This is Us

Last year, a new television series debuted on NBC called This Is Us. The show has not only become highly popular, but also award-winning. NBC describes the series this way:

Everyone has a family. And every family has a story. “This Is Us” chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as young parents in the 1980s to their 37-year-old kids Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) searching for love and fulfillment in the present day. This grounded, life-affirming dramedy reveals how the tiniest events in our lives impact who we become, and how the connections we share with each other can transcend time, distance and even death.1,2

One of the qualities that attracts viewers to the series is that it shows how real life happens in (and to) a family, yet communicates it in such a way that hope and love still find a way to survive and thrive, regardless of the challenges that come.

As you know, we often talk about ALCS in terms of family. We regularly say – and with conviction – that we’re not just a school you attend, but a family you belong to. We are a special community of children and parents and families and educators all on a journey, and while we’re at ALCS (and sometimes longer), we’re walking that path together. In a very real sense as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are family.

And together, we have a story.

In the Bible, the reality of that family and what it will look like in eternity is clear. Revelation 7:9-12 (NIV) paints a powerful picture of what’s to come:

9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

    “Salvation belongs to our God,
    who sits on the throne,
    and to the Lamb.”
    11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
    Praise and glory
    and wisdom and thanks and honor
    and power and strength
    be to our God for ever and ever.

This past Christmas, like many of you, I watched and listened to our remarkable children sing and smile and dance their way ever-more-deeply into all of our hearts. As I looked back over the pictures of that evening’s wonderful program, one photograph in particular caught my eye:

Look at those radiant faces! Look at the intentness and the joy!

And look at the diversity!

This is us.

It is hard for me to express just how much appreciation and joy and gratitude to God I feel when I look at this picture. Regardless of the reputation that some private schools have (whether true or not) of being primarily Caucasian, that is certainly not who we are. Not us. Not ALCS.

No, we are an ever-more-diverse community of children and families from varied ethnic and social backgrounds, living and walking educational life together. And sometimes not just educational life. That’s a reflection of heaven-to-come. That’s a reflection of the heart of God Himself.

This is us.

And us is a beautiful thing!

As we continue our priority re-enrollment for returning families and as we open registration to new families on February 15, I want to thank you for making ALCS (1) a community of diversity that’s reflective of our greater Rancho Cucamonga community, and (2) an educational setting that continues to become more ethnically-rich with each passing school year.

Thank you for making us us. I look forward to seeing you around campus, especially at Open House next Thursday.

For the Glory of Christ and the Good of Our Kids,

Dr. Vance Nichols
Head of School
Alta Loma Christian School

1. “This Is Us.” Retrieved from
2. NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images. Retrieved from

Dr. Nichols (BS, MS, EdD) also serves as an adjunct professor of education and on the MSEd Specialization Advisory Council at California Baptist University, and on the Private School Advisory Committee for California State Assemblyman Marc Steinorth. He recently completed a three-year term as commissioner and chair of the ACSI Southern California Regional Accreditation Commission, and was an educational researcher, organizational leadership theorist, and 2015 Innovation Scholar at the University of Southern California. His most recent published research—“Schools At Risk: An Analysis of Factors Endangering the Evangelical Christian School Movement in America”—can be accessed online via the USC Digital Library at: