The Paulks Are Creating Possibilities

It goes without saying that Providence Day is a dynamic campus in constant movement and growth. Schools by their very nature are communities in motion, full of individual families and experiences and challenges.

What makes a school a true community, however, is the collective ability to nurture and strengthen the connectedness of all those distinct elements into something authentic, welcoming and true.

Shawn and Kimberly Paulk believe their support of the CHARGING forward campaign is an important way they are helping to nurture Providence Day — a place to which they have become incredibly emotionally attached.

“One of the reasons we’re so passionate about Providence Day, probably the biggest reason, is Ethan has had such a positive experience,” said Kimberly. She and Shawn easily reel off a list of several teachers over the years who went out of their way to encourage and engage their son with exactly what he needed at precisely the right time. “They got him; they knew my kid,” explained Shawn.

Interestingly, the Paulks’ definition of ‘my kid’ has broadened to include every student who is attending Providence Day along with their son. This is an important element in their unbridled enthusiasm for the school.

Kimberly remembers the moment so vividly when she was a relatively new parent attending a PA meeting. The girls Upper School a cappella group was singing, and she found herself nervous for them and swept away by their voices. Her son, at the time, was only in first grade and yet she was completely emotionally invested in these older students’ success. She didn’t view them as ‘someone else’s kids’ but rather ‘her kids.’ Our kids.

Their love of the school is the reason they’ve chosen to stay in Charlotte despite opportunities to relocate. “We could have pulled up roots and moved, but purposely did not want to because of what the school means to us as well as to Ethan,” Shawn said.

“We didn’t know if we could replicate that perfect combination anywhere else,” added Kimberly.

Their thoughtful pledge to the campaign is a direct reflection of their respect and appreciation for the faculty and school leadership team. Giving back — with both their time and treasure — is their commitment to being an active and engaged part of the PD family.

“A community is not a static thing,” explained Kimberly. “If you don’t get involved; if you don’t nurture it; if you don’t try to make it better, it will falter. It’s a living, breathing entity — our school community. Any community is. It’s our job to contribute in some way.”

The Paulks view the CHARGING forward campaign as a means to maintain a world-class faculty, boost their morale, and give them the resources and environment conducive to teaching excellence. Shawn, was particularly excited by the prospect of growing the endowment. “When you look at other schools, our endowment was woefully low,” he said.

Both agree that the most beneficial thing the campaign may do for the school is create the unknown. “It’s going to give us possibilities,” explained Kimberly. “We’re a school that loves to take advantage of possibilities. Exciting things could happen here.”

As viewed through the hearts and minds of the Paulk family, giving to the CHARGING forward campaign is a way to celebrate, support, and nurture this community we all care about. For all our kids.

Shawn and Kimberly are the proud parents of Ethan ’21.