Stars and dots
In Max Lucado’s children’s classic, "You Are Special,” wooden creatures called Wemmicks scurry about town assigning value to each other. The talented and beautiful ones earn stars. The clumsy ones with chipped wood or scuffed paint get dots. Only the ones who get to know the woodcarver (a man called Eli) get to discover that the dots and stars don’t hold any true value. Only knowing the maker gives them freedom from the power of their peers.
Juliana Brahs, Liberty Classical’s new physical education teacher, has known she wanted to teach since she was young. In 2nd grade, she drew a picture and on it wrote, “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher because I like to watch the kids play in the gym.”
Juliana grew up in the Twin Cities before she was recruited to play college basketball and run cross-country, and while studying at Maranatha Baptist, she earned a degree in physical education, health, and coaching. She loves running (apparently that’s a thing), has completed multiple marathons, and has her personal training certification. What it all ultimately amounts to is that she loves any chance she gets to compete against herself, to see what she’s made of: beating her personal bests, qualifying for new marathons (like her next goal, which is the Boston Marathon), or competing in obstacle runs like the Rugged Maniac.
When she’s not training, she’s at Spyhouse Coffee or one of her other favorite coffee shops here in the cities. When she’s traveling, she goes to places like Coronado Island in Southern California or Arizona, where she lived for 6 years before returning to Minneapolis.
But what does Juliana Brahs have to do with Wemmicks?
Spend any amount of time with her and you’ll instantly encounter her passion for teaching and her love for her students. When asked what it is about teaching physical education that connects so deeply with her, she gave an answer that went beyond that picture she drew in 2nd grade.
It’s more than watching kids play in the gym.
For Ms. Brahs, physical education is where she teaches students to take care of the only body God gave them. It’s where she shows them how to win, and how to lose, graciously. It’s where she gives them tools for competition that are ultimately tools for all of life, like how to work with people that are difficult to work with or how to push yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of. It’s where she gives students the training and direction to compete against one another, but also to compete against themselves, to learn to work at something with all of their hearts. It’s where she gives every student a chance to succeed, despite their academic or athletic ability, regardless of their natural gifts or obvious shortcomings. It’s where she helps kids find victories in their lives.
It’s where she teaches students about their value, and it’s also where she helps them discover it.
Because Ms. Brahs joined our faculty, our students are going to learn all of this and more. But above everything else, if she gets her way in her classroom, each student at Liberty Classical will get to know the Maker who carved them by hand.
Welcome to Liberty Classical Academy, Juliana Brahs. We’re glad you’re here!