By Thomas Noe
Executive Director of Education
Tupelo Christian Academy had the opportunity to send ten of our students to the ACTS Convention, April 19th-24th, in Carlinville, Illinois. The United Pentecostal Church International’s Division of Education sponsors this great event. This was the first time we were able to send a group of kids in three years. I want to commend the students for their hard work and school spirit.
I was sitting in my office during this convention wondering how the students were doing. Then my phone began to receive text messages from our chaperones. The first was in regard to the mile run. It was reported to me that Johnny Warren had finished first in the mile run, and Mark Noe, third. I went through several of the high school classes announcing the mile run final results and the students began to cheer. Then one text after another came in…Amy Brown, first place in the 400 meter run; Chris Forrester, third in the 100 meter dash. Our 1600 meter relay team was outstanding and finished first (Chris Forrester, Mark Noe, Johnny Warren, Roger Casmus); Michael Noe, third place in the shot put; Ariel Lawrence, a first in oil painting, a third in sketching, and a third in acrylics. Another text…Kyle Jeffers and Austin Slagle had just finished first and second in chess; Austin also finished second in checkers. The entire campus was receiving emails and text messages. We began to publish this great information with excitement on Facebook and Twitter.
The big question had to be answered – how about our basketball team? For whatever reason, to most, the basketball tournament at ACTS Convention is tops. We received our first text…TCA wins first game! Then we received the next texts…TCA wins! TCA wins! One after another TCA basketball was working their way up through the brackets. TCA was not only competing with great schools such as Indianapolis Calvary, Houston Life, and Camden, but we were winning. The entire campus was anticipating the outcome of the championship game against Life Church in Houston. No longer was TCA a division B bracket team. We were competing in the A bracket against the powerhouses. With just seven basketball players – a David against Goliath – TCA won the Championship game…the final score: TCA 35 – Houston 34. I was told when the buzzer sounded, the kids went crazy with joy, the stands cleared, and I must admit I had to wipe a tear away. I was so happy for our boys. Against all odds, they had lived what I call “a life moment.”
Twenty-five years from now the story will be much bigger, better, and full of slam dunks. All of us on the campus of Tupelo Children’s Mansion are enjoying the story today, and TCA is proud of these student’s accomplishments. The basketball championship team consisted of Chris Forrester, Mark Noe, Johnny Warren, Kyle Jeffers, Austin Slagle, Michael Noe, and Justin Casmus. Go Crusaders!