, from recognizing the ways that human beings reflect the image of God to becoming more virtuous, reading—and especially reading well—helps us to know ourselves and our Creator better and to bring glory to him as we learn from and embody virtues we encounter in the stories we read.

Remember those magical moments, exciting journeys, painful circumstances, and winding roads found within the pages you have turned. Sit with your little ones, and sit with your older children too! Enter into a wardrobe that leads to “the middle of a wood at night-time with … snowflakes falling through the air,” or warily welcome Mrs. Whatsit into your kitchen in the middle of the night during a hurricane. Watch happily from a log as “seven Trumpeters all in a line, five of them just out of the egg,” glide toward you and then “Beep” joyfully for you, except for a quiet one who does something no one would expect a baby swan to do. Or watch your mama, a teacher in your school—”one of the largest black schools in the county”—as she deliberately trims paper in order to cover the chart inside of the school book you are going to receive, “somebody’s old throwaways,” … knowing “She understood.”

Read to understand. Read to grow. And read because there are, as Michaela reminds us in her thesis, “books out there that you will enjoy.”

Books referenced or quoted:

Magic Elizabeth by Norma Kassirer
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Victory and Justice, Awareness and Action

On Thursday, March 3, 2022, two Geneva seniors—Anna Mages and Laura McKnight—were invited to speak on behalf of Geneva’s Biblical Justice Club at the Victory Cup Initiative, which is an annual event that provides ten nonprofit organizations in Central Florida with the opportunity to represent and promote the unique ways they are changing lives in our area, making a difference for individuals and communities who are underserved or in need of support. At the end of the nonprofits’ presentations, a top award is given to one of the organizations based on a vote from the attendees; however, each nonprofit leaves with an award regardless of their standing after the vote. Along with a financial benefit, each nonprofit has the opportunity to engage with community leaders and bring awareness to a diverse array of organizations.

Through a new partnership called the Victory Cup Youth Initiative, Anna and Laura were able to hear from the leaders of ten nonprofits about the work they are doing, and they also had the chance to share with this room full of local businessmen and businesswomen about the mission and goals of the Biblical Justice Club at Geneva. This reciprocal participation, sharing and learning about what is going on in our community and what is going on at The Geneva School, set up an important foundation for future partnerships and achievements. This experience expanded on the girls’ involvement with community service, broadening the scope from SALT day and fulfilling obligations for graduation to the everyday lives of folks who make it their daily work to meet the extraordinary needs of their (and our) neighbors.

After this special experience, the Biblical Justice Club was able to bring even more light to these nonprofits that operate in Central Florida. At an upper school assembly on March 30 as part of the Victory Cup Youth Initiative, ten of the members of the club represented the same nonprofits from the Victory Cup Initiative for the chance to reward an extra $2,500 from a private donor to the organization receiving the most votes from students, faculty, and staff. Each club member did a wonderful job speaking for his or her nonprofit, and when the votes were tallied, the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida received the prize.

This exposure to the important work of these organizations and the extensive and varied needs in Central Florida and beyond will hopefully be a stepping stone that leads to awareness and action for Geneva students. We desire for these young people to know that God loves and cares for their neighbors and that there are many ways to get involved to help make others’ lives better. A partnership with the Victory Cup Youth Initiative ensures ongoing growth and enrichment in this area for TGS students.

Mandy Turnbull, Geneva English teacher and faculty sponsor of the Biblical Justice Club, shared some thoughts at the beginning of the assembly about justice and why we are drawn to it. We long for good to triumph over evil—we love superhero movies because the good guys defeat the villains, and we know that the good should win. But she went on to point out that biblical justice goes beyond this desire to see good triumph: it exhorts us to participate in justice, “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God” (Mic. 6:8). We are called to enter into what God is doing in the world and in people’s lives as he redeems and restores until one day when all will be made new (Rev. 21). This is one of the greatest expressions of good triumphing over evil, when we are engaging, empowering, and encouraging those in our community (or even around the world) for the sake of God’s kingdom and his glory.

Here are the organizations and the students who represented them at the assembly:

Aeras Foundation | Charles White ’23
AMI Kids | Catherine Wilhite ’23
Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida | Addie Bowman ’23
Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida | Anna Mages ’22
Eight Cents in a Jar | Charley Turnbull ’23
Harbor House of Central Florida | Laura McKnight ’22
One Purse | Ella Hunter ’22
Ronald McDonald House Charities Central Florida | Mattie Shepherd ’25
Steinway Society of Central Florida | Sarah Barnhart ’22
The Mustard Seed of Central Florida | Olivia Kyle ’23

The Geneva School
The Geneva School
April 23, 2024
  • 6th Gr - DC Trip

    Date: April 22, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
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  • Chamber Orchestra

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 7:15 am- 8:15 am
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  • US Praise and Prayer

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 7:30 am- 8:00 am
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  • Varsity Beach Volleyball District Semi Final & Final

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 9:00 am- 4:00 pm
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  • K4 Garden Club

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 1:20 pm- 2:20 pm
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  • Girls Varsity Tennis Regional vs. Cornerstone Charter

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 2:00 pm- 7:00 pm
    See more details

  • 1st & 2nd Grade Garden Club

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
    See more details

  • Philharmonia Orchestra

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
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April 24, 2024
  • 6th Gr - DC Trip

    Date: April 22, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Chamber Orchestra

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 7:15 am- 8:15 am
    See more details

  • House Meetings/No Chapel

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 9:25 am- 10:10 am
    See more details

  • Kindergarten Garden Club

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 2:15 pm- 3:15 pm
    See more details

  • Youth Track K4-Kindergarten 2:30-3:15; 1-5 3:15-4:15PM

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 2:30 pm- 4:15 pm
    See more details

  • Typing Class (4th-8th Grade)

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 3:20 pm- 4:20 pm
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  • 3rd & 4rt Grade Garden Club

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
    See more details

  • Brioso Choir

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
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  • NHS Tutoring

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
    See more details

  • Stitch Lab (3rd–6th)

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
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  • Varsity Baseball Home Game vs Legacy

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 4:30 pm- 6:30 pm
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April 25, 2024
  • 6th Gr - DC Trip

    Date: April 22, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • 3rd Gr - Tea with Mr. Tumnus (Smith & Gilmartin)

    Date: April 25, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 1:30 pm- 2:05 pm
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  • 3rd Gr - Tea with Mr. Tumnus (Swain and Gutierrez)

    Date: April 25, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 2:15 pm- 2:50 pm
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  • Percussio

    Date: April 25, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:50 pm
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  • Softball Away Game - Beach Trip

    Date: April 25, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 4:30 pm- 6:30 pm
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April 26, 2024
  • 4th Gr - Knighting Ceremony

    Date: April 26, 2024 - April 26, 2024
    Time: 8:10 am- 3:00 pm
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  • Strategy & Board Games Club

    Date: April 26, 2024 - April 26, 2024
    Time: 3:20 pm- 5:20 pm
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  • Youth Tennis K-5th Grade with Stefanie Majstorovic

    Date: April 26, 2024 - April 26, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:45 pm
    See more details

April 27, 2024
  • Archery National Championships

    Date: April 27, 2024 - April 27, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
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  • Daddy-Daughter Dance (K4-6th Grade)

    Date: April 27, 2024 - April 27, 2024
    Time: 6:30 pm- 8:30 pm
    See more details

April 23, 2024
  • 6th Gr - DC Trip

    Date: April 22, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Chamber Orchestra

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 7:15 am- 8:15 am
    See more details

  • US Praise and Prayer

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 7:30 am- 8:00 am
    See more details

  • Varsity Beach Volleyball District Semi Final & Final

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 9:00 am- 4:00 pm
    See more details

  • K4 Garden Club

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 1:20 pm- 2:20 pm
    See more details

  • Girls Varsity Tennis Regional vs. Cornerstone Charter

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 2:00 pm- 7:00 pm
    See more details

  • 1st & 2nd Grade Garden Club

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
    See more details

  • Philharmonia Orchestra

    Date: April 23, 2024 - April 23, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
    See more details

April 24, 2024
  • 6th Gr - DC Trip

    Date: April 22, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Chamber Orchestra

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 7:15 am- 8:15 am
    See more details

  • House Meetings/No Chapel

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 9:25 am- 10:10 am
    See more details

  • Kindergarten Garden Club

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 2:15 pm- 3:15 pm
    See more details

  • Youth Track K4-Kindergarten 2:30-3:15; 1-5 3:15-4:15PM

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 2:30 pm- 4:15 pm
    See more details

  • Typing Class (4th-8th Grade)

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 3:20 pm- 4:20 pm
    See more details

  • 3rd & 4rt Grade Garden Club

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
    See more details

  • Brioso Choir

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
    See more details

  • NHS Tutoring

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
    See more details

  • Stitch Lab (3rd–6th)

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm
    See more details

  • Varsity Baseball Home Game vs Legacy

    Date: April 24, 2024 - April 24, 2024
    Time: 4:30 pm- 6:30 pm
    See more details

April 25, 2024
  • 6th Gr - DC Trip

    Date: April 22, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • 3rd Gr - Tea with Mr. Tumnus (Smith & Gilmartin)

    Date: April 25, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 1:30 pm- 2:05 pm
    See more details

  • 3rd Gr - Tea with Mr. Tumnus (Swain and Gutierrez)

    Date: April 25, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 2:15 pm- 2:50 pm
    See more details

  • Percussio

    Date: April 25, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:50 pm
    See more details

  • Softball Away Game - Beach Trip

    Date: April 25, 2024 - April 25, 2024
    Time: 4:30 pm- 6:30 pm
    See more details

April 26, 2024
  • 4th Gr - Knighting Ceremony

    Date: April 26, 2024 - April 26, 2024
    Time: 8:10 am- 3:00 pm
    See more details

  • Strategy & Board Games Club

    Date: April 26, 2024 - April 26, 2024
    Time: 3:20 pm- 5:20 pm
    See more details

  • Youth Tennis K-5th Grade with Stefanie Majstorovic

    Date: April 26, 2024 - April 26, 2024
    Time: 3:30 pm- 4:45 pm
    See more details

April 27, 2024
  • Archery National Championships

    Date: April 27, 2024 - April 27, 2024
    Time: 12:00 am- 11:59 pm
    See more details

  • Daddy-Daughter Dance (K4-6th Grade)

    Date: April 27, 2024 - April 27, 2024
    Time: 6:30 pm- 8:30 pm
    See more details

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