You can know a lot about Oakdale, but you don’t really know Oakdale until you know our staff. That is why I consider this “meet the Oakdale staff” series to be so important. When David Kratzer and his family came to Oakdale Christian Academy in 2001, we knew that his Greenville College and Asbury Theological Seminary education would equip him, but no one anticipated that a term like “Dave Kratzer bread” would become a fond expression of being at Oakdale. Whether through his cooking skills, his landscaping, or the many other ways he has enriched our campus family, Dave is just the kind of person you need to know if you want to know about Oakdale Christian Academy.
The Grace of Belonging
This kind of day doesn’t happen to most people. I will walk down early to the kitchen, the birds singing like crazy to cook breakfast for our students and many of our staff and their families. After all the eggs are fried and the cinnamon rolls eaten, I’ll clean up and supervise a crew of students who will wash the dishes, mop the floors and wipe down tables.
Now for lunch. I’ll walk down to the garden to see if the Agriculture class has any vegetables or herbs ready to harvest and include in the lunch menu. Then lunch – lots of chopping and sautéing, steaming and baking. Mixed up in all of that I will do some baking for the next day and plan some menus for the rest of the week.
I love working here. It is fast-paced, rewarding, and varied work. But more importantly, I love working here because I know I belong, because I know I am known and accepted.
Oakdale is a place where people are able to belong. I have come to know that I belong here. Our students learn the same thing. Some of our students come here from families and communities where they’ve experienced a lot of rejection and pain. They find belonging. Other students come here with feelings of inadequacy about their ability to learn or work hard, and they discover gifts and abilities they never knew they had. And they learn to belong.
This day will be full of good work and varied experiences here at Oakdale, but more importantly it will be full of people realizing this incredible grace of belonging.