Celebrating Jesus with Word, Song, and Psalter

Members of the St. John’s Lutheran Middle School community – students, parents, and teachers – gathered in the Sanctuary on Saturday, 7 December 2019.  Their purpose: coming together to praise Jesus by participating in the annual student-led Advent worship service.  Under the direction of Mrs. V.B. and Mr. Mejia, students celebrated the birth of Jesus through the words, songs, and musical  instruments.

As you can imagine, the logistics of putting together, rehearsing, and performing a worship service with almost 300 students do not come together quickly.  As is always the case, St. John’s Lutheran Middle School students have been working toward creating this annual tradition since before the Thanksgiving holiday, utilizing their elective course and daily advisory periods in rehearsals. The results of the students’ work have been spectacular, as St. John’s Lutheran Middle School students took the reins of the worship experience and the Middle School mass choir filled the Sanctuary with songs of praise in honor of the Christ Child.

Why do we invest so much time and effort in this endeavor?  Following the injunction of Jesus Christ Himself, our mission as Christians is to “go and tell” of our life-changing, soul-saving faith in Our Lord (Matthew 27).  Can you imagine a better way to undertake such a mission than through St. John’s Lutheran Middle School students sharing the uplifting message of Christ’s birth, as delivered through inspiring words and music?

We praise our Triune God for the birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ – who came to Earth in physical form to live among us, to teach us God’s Word, and to suffer and die in our place, for our sins.  His resurrection confirms that we, too, will rise from death and join Him in Heaven.

Kevin G. Smith, 7th grade

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O give thanks to the Lord!

In kindergarten, we had the opportunity to learn about and act out some of the events that took place on the First Thanksgiving.

We had a lot of fun on our Mayflower voyage across the Atlantic.  When we reached the new land, the students were given jobs to help prepare for the upcoming winter.  The boys did a great job of collaborating to make a common house out of Lincoln Logs, while the girls took care of the children in the forest.

When it came time to celebrate all the blessings between the Pilgrims and Native Americans, everyone pitched in to help.  The hunters had the job of preparing the turkey, the gatherers needed to harvest the corn, and the girls helped prepare the table for the upcoming feast.

When the feast was over, we continued the celebration with play time and game time. We of course saved the best for last, the pumpkin pie!

We truly have a lot to be thankful for.

Mrs. Harrison, Kindergarten

NJHS Helps KidWorks

This year the St. John’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), decided to help collect gently used sports equipment to donate to KidWorks.  Kidworks is a non-profit organization which helps children in Santa Ana, by providing academic enrichment, leadership and character development.

The service project committee this year was comprised of four members:  Chanel Soler, Chanel Kruse, Sydney Byrnes, and Ella Horwich.  This committee organized collection of the equipment, coordinating dates with Dr. Hollatz, making announcements for Chapel and Slices, and assigning NJHS members to teachers in each grade from kindergarten through 8th grade.

The donation got off to a slow start, but quickly gained momentum.  In the end it can be seen how generously St. John’s students donated.  The winning class, 8th grade, received a free dress day.  They collected almost two hundred pieces of equipment.  It was a job well done, both by the students and the NJHS members!

Sr. Stone, MS Spanish and NJHS Supervisor

12th Annual Junior Martin Luther Competition

October 31st, 2019 at 8:30AM in the St. John’s Historic Sanctuary

As a Lutheran church and school, we are proud of our Christian heritage and the Junior Martin Luther Competition was designed as a way for us to celebrate the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther.  It was his courage that laid the foundations of our faith today.  Every 6th grade student that has attended St. John’s since 2008 has spent the month of October participating in a variety of classroom learning activities that have exposed them to a deeper understanding of Martin Luther’s life, his relationship with God, the condition of the early church during his lifetime, and the good news of our Salvation that is found in the New Testament.

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This year’s finalists included Jack Schirrmacher, Lexi Krumes, Amanda McArthur, Trinity Laurenson – Aumua, Joshua Grack, Calista Somerville, Faith Novak, Miah Lovett and Kylie Snyder.  The Alternates for the competition consisted of Emily Paul, Ella Clapper and Olivia O’Day.  Their participation in class, quality responses to weekly reflection questions, results from the Reformation in Disguise scavenger hunt, knowledge and understanding of Luther’s Table Talk memoirs, memory test scores, and Luther’s Dates quiz results were just a portion of the criteria that earned them a spot in this year’s competition.  This competition consisted of several rounds of questions that pertain to the important dates in Martin Luther’s life, his favorite passages from Scripture, his Table Talks memoirs, his small catechism, and much more.

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This was a single elimination event.  One incorrect answer removed a finalist from the competition.  All correct answers were confirmed with the statement, “this is most certainly true.”  After 35 minutes of intense competition, Trinity Laurenson–Aumua,   from Mrs. Van Blarcom’s homeroom, won the competition!  After winning the competition, Trinity proceeded to nail the 95 theses on the Castle Church door.  Last year’s winner, Chanel Kruse, presented her with a Martin Luther bobble head doll along with the Luther Cup Trophy that will be displayed in her homeroom for the remainder of the 2019 -2020 school year.  Her picture from this event will also be displayed in the Middle School hallway on the Junior Martin Luther Legends wall of fame.  Congratulations Trinity!

Nathan Mercier, 6th grade

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HEROs in Training!

Last week our 2nd graders participated in our school’s annual H.E.R.O. training program where they learn about survival, empowerment, and safe-thinking strategies.  While the subject is certainly sobering, this program does a wonderful job of focusing on empowering our students in an emergency to use their brains and have strategies in mind when dangerous situations arise.  All of our students eagerly embrace the Hide, Escape, Run, and Overcome challenges as they learn that Superheroes are those who know how to save themselves and help others.

This week we are celebrating Red Ribbon Week and learning how to make healthy choices in all aspects of our lives as we give thanks to God for the strong healthy bodies with which He’s blessed us.  If you are on campus this week, be sure to check out all of the fun classroom doors decorated for the competition!

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Catalina Adventure 2019

Our 7th graders had the opportunity to take their learning beyond the four walls of the classroom and “dive” into God’s beautiful Creation as they explored Toyon Bay on Catalina Island at the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI)! 

Through observation, inquiry, and hands-on experiences the students learned about fish, sharks, algae, oceanography, plankton, invertebrates, creatures of the deep, island flora, island geography, and they even completed a squid dissection! 

Beyond the labs, the students worked together and strengthened our community while snorkeling and kayaking. The 7th graders encouraged one another while hiking, and rock climbing. We even had a Talent Show- “St. John’s Got Talent!” 

Throughout the week we prayed and completed devotions. The students led a worship service Thursday night to praise God for the wonderful opportunities that we had throughout the week to enjoy, learn about, and appreciate His fascinating Creation!

Here is a link to a video created by one of our 7th graders with pictures and video that he took during the week. Here is a link to all of the Catalina Blog photos from the week!

Some 7th graders shared what they learned during the week and when they felt God’s presence:

I learned how to dissect a squid. I saw God when hiking in the mountains. -Bella

I learned at Catalina how to really work together to accomplish something. Night snorkel. I saw God during the rock wall, because love is always on top. -Evan G

I saw God in His creation of animals. I learned that it is very hard to put on a wetsuit. – Jackson

I learned that bioluminescence glows in the dark. I felt God’s presence in “long division.” – Cooper J.

I saw God give us peace and to work together for a great purpose and us working like a well oiled machine and I learned how to dissect a squid. -Jack

I learned the fundamentals of the ocean. I saw God through the bonfire, it made me feel watched. – Owen

By: Yvette Stuewe, 7th grade science teacher

Singing Praise Songs with Pastor Hayes

It’s such a blessing to have such amazing pastors right here on campus!  Getting the opportunity to be with them outside of church or chapel is just so exciting to these little kindergarteners.

We were thrilled to have our very own Pastor Hayes come to our classroom last week.  He brought his guitar and lead us in some fun praise songs.  The students loved being able to help lead the songs with their voices and actions.

Praising the Lord with our voices is one of our favorite things to do.

We are looking forward to having him back in our classroom soon!

Molly Harrison, Kindergarten