Leaning back in his office chair with his fingertips pressed together, his trademark position, Jim Tracy responds to questions with quick-witted jokes, laughing as if he has just heard them for the first time. His charisma is endearing. His classroom debates are legendary. His passion for students and ACA is undeniable.
After 12 years of teaching, Tracy is an icon at the school. No one remembers when he wasn’t here. He teaches or has taught almost every subject in high school. Biblical Exegesis, Modern History, and Rhetoric are some of his staples along with Oklahoma History and American Government. He is also the high school counselor, helping students with scholarship and college applications. Students consider it a rite of passage to take classes from Mr. Tracy, especially during their senior year.
When asked what their favorite “Mr. Tracy story” is, a volley of words comes from all corners of the room. Students regale each other with tales of past field trips, an OU football tossed around in the classroom (Tracy denies vehemently a bias toward OU), heated discussions, and the list goes on.
Grace Taylor said, “I loved Biblical Exegesis. We discussed so many things about differing viewpoints.”
Several students comment on his hands-on approach to Rhetoric and how much they have learned.
Grant Spencer agreed and added, “Mr. Tracy has always acted as a father figure to me when I have gone to him with any issues.”
Matt Woods chimed in, “Well, he was more of a grandfather figure to me.”
All around laugh, belying the close-knit relationship he has with many of the students.
Jim Tracy has a master of divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary. When asked why he chose to teach instead of pastor, he said, “I enjoy the relationship with the students. Teaching allows me to use my gifts to lead small group discussions that help stimulate ideas.” He continued, “I teach at ACA because I love the environment — the philosophy of ministry. It is interdenominational and is liberal in the traditional sense. In other words, there is a liberty of thought that is very helpful.”
One thing he feels good about is the significant impact ACA graduates are having in the world. This takes a team effort, he acknowledges, and is glad to have contributed to it. Although he loves the warm affection the student body has for him, his most satisfying and gratifying accomplishments in his life have been his two daughters and the “outstanding young women they have become.”
His oldest, Katie, an ACA alumna, graduated from the University of Oklahoma and is now an intern in Seattle, Wash., for Reformed University Fellowship. His second daughter, Anna, also a graduate of ACA, is in her second year at OU. Tracy credits ACA for its impact on them and chuckles that their mother probably had something to do with it also.
When asked what his favorite quote was, he responded, “You can’t win, Darth, even if you strike me down, I shall only become stronger than you can ever imagine.” ~Obi-Wan Kenobi
Laughter is a staple with Mr. Tracy. He went on to quote Winston Churchhill’s “Never give in.”
But his last quote is the one that fits him best: ““I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” ~Jesus, John 10:10
Deliese Brewer, Faculty