julie_shirleyWritten by: Shirley Kitchings

If you asked me for one word to describe Tattnall Square Academy, I would have to say family, for several reasons.  To begin, I have taught here for thirty-four years, almost half my life.  During this time, Tattnall has become my second home, and lasting relationships with fellow faculty members and Tattnall families have been formed.  So what does it really mean to be family?

Families have ties that bind.  

When I came to Tattnall in August of 1982, I was quickly welcomed into the Tattnall family.  I was a single parent with a seven-year-old daughter, Julie.  I had planned to be a stay at home mom, but my life had not worked out as I had planned, and I needed to return to teaching to make ends meet. Two weeks before school started, God answered my prayers with an English position at Tattnall.

As Jeremiah 29:11 states, God had great plans for me. Teaching at Tattnall provided me with much more than a paycheck.  I gained a Tattnall family to walk with me on this journey of life. Beloved English teachers Doe Watson and Pat Jenkins welcomed me, mentored me, helped me and inspired me to try to be the best teacher I could be.  More importantly, my Tattnall family partnered with me in my attempt to raise my daughter Julie “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

image (2)Over the years that followed, my Tattnall family provided Julie with much more than a strong academic foundation; they reinforced the Christian foundation she was being taught at home and at church. Tattnall is also where she met Bryan Scott, a godly student who took her out on her first date and who married her six years later.  Now, my Tattnall family is partnering with them to raise their children, my grandchildren – Avery, Brynn  and Asa Scott – to glorify God in all that they do.

As students have moved or graduated and as teachers have retired, our Tattnall family has had to say our goodbyes.  Nevertheless, the Tattnall ties still bind us. These ties are strong, Tattnall Strong, and examples abound, from students who come back “home” to visit on college breaks, to alumni who are now enrolling their children, to retired teachers who meet regularly to catch up on old times, to daughters like Julie Scott and Carolyn Stuart, who return to teach at Tattnall with their moms.

Families share lasting traditions and fond memories.

Teachers who have been here twenty years or more as I have – Lynne Adams, Barbara Chapman, Paula Douthit, Patti Garretson, Jan Miller, Fran Shaw, Tommy Sherwood, Carolyn Smothers  – are now teaching the children of students we taught years ago, yet another tie that binds.  And, like a lot of “old folks” in any family, we have lasting traditions we began (K5 students searching for the Gingerbread Man, Thanksgiving feasts, Faculty Follies, the Kids Yule Love Christmas Program, the Moving Up Ceremony) and fond memories we recall  (“Remember when the whole school was housed in one building? Back then, Trojan Hall was the gym.  The high school was on one side, and the elementary was on the the other.”  OR  “Remember the Immaculate Recovery in the ‘97 State Championship Game?  We were in second overtime against Mount de Sales. They got the ball, scored, and made the extra point.  Then we got the ball and scored. On a 2 point conversion, Joey Hardison, our quarterback, was tackled and fumbled the ball, which rolled into the end zone. Henry Mahler fell on it, recovering the ball and giving us the victory. What a game!”).

kitchingsFamilies are there for you in the good times and the bad times.  

Like all families, we at Tattnall have experienced our ups and downs.  The one constant, however, is that we are always there for each other.  My Tattnall family was there to console me in 1983 when my mother died and to celebrate with me in 1984, when God answered my prayer for a Christian husband and brought Gene Kitchings into my life.  My Tattnall family was there when we lost a two-year-old grandson in 2001 and when my father died in 2007.  My Tattnall family was there to pray for me when I had colon cancer in 1995 and a renal cell ablation in 2015.  

This is true not only for me, but for our entire Tattnall family. Over the years, we’ve laughed together, cried together, rejoiced together, played together, and most importantly, prayed together, and our Tattnall family bond has been made stronger in the process.  

That’s to be expected, however, for we share the same bloodline.  We bleed blue and gold, so  there will always be no place like home, our Tattnall home! To parody a popular 1979 hit, “We are family! All my Tattnall Trojans and me!”


Learn more about Tattnall at our Open House event this Sunday, January 24, at 2:00 p.m. Pre-register for Open House at bit.ly/startstrongtsa today!