Another year, another piece of pizza....
That's what it looked like on Friday during our outing to Pizza Ranch. The students celebrated the end of a hard-working week at Erdkinder and the birthdays of three of their classmates: Ben, Sarah, and Matthew O. Not only was this a time of fellowship and community, but the adolescents were able to witness their grace and courtesy to the staff at Pizza Ranch, and witness their faith by standing up and praying together before the meal.
Near the end of our lunch, there was a time of stories where parents and students shared funny, embarrassing, or sweet stories about Ben, Matthew, and Sarah. We all went around and told them what we were grateful for about them and shared many laughs and jokes as we exited the restaurant.
I was reflecting on why we do this in the adolescent community on my way home on Friday afternoon - yes, it is important to celebrate each student, and yes, the teenager years present a whole new phase that needs to be welcomed and hurrahed. But what I saw as we left Pizza Ranch was community, joy and friendship. I saw joy in celebrating the other and forgetting about themselves. I saw unity in their interactions, joking, laughing, and giggling during our group picture. This is a witness - to other schools where the norm is bullying, sarcasm, and swearing. To other teenagers who may spend their time in less reputable fashions. To the secular culture at large who are unable to put down their phones to actually interact and be present to each other in relationship. What a beautiful way to send these students into years of turmoil, change, and intensity. What a beautiful community of students to have for the 2018-19 school year. God is so truly good.
On Friday, September 7th, nine middle schools students ventured into Bunker Park for a quest of learning. They read maps, noticed cattails, leaves, grasshoppers, and types of trees and they also noticed a big chart sticking out of their guide's backpack.
After voyaging to a shelter to eat their rations for lunch, their guide told them it was time to unroll the chart. They sat at a long table, all facing her as she told them a very special story. The story told about how life developed on planet earth - how it began, how it changed, how it was nurtured and grew. The story told about the different eras and different ways each species adapted to the environment. The story ended on the last mammal that needs its own story to tell: the human.
After hearing the story and filling their eyes and minds with wonder, the adolescents ventured to collect specimens for research: butterflies, caterpillars, leaves, rocks, cattails, flowers, grasshoppers, and the like all came home with the adolescents, clutched in their hands or stuffed in their pockets.
As they left Bunker, one student said, "What a great day, I can't believe we get to do things like this at this school!"
Birthdays are a big deal in A1. The student is celebrated in the classroom (on a Thursday) and then are allowed to choose a restaurant for all of us to go out and eat lunch with them to celebrate!
This year, with the higher number of students, students will be asked to come together and decide on a restaurant as a team. Then everyone will go out once for those few student's collective birthdays. I will alert you as parents to see if you could join in the celebration - we will try to do them on Thursday afternoons. We will still celebrate each student individually on their own days in the classroom, however.
Thank you for all you do for your student, WOS, and the community. I am grateful to you.