I left my home in the United States and the city I have lived near (Washington DC) since I was in 5th grade. I got on a plane to a place I had never been—Hong Kong. I knew very little of the culture that was about to surround me. I did not know even one of my students. I did not know any of the office staff at HKAA that I was going to be so dependent on for success in this new adventure God had created for me. I had never met even one of the teachers that would be so critical to the mission our school has been founded on: helping students GROW. I handed my boarding pass to the airline employee and crossed the threshold of commitment to embrace my journey into the unknown.
My focus on that day though was not on the unknown. My focus was on what I did know. I knew I had been a part of the leadership of successful schools and churches for 30 years. I knew that God had offered me his grace and that it had changed my life. I knew that God had given me a passion for children, young people, and their families. As principal of HKAA I was convinced that God was going to use me to pursue three goals:
1. To help students experience the Grace of God.
2. To help build and grow students’ Characters
throughout the school year.
3. To inspire and motivate students to push themselves toward Excellence in all that they do, especially in their relationships and their school work.
As I look back on this, my first year in Hong Kong, I have so enjoyed getting to know the students, their parents and of course HKAA’s wonderful staff. I have watched many HKAA’s students become better people because they have been pursuing excellence, growing in character, and experiencing the grace of God. It has been thrilling to watch parents become better parents because of their partnership with HKAA’s teachers, administrators, faculty and staff.
Finally, It has been great to see the tremendous joy on the faces of so many children from the youngest first grader till our students are ready to go to university. Each new school year is a threshold of commitment. May God bless you in your journey.
- TOM DECKER