What do Chaplain Barry Black, Coco Chanel, and Walt Disney all have in common? They were all present at the 2019 Biography Tea event at Fredericksburg Seventh-day Adventist Church (Va.), of course! Well, to be honest, only Chaplain Black really attended. On Thursday, October 24, 2019, the Tree of Life Christian Preparatory School hosted its 12th annual Biography Tea.
The Biography Tea is where the students of TLC Prep choose a historical figure and dress up as that person. They then give a rehearsed speech as their chosen role model, and receive an interview by the host of the event on stage. The objective is to immerse the pupils in their “subject’s character ensuring a fun and unforgettable learning experience.”
This year, TLC Prep invited special guest Barry Black, 62nd chaplain of the United States Senate, to inspire the students. Some of the historical figures chosen by the scholars were Michelangelo, Michelle Obama, Anne Frank and one student dressed up as Barry Black himself. Every speech had well thought out information, capitalizing a positive character trait of the subject.
Black encouraged students to go the extra mile with whatever task they are given. He told a story about when he no longer wanted to attend church school after completing the 8th grade. His mother, a God-fearing woman, allowed him to go to public school for the 9th grade. While there, Black found himself getting into loads of mischief – including failing every class because he would skip school. His mother prayed earnestly for him, and after getting involved in an awful gang fight, he happily returned to Christian education.
After returning, Black began reading the Bible. His mother paid him and his siblings a nickel for every verse they could remember. Initially, he would only memorize the short verses until he came across a longer one that changed his life. The verse was Matthew 5:41, it reads, “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” From that moment on, Black committed to doing every assignment in school twice. This act resulted in him becoming the valedictorian of his 10th grade class. –
“God wants your physical well-being and your spiritual well-being to be in sync with one another,” Black admonished. He told the students to do everything in moderation and to cultivate a strong relationship with Jesus. Only then would they be able to “increase in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.” He finally concluded with a challenge to everyone, “Go the extra mile. Become a second mile Christian.”