News, 2010 - 2011
The School Picnic was a relaxing day. Playing softball and enjoying good food, and being with friends made the day go quickly.
Thanks to the school board for the great job you did organizing the day and making it all run smoothly. Also, thanks to the team who took care of grilling the chicken: it was excellent!
In the Fathers vs. Sons softball game, the students gave their dads a close game for the first few innings, keeping the score roughly tied. Later in the game, the dads began pulling away, and ended up winning by 14-9. It was a great game. Maybe next year the sons will win.
It could happen.
The Closing Program last night showed us many of the talents your students have. They did a super job in their recitations and singing, and effortlessly displayed their prowess in Bible memorization. It was a fascinating performance, and very well done.
At the end of the program, the school board honored Miss Eleanor and Miss Karen for the work they did in the service of the school. They were each given a throw with the school name, logo, and the years they taught embroidered on it, along with the school's Official Scripture text.
Now it's time for summer vacation, and a change of pace. All that remains of school, besides the memories, is the school picnic and Umpteenth Annual Fathers vs. Sons Championship Softball Game. The big day is tomorrow, and it all begins at 10:00. You won't want to miss it. I'm pretty sure.
Enjoy your summer.
Your Honor Roll Students toured Big Olaf Creamery this morning. Thomas welcomed us to the creamery, answered a few questions (What's your favorite ice cream? Black Sweet Cherry.), then handed us off to Sam, Master Ice Cream Maker. He promptly handed out professional-grade food-processing hairnets for everyone: some students were not thrilled. He explained the differences between Italian Ice, Sorbet, Gelato, and Premium Ice Cream, all of which they make. After discussing the recipe that the Honor students had put together, he showed us into the production facility, where he started pulling ingredients from the shelves and checking them off a list.
He began with the base ingredients, and added quantities by professional estimate to create the students' recipe. The students call it Tsunami Blast. After putting together the original recipe, Sam asked for the students' opinions, and played with the ingredient list, creating other recipes on the spot.
In the photo gallery, you can read the ingredient labels and the names that were made up for the different recipes. Sam added some colorful commentary on the labels: don't miss reading it! Kelsey gets credit for the "Tsunami" name, and Taylor won the vote with his suggestion for "Caffeine Catastrophe."
The students had a ball. Imagine running your own ice cream factory, and dreaming up your own creations! That's what the students did this morning.
After taste-testing every special batch, the students watched as Sam labeled the batches and tucked them into the -25 degree freezer. With the tour complete, Sam dismissed us, so we left him to clean up our mess in peace and quiet.
We had a few minutes left before lunch-time, so we stopped by Urfer Family Park for a little while, then headed to Taco Bell for lunch. From there, we went to Colonial Oaks Park gym, where we played Team Two-Square and Extreme Indoor Kickball.
That wore us out. By the time we were ready to leave, students were lolling around on the floor, just hanging out. On the way back to the school, we stopped by Big Olaf Creamery to pick up the ice cream. Back at school, it was dished out for everyone to enjoy.
People, please: Do not buy Publix ice cream. Get Big Olaf's! You gotta! It's way better.
Thanks, Sam and Thomas, for the splendid time we enjoyed at Big Olaf Creamery! We made some great memories today.
The Annual End-of-the-Year Field Trip last Friday took us all to the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL. We met at the school at 7:00 am, and arrived at the park at a few minutes before it opened. While waiting outside, the students took turns posing for and taking pictures with the animals from Noah's Ark.
Inside, the students busily explored the exhibits and visited the plays. Many students went to the Last Supper exhibit, where they were each given a tiny, wooden "communion" cup with nearly a quarter-ounce of some obscure liquid allegedly approximating wine. They agreed that it tasted more like an unruly medicine. One of the most memorable events was the outdoor passion play, depicting the arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus.
The Scriptorium was a museum of antiquities, some of which were thousands of years old. Fragments of ancient Scripture scrolls, early hand-copied Scripture texts, and various representations of Bibles such as Wycliff's and Tyndale's were all on display. In the Shofar Auditorium was a to-scale representation of the city of Jerusalem, filling the room from wall-to-wall.
It was an unusual experience, unlike any other.
After we left the park, we went to the World's Largest McDonald's to grab a bite to eat. After quickly scarfing their food, many students went upstairs to the game room, where they stayed occupied feeding money into the machines until it was time to head for home. We all arrived safely, thank God, though it was much later than expected because of a traffic jam on I-4.
Tim B was our guest speaker for chapel this morning, and he gave us a great story on happiness: that we should look out for each other and help each other. Without telling the
students, he left a treat for them at first break: chips and pop! They had a lot of fun with that. It was great. Thanks, Tim!
Today was Pet Day for Miss Eleanor's class. The boys brought dogs, and the girls brought rabbits. After introducing their pets, they all got their pictures made, then went out to play in the field.
Darwin's dog's name is Bubbles; Connor's dog's name is Shadow. Holly's rabbit is named Alexis Sweetie Pie. McKendra hasn't yet decided on a name for her rabbit, but when she does, it will be a good one.
Pet Day was great. The children loved it.
Grades K-3 enjoyed a field trip today to Selby Botanical Gardens, with Miss Eleanor's class arriving later, for lunch. Miss Karen checked everyone in at the front desk while the students browsed the gift shop, then everyone stepped outside where the tour guide, Mrs. King, was waiting. After reviewing somel guidelines, Mrs. King took the group to the koi pond, where the students enjoyed watching the fish.
Mrs. King led the group through a canopy walk, while explaining different types of plant life. The bayfront was interesting, where the children learned about the importance of mangroves for preventing soil erosion. The students also spotted crabs, including horseshoe crabs and schools of fish.
Among other things, the students learned what an epiphyte is. They also learned about orchids, succulents, and bamboo. Miss Eleanor's students joined the group for lunch, and everyone ate under a gigantic banyan that was supposed to be about 80 years old. After lunch, the students toured the butterfly gardens, then went through the fragrance garden and the Christy Payne Mansion.
A favorite of the day seemed to be the Rainbow Gum tree, which was very fascinating.
Perry & Miriam were at school when the opeing bell rang, and when we asked them to do an impromptu Bible story skit for chapel in our classroom, they actually agreed. They picked five students to help them, then huddled in the office to make their plans. It was a silent skit, but they did a great job, so it wasn't long until we could see that the story was about Jesus raising the widow's son from the dead. Or maybe it was Lazarus. Either way, we enjoyed it.
You can enjoy part of it right here.
Today was Mouse Day for students in the big room. At the beginning of lunch break, Taylor went into the storage room to get some tools, and when he came out he informed us that he saw a roach or a mouse or something. Later, someone else went in and saw the little critter, and soon, the hunt was on. When the homeschoolers arrived, Andrew joined Mr. Jason, and together they cornered the mouse. Using Oscar, Andrew dragged the mouse out of the corner, and Mr. Jason grabbed him.
After making the rounds of all the classes, the mouse was released into the wild, where he lived happily ever after.
Isn't he a cute little guy?
Track & Field was a big, big day. Lots of tough competition made for some riveting contests, as the students fought for the win. The ladies' contests included Jump Rope and Volleyball Bump, while the men challenged each other with the High Jump and Rope Climb. Younger students also did the 50-Yard Dash and Baseball Throw, then finished the day with a Tug of War contest. Other events included Long Jump, 400-Yard Relay Race, and Softball Catch.
Best of all, the students showed good character, by cheering for their competitors and congratulating the winners. They showed that they realized the day was about friendly competition and doing their best, and, win or not, they are a special group of fine young men and women. Our hats are off to them for showing the character of Christ today.
Thanks to the school board, we had a great lunch of grilled hamburgers with all the condiments, plus veggies, chips, and garden tea. We ate well today. It was delicious!
Thank God there were no major injuries.
The Second- and Third-Grade students went on a field trip to the lighthouse on Gasparilla Island in Boca Grande. There is an informative and interesting museum, and the tour guide was very helpful, giving lots of information about the history of the lighthouse. This lighthouse was built in 1890, and since it was restored, it has become a popular destination. During hurricane Charley, in 1994, this lighthouse withstood winds up to 170 miles per hour.
After the tour of the lighthouse museum, the students ate the lunches they had packed, then had some free time explore the beach. They had a grand time finding beautiful shells, and many of the students brought a prized collection of shells home with them. The weather was perfect, and the gulf water was a picturesque turquoise.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable day, and made good memories for everyone.
Your Honor Students went on their Honor Roll Field Trip today. We left the school at 8:40 this morning, and went to Bradenton to visit the Transportation Data Tech division of Manatee County Traffic Engineering.
When we arrived, Ms. Solis introduced us to the Division Manager, Mr. Sage Kamiya. He staged us in a conference room, where he gave us an over-view of how the world of traffic management fits together. From there, we went into a cavernous room where we saw a huge screen that was essentially a wall of video monitors. This huge screen was sub-divided into 33 smaller screens, some rather large, others rather small. He explained how the cameras at road intersections send their video feed back to this huge screen, where staff can monitor traffic patterns and make adjustments as needed.
He also showed us an onsite radar speed display sign, and demonstrated that the radar works on a frequency that can be matched by a common tuning fork. By tapping the tuning fork and holding it directly in front of the radar, various speeds could be displayed. Several students tried it, and some scored 33 mph, while others clocked in at 66 mph.
From there we went to Nathan Benderson Park, where the boys explored the cat-tails and docks, while the girls took pictures of each other. Nathan Benderson Park has a 400-acre lake used for rowing competition. To accomodate the long rowing boats, the lake has very long floating docks on it, which the students enjoyed exploring.
For lunch, the students voted to go to Chic-fil-A. Afterward, we went to Colonial Oaks Park gym for Extreme Indoor Kickball, basketball, and Team Two-Square. This left just enough time to grab a Slurpee, before heading back to the school at 3:00.
The 4th Annual Fundraiser Banquet was a splendid affair, what with the delectable food, the superb wait-staff, the dedicated board members, and our generous guests. If you weren't there, well, words cannot describe...
Special thanks is due to Mr. Alvin Z. of Virginia, for his liberal contribution in barbecuing the beef brisket and chicken, and grilling the potatoes with his special recipe. Absolutely delicious.
To our guests: Thank you for coming to our banquet and allowing us to host you. We are grateful for your support of our school, and your gift makes a difference in the lives of our students as we prepare them for a lifetime of serving God with their talents and skills. God bless you all for giving.
Matthias O. brought the wilderness to school yesterday morning when he drove in just before school started. He had a fine-looking, healthy (but very dead) coyote in the back of his truck. He helpfully carried it right up to the front steps of the school house, and laid it down by the sidewalk, where everyone could gather round and admire it.
He offered it to anyone who would like to take it home and skin it out: he said it would make a fine rug. Since he had no takers, he loaded it up and took it with him, but not before we got a few photos.
The January Blues are upon us. What to do, what to do?
To lighten the students' days, Miss Eleanor and Miss Karen took their students out as a reward for getting their work done early: Wednesday afternoon they went to the library to enjoy book-browsing, then the teachers took them to Chic-fil-A and got them each a treat. Yum! The students really enjoyed that.
Today, the students in grades four through high school celebrated Weird Hair Day. Amazing! You should be proud of them, because they are very creative! We all enjoyed some chuckles, and it made the day a little brighter. The students voted for a King & Queen of Weird Hair. If you would like to see the winners, click and look for the picture of King Taylor and Queen Veronica. (The King and Queen were each rewarded with their choice of chocolate bar, because chocolate always helps relieve the January Blues.)
The Christmas Program was beautiful! We have a group of students who are very good singers, and they put their heart into doing their best. The program included a lot of singing this year, and it certainly sounded great. In spite of their nervousness, they stuck with it. Poems and scripture recitations were handled with aplomb, and the students each gave their parents reason to be proud of them!
Now it is vacation time! A change of pace, being with family and friends, enjoying great food, singing carols, drinking hot chocolate (or cappuccinos!), and even -- for those who know what's good -- demolishing a fruit cake: in all of it, let's remember God's Gift is the most precious gift we could ever receive.
It was just a little S'mores Party, but it was a fun way to kick off Christmas vacation for the students in grades four through high school. Rici gave it a "thumbs up!"
We should do it again sometime.
Your Honor Students enjoyed coffee on their Field Trip today! We started the day at a local roaster called Java Dawg. Chris and Steve import beans wholesale, in large quantities, then create their specialized roasts and blends. He explained the various regional climates in which the coffee bush thrives, and described several countries he's visited in his quest for quality beans.
Chris had the students do some "sniff" tests, checking their skill at recognizing flavorings such as vanilla, hazelnut, almond, chocolate-raspberry, etc. Then he showed us the green, unroasted beans, and demonstrated the roasting process, bringing the roaster to 425 degrees before adding the green beans. Fifteen minutes later, he emptied the roasting drum into the hopper, so we could see the beautiful, brown, fully-roasted beans.
After the tour inside his store, we went out to the parking lot, where the students boarded the world-famous Java Dawg Double Decker Coffee Shop Bus. We got to take a peek inside the on-board cafe, then everyone headed upstairs to the top deck, where they waved at rush-hour traffic streaming by on U.S. 41.
From Java Dawg we went to The Beanz Man, on Bee Ridge Road. Jerry and Linda welcomed us and showed us their repair center, where they work on home-owner espresso machines as well as commercial machines. They sell to and service machines for Carraba's, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Outback, Sysco, Royal Cup, and more. After visiting their repair center, we went out to the retail floor, where Jerry and Chef Jack helped every student brew their own cup of espresso, and mix it with whatever flavoring they chose. That was great fun!
Because of their generous hospitality, we encourage you to visit Java Dawg and The Beanz Man: their service is first-rate, their coffee is top-quality, and they are warm and personable with children! Please buy their coffee.
After the students finished drinking their cappuccinos and lattes, they voted to go to Chic-fil-A for lunch. From there we went to the Colonial Oaks gym, where we played kickball. The students also played on the playground, ignoring the 52-degree weather.
Cold as it was, they still insisted on ending the day with a Slurpee.
I don't know why.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Enjoy your time with family and friends, and thank God for blessings in abundance. Hopefully you will all be back in school next Monday, refreshed from good times outside the classroom.
The teachers and school board member John all attended the annual A.C.S.I. Convention in Orlando on Monday and Tuesday. It was educational, interesting, and refreshing to hear and learn how other schools and other teachers are working to help students reach their full potential for Kingdom work.
Your students are very creative! Our annual Science & Art event was fascinating and very enjoyable, and it was a great success because of your student's hard work and creativity. We saw paintings and cakes, wood-crafts and an airplane, wind-driven electrical generators and a model solar system. There were lots of imaginative projects to browse, and the students did great work!
As a bonus, the school board brought in pizza and drinks with chips and soda. That was yummy! Also, the winners of the candy-guessing-games were quite pleased, and even shared their winnings with the rest of us.
Click through to see some pictures.
The High School students went camping last weekend, at Lakewood Retreat. It was a fun, relaxing time, and it went by quickly. The ladies set up their own tent, and finished before the men got theirs set up! They spent lots of time sitting around the campfire, just talking. Occasionally, a fit of energy would strike, and they would rush off to the treehouse, or to the game-room, or to find the donkey who made weird sounds and was actually a goat.
Cory entertained us with stories about the Hatchet Man and the Floating Motorcycle Headlight, Yolanda screamed at every mention of the word "snake," Kenneth carved and whittled a bow and arrows, Kathleen finished the Taco Salad by using the serving spoon, Andrew tried to take a nap at 2:00 in the afternoon, and Rachelle won a lot of Round-Town ping-pong games. All of them did their best to stay up as long past midnight as they possibly could.
Poor Andrew missed learning how to Pass The Shoe, because he was sleeping too soundly. Lucky him. Also, Lakewood Retreat has fewer opossums, thanks to Cory and Andrew. The evidence is well hidden, even though one of the guys insisted Lakewood Retreat "does NOT want 'possums around here!" There are lots more memories, including singing in the showers, listening to "that's death music!" cell-phone ringtones, playing pong-ping, and keepin' our eye on Roamin' Catholics.
Oh, and we ate S'mores. Lots of them. We (almost) finished the bag of marshmallows, even though many were murdered in flames while roasting them.
Now they want to go again next spring. Ha.
The Honor Students enjoyed an eventful field trip today. The day began with a visit to the local Choice Books headquarters, where Abigail's dad is the District Manager. Mr. Elmer showed us around the warehouse, and explained how the process of handling books - incoming and outgoing - works. He put Kathleen to work pretty quickly: she ran the computer, printed labels, and expertly showed the other students how and where to place labels on the books. Mr. Elmer had most of the students helping at some point or another. Before we left, he had a surprise for everyone: we were all allowed to choose a book for ourselves, as a gift! That was great! Thank you, Choice Books, and Mr. Steve, and Mr. Elmer, for the interesting experience.
Next up was a tour of Octex Corp. They are just around the corner from Choice Books, and are manufacturers of injection-molded plastics products. Kristin welcomed us to Octex, and introduced us to Mr. Jim Westman, the CEO, who told us about the company and what they do. He showed us some sample products, including a small device that is used in cranial surgery, to hold the skull bones together. (See a picture here.) When we left his conference room, we went out into the manufacturing area, where we watched big robotic machines take tiny plastic pellets and turn them into things like... tumblers! Tervis Tumblers! Which was really neat, because we visited Tervis Tumblers just a few months ago, where the students got to make their own personalized tumblers as keepsake gifts. Anyway, after visiting the receiving, warehouse, and shipping departments, we went through the tool shop where custom molds are built; a couple of technicians were diligently polishing two nearly-finished tumbler molds. We were told that those two molds would cost approximately $100,000. No wonder they were polishing them. Then it was back to the conference room, where Mr. Westman told us that Kristin had prepared goody-bags for each of us. What a treat! They gave everyone two sample baggies of plastic pellets (like they use for manufacturing), a coffee-mug coaster (which they manufactured), and... a Tervis Tumbler! Yay!
By this time, we had worked up an appetite, so we (by the students' vote) went to Chic-fil-A for lunch. That was tasty, plus, we beat the lunch rush. After finishing lunch early, we headed out to Sarasota Square Mall (actually Westfield, now, which still doesn't sound right. It's Sarasota Square Mall, ok, people?) and did some window-shopping. The ladies' group visited every shoe store in the mall, while the men scouted the tool department at Sears. After that, it was pretty much over for the men, who wandered around aimlessly, while the ladies shopped. Eventually, after the men lounged on the mall benches for awhile, the ladies ran out of time.
We piled into the vehicles and zoomed over to the Colonial Oaks gym, where the men played basket ball, the ladies bumped a volleyball, then all joined for a game of Team Two-Square and Extreme Volleyball.
It's not an Official Field Trip unless Slurpees are consumed, so we did that, too.
Kindergarten began today! It was a pretty big deal. Mr. Connor and Miss Holly arrived for their first day of school ever with big smiles on their faces and butterflies in their tummies. You should have seen them.
After their moms released them, Miss Eleanor welcomed them to their classroom and got them settled in their personal offices. They learned where to put their lunch boxes and backpacks, and after posing for their Official Photo Shoot, they were more than happy to run off with friends and play.
Class time wasn't too difficult for them, apparently, because they left with the same smiles they were wearing when they came, minus the butterflies. Good work, Miss Eleanor!
Week One is behind us. (Only 35 to go, but who's counting?) The students have mostly gotten past their initial shyness, and are settling into their routines as they become more comfortable with the schedule. All three teachers showed up for the second Monday morning of the year, which is a good sign, we think.
We are grateful for an excellent group of students: imaginative, cheerful, cooperative, intelligent, and respectful.
Have a peek at the first week.
The first day of school went very well. We got off to a good start this morning with our Administrator and board members coming in for First Bell and Chapel. The Administrator gave us an inspirational pep talk by encouraging us all to dig in, put our talents to good use, do our best every day, and learn all we can.
Because of the rain, Miss Eleanor and Miss Karen took their students into the Fellowship Hall at break time, to play games.
Today was a special day, because we celebrated Kelsey's birthday. That was great! Her parents brought their Ice Cream Truck to school during lunch break, and gave Kelsey's classmates each a frozen treat! I tell you, we enjoyed that!
It rained all day.
But it was a good day.
Guess what?! The Official SMS 2009-2010 Yearbooks have arrived! Hooray! So here's the deal: The yearbooks will be available during the evening of Parent-Teacher Orientation, Friday, August 20, 7:00 - 8:30. The cost is only $10. You will definitely want a copy for each student in your household, another copy for Mom and Dad to share, and don't forget a copy for the grandparents. They want to see their grandchildren, too. Cash or checks are accepted. Remember to think ahead: today, the yearbooks are interesting, but someday, the yearbooks will be priceless memories. Plan wisely now so there will be no regrets later.
Have you done your back-to-school shopping yet? For the best selection, do it quickly, because public schools begin before our school begins, so public school students will be snatching all the goodies very soon.
FYI, you can save money during Florida's Sales Tax Holiday, August 13-15. (That's next weekend, people.) This is especially helpful for school materials and clothing.
When you come to Parent-Teacher Orientation, you are welcome to bring your student's school materials along, so they can find their desk and put their things away. This is an option; if you would rather bring their supplies on the morning of the first day of school (Monday, August 23), that's just fine. Suit yourself.
Thank you! The schoolhouse is clean, clean! It looks great! Thanks for coming and helping with the cleaning; having so many folks doing the work made things go quickly, and, of course, made it even more enjoyable.
Schoolhouse cleaning is scheduled for this Saturday, July 31. Don't miss it!