In Praise of Sports

Dear Geneva Community:

When I talk with prospective parents about Christian classical schooling, I discuss the usual school-related topics such as philosophy of education, course of study, and programs, including athletics. Sometimes, parents have a hard time reconciling the philosophy and course of study (including Latin, grammar, logic, and rhetoric) with the desire for a competitive sports program. I imagine many picture our students in a fashion similar to a famous Monty Python skit featuring Greek and German philosophers competing against one another in a soccer match. If you watched our student athletes compete this fall, then you know better. They are dedicated and intense competitors, win or lose.

When students compete in athletics, they are recreating or creating anew their body and spirit. We call such recreation play and the event a game. These activities require knowledge and training and follow a set of rules. While sports tend to garner tremendous attention, time, and money, they are nevertheless engineered with rules created to determine winners and losers. For most athletes at the K–12 level, the engineered nature of sports includes stakes not much greater than trophies and ribbons. Recognizing that sports are engineered games does not mean they are unimportant.

Activities in athletics and the arts complement our academic program and when combined, serve to further our school’s mission to provide “an extraordinary education … that pursues goodness, truth, and beauty in all spheres of life.” Athletics provide our students with experiences that the arts and academics cannot. Specifically, they provide our students with adult-like situations that force them to make split-second decisions that often have an impact on the outcome. When compared with the classroom or the art studio, the athletic arena is unique: noisy, intense, exhausting, and unpredictable. The results in a contest are immediate and unambiguous.

For many students, sports are an essential part of their lives. For some, the prospect of playing later in the day is what gets them out the door in the morning. Academically strong schools like TGS develop athletic programs that fit our mission so that we can go with the grain of student interest and passion in order to develop them into astute, well-rounded, humble, selfless, confident, and poised young women and men.

As with anything that is good, athletics require safeguards to ensure they maintain their proper place. The Greek poet Hesiod stated it well when it comes to making sure good things such as athletics remain so: “observe due measure; moderation is best in all things.” While I don’t propose that we put “All Things in Moderation” above the entrance to our gym or over our athletic fields, I do suggest it can serve as a guiding principle for making sure our student athletes are well-served and excel as both students and athletes.

REGIONAL CHAMPS!

Varsity Volleyball Update

The TGS varsity volleyball program has been a model of consistency the last ten years. Head coach Hollie Benjumea took over the program in 2006 and has led the program to the regional playoffs all fifteen seasons and is currently on a ten year streak of claiming district championships. This is a remarkable feat and was recognized recently by the Orlando Sentinel.

The team won the regional final match against Victory Christian Academy last Saturday, October 31, with a score of 25–11, 29–27, 22–25, 26–24. The team faces St. John Paul II (Tallahassee) in the state semifinal tomorrow (Saturday, November 7). The game will take place at TGS at 2 pm. It will also be livestreamed on the TGS YouTube page. The winner of the match will play next Saturday in the state final in Fort Myers. Click HERE to access the tournament bracket.

Go Knights!

Brad Ryden
Head of School

When Children Say, “I Can’t”


“I can’t do this!” One kindergarten student voices frustration in class while a fellow classmate quickly encourages, “Can’t isn’t allowed in kindergarten, remember? We can all try!”


Conversations like this happen on occasion in my kindergarten classroom, and it always makes my teacher heart so happy to hear that response. We talk often in kindergarten about the importance of trying something before we give up. Throughout our Bible time especially, the running lesson on God’s ability to work when circumstances seemed impossible floors and amazes my students, and often leads to learning to persevere together.

However, memories of this conversation haunted me as I prepared to fly to Accra, Ghana, to work with the Rafiki Foundation and their children’s home and school there. “I can’t” was a frequent comment I made as I rushed to get my passport renewed, get visas in place, pack appropriate clothes for extreme weather (and under 50 pounds of course), and determine where I was going to spend the night in Dubai, UAE, during my overnight layover.

Once I arrived, “I can’t” meant taking the heat—it was oppressively hot, with relatively no air conditioning. The first day I was there saw me tasked with helping one of the ROS (Rafiki Overseas Staff) deliver shoes to the 118 children in the village. I was miserable, promising myself I would never complain about snack duty in Florida heat.

Then I got into the classroom, and I thought classical school “can’t” work here. I have always thought that the classical model was beneficial to all—I even wrote a graduate school thesis on how it would be the right way to educate students whose learning had been interrupted. Yet faced with reality, doubt crept in. There were cultural issues; for example, early childhood education is treated like daycare and not considered necessary. Additionally, all of these children were orphans with a host of emotional and behavioral issues that come along with that. I knew I would need to do some adapting to make the classical model work in Ghana. I didn’t realize how the lack of resources, and the inability to get those resources, would severely limit what I could do, or more importantly, limit what I could train the teacher to do. Something as easy as using salt to practice letter formations is not so easy in a classroom with equatorial weather and no climate control. Limited access to internet and construction paper also made adapting art projects more complicated. I was humbled daily by how unbelievably blessed I am in my Geneva classroom.

However, despite the challenges, it quickly became obvious when I was teaching that, in fact, classical education does work in Ghana. During my time helping before school started, I was sorting and stamping some books that had come in from the USA, and came across My Father’s Dragon, a whimsical story that we read to TGS kindergarten students during our afternoon rest time. My students at Geneva had really liked this story about a boy and an adventure to rescue a dragon that his neighbor’s friendly talking cat told him about. So when it came time for me to lead the class, I started reading it to my African students. I was uncertain about how it would go over, due to some of the idioms that I didn’t think would translate, and since a reading time like that was not part of their normal routine. At first I thought I was right—the children did not seem engaged at all. But soon enough they would cheer when the book came off the shelf and dream up possible endings to the story during recess time. I often reflected back upon those conversations my students had at Geneva when faced with uncertain results or frustration, and I was glad I had persevered and tried something new.

There are a myriad of other stories I could tell for all the instances I thought “I can’t” over that month long trip. Not surprisingly, God proved me wrong over and over again. I am blessed to serve a God who does not get tired of proving that I can do things I feel I can’t, or more accurately, he can do them through me. I am reminded of James 1:5-6 that says “Let [them] ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given [them]. But let [them] ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” God showed me many times on that trip that I need to learn the very lesson I teach the students—you have to at least give it a try.

by Jenna Bagnoli, Kindergarten Instructor

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
    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
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  • 3rd & 4rt Grade Garden Club

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