A.C.T.S. of Kindness Week

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:

  1. Start Small
  2. Be Brave
  3. Be Kind
  4. No matter someone’s age, they can make the world a better place.
  5. 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

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Reflecting on Dr. King’s Life and Legacy

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 

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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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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

Raising Awareness One Student at a Time

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

The topic of mental health has become very prominent in today’s society. People of all ages, races, and backgrounds are becoming more and more vocal about their mental health conditions and the everyday battles they are facing. The question is, how can we help those struggling around us continue to find their voice and feel comfortable to do so? How can we foster suicide prevention starting at a young age? 

A stigma has developed over the years towards mental health, causing people to feel shame towards their conditions and in return not wanting to share their challenges with others. When those challenges are not or cannot be communicated, that’s when suicidal thoughts start to creep their way in to someone’s life.

At St. John’s we believe in supporting the whole child, and that includes their social and emotional well-being. We understand that suicide prevention comes in all different forms, especially when working with such a broad age range of students. Educating students on how to express, understand, and control their own feelings is one of the main ways we do this. Instilling problem-solving skills, communication strategies, and fostering resiliency are also crucial life skills that we understand play major roles in student success. And finally, having a Christ-centered environment where unconditional love is practiced, and where students feel safe and confident to turn to the trusted adults around them. 

St. John’s families, we love our students and only want the best for them. We are taking the appropriate steps for each grade level to make sure their social-emotional well-being continues to flourish. If at any time you need a referral for outside resources or additional support, please feel free to email me at sdoyle@stjohnsorange.orgor call the school office and ask for Sara Doyle. 

Blessings, 

Miss Sara Doyle

School Counselor