ALL OF LIFE INTERVIEW : Tracy Braatz

December 7, 2016  |  Anthony Gee

Name * Tracy Braatz
What is your vocation? *
Charter School Director
How would you describe your work?
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I have the opportunity to work with the amazing staff and students at The PEAK School. My role as school director keeps me busy with everything from fixing toilets to working with families to provide the best educational opportunities for their child. My days can be filled with everything from drying tears and patching up a skinned knee to helping a student feel successful in performing a new academic skill for the first time.
As an image-bearer of God, how does your work reflect some aspect of God’s work?
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Jesus is our teacher, and the Bible our lifelong textbook. My role as an educator does not hold the same significance but I can honor Jesus by teaching children two things…to always work hard and to be kind. Most of our students come from poverty, with many winding up at PEAK following problems at another school. I see every child as a gift from God, each with unique talents. It is my privilege as an educator to help these children see the greatness God created in them.
How does your work give you a unique vantage point into the brokenness of the world?
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Many of our children have experienced more evil in this world than good. Learning for children that come from generational poverty is often difficult. They do not usually have a role model who is educated and can support and inspire them in learning. I have had children who miss school to take care of ill siblings while parents work. Children who have taken home extra scrap paper to burn for winter warmth. Children who fall asleep in class, because police were at their house in the middle of the night. Children who act out because they crave attention, and children who look forward to a teacher’s smile each morning as the first positive interaction of their day.
Jesus commands us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How does your work function as an opportunity to love and serve others?
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I feel strongly God has put me at PEAK School, and gives me the tools daily to spread His love. Any time I start to feel overwhelmed with the enormity of this task, God shows me countless reminders of why I am here. Having families refer other relatives to PEAK because they value the love we have for their child. Watching enthusiastic adults dedicate volunteer their time to show God’s love to children. Seeing students become engaged and successful in learning for the first time. Attending graduation ceremonies, where former students of PEAK are the first in their family to get a High School Diploma. I see God’s love working in lives daily, and feel blessed this is my life.