Farewell

Each year at this time, with some sadness, we say farewell to a number of people who have played their role in God’s story at Edmonton Christian Schools .  Four of those people we are saying farewell to have been servant workers at Edmonton Christian for more than 15 years.

IMG_4198Sharon DeMoor has been at Edmonton Christian for 25 years.  Five of those years were spent teaching at Edmonton Christian Northeast School  and the rest were in Edmonton Christian West School.  Sharon worked so hard to ensure that the students in her class learned, and she did a beautiful job in her teaching of clearly showing that Jesus is the Lord of all things!  Sharon is retiring and moving on to her next role(s) in God’s story.

 

IMG_0461Vicki De Haan has been with Edmonton Christian Schools for the past 18 years, all of them at Edmonton Christian Northeast.  Starting as a junior high teacher and then for the last 8 years as the Assistant Principal the beauty in her work was seen in the relationships she cultivated with students, parents and colleagues.  Vicki will be moving to the Argyll Centre, an arm of the Edmonton Public School Board that is a resource for virtual schools, schooling on the Internet, home schooling and distant learning.  She will be the assistant principal there.

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Kathy Doornenbal has worked as an Educational Assistant in Edmonton Christian for 16 years since 1998.  Her heart for people with differing abilities meant that she often worked with some of our most high needs, medically fragile students.  This took her from working in Kindergarten to working with high school students and every grade in between. While you may occassionally see Kathy at the school as a supply EA in the future, Kathy is retiring to pursue other passions in the coming years.

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Ger VanderMeulen began her teaching at East Edmonton Christian School in 1988.  Since then she has worked in West School, with some time away when her boys were born.  By her own calculation it is 23 or 24 years of teaching in intermediate and junior high.  Ger has a keen desire to see the students thrive not only academically, but emotionally.  She has put a great deal of energy in recent years into her own learning in this area and into counselling and walking beside students in our schools.  She will be going to WP Wagner High School where this will be the main focus of her role.

In addition to the above, there are a number of others who will be moving on to new schools, new cities or new vocations.  Staffing is very fluid at this time of year, so it is difficult to have a completely accurate list.  At the time of writing, the people pictured in the slideshow below are those to whom we will be saying goodbye. (Based on a list provided by each campus.  Does not include those going on leave or those whose contract status is still to be determined).

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Thanks to each of you for journeying with us. You will be missed.   May the new roles God has given you be exciting and fulfilling.  Keep the faith!

Where Is God?

Where is God?  It is a question we have all asked ourselves at different moments in our lives.

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Noel

This question has been the focus of a semester-long assignment in Biology 20.  At the beginning of the semester, the students were challenged to keep their ears and eyes open, specifically in the course content, for places where they saw God.  Students reflected regularly on this challenge and created a “Prezi” to organize their thoughts.  Here are just a few of those thoughts, but to get a a sense for the content-rich depth of this work,  you should check out at least one of the Prezis linked below.

 

 

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Jacob

Jacob’s  full Prezi can be found HERE. (once there, use the arrows to advance the Prezi)

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Janae

Janae’s full Prezi can be found HERE.

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Jacob

 

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Janae
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Noel

Noel’s full Prezi can be found HERE.

As one student concluded:  “Wow…  God’s power and creativity are truly undeniable.”  

At Edmonton Christian Schools, as an academic year closes, we are thankful for the privilege of being awash in the grace of such a God!


Thanks to the students who allowed their work to be used here and to Bio 20 teacher, Mr. Brian Piers.

 

 

 

Reflecting Our Creator

You had to be there!  The pictures here can only capture a small part of the story.  A small part of the story of  how Edmonton Christian School’s students reflect the creativity of their Creator.  There were three different “art events” this past week,  each compelling.

Edmonton Christian West School — Street Art Installation

West school grade seven students have been looking at and discussing the roles, merits and downfalls of street art (graffiti, murals etc).  This past week, they did a simple art installation that consisted of a 3” by 5” post it note, with a positive “graffiti” message posted on every locker and classroom door in the junior high.  When asked what they hoped to accomplish, a couple of students answered that they “hoped it would make people smile.”  On Thursday morning when students arrived, there were a lot of smiles.  A number of students when they first entered and saw the art, doubled their pace to see what might be on their locker.  Some liked what they saw, others took the note down.  Still others wanted to make a trade with a friend.    A lot for the Gr 7 students to talk about as they continue to explore street art.

(Slideshow: 15 Pictures — installing the art, a few of the pieces and students arriving/reacting.  Pictures may take a few moments to load the first time on your device).

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Edmonton Christian High School Fine Arts Evening

The senior high also had more student art than usual on display this week for their Fine Arts Evening on June 8.  Hundreds of pieces, ranging from pencil sketches and studies to finished works and sculptures showed how gifted our students are.

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Northeast Edmonton Christian School Fine Arts Evening

Finally, Northeast school also did a Fine Arts Evening on June 9.  Band performances and the student Art work displayed in the library were a blessing to those that attended.

(Slideshow: 16 photos of some Art work and of Grade 9 Band rehearsal.   May take a few moments to load on your device)

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Thanks to all the artists and musicians (and their teachers) whose work once again reflected the creativity of our God!   Special thanks to those whose work did not get pictured on this blog.  There was just so much beautiful work.  You had to be there!

 

Joy in June-Principal(s) for a Day

“We thought our parents were kidding when they told us they bought the ‘principal for a day’ item at the school auction.  We were excited once we found out it was real.”  

Less than a month later, on June 3 Amelie, grade 2, and her brother Lucas, grade 5, found themselves in charge of Edmonton Christian Northeast School with its 500 students, and more than 40 staff members.  They had a busy day!
Here are just a few of the duties they performed.   Let’s just say, if Mrs. Mulder ever needed to take a few days off, we might have a pair that can step in!

They brought, ate and shared doughnuts (crucial job competencies!) . . .

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. . . and they huddled behind closed doors to plan for the day . . .

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. . . and they visited classrooms . . .

. . .and met with police officer, Ian, and imagined how traffic safety at school could improve. . .

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. . . and interviewed a candidate for a teaching position at ECNS . . .

. . . and did a fire safety tour and fire drill will EFD member Ben . . .

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. . .and led elementary singing…and  extended recess to hand out freezies to students . . . and give pizza to the staff (no picture).

 . . .and. . . (phew, this day is exhausting). . . had a meeting with EPSB Assistant Superintendent Mike Suderman.

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These two seized the day! Often there isn’t much joy in the hectic, busy , goal-focussed beginning of June. They reminded us that the story we are part of is adventurous and joyful!  Thanks Lucas and Amelie!

Fire and Faith

…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Roman 8:39

Hyugen homeIt will be a day that will not be forgotten in Alberta history.  May 3, 2016.  That’s the date stamp on this picture. It’s one of the last pictures Izzy and Kim Huygen and their four children Selah, Naomi, Eli and Adia took of their home and neighbourhood in Ft. McMurray before fleeing “the Beast.”  Kim shared a bit about that day.  “Tuesday afternoon when the fire exploded was frightening . We heard the news we were dreading; the fire had in fact jumped the river.”

Kim had managed a little earlier to get some items packed for the family, while Izzy had picked up the kids from school.  They started out of their neighbourhood but shortly  decided  to turn back to get a vehicle with more fuel.  By the time they were on their way again, their only option was to go north.  They ended up in Ft. McKay.  We were safe but we felt extremely vulnerable,”  Kim shared.  “ We knew we needed fuel to go further north or to try to go south. The nearest fueling station had a 3 hour wait and then they ran out. We were safe but didn’t have options.”

After the kindness of a stranger enabled them to get some fuel, the option to head south opened up. “At 1:30 AM we heard that the highway was clear. We could no longer hear traffic on 63 so Izzy walked to the highway to investigate. Somehow it was true. We decided to make a run for it and try to get as far south as we could, with Edmonton being our goal.

“We weren’t frantic. We were scared. My husband and I were preparing for the worst but really working to keep things normal for our kids. We were praying because that was all we had. God didn’t stop the fire but he showed up over and over again.”

Thankfully the family did eventually make it to Edmonton. In those head-spinning hours and days after the evacuation, Izzy and Kim  were uncertain of whether to enroll their children in school or not.  Then, said Kim “I realized that school could give them opportunities to feel and be normal.”

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Selah keeps up with her Gr 4 work

Selah, Naomi and Eli were enrolled at Edmonton Christian West School.  They were among at least 23 students from 12 families that joined Edmonton Christian that week.  It is not a surprise that they chose Edmonton Christian.  After all, Izzy, an employee of the Christian Labour Association of Canada, volunteers as the  chairperson of the Board of the Fort McMurray Christian School.  Kim previously taught at Covenant Christian School in Leduc.  If that weren’t enough, their oldest, Selah, attended pre-school and Kindergarten at West.  There would be some somewhat familiar faces in her class.

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Naomi, a busy Gr 2 researcher

The school is thankful for the opportunity to help out, and the family is feeling good about their decison to enroll their children.  “West has been an incredible blessing to us and to our children. They have the chance to go and be a kid and be with other kids and just be normal.”  

Selah in grade 4 seems to agree.  “It’s fun,” she said.  “I am glad I came here.”   We aren’t really sure if she has consulted with Mom and Dad on this, but she says,  “We are going to stay here until school is over.”

 

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Eli takes a quick break from his kindergarten project

As for the family, (whose home appears to be intact) and for all Ft McMurray residents, the road back to normal will be arduous. It will be a journey of faith, a faith that nothing can separate us from God’s love.  It is a faith that can be found in Kim’s words,  “We fled.  We literally fled for our lives but we fled into open arms and open hearts. That is another way that God has claimed this part of history; all these people are doing his work and being his hands and feet.”

Once again, we are all humbled and deeply thankful to be part of God’s story.

 

By Brian Doornenbal, with many thanks to the Huygen family for so willingly sharing their story.  They and others from Ft McMurray will continue to be in our prayers.

 

Say What?

IMG_1637“Serve to learn and learn to serve.”  We used that description on a recent Facebook post, and one reaction was, “Say what?  What does that mean?”
First of all, at Edmonton Christian School we believe that “accepting Christ’s  invitation to live for renewal” means accepting a life of love and service to God and others.  That means that we can make learning  relevant to students when the curriculum comes alive in real work of service.  Elementary students learn about the needs of plants by planting seeds and  taking care of gardens on the schoolground.  The intermediate students learn the details of waste management by taking on the school recycling task and by classroom composting.  Junior High students learn to write, persuade and participate in democracy as they use the gift of language to advocate for the rights of others.  Senior High photography classes hone their skills by taking and IMG_0379editing portraits for people at a drop in centre for the homeless/working-poor .  These are only a few of the examples  of serving to learn.

Serving to learn is only half the equation, however.  Never far from the surface is our tendency to be selfish and self-serving.  It is our “first nature.”  Our  default.

We need to learn to serve.  Like a musician or an athlete, we need to practice regularly and often so that this service becomes our “second nature.”

That’s part of the idea behind the recently held, annual service days which involved all Edmonton Christian High School students in a number of locations.  In addition to the wonderful community and the valuable skills gained, service days provided many “learning to serve” experiences.  Just a few are captured in the pictures below.  (Photo credits to staff/supervisors that were learning to serve with the students!)

Epthatha Camp

Bethel Bible Camp

Mulhurst Bible Camp

Serving at ECHS–baking for the neighbour Centre, cooking for people in need, cleaning, organizing . . .

Ross Haven Bible Camp

Vimy Ridge School (moving the Alberta School of Ballet)

Edmonton Christian High School students–serving to learn, learning to serve!

It’s All About the Money . . .Or Is It?

It would be easy to think that it was all about the money. What else would the 23rd annual Goods and Services Auction at Edmonton Christian Schools be about?  The pictures might tell the story.

 

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Food.  Friendship.  Fun.  Catching up with someone you haven’t seen in awhile.  Meeting someone new.  Make no mistake, the funds raised for the Edmonton Society for Christian Education are so appreciated and will be used well as we act on our school vision of “accepting Christ’s invitation to live for renewal.”  We would miss those funds if they were not raised, but we would find our way.  If however, we lost the community and the commitment that is so evident at this event, we would be in real trouble.  That definitely is something money cannot buy!

Thanks to everyone who organized, attended,  volunteered, donated, bought and most of all enriched and encouraged by being  active members of this beautiful community.