For almost 20 years, the husband and wife teaching team of Fran & Dave Trumbo have faithfully served the Liberty Christian School community. And though they recently announced they will not be returning for the 2015-16 school year, their legacy will certainly live on throughout the halls of the school and in the hearts of our community.
How it All Began
As members of Liberty Church, the Trumbos recall Pastor Mark Pett discussing his vision to start Liberty Christian School. With a degree in Physical Education from Towson State University, Mrs. Trumbo remembers thinking, “Wouldn’t it be neat if I could be the PE teacher at LCS? But that would never happen!”
Mark Pett’s vision was realized in 1980 when Liberty Christian School opened its doors to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. The school added grades in subsequent years until it reached its current offering through 8th grade.
In 1982, Mrs. Trumbo was offered a position as a part time Physical Education teacher. At first she only worked a couple of days a week; however, her hours grew along with the school until she eventually became full time PE teacher and Athletic Director.
Mr. Trumbo, who was working at a residential treatment center for children, became involved with Liberty Christian School in the late 1980’s, first as a substitute teacher for Mrs. Trumbo and later as a part time Health Teacher. In 1996, after facing several challenging years in his other job, Mr. Trumbo was offered a full time position teaching Math and PE that was created for him by then principal Don Stinnett.
Mr. Trumbo took a leap of faith and a substantial pay cut to make this change. However, God in His faithfulness provided. The day he left his job at the residential facility, the Trumbos received an inheritence check in the mail that basically offset the cost of that pay cut. God also provided additional ways for the Trumbos to make up the income deficit that were fun and rewarding for them, including the opportunity Mr. Trumbo was offered at around the same time to coach the girls volleyball team at Liberty High School.
Memories and Recollections
Working together proved to be a bit challenging in the beginning, but after a period of adjustment the Trumbos meshed and things got better with each passing year. “The Lord brought us together and we became better teachers” says Mrs. Trumbo.
The Trumbos were able to put their unique and God-given gifts to use in a way that complemented one another and best served the needs of their students. This was quite apparent in the way they divided their teaching responsibilities. As Mr. Trumbo explains, “Boys are interested in playing. They want to get on the field and get going. Girls relate. They have to talk.”
As a result, while they have worked together as a team with the students grades K-3, Mr. Trumbo has had responsibility for the 4th through 8th grade boys and Mrs. Trumbo has focused her energies on the 4th through 8th grade girls. This arrangement has been a wonderful blessing to these students who see the Trumbos as not just teachers, but as mentors, encouragers and Christian role models as well.
The Trumbos are dedicated to a shared teaching philosophy that physical education has the unique opportunity to assist an individual in learning to understand, appreciate, care for and develop his/her body so that in every area of life - physically, socially, emotionally, academically and spiritually- he/she may bring glory to God.
The Trumbos have also made it a priority to encourage and motivate students to always strive to do their best. Says Mrs. Trumbo, “When you come to PE, you don’t have to like it. I don’t expect you to like it. But I do expect you to give 100 %. When you expect them to give their best effort you get a lot more.”
This teaching team has had a tremendous impact on the lives of their students, and not just in the area of Physical Education. “It is a good witness to see a husband and a wife working together,” explains Mr. Trumbo. “They see us when we get along and the kids know when we’re a little disturbed with one another, and that does happen occasionally during class.” Ultimately, [the students] have witnessed and experienced the joy of a loving Christian couple who spends a lot of time together.
Over the years the Trumbos have made PE a place where all students can come and feel good about themselves when they walk out the door, regardless of whether they are gifted in this area or not. Since everyone has different God-given talents, the Trumbos have felt especially led to encourage those students who may not be as gifted in athletic ability by creating a safe environment for them to try without the other students laughing at them. As a result of their efforts, an encouraging environment exists within LCS that leads students who might never have considered playing a sport to participate in activities such as cheerleading or to try out for the school’s basketball, volleyball or soccer teams.
A New Chapter
After 11 years of coaching volleyball at Liberty High School, Mr. Trumbo eventually accepted a position as volleyball coach at Stevenson University, a position he was offered 3 times over a 7-year period before he finally accepted when he felt led to do so. He has served in that role for the last 8 years, one that has evolved over time.
Mr. Trumbo has always loved to coach and feels he can make the biggest impact in that way. The Trumbos had decided that if Stevenson were ever able to offer Mr. Trumbo a full time coaching job, he would accept. That opportunity presented itself this spring with Stevenson’s decision to start a sand volleyball program at the school. “I have the opportunity to start something brand new that’s never been done,” says Mr. Trumbo. “The time is right.”
While he is excited for the opportunity, Mr. Trumbo was concerned with the idea of being taken out of a Christian environment where he can make an impact. But again, God provided. Several weeks after accepting the position at Stevenson, Mr. Trumbo awoke at 6:00 a.m. one morning wondering about what type of impact he could make in his new environment. When he opened his e-mail that morning, he discovered a message from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) representative who had recently connected with his volleyball team inquiring of Mr. Trumbo’s interest in becoming a FCA faculty advisor. That message was reinforcement to him that he made the right decision in accepting this new position.
After faithfully serving Liberty Christian School for over 30 years and with her husband and teammate’s decision to take on this new role, Mrs. Trumbo feels it is her time to move on as well. She is looking forward to having more time at home and having the opportunity to get more organized there as well as spending more time with her grandchildren.
Mrs. Trumbo expressed that she is a bit apprehensive regarding the unknowns of this next phase in her life and wonders how it is going to look as well as what it is going to be like. But she looks forward to seeing how it will unfold and discovering what the Lord has in store for her.
When asked what they will miss most about Liberty Christian School, here’s what each of them had to say:
“Working with my wife,” says Mr. Trumbo. He has felt so fortunate to work with someone who comes to work every day, who wants to teach and really cares about the kids, and who is loyal and works hard every single day and who keeps him on track. He will also miss the regular contact with the students, especially in his role as basketball coach where he had the opportunity to grow closer to those students as a result of the amount of time they spent together.
Mrs. Trumbo will miss the opportunity she has been blessed with to foster her relationships with the students as a result of her daily interactions with them. Specifically, she will miss being able to look at them and know at a glance they are having a bad day and being able to encourage them so they don’t get down on themselves. She will also miss the teachers as well as the relationships and comraderie she shares with them.
The Legacy Lives On
When asked what words of wisdom they have to impart upon their students, Mr. Trumbo expressed the need for students to continue to encourage each other. He asks, “How do you feel when you are discouraged after someone says a discouraging word when you are trying the best that you can with the gifts that the Lord has given you? Even if PE is not one of them?”
Mrs. Trumbo says the most important thing students can do on a daily basis is to pray and look up to what the Lord wants for them. She says, “Build that personal relationship [with the Lord]. If you don’t already have one, try to find out what it is, what it means, because it will carry you through life. And keep moving. It will keep your mind fresh and your body going no matter what age you are.”
Mrs. Trumbo also wanted to assure students that she will continue to pray for snow days!
Those who know and love the Trumbos will certainly miss their daily presence in the halls of Liberty Christian School. We are thankful for the time they shared with us and the legacy they leave behind. We are confident that God has great plans for them in the next phase of their lives and know they will continue to be a blessing to all those they encounter. Godspeed and God bless, Fran and Dave!