A year after Hurricane Harvey, Bay Area Christian School is on a mission to have more fun.
“We’re solid in academics, spiritually and in athletics, but we want to be better at fun,” Head of School Jason Nave said.
To liven things up a bit, officials hired Trac (pronounced Trace) Cook, a 1980s-era BACS alumnus, to be the student life director, a new position debuting this year.
Nave and the school’s staff are relieved to start the school year normally and not under a cloud of storms like last year when Hurricane Harvey devastated the area and the campus, 4800 W. Main St., League City.
“We were hit pretty hard. We had to put new roofs on five different buildings and the floor of our newest building, a $4.5-million athletic center, was completely ruined,” Nave said.
Now that all repairs and replacements have been made, school life can continue as usual.
“Everybody’s excited about this year,” Nave said. “Everyone had a rough time last year with Harvey, the crazy ice storms and then it ended with (the shooting at) Sante Fe High School, and that put everyone’s emotions all over the place.”
Though Cook will take over many existing events like prom, mission trips and field trips from teachers to lighten their load, he will also work to bring a different mood on campus, something Nave said is critical for overall student development.
“With the everyday rigor of school, fun tends to be somewhat left behind,” Nave said. “When I hired Trac, I told him I needed him to bring the fun, help create emotional bonds and add an element of social dynamic to the school.
“He’s going to be a great addition to the staff, and the kids will really gravitate toward him.”
Before coming to Bay Area Christian, Cook worked for 20 years at Pine Cove Christian Camp, experience that’s given him a varied background in kids’ programming.
Hoedowns … and a riding bull
“Academically, there’s pressure for kids to perform, perform, perform. My goal is to put the kids at ease and do some things they aren’t expecting, even in chapel,” Cook said, mentioning plans for boys-versus-girls trivia games.
Plans for this year include the addition of a hoedown and a professional caller for square dancing. The event will come complete with a riding bull. Other ideas are quick grab-and-go coffee-and-dough events for the kids, occasional student-performed acoustic guitar concerts during lunch and even teacher antics during drop-off and pick-up to give the parents a boost and a laugh.
“These things let the kids know we’re thinking about them, and there’s value in that,” Cook said. “Little things make the difference.”
Cook has already put his theory into practice. Ahead of school he hosted a back-to-school high school retreat at Forest Glen in Huntsville for about 65 kids. He said the mood was casual and the event such a success that he expects attendance to nearly double next year.
“We cut loose, the kids had a lot of free time — they danced, and just hung out,” he said. “It was really well-received and it was good to see them reconnect after the summer.”
Said Nave of the new school year: “Now we feel like we can take a deep breath and focus a bit better. We’re allowed to start writing a new chapter.”
For more information on the school, visit http://www.bacschool.org.