The 6th Grade Junior Martin Luther Competition – The 10th Anniversary

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 since 2008 has spent the month of October participating in a variety of classroom learning activities that 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.

Mr. Mercier’s homeroom finalists were Ali, Chase, and Sydney. The alternate for Mr. Mercier’s homeroom was Regan.  Mrs. Stuewe’s homeroom participants were Paul, Alexis and Justin.  The alternate for Mrs. Stuewe’s homeroom was Patrick.  Miss Doyle’s homeroom finalists were Hayden, Kathryn, and Brandon. Miss Doyle’s alternate was Matthew.  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.

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 55 minutes of intense competition, Alexys from Mrs. Stuewe’s homeroom won the competition!  After winning the competition, Alexys proceeded to nail the 95 theses on the Castle Church door.  Last year’s winner, Bella, 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 2017-18 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 to Alexys!

Past Jr. Martin Luther Winners!

    • 2008 Winner, Abby Bogh
    • 2009 Winner, Will Schmid – Who could not be with us today because he is attending college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
    • 2010 Winner, Kate Wegener
    • 2011 Winner, Caitlyn Vossen – Who was not able to join us because of a previous scheduled commitment.
    • 2012 Winner, Jake Dabrow
    • 2013 Winner, Rachael Warren
    • 2014 Winner, Skylar McMahan
    • 2015 Winner, Jordon
    • 2016 Winner, Bella

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Experiences at Catalina Outdoor Education

Our 7th graders had the amazing opportunity to step outside of the four walls of the classroom and into God’s Creation to experience and explore His intelligent design first-hand on Catalina Island at the Catalina Island Marine Institute in Toyon Bay! It was an amazing week as the students learned a tremendous amount of marine biology AND had a tremendous amount of fun! Here are some descriptions from the students, themselves, describing some of the many activities they experienced throughout the week.

Student Voices:

It took two hours to get from Long Beach to Toyon Bay, and the entire time anticipation was up as we were so excited to start our week.  The boat we took was the Catalina King, it was old, but reliable. At the beginning of the trip the chaperones had us take Bonine to keep us from getting sea sick. There was a snack bar with foods such as candy and soda, they also had healthy options such as water, that was it. Some students saw dolphins, others saw sea lions, all were amazed by God’s beautiful creation. When we saw the camp it was exciting, and we knew we were about to have a wonderful adventure.

By: Bella and Sylvia

Snorkeling was such a beautiful event. Putting on the wet-suit was kind of tricky, but it was very fun. Some groups saw a sea lion and we all saw plenty of fish. The instructors led the group and would go down and grab fun/cool living species. Despite that, in our groups we found numerous marine animals, including things such as eels and baby sharks, along with our instructors giving short introductions to the animals while holding them above water and having them squirm around for their dear life. We had many snorkels during the week (a total of five).  Some groups had two snorkels in a day and some had one.

By: Zoe, Claire  

Do you think belly flopping in a wet-suit would be fun? Well, at Catalina you have a good chance at having a lot of fun float jumping. You can do belly flops, dives, cannon balls, and many more jumps into the Pacific Ocean. That is not all you do while float jumping, you can also do games and challenges. One of the hilarious challenges was when the instructors yelled out an animal and you had to imitate that animal before jumping into the water. This activity was a reward after a long, fun, and educational snorkel experience. Another awesome experience while float jumping was that one of the groups saw a sea lion swimming around the float dock. This was one of the most exciting and fun experiences we had at Catalina Island Marine Institute.

By: Timothy,  Jordan

Going to Catalina Island was the best experience of my life! I did so many new things and learned so much. Personally, my favorite part of the trip was the all day kayak. We saw a sea turtle, three bald eagles, a sea lion, and Garibaldi! We kayaked to White’s Landing and swam for about 2 hours and relaxed on the sand. On our way back to Toyon Bay we did a variety of challenges with our partners in our kayaks. For example, my partner and I switched kayaks with our friends and did many other exciting challenges. We experienced so many new things and learned so much about God’s creation and his world.

By: Ronan & Ben

On the hike there was a lot to learn. We learned about native, invasive, and endemic species. The invasive species were things like the common fig or the bull frog. The endemic species is like the island fox and the California ground squirrel. The last one is native there is the Catalina Cherry Tree or the deer mouse. There was also sage at the hike and it smells a little like licorice and  the last thing is we talked about the rattlesnake. Apparently, the rattlesnake has a harder and more venomous bite at Catalina than anywhere else. They are currently researching why this so.

By: Cooper

While we were at Catalina we went seining. Seining is when you try to catch a fish with a net while another group of people shuffles towards the net to trap anything in between. We went seining for leopard sharks. While we were out there we were divided into two teams, scare team and the net team. The net team held a net in the water, and the scare team shuffled their feet causing the shark to go towards the nets. While we were doing this we caught a baby leopard shark which we named Larry, the counselors decided to keep Larry in the shark tank. The camp is currently filling for a permit.

By: Taylor and Jeannine

Every year at St. John’s Lutheran School the seventh grade goes on a school trip for a week to Catalina Island. On the Thursday after dinner everyone goes down by the ocean to a chapel completely organized by the students. Our dorms were all assigned a part of the chapel. My dorm was assigned the message. Our message was about this year’s theme verse from Ephesians 2:8-9 “for by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” I think that this was a great bonding experience for all the dorms. We were all working together and building friendships. In the end the chapel was a great success.

By: Clara

The talent show was hilarious for just students putting it together. There were so many good acts and some scores i didn’t agree with. Except it was a great bonding experience for all of 7th grade. There were lots of great talents like acting, dancing, singing, jokes, fake playing instruments, and sports. God gave us all these talents so we could glorify Him with it, but the way to go to win the talent show is Shakespeare. By; Paul

The labs on Catalina were so much fun! We did many labs such as the shark lab, the plankton lab and the invertebrate lab. Each of the labs were very different from each other. The first lab we did was the shark lab. We learn about the dermal denticles which means “Skin teeth”. After we learned about sharks we actually got to touch them! After the shark lab we went to the fish lab and got to see a giant eyeball! We also got to see a ton of different fish. The plankton lab was by far my favorite. We got to learn about plankton and then use a microscope to see them. After that we got to actually build a plankton and race to see who was the slowest to sink. During the algae lab we got to search through algae to look for small creatures. We found an adorable sea hair. In the oceanography lab we got to test the water. In the invertebrate lab we got to kiss a sea cucumber. All the labs showed us how much God loves us. He created all of the creatures we saw. In the end the labs were so much fun to do!

By: Riley

Thursday night we went rock climbing, from a small distance away the rock wall doesn’t seem that tall until you get close to it. We put on our gear after the instructors told  how to and everyone went to their course. The ones facing the front of the hill were the easiest ones, except for the Beast. On the left side of those three courses were the ones on the dark side, they made it more challenging by not have any light on it, obviously. On the left of the dark side were more hard ones but on the right of the easy ones were the most challenging, the Beast was on the left of the easy ones and go right there were Sharknado and Chuck Norris. What made these difficult is that the rock wall stuck out a little bit and the handles were also harder to grip, no one ever beat them. Some people noticed creepy faces sticking out of the wall, who ever created this probably put them there to creep someone out and make them fall. They played songs while everyone was climbing but somewhere in the middle they ironically played Careless Whisperer, and the last song was How Far I’ll Go from Moana. Personally the rock wall was one of my favorite parts of the trip, probably since I’ve done it a lot.

By: Alex

Without the instructors, CIMI would have more bland. They taught on everything they were supposed to and then more. If it wasn’t for the instructors we wouldn’t have learned as much as we did. They really helped on the trip and made it more enjoyable. Because of the instructors we learned a lot of good and new information at the labs that we might have not known before. We had fun with all of them doing snorkels, labs and hikes throughout the whole week in Catalina. All the instructors are unique in their own different ways and have very special God-given talents that we all love. We will remember all of the instructors and all the great things they taught us about of the Catalina trip.

By: Finn and Matthew

Mrs. Yvette Stuewe, Middle School Science

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St. John’s Instrumental Music

The Lutheran Church has a long standing tradition of musical excellence. Some of the world’s most famous composers–such as J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel–have musical roots in the Lutheran Church. These composers have made magnificent contributions to the world’s collection of sacred music and their gifts are still enjoyed and shared today. These composers captured the essence of music, a gift from God that touches the souls of those who play, perform, and listen.

St. John’s School is pleased to be continuing this rich musical tradition of the Lutheran Church which teaches students to enjoy this God-given gift, challenge themselves, and share their faith through music. Our students receive regular instruction in church music, vocal music, and instrumental music.

We have just begun the fifth year of the St. John’s Instrumental Music Program. It is exciting to look back just a few years and see the growth in the program: at the end of the 2013-2014 school year we had 7 students in our band program; currently, we have over 50 students involved in band! Over the years we have added weekly instrumental music instruction for all students in grades K-5, started a 2nd-3rd grade handchime choir, restarted the school handbell program, and formed a middle school praise band. We have grown from one concert per year to now participating in chapel multiple times throughout the school year, performing for pep rallies and other school events, participating in area Lutheran School music events, and performing multiple concerts per year. This year we have about 80 students involved our band, handbell, handchime, and praise band ensembles. Praise be to God!

Mrs. Megan Guebert, Instrumental Music

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Recently the 4th graders learned about the Tower of Babel.  They also got to participate in a fun activity of building the tallest tower they could out of plastic cups.  The challenge was that at first they could not vocally communicate with each other.  Just like when God made the people speak in many different languages so that they would have trouble completing their tower to heaven.  After a few minutes, the class then could talk and their towers were nothing short of amazing.  The lesson learned is that when we give God the glory and work well together, all things are possible!


Miss Clark’s 4th Grade Class

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For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not of your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

God loved us so much that he sent His Son Jesus to be the final sacrifice for our sins.  By doing so, Jesus made us right with God and gave us the gift of eternal salvation through faith.  Our faith in Christ comes from the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  The whole process of eternal life is simple–God’s gift of grace to us.

Mrs. Kruse’s seventh grade class has spent time digging deeper into this scripture passage through Bible study, memory work and creating their own faith seal.  First, the students wrote the scripture verse. Then, in groups, they created a song and/or actions to go with the verse.  Finally, they shared the verse from memory.  In addition, the students dove deeper into scripture to determine the context of Ephesians 2:8-9 and find related scripture passages to help in understanding the key concepts in the passage such as “saved”, “grace”, “faith”, “gift” and “works”.  The students also studied how Martin Luther used this passage in his ministry to point out inaccuracies in the doctrine and traditions of the church during his life.  Students continued by reviewing Luther’s seal and explanation and then created their own faith seal and explanation.  Throughout the school year, the students will continue to study God’s Word and Luther’s Small Catechism and through the work of the Holy Spirit grow in their faith so that they too can be a witness of God’s saving grace through faith in Christ to all.

By: Mrs. Laura Kruse, NBCT