Monday, September 18, 2017

Where Did Our Grads Go?

Welcome to the third week of school!

Hopefully by this point your son or daughter is finding their way around the school and getting into a good learning routine. Particularly if you are new to our community, we would again like to say that we are happy you have joined us and if you have any questions about the operation of the school, please don't hesitate to ask us. You can call, email or just drop on by, we'd be happy to chat.

Although we are really busy getting this year up off the ground, it is interesting to note that we have also just sent all of our graduates from last year 'out into the world' as they have also started new things these past few weeks. Whether they started in college or university or whether they are now off traveling, working or doing some sort of missions work, life certainly changes quite a bit when you leave high school.

I thought it would be interesting to note a few things about where our graduates went from this past year. We often get questions about these sorts of things and so I took a snapshot of where everyone went and I came up with the following statistics and highlights. What I find interesting to note is that we again have a diverse list of graduate destinations because we are intentionally open in terms of how we try to work with our families on the front end of the admissions process. In other words, to the best of our ability, we work with all students from all families, not just a certain subset of students who pass entrance tests or meet some other entrance criteria. From a Biblical perspective, we believe that God creates people uniquely and we want to try to honour that right from the start.

- We had 62 graduates last year and 60% of them went to some sort of University, whether in Ontario, Canada or overseas
- 25% of our graduates went to some kind of college, mostly in Ontario
- The other 15% of our grads went into a wide range of different opportunities including work, apprenticeships, missions work, 5th year in high school and other options
- We get questions every year about whether most or all of our graduates go to Christian Universities or Bible schools. Although this is obviously not the case, we did still have some of our students attend Redeemer University, Calvin College and Canadian Mennonite University.
- We had acceptances to far-off places like the University of Manchester in the UK and The University of Australia
- The list of programs that our students were accepted in to was a really diverse list including things like: criminology, policing, engineering, pre-medicine, publishing, agriculture and kinesiology.
- Some of our graduates were awarded acceptances to some really prestigious programs and institutions like the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto and the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
- One of our graduates was also awarded the Schulich Scholarship in the amount of $100,000 to MacMaster University! This was a first of its kind award for our school and definitely something worth celebrating.

If you have had a chance to go through the last ConnectED, you'll see a complete listing of all of our graduates and their plans for this year. Regardless of where they landed, we would like to wish them God's blessings as they start out in this new phase of their lives. We are very proud of each one of them and it is our prayer that their diverse talents, gifts and abilities will be used to build the Kingdom of God wherever they go!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to another school year at London Christian High!

We are really excited to get started!

The start of a new school year is exciting for everyone, teachers, students, staff and administrators alike. It is an opportunity to start fresh and look ahead with anticipation to all of the great things that God has in store for us in the coming year. With his guidance and direction, we are confident this will be yet another great year at London Christian High!

If you are a new family to our school community we would like to welcome you specifically to the start of this year. Whether your son or daughter is starting their first day of grade nine, or whether they have transferred from another school or perhaps even another continent, we are very pleased that you have decided to join us this year. We are praying for a really smooth transition into our school. If, for any reason, you have a question about something as you get started, please don't hesitate to call or email or drop by. We are happy to help at any time with anything.

Although the first day of school isn't until Tuesday, the 5th of September, a large portion of our school community got together last week Thursday night already at the Back to School BBQ. Over 300 people attended and we had a great night together eating roast beef and ice cream, praising God and committing the year to Him. Thanks to everyone who was able to make it to the evening. If you were not able to make it, don't fear, your child will be able to get 'oriented' when they show up for school. And again, if you or son or daughter has questions following their first day, don't hesitate to ask!

Finally, this year we will be focusing our school year theme on the word: Empathy. We want to develop a deeper sense for how we can love one another, understand one another and 'walk a mile in another person's shoes'. We will be unpacking this idea further throughout the year, but a good biblical verse that sets the scene for this can be found in Colossians 3: 12-14:

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 

Again, we welcome you back to another year and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The End, Graduation, Summer...etc.

The end of the school year is always filled with both excitement and angst for students and staff alike. With exams, final projects, last minute graduation preparations, marking and summer planning, it can be overwhelming for many people. We would ask that you join us in prayer as our collective school community tries to finish off the year on a good note. There are many details to finalize but also many things to be thankful for as well in the process.

Please pray that our students would finish well and that their exams would be a really good reflection of their work over this past semester. Pray for our graduates who will be starting a new chapter in their lives next year. We would also appreciate your prayers for our staff who have again done a tremendous job this year with our student body, shaping and moulding the minds and hearts of our future Christian leaders.

Finally, we would invite you, our community, to join with us in celebrating the end of the year and specifically our graduates next week Wednesday, June 28 at 8pm at North Park Community Church. It should be a fantastic time of sharing, celebrating, looking back and looking forward together. We hope to see you there!

Looking ahead, please put August 31 on your calendar as the official start of the 2017-2018 school year. August 31 is the Thursday before the Labour Day weekend and it is our annual Back to School BBQ, which everyone is invited to attend. Again, we hope to see you there! Until then, on behalf of the staff, we wish you a terrific summer together with your family! Blessings!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Celebrating Learning - YOU Are Invited...

This coming Thursday on June 8 starting at 7pm, we would like to invite you, our entire community (and anyone you know) to attend our annual Celebration of Learning and Spring Concert. This is an awesome opportunity for our students to show others what they have been working on throughout this past semester and we would love to see you there! In addition to taking in a really great concert, you will also have an opportunity to check out things like: music magazines, an art/science table of elements collaborative piece, algebra origami, earth issues projects, highlights from the marketing mall, our own school magazine 'Capture' and much more!

It should be a really cool evening!

When you think about it, this type of evening makes a lot of sense given that we are a school. We spend time cheering on sports teams, taking in our annual drama production, singing along at the Christmas concert and other similar events, but schools are primarily built around learning that happens day to day. Taking a bit of time to step back and appreciate the gifts that God has given to our students is not only honouring to them, but also honouring to our God. Not only that, it is also a lot of fun to share what you know and/or have made!

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Living in Hope: Mental Health Awareness

This past week we took a few moments to remember the life of Jordan Hiemstra, a Gr. 12 student who tragically took his own life earlier this year. We wanted to not only remember Jordan, but also to take the opportunity to spread a message of hope, particularly for those who are or have been affected by mental health issues in their lives. As staff, students and many members of the wider community gathered together, it became clear pretty quickly that despite these tragic circumstances, God is still good and that He wants us to continue to live in hope, a hope that is rooted in Him.

There were many powerful moments in our brief time together, but one that really stood out for me was the message from Christy Hiemstra, Jordan's mom. Many of you will already know Chris and Christy Hiemstra from their various writings and talks on their experience dealing with the death of their son. Christy's message was one of hope. Her central message was that if you are struggling with mental health, please get help, talk to someone. Chris and Christy have done an incredible job of pointing people towards resources and help in the hope that future tragedies like this can be avoided. 

Here are a few pictures from the event below. I will close by saying again that if your son or daughter is struggling with depression or anxiety or any other kind of mental health related issue, please seek help. We, at London Christian High have learned a lot about mental health awareness over the past seven or eight months and we would be happy to point you in the right direction if you do have questions. Please feel free to connect with us at any time.

The choir sang to honour Jordan

Cassie and Kennedy speak about the shirts that they designed to raise awareness for mental health

Christy Hiemstra shares her message of hope with us

Marg Dijkhuis talks about a concept art piece that is being designed to honour Jordan and to raise awareness for mental health issues.

Our time together ends with a tree planting to provide a new spot for gathering in Jordan's memory

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

People & Purpose

We have been talking quite a bit about People and Purpose at London Christian High. I thought I would just take a minute and write a short post outlining what these are starting to mean to us as we seek to unpack these key ideas in our daily practice. We are open to your feedback. Enjoy!

PEOPLE - When we say People, what we mean in our context is that people matter to God. He created each person with tremendous gifts, talents and abilities to share and ultimately to bless others in our broken world. Even the weaknesses that we have are used for the glory of God when seen within this light. We know that His strength is made perfect in our weakness, so the entirety of who we are as people has been deliberately designed to bring glory back to God and to build His Kingdom here on earth. Within a classroom setting, it can often be difficult to 'differentiate' for all learners, but we believe that this is a Biblical norm and it is something worth chasing after. A key question for our staff team over the past year has been: "How do we celebrate and affirm all learners (people) based on who God has created them to be?"

There are many Biblical references for how much God loves People, but one that often comes up is from Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

PURPOSE - Moving forward, for us it is not enough to just stop at celebrating people for the gifts and talents that they have. Although people are worth celebrating for just who they are, we also recognize that God is calling each one of us to a life that is lived for a purpose that is much bigger than any individual person. At London Christian High, we affirm that God has a purpose for each person that He creates. This is a powerful thought, it separates Christians from the rest of the world in that we recognize that we were created for something more. Our hearts are restless until they rest in Him. There are a host of issues that exist in our broken world and we believe that God is calling us to have our hearts broken for the things that break His heart. Looking around, we wonder, what has God uniquely called me (people) to do to make this broken world a better place for His glory? In the classroom, this is the difference between having a grade as the ultimate goal versus having the development of a Kingdom vision or purpose be the ultimate goal. Although the grade is important, we recognize that the things of this world will pass away over time but the impact that we have on others through Christ will span eternity.

One Biblical verse that is often cited for reference here is from Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

People and Purpose. We will continue to discuss and unpack these themes in the months and years ahead. Again, we invite you to join us on this journey.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

YOU Are Invited to a Town Hall Meeting - May 11, 2017

London Christian High as we know it today is made up of a terrific group of people. Parents, students, teachers, support staff, grandparents, board, and wider supporters of all kinds are all integral to the ongoing operation of the school. There have been many similar types of people who have come before us and there will be many similar types of people who will come after us. We form a community of witnesses who believe to our core that the earth is the Lord's and everything in it and that we have an indispensable part to play in the ongoing restoration of God's good creation. Christian schools and London Christian High specifically, stands at the intersection of celebrating People for who they were created to be while simultaneously pointing them towards God's purpose for their life. People. Purpose. You have likely now heard these words in our community.

From Generation to Generation, the future is bright at London Christian High

These types of key ideas do not fade as generations come and go. We readily re-affirm that God is the Creator, that He is in control and that He has a good plan for places like London Christian High. This is a core idea for us. In other words, the 'why' doesn't change. Our 'why' stays the same.

What does change over time is the 'how'.

How we, as a group of believers, discern the will of God in changing times and circumstances inevitably changes as the world changes. We are called to engage with culture, not run from it. We are called to share our gifts and talents in new ways for the benefit of others, not hide them or keep them to ourselves. We are called to seek God's good will as He reminds us, 'Behold, I make all things new'. 

We are standing at a critical juncture in the history of London Christian High. In order to reach an entirely new generation of families interested in Christian education, there are a number of 'hows' that we have become increasingly aware will require transition and change in the near future. To this end, on May 11 at 7pm, we would like to give you advance notice that we are planning to hold a Town Hall Meeting to talk about a few key areas of the school that will require a transition. Namely, we will be talking about a new tuition structure and within that new model some restructuring to important areas in the school including our transportation network. You will be receiving an extensive package outlining these items in much greater detail via email on Friday of this week. Please take some time to read through this document as it affects every family in our community to some degree. There has been a lot of work and prayer that has gone into this document and we would welcome your feedback on it at the Town Hall meeting.

Also, as a part of this meeting, we are planning to outline and highlight some steps in our strategic plan that we would like to unpack further at our Membership Meeting on May 24, 2017. If you are able, we would love to hear your (anyone's) thoughts on these items as well. The reason we would like to host a Town Hall in advance of the Membership Meeting is because there are a number of items in the package that will be sent to you on Friday that we anticipate will require some thought before we present a budget for the 2017-2018 school year.

Again, we believe that God has a good plan for London Christian High. We believe that the future is bright and that the 'why' of our existence has not changed. We believe that God will guide our steps at this critical time and we would welcome your attendance, prayer and support as we seek His will for our school.

Blessings, we hope to see you there.