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.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Little Women

This past week was the closing of our main stage production this year, Little Women. In a word, it was awesome. On closing night, which also happened to be our first ever Dinner and a Show event fundraiser, the house was packed and the energy was palpable. Thanks so much to everyone who was able to come out to the show this year, we are always happy to host guests to the school!

London Christian High has a long and rich history of putting on fantastic theatre productions and it always takes a huge team effort to come up with the final product. This year was no exception, particularly given that it was a musical. There is a huge amount of work that goes into everything from choreography, singing, instrumentals, lighting, sound, staging, ticket sales, marketing materials and many more elements. Thanks to everyone who was involved!

Finally, as mentioned we hosted our first ever Dinner and a Show fundraising event at the school on the closing night of the play. The dinner was completely sold out, the food was great and the community feeling was tremendously warm and relaxed. When you add in a bit of ice cream, coffee and really great theatre, it made for an awesome night. For those of you who were not able to be at the event this year, mark the second Saturday of April in 2018 as we anticipate even greater demand for our next Dinner and a Show!

To close, here are some pictures from Little Women. Enjoy!

Ben and Kristy staying dry

Ms. Lam sharing her musical talents as part of the musical ensemble

Kristy and Noah in a 'fight'

Annika, Kezia, Nicola, Kristy and Noah 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Three Events You Should Know About...

This is a busy time of year at London Christian High. With our main stage theatre production of Little Women in full swing, many students and staff are working overtime to manage the day to day activities of the school while also putting together an awesome drama production. As I am writing this, our first matinee is underway and it looks awesome!

In addition to Little Women, there are a host of other events going on that you should be aware of. Although I could highlight more, here are three that are worth putting on your calendar if you have not done so already:


Parent-Teacher Conferences (Thursday, April 6; 3:30-8:00pm) - This is our semi-annual opportunity for parents, teachers and students to get together to talk about learning progress so far in the semester. Naturally, this is not the only time available for this type of dialogue, but it is one time that we specifically set aside each year. If you are able to make it, we would love to see you there! Here is a link to sign up for time slots that evening: https://www.schoolinterviews.ca/book/step1?z=jjpv5z

NEW! Dinner and a Show Fundraiser (Saturday, April 8; 5:30-9:30pm) - We are very excited to put on this new event at the school this year, it is our first ever Dinner and a Show. For $35 per ticket, you get an awesome dinner, dessert and admission to the CLOSING NIGHT of our drama this year, Little Women. This is a fantastic value for the ticket price and we invite you to join with many who have already reserved their tickets. As this is a fundraiser for the school, this is also an opportunity to donate to support the ongoing good work of the staff and students at London Christian High. Here is the link to reserve your tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/london-christian-high-drama-club-presents-little-women-sat-april-8-tickets-32410623046?aff=es2

Film Showing of Most Likely to Succeed (Thursday, April 27; 7:00-9:00pm) - Finally, we are also really excited to share an opportunity for our community to come together to view a film documentary about the future of education. Most Likely to Succeed is a powerful film that highlights some of the current challenges and opportunities in our education system and provides a completely different take on how to transform learning heading into the future in our ever-changing world. We will be hosting this film showing at Fanshawe College and everyone is invited to attend. Admission is free! We look forward to viewing the film together and then spending some time talking about it afterwards. The implications for Christian education are very worthwhile considering. Here is the link to reserve your spot: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/most-likely-to-succeed-documentary-screening-tickets-32495120781?aff=eivtefrnd



As always, we very much value your feedback and input at our school. These are three ways to get involved and see some of the really cool things going on. We would welcome you to attend all three!


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Partnerships

At London Christian High we have been talking a lot about partnerships lately. We are thinking about ways to connect what we are doing inside the classroom and inside the building to the world outside in real and authentic ways. Ideally, partnerships are made up of two or more participants who both win based on their mutual arrangement. There are many logical partnerships that could be formed in each class, but often it can be challenging to get all of the logistics lined up properly. Fortunately, given enough work and persistence, it can be done. One example from last semester was one of our English as a Second Language (ESL) classes going to London Christian Elementary School (LCES) to do some reading in a Kindergarten class. This was an awesome opportunity for our ESL students to practice their verbal skills and it was a win-win as the Kindergarten students at LCES got to hear some really great stories!

More recently, this past week, four London Christian High teachers and a handful of students spent the better part of a day at Immanuel Christian School (ICS) in Aylmer running classroom based workshops. Again, from our perspective this was a real win-win situation as our staff and students had a chance to share some of their learning and passion while offering ICS students a chance to have some different experiences outside of their regular daily routine.

Here are some pictures from the day:

Ms. Dijkhuis sharing some art expertise.

Cassie V. sharing her passion for helping others.

Mr. Rock getting his hands dirty.

Mr. Swoboda, the mad scientist.

It was a great day for our staff and by all accounts, it was a great day for the students at ICS as well. We continue to look for more and different partnerships that could be formed in our wider community, both for the sake of our own students as well as for the betterment of our neighbours. Whether it is a business, a non-profit, a school or a church, we are always open to suggestion. In the end, we believe that God is calling us to take our learning and apply it in new and creative ways both inside and outside of the school for His Kingdom work. It is opportunities like those described above that, while seemingly small, can lead toward huge positive change.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Co-operative Education

As the second semester gets underway, most students at London Christian High are enjoying four new classes, mostly based in the school in our classrooms. However, with the new semester there are a group of students who have begun working outside of the school in a variety of businesses for either half the day or for the whole day. This program is known as co-operative education or co-op.

There are many awesome things about co-op. One is that you earn high school credits towards your Ontario Secondary School Diploma while working in a completely different environment. For some students, this is a really cool opportunity. Another really neat thing about co-op is that you make connections out in the world that often lead to other opportunities or perhaps even a real job. For one example, I know of a co-op student who did such an awesome job in a vet clinic in her grade twelve year that the clinic offered to hire her on in the summer following her graduation and also offered to help pay for part of her post-secondary education towards becoming a vet tech. Really cool!

Although there are many very cool things about co-op, one of the obvious trade-offs is that you are not in school connecting with your classmates in the same way that you normally would. For some students there is a bit of a disconnect that happens. On the flip side, often those of us who stay in the school during the semester forget about our co-op students who are out and about throughout the semester. Matt Rock, our shop and co-op teacher, has identified this issue and has put together a project with the co-op class to help with awareness of our co-op students during the semester while they are away. Here are some visuals raising awareness for the co-op program hanging in the school:




Cassie Vannoord - Promotion & Marketing

Cory Durrer - Tire Rotation Technician

Hayden Wiersma - Auto Mechanic Apprentice

Ryan Kroondyk - Auto Technician Assistant

Lance Buis - On-call Farm Tech

Brendan Schinkel - Motive Power Technician

Mr. Rock - Teacher Extraordinaire

Jonathan Sibley - YMCA Front Desk Receptionist

Josiah Banninga - Framer


Alia Dieleman - General Dentistry

Evan Pranger - Automotive Technician

Ryder Ferguson - Elevating Devices Mechanic

Dustyn Veenstra - Police Services

Curtis Heyink - Electrician


We wish all of our co-op students well this semester and we pray for a safe and exciting time learning in your new environments! Blessings!