Middle School Drama Club Elective

For the 2018-2019 school year, a brand new middle school elective was introduced, “Drama Club“. Drama Club students have the opportunity to practice acting and improv skills, work with partners and in teams, and learn the craft of stage acting. Students also have the opportunity to write and perform original scripts!

During elective class, we have an amazing time together laughing, rehearsing, and coming up with unique ways to tell stories.

All of this practice helps the Drama Club students with their most important work: sharing God’s word. The Drama Club has performed throughout the school year in chapel and at the fall pep rally. Their skits emphasize the truth of God’s love and His calling in our lives through humor and drama.

As their teacher, I am thankful for all the Drama Club students’ hard work and their willingness to get up in front of the school to share the Good News!

We are looking forward to a great spring semester-the Drama Club will be performing in chapel throughout it, and lead the school through our Holy Week chapel series before Easter.

Stephanie Ann Van Blarcom

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The Story of Christmas – Presented by K & 1st Grades

One of the most precious traditions here at St. John’s is our annual Kindergarten and First Grade Advent program. Over the years, thousands of people have had to pleasure of witnessing the story of Christmas as told by our wonderful students.

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The angels, Mary and Joseph, and the Star of Bethlehem are played by our kindergartners. The first graders play the part of the shepherds, the wise men, and Herod. Each class recites pieces of the story of Christmas and sings traditional hymns in their sweet voices. Every child is costumed and enthusiastically plays his or her part.

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The children begin practicing well before Thanksgiving. Mrs. Audrey Mink, our chorale director, teaches and guides the children in how to use their musical gifts to share the story of God’s great gift, Jesus.

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The students present the story of Christmas twice, once for our school and again in the evening for the congregation. The event is always well attended and is truly one of the most heart-warming Advent treasures to experience here at St. John’s.

By: Mrs. Demarest, 1st grade

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

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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The 29th Annual St. John’s Student Leadership Retreat

Every summer, two weeks before the upcoming school year begins,  twenty-four 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from the St. John’s Lutheran School Student Leadership Team attend an on-campus “retreat.”  The morning sessions of August 5th, 2019 provided this year’s team the opportunity to plan, prepare and strategize for the major events it will host for the upcoming school year, including:

      • Spring Spirit Week planning
      • Packaging 75 Open House “Survival Kits” for the incoming 6th graders
      • Habit of Mind presentation training with Mr. Mercier

 

  • Habitudes (Images that Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes) training with Mr. Mercier

 

    • Peer Counseling training with Miss Doyle
    • Life Group Leader training with Mrs. VB
    • Shepherding instructions with Mr. Stuewe

After eating lunch with Dr. Hollatz,  Mrs. VB was gracious enough to host a team building pool party at her house.  This gave our Student Leaders an opportunity to get to know each other in a fun, safe, encouraging environment.

The St. John’s Student Leadership Team is excited to serve our schools student body, our congregation and community.  What a blessing it is to have such a dedicated group of students and teachers who want to make a positive difference in the lives of so many people during the 2019-2020 school year.

By: Mr. Nathan Mercier, 6th grade, Student Leadership

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Peru Project – Part II

In part 1 I outlined this project which St. John’s students have been supporting for the past 9 years.
Once my wife, Patty, and I have a list of projects our work begins. One of the major projects we wanted to take on was quickly started:  the awning to cover the space between the two classrooms.
The biggest consideration was where the awning would be of most benefit. The next was timing:  how to get the structure built and the awning made so that both would be done before we leave in July.  Two different people are needed, a carpenter and an awning maker.  The last consideration was that the entire structure needed to be done in such a way that it can be unassembled and moved when the government comes through with the funds to remodel the school. This could be as early as this September or up to several years.
Lola wanted the space between the two largest classrooms covered. (See the first picture.)  This decided we then began to work on how to best coordinate structure with awning.  The carpenter gave us a time frame for completion just before we were to leave Perú. That meant the awning person would have to work from dimensions given by the carpenter rather than taken from the actual structure. This is risky at best. In the end we decided to have the carpenter build a structure the same size as the structure covering the play structure. (See picture #2)  to our amazement these dimensions fit almost perfectly into the desired space. And even better: because the two structures will be identical it will allow  Lola to design the space in the new school around the shade structures, placing  them end-to-end. It will add continuity in the long-run.
This decision also allowed the awning person to take more accurate measurements from the existent awning for the new awning. We took bids from several awning makers and chose the one who offered quality and the best price. It would cost about $850 for a high quality, water/weather proof material made to special order and installed.  About a week later we returned from a short trip to Cajamarca to find the rolled up cover (photo #3) hand delivered and ready to installed when the carpenter finished his work.  It weighs about 300 lbs.
The carpenter was called and came to the school to get the measurements for the awning structure. We agreed on a price (about $1500 equivalent in national money: Soles) and we went to Trujillo to exchange dollars. (Picture 4 shows the structure being put in place.) While there we went to a local store called Sodimac to see if they had prefabricated shelves the size we wanted. Sodimac is a Homedepot-like store which recently has come to Trujillo. While convenient it doesn’t offer a lot in terms of shelving. Nothing we could find fit the dimensions needed.  We wanted to steer clear of donating something which would just be makeshift. The units we did see were expensive and low quality.
So we began looking for plan B.  A family member recommended a young man in the town who had recently built some cabinets for a local restaurant. The young man’s name is Meikel and he works with a material he calls melamine, a kind of particle board covered in formica-like material. He could build sturdy shelves to the dimensions we wanted at less cost than the prefabricated odd-sized units we had looked at.  It did mean more footwork for us, but assured something which will endure the hard use they will receive, while adding uniformity to the classrooms.
The photos 5 and 6 show Meikel, the handy man, constructing the five shelves in our living room. It took he and his wife two days to put them together and they looked great.
Part three:  going shopping for things on the wish list.

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