If you werenâ€™t there, well, itâ€™s your loss. You missed great food (turkey and dressing), a wonderful speaker (Jim Morris of â€œThe Rookie,â€ fame), and the beautifulÂ song, â€œMy God,â€ sung by energetic young voices coming from deep within 48 second-through-fifth-grade students.
I can still hear some of the lyrics those kids sang: My God delivers . . . My God, heâ€™s my strength . . . My God, is my refuge . . . My God, He will save.â€ The unforgettable song was written by the studentsâ€™ equally full-of-life teacher and director, Krisha Fuller. She stood at the keyboard as accompanist and her husband Brian, was beside her on guitar. It was awesome!
Iâ€™ve been to most of the Riverside Christian Schoolâ€™s 28 fund-raising banquets down through the years. I remember sitting at the dinner table across from Art Linkletter when he was guest speaker. I also recall hearing Guy Doud, who in 1986 was named Minnesotaâ€™s Teacher of the Year. And last year we laughed til our sides ached at Ken Davis, a Christian comedian/speaker.
The school held its annual banquet Monday evening in the Grand Forks Alerus Center and we heard Jim Morris, who came up from Texas, to tell his story, the one Disney made into the movie, â€œThe Rookie.â€
You may recall that Dennis Quaid played Morris, the father, teacher and high school coach who thought his dream was over. Heâ€™d had his shot playing baseball, blew out his shoulder and retired without ever making it to the big leagues. Then, in 1999, Coach Morris made a fateful bet with his perpetually losing team. If they won the district championship, Morris, who threw a 98 mph fastball, would try out for the majors. When his team went from worst to first, he lived up to his end of the bargain and threw caution to the wind.
At 35, Morris became the oldest rookie in the major leagues.
Monday night, 450 people heard him tell about the two kinds of people there are in the world: the dream killers (those who want to kill your dream) and the dream makers (those who want to see you succeed). Morris had both in his life.
In a nutshell his message was this: â€œSurround yourself with dream makers. If you ever make a promise, live up to it. If you are going to do something, do it 100%. Itâ€™s what you do when nobodyâ€™s watching that makes you who you are. Remember who you are. If you ever have a dream in front of you, chase it. There are no limitations to dreams and you learn about faith along the way. The movie was never about me, it was about that â€˜dreamâ€™ and faith.â€
His truly is an amazing story â€“ as is the story of Riverside Christian School. Enrollment is up this year by 20 percent. Theyâ€™ve had to hire more teachers because there now are 147 pre-school through 8th grade students.
Located at 610 Second Avenue N.E., East Grand Forks, their brick building has the capacity to hold 200 students.
In the latest news letter, Principal Patty Roeder writes: â€œWhile we continue to press ahead with the yearâ€™s plans, it is important to be mindful of what God has in store for us in the future. This includes preparing for the addition of a high school.â€
So, if you were unfortunate enough to have missed the gala Monday night, where early accounting of various resourses indicates approximately $90,000 was taken in, thereâ€™s always next year and another opportunity to support Riverside. And to top off the entire evening, youâ€™ll get to sing, â€œGreat Is Thy Faithfulness,â€ with about 456 others. It’sÂ tradition! Believe me, my friend, thatâ€™s like the whipped cream on your pumpkin pie.