Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Kindness Week is off to a great start! We had speaker, Brian Williams visit St. John’s yesterday and speak to Kindergarten through eighth grade. Every student who left that Auditorium yesterday felt empowered to spread kindness and make a change in the world around them.
Brian Williams, one of the nation’s top youth speakers, has challenged St. John’s Lutheran School to a massiveKindness challenge!! Our goal is to partake in 5,000 acts of Kindness before the end of the quarter on March 20th.
Brian is the founder of Think Kindness, a non-profit that inspires measurable acts of kindness in schools across the country. He speaks to over 100,000 students each year, has documented over 1.5 million acts of kindness, traveled to Africa 14 times and collected over 500,000 pairs of shoes for needy children and families.
Some of the main points Brian shared with the students were:
- Start Small
- Be Brave
- Be Kind
- No matter someone’s age, they can make the world a better place.
- Being kind starts with YOU!
All students and staff will be working hard to accomplish our goal of 5,000 acts of kindness by March 20th. We can CHANGE THE WORLD!
My: Sara Doyle, School Counselor
The past few weeks fourth grade focused our attention and readings on the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is always an emotional few weeks as we approach tough conversations about race, culture, segregation, and discrimination. Subjects and pains that are not cured, as Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech still stands relevant to this day. Although the days of Jim Crow Laws and segregated buses are long gone, discrimination based on race, gender, culture, religion, disability, etc. are unfortunately in our communities.
This year, Dr. King could have turned 90 years old, possibly able to address my students and this country himself. Instead, we are left as a community of parents and educators with the responsibility of pursuing his dream and reminded of the “urgency of now.” Each day we have a responsibility to lift our nation from injustice and to stand solid on the rock of brotherhood.
Making a connection to Dr. King’s speech can be difficult for some students, as the pains of our nation’s history seems to be that of a terrible fairy tale or dark legend. Bringing Dr. King to life, reading through his speech, making connections to our world today, and letting it sink in that these atrocities were happening with our parents/grandparents as witness help students identify these truths. Parents and students were encouraged to have conversations at home. Through these conversations a student in our class learned that his grandmother’s principal took part in one of the many civil rights marches during the 60’s and has since been recognized with the state’s “Diversity Award” in 1998! Stories and testimonies like this allow students to be present within the narratives of our country.
We spent the week working through and analyzing one of Dr. King’s most well known speeches, I Have a Dream. Students took notes on a graphic organizer, highlighting portions of the text that embodied Dr. King’s vision for our nation. Check out our work samples below! We thank our Lord for the impact of civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King. He remains another great example of how powerful His love truly is. I pray that He continue to bless our children with courage and strength to stand against inequality like Dr. King, as they are the leaders of our future!
Ms. Emily Goins, Fourth Grade Teacher
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.
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.
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.
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
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