News, 2016 - 2017

May 19 & 20, 2017


This was a big weekend.


Yesterday evening was our closing program and commencement exercises. Beginning at 7:00, each classroom gave a short presentation of singing and recitations, then awards were given for their accomplishments in school over the past year.


Joshua Tyler G. and Vanessa G. gave their valedictory speeches, after which our school Administrator, Bill Y., addressed the graduating class with a message of inspiration and encouragement. He then called them to the stage, along with Matthew Y. who finished home school this year, and awarded their high school diplomas.


Following dismissal, we all moved to the Fellowship Hall for refreshments of pulled pork sandwiches and crudités; it was a good celebration of work accomplished!


This morning we met again at 10:00 for our traditional Fathers-vs.-Sons softball game. Things went well for the fathers; the sons' team this year is very young, and will prove to be a serious threat to the fathers scoring abilities over the next couple of years. The sons played a solid game and showed class in their disappointment. We are proud of them. After the ball game, we had lunch, which was carry-in style. Good sportsmanship, good food, and good fellowship made the day enjoyable and memorable.

May 12, 2017


Vanessa G. completed her school work today, finishing 12 years of work. She took her last Economics test this morning. She's done!


She has been working hard for this, and we are happy for her, but we will miss her steady graciousness in our classroom. She has showed beautiful Christ-like character and consistent kindness and cheerfulness in our class, and been an excellent example for the younger students.


We are confident that she will continue to be successful in whatever work God calls her to, and we wish her the very best.

May 5, 2017


Our year-end field trip destination was Sea World, which has something for everyone! We gathered at the school house at 7:00 this morning, and were soon on the road to Orlando. The day was overcast and windy - perfect weather!


While some students rode the roller-coasters - Manta, Mako, and Journey to Atlantis - others visited shows - Shamu/One Ocean, Pets Ahoy, and Clyde & Seamore. A good time was had by all. We met at the gate at 5:00 sharp, where we assembled into groups again for the caravan to Cici's Pizza: salad, breadsticks, mac-and-cheese, their famous warm, buttery, cinnamon rolls, and of course, pizza.


We arrived back at the school house around 8:30, safe and sound and tired, too.

April 18, 2017


Your Honor Roll students visited CAE Healthcare today!


The day began when we left the school house at 8:40 and went to Benderson Park, where we hung out for about 20 minutes. From there we went straight to CAE Healthcare, arriving around 9:35. Shon welcomed us at the front desk and took us to a conference room, where she introduced us to Mark and Ron, who gave us tours of the facility.


CAE Healthcare manufactures robot-mannequins that are designed to replicate the human body for surgeries, serious wound care, drug interactions, first aid/CPR, and much more. These high-tech machines look, act, breathe, talk, blink, bleed, laugh, cry, and even die, allowing health care students, doctors and nurses to learn how to care for people under many different circumstances. CAE supplies these mannequins to training centers around the world, and also hosts trainings right here at their headquarters in Sarasota.


The students had a great time at CAE, but soon it was time to leave for lunch. They voted (again) to go to Chick-fil-A. We spent the afternoon at Colonial Oaks gym playing basketball, bumping volleyballs, and playing Extreme Indoor Kickball.


We ended our field trip with Slurpees from 7-Eleven.

April 5, 2017


Miss Kayla's students had Pet Day today, bringing five dogs, two kittens, and a goat. It was great. Students running around at the end of a leash, trying to keep up with a pet - what fun! The animals got along really well with each other, and the children had a great time!


Check out the video here.

March 3, 2017


Track & Field 2017 is over! It was a bright, sunshiny day with crisp coolness in the morning, dancing breezes stirring, and the shouting of happy children.


Competition began around 9:00am, and continued right through until after lunch. The students participated in footraces, long- and high-jump contests, baseball and softball throwing and catching matches, basketball free throw shooting, and jump rope events. We are proud of our students for their unselfish cheering for each other, and for putting friendships ahead of ribbons. Large thanks to the parents who helped facilitate these events; we are grateful.


The school board planned a lunch of pulled pork sandwiches, crudités with dip, and ice cream with toppings for dessert along with a birthday cake. It was delicious!


Track & Field 2017 is over.

February 28, 2017


Today was the last day.


Early this morning, Lester and Sara Ann H. showed up for their last day of lawn care here at our campus. For years, they have faithfully manicured the grounds, keeping our grass clipped and tidy for the students to play on. Now they have decided to move on to other things, and we will miss them. 


Lester and Sara Ann, thank you for doing excellent work as you served the church and school here at Sunnyside!

February 27, 2017


Eli V. Miller himself visited the Big Room today, telling us stories and answering questions about his life experiences. Thank you, Eli!


Check out the video here.

February 17, 2017


Our annual fundraiser banquet was held this evening in the Fellowship Hall, with a cheerful crowd of generous supporters in attendance.


Mr. Alvin Zook worked his magic on the barbecue beef brisket and chicken, and also grilled potatoes - all of which were absolutely delicious! The school board did a great job planning and getting the preparations completed, along with a kitchen crew helping. Grades K-3 provided musical enrichment for the evening, between the drawings of lots of prizes for the crowd. Grades 4 - high school served tables, making sure everyone got coffee and Strawberry Shortcake for dessert.


All in all, it was a relaxing, delightful evening for our guests, and we are grateful for their support.

February 14, 2017


Your honor roll students went on their field trip today - destination: Big Olaf!


We left the school soon after 8:30 this morning, and, since Big Olaf was not ready for us yet, we went to The Hill where the students ran off some excess energy. It was a foggy morning, perfect for watching a Bald Eagle scoop a fish from the lake for breakfast.


We left The Hill just before 10:00, heading for Big Olaf, where we were welcomed by Dave and Marie D. They took us into ice cream headquarters, where Pedro was hard at work making the magic happen. Pedro mixed some vanilla ice cream for Dave and Marie, who ladled it out into pint containers to the students. The students cheerfully mixed in their own "toppings" such as chocolate, cheesecake, and peanut butter pieces.


Dave told us that they manufacture over 100,000 gallons of ice cream every year, with the highest production being around spring break, when they push through about 4,000 gallons a week.


After we left Big Olaf, our lunch destination (who was hungry?) was, as usual, Chick-fil-A. Thankfully the gym at Colonial Oaks was open, so we went there for Knock-Out, Weird Nuclear Dodge Ball, and Extreme Indoor Kickball.


Our field trip ended with Slurpees.

February 8, 2016


Today was Career Day. Naturally, Miss Rita seized the opportunity for making a fun and educational day out of it. Her students came dressed in splendid costumes! It was great!

February 2, 2017


The legendary and much-loved duo of Bro. Mel & Scruffy came to school this morning for chapel. With Scruffy as his side-kick, Bro. Mel talked about forgiveness. Scruffy, we learned, had a broken heart due to disappointment by his best friend, who had borrowed Scruffy's favorite shirt then ruined it. Naturally, Scruffy was heartbroken, and Bro. Mel helped him work through it. In the end, Scruffy forgave his best friend, modeling Christ for all of us.


Before dismissal from chapel, we organized for a group photo which included all the current Sunnyside School students who are children of Bro. Mel's former students. Check it out:

January 26, 2017


Joshua Tyler G. completed his school work today, finishing 13 years' worth of work. He took his last English test and his last Economics test this morning. He's done!


He has been working hard for this, and we are happy for him, but we will miss his influence in our classroom. He has showed quality, Christ-like character and provided stability for our class, and been a valuable example to and shown leadership for the younger students.


We are confident that he will continue to be successful in whatever work God calls him to, and we wish him the very best.

January 12, 2017


They brought cupcakes. Oreo and Orange. For the whole school. Absolutely delicious!


Thank you, Linda M. and Rose E.!

December 16, 2016 | Part 2


The students did a great job with the Christmas Program this evening. They put lots of time and work into preparing over the last month and a half, and it certainly paid off. From Kindergarten with their first ever Christmas program, to the oldest students in school, they all did wonderfully well. Thanks to Meghan V. for getting pictures and video with the school camera.


Have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

December 16, 2016


Today was about having Christmas parties, practicing for the program this evening, having Christmas parties, celebrating National Ugly Sweater Day, having Christmas parties, and even doing a little school work.


Merry Christmas, everyone!

November 15, 2016


Grades 4-High School had their first quarter honor roll field trip today; their destination was the United States Postal Service sorting facility at Tallevast. We were scheduled to arrive at 10:00, so, with a little time to spare, we stopped beside the road at the airport to watch some student pilots practice touch-and-go's. When we arrived at USPS, John met us at the door and introduced us to Debra, who is the manager of the facility. She gave us a tour through the huge building.


They process mail for an enormous section of Florida, with more than 25 trucks bringing mail every day, for a total of over three million letters per day plus packages. Approximately 400 people work here in three shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This facility is the largest of its type in the USA, and, as a secure facility, group tours are so rare that Debra said she's never seen a tour done in her three years at this location.


After the tour, the students voted for lunch at Chick-fil-A. We went to the Colonial Oaks gym, which was booked for Pickle Ball, so our afternoon was spent at Bee Ridge Park playing on the jungle gym and swing set, along with volleyball, basketball, and tossing a football.


The day ended with Slurpees at 7-Eleven, but you knew that.

November 11, 2016


This evening the students put on a fascinating display of inventiveness and creativity with their Science & Art projects. It was easy to see that they worked very hard on their projects, and they did a great job. So many interesting ideas were presented!


Our faithful school board put on a yummy pizza supper, and even had ice cream treats available for dessert. With students running around checking all their friends' projects, and the moms and dads chattering over the chaos, the school was full of happy noises all evening!

November 10, 2016


Miss Kayla invited the firemen of Station 9 (Palmer Rd. and Apex Rd.) to come to school and give a demonstration to her students this afternoon. Miss Rita's Kindergartners and First Graders joined them, which was really fun!


The firemen arrived at 2:00 sharp, and showed them the gear they wear into a burning building. After the students got a turn sitting in the driver's seat, the firemen drove the truck around to the field, where they gave the students turns using the fire-hose. Before leaving, they turned on the big roof-mounted nozzle, which is capable of throwing a jet of water at 300 gallons per minute.


The firemen wrapped up the demonstration with a final question-and-answer session, in which the students learned that this fire truck can go up to 70 miles per hour at top speed. One question the firemen were unable to answer was how heavy each truck tire is.


It was all very interesting. Thanks, Station 9!

November 8, 2016


Your Honor students were treated to a field trip today; they toured the office of the Manatee County Traffic Engineering Department. Mr. Mukunda Gopalakrishna met us in the lobby and led us into the cavernous office of the Traffic Engineering Department, where we saw engineers sitting at their workstations monitoring traffic across Manatee and Sarasota counties.


In front of them, across a giant wall, were twenty-seven large flat screen monitors. These monitors are connected to cameras at intersections, allowing traffic engineers to gauge traffic flow and make adjustments to the timing of traffic signals based on time of day, accidents, and other situations. While we were there, an accident occurred on I-75, and we were able to watch them monitor traffic in real time.


After the tour, the students agreed that they wanted Chick-fil-A for lunch, then we went to Colonial Oaks Park gym, where they played Extreme Indoor Kickball, Weird Volleyball, and even a little basketball. We left the gym in time to get Slurpees at 7-Eleven, and made it back to the school just before 3:00. It was a good day.

November 2, 2016


A small band of Seminole Indians invaded our campus this morning, fiercely attacking math, reading, and various other subjects. Led by Chieftess Mourning Dove, they soon conquered all the indoor books and went on to settle outside under the old oaks where they had room to roam. Corn (candy) and bannock provided ample sustenance to keep the braves' energy levels high, but by the end of the day, Chieftess Mourning Dove was tired.


Check it out.

October 13, 2016


Chalk drawings! Miss Kayla took her students out to the court this afternoon for art class, also known as chalk drawing. They had a great time tracing and drawing themselves, making stick figures, and even working in a few spelling words. Check it out.


So. Much. Fun.

October 5, 2016


At your request, Miss Summer: click here.


September 6, 2016


Kindergarten began their school career today, showing up with nervous smiles, bravely ready to tackle the great unknown that lay behind the front door of the school house.


They were cheerily welcomed by their teacher, Miss Rita, who helped them find a place for their pillows and blankets, lunch boxes and backpacks. Siblings and friends crowded into the room, while moms watched over the chaos with mixed feelings of quiet pride and the twinging sadness of parting.


The opening bell rang, and our newly minted Kindergartners found their desks and waited for instructions. And so the day began. Bentley K., Jerusha Y., Trenton H., Kelsie Y., Wyatt D., and Sarah M. were soon busy with coloring pictures, counting numbers, eating lunch, playing on the slides and swings - the day went by quickly, and it wasn't long until they were lined up at the front door, marching out in single file to see mom!


They all did really well!

August 17, 2016


Day One: consider it a success. Students showed up on time this morning with happy faces, ready to go! The chairman of the school board, Gary Y., was our speaker for chapel, and he encouraged us to work on the person we are inside, so that we have good to offer to people around us. He used car batteries!


Back in the classroom, the atmosphere was a little subdued for the most part, but that will change soon enough, and the students' natural exuberance will be sparkling all over the place.


The younger students did some seat-work, but they also did some fun stuff, too, while the older students talked about their summer vacations, then began to settle in to classroom routines. Before we knew it, the clock showed noon, and with heavy hearts students left the building. Everything went well; it was a thumbs-up day!

August 15, 2016


Orientation was held this evening, and once again the school house was filled with noisy children! It was great! Students bounced in and out of their classrooms, re-connecting with friends and classmates from last year, and getting to know our two new teachers, Miss Rita and Miss Kayla. The parents, as usual, stood 'round, placidly visiting with each other, content in the knowledge that their children would soon be back in school again.


Our faithful school board provided light refreshments of Ranch Pretzels and Orange Wedding Soda Punch With Ice Cream Drink Stuff, both of which were amazing! All in all, it was a very good evening.


It's going to be a wonderful year!

August 8, 2016


Good news! The 2015-2016 yearbooks have arrived!


Thanks to our sponsors who help subsidize the cost, these yearbooks are available for only $10 each. Get a copy for each of your students, a copy for dad and mom (they can share), and a copy for each set of grandparents. Many years from now, you'll be glad you did!


Our 2015-2016 Yearbook Sponsors:
Plycrete Pumping, LLC

Detwiler's Farm Market


These yearbooks will be available on the evening of Orientation, Monday, August 15.


I can hardly wait!

July 16, 2016


We had a great turnout of workers today! With two long lists of jobs waiting to be tackled, there was plenty of work for everyone, but things went well and the work moved along quickly.


Outside, the grounds were manicured and tended to with new mulch, raking and tidying. Indoors, walls were scrubbed, light fixtures dusted, offices wiped down, and book shelves cleaned.


Thanks to everyone for showing up with a will to work! The school house looks and feels refreshingly clean, ready for a new school term!



Schoolhouse cleaning is scheduled for Saturday morning, July 16. Many hands make light work.


Be there or be square.


June 6, 2016




It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved 23-I-Rescue-You Tree. In front of our school, in the circle driveway, this stately Pignut Hickory served two full generations of children playing 23-I-Rescue-You (or, as it was known in earlier years, 23 Skidoo), using her as our prisoners' base. She has watched over hours of play-time, spreading her leafy branches protectively over skinned knees, bruised egos, heated arguments, unbelievably speedy counting, hardscrabble games won and lost... and even a few enthusiastic hickory nut fights. She has been here since the beginning of our school.


This hickory stood guard over students being dropped off for school in the morning, and picked up again in the afternoon. She generously provided a snug home in her hollow trunk for families of ducks and raccoons. She has been a faithful, steady friend.


Now she is gone.


Taken out by Tropical Storm Colin, she finally succumbed to the strain; the storm broke her in the middle. Some nice men came this afternoon and picked up her pieces, cutting her trunk down to the ground. Now, early in another cycle of bearing fruit, she is gone, and we are left with memories and a too-big hole in the sky. She is gone, and it's raining here. We mourn our loss.

We will miss her.

These photos sourced from several friends of Old Hickory. Our sincerest thanks to each one.