As we worked through our theme this year, Faith in Action: Heroes for God, we learned about many godly traits exhibited by Bible heroes. We learned about what these stories of faith tell us about God. As a connection to the theme, one of the assignments for the eighth grade art class early in the year was to illustrate their art folder with their name and with five character traits that students thought described themselves well. Choosing traits was difficult, and many students consulted with friends and classmates to complete their five. Students described themselves as bold, creative, athletic, caring, awesome, and in many more ways. We have known some of our grade eight students for 10 years, and some for just a short time. Staff and students at WCS have been blessed by our bold, creative, athletic, sincere, godly, caring and awesome (and more!) grads. We will miss you, but we also know it’s time for you to move on to new challenges. Walk with God and He will continue to guide and bless you. Fare well & God bless you, Alyvia, Sarah, Ian, Brayden, Kayla, Ellie, Grace, Christi, Emma, Caleb, Kailyn, GraceAnn, Sophie, Joseph, Matthew, Jesse, Wesley, Samantha, Max, Amber, Avery, and Josh.
As I was doing my end of the day bus supervision duty on Friday I noticed a student stop to write “9 days of school left” on the dirty back door window of a bus. Yikes, was he serious? Where did the time go? Time flies when you are having fun is the age old saying. I know we are near the end of a school year when we wrap up track and field. Last Wednesday WCS sent 50 students to compete at the Woodstock District Track and Field Meet in Strathroy. Christian school athletes from Aylmer, Clinton, London, Stratford, Strathroy, St. Thomas, and Woodstock joined together in a variety of running, jumping, and throwing events. It was a joy to see students use their talents and celebrate one another’s achievements. I saw students encouraging one another and show good sportsmanship. There were a lot of parents and grandparents that came along to support the students. The competition was great and in the end Aylmer took home the championship banner. Woodstock placed 4th overall.
This is an exciting time of the year. Lots of students are looking forward to class trips, project based learning and other displays of learning are going on in many classes. Grade 8 is getting ready for graduation and the rest of the school is getting ready for the grade 8 tribute assembly. There is a librarian visit from WPL sharing about summer reading programs, and the list goes on. Of course teachers are trying to get the last of the curriculum covered before it is time to say goodbye to the students.
I am reminded that every day is a blessing and gift from God. He is in control and he uses each one of us to live out his plan. I am so thankful that we at WCS can share this news with each other and our students. Enjoy the last 9 days of the school year!
Mrs. J. Hickey- Grade 3
In this spring (almost summer!) season, when everything is green and growing, seeds are sprouting in the fields and gardens, flowers and shrubs are blooming, we thank God for His creative power and for the rhythm of the seasons. Recently our staff devotions have highlighted the precision and detail of the created world and the amazing opportunity we have, as educators at WCS, to show students God’s glory. We want for them to experience awe and wonder as they explore and see the world around them. I was blessed this past weekend to enjoy a little bit of Canada’s west coast. From oceanside to mountain top views, from sunshine to sudden snow showers, from soaring eagles to diving seals - the beauty and majesty of God continues to be revealed.
In his song, Creation Calls, Brian Doerksen writes:
“I have felt the wind blow,
Whispering your name
I have seen your tears fall,
When I watch the rain.
How could I say there is no God?
When all around creation calls!!
A singing bird, a mighty tree,
The vast expanse of open sea…”
Our God has created an amazing world for us to care for and enjoy. See it. Share it. Praise God for it.
-Carol Verbeek, Principal
Please, go back in time to 5 weeks ago when the older students performed the play Oliver Twist. What a blessing the play was to our school, our school community, the students, and myself. As the co-director with Mrs. Martin, I had the enjoyable privilege of watching the students develop their acting skills. It is so interesting and exciting to watch them come to an understanding of how their character moves, talks, reacts, and thinks in each situation their character find themselves in. What an awesome experience it is to observe children as they grapple and struggle with the not so nice things their characters do. It is so fun to see them become the character and be free to act. WCS is so blessed to be able to put on a major production every other year! I am grateful for the learning opportunities these productions give our students.
I want to thank each student who acted in Oliver Twist. I am so proud of you! You were always eager and dedicated in practices. Thank you to all the teachers who helped behind the scenes with props, costumes, and set. Without your assistance, the play would not have been successful. Our stage crew was willing and eager to tackle every job given them. Thanks guys! A very huge thanks to the parents who encouraged, helped memorizing lines, found costumes, and picked up their children from practices (and more). Without all your dedication and prayers the play would not have been a success. Thank you, God, for all the talents and abilities you have given these children and how they overcame fears and gave an amazing performance.
N. Van Andel
Our eighth grade students recently read the Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkein and are currently working through some final assignments about the novel. This novel fits well with our ‘heroes’ theme at WCS and follows a classic pattern - it is an archetype. Here is the pattern: A messenger comes, a problem is presented, someone is chosen or needs to decide whether to take up the quest, the journey begins and the familiar world is left behind, challenges and setbacks are encountered and overcome, helper characters enter the story, evil is defeated or the quest is accomplished, and finally the character returns to the familiar but is not quite the same as they were when they set out on the journey. I was inspired to read the Hobbit again as there are some wonderfully worded bits of wisdom about life and character and the journey. For example, Tolkein writes:
“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”
“There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
“It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterward were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait.”
“Go back? No good at all. Go sideways? Impossible. Go forward? Only thing to do. On we go.”
Gotta love those quotes! Seeing a story character living out love for a neighbour, living in hope and humility, rising to the challenges and difficulties before them, and providing a model of what it means to be a hero - this too is inspiring. Keep reading and keep seeking to be an everyday hero, wherever God has placed you!
From our Public Health Nurse:
EVERYTHING YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT SUN SAFETY – BUT MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN!
Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR)
There are two types of UV Rays important in sun safety. Over exposure to these rays can harm the skin:
A Rays – Aging (wrinkles) and B Rays – SunBurns.
Protection is needed especially when the UV Index is 3 or higher – even on cloudy days
The UV Index is reported every day it is 3 or higher – on the radio weather reports, in the newspaper and on weather channels.
Sun Safety Sun Protection Tips:
-should have complete UV protection for both A and B UV rays. Cost does not guarantee protection.
Sun glasses should be worn by everyone – children and adults
2. SUNSCREEN – and LIP BALM
·Check the Expiration Date!!!
·Sun Protection Factor 30
-Broad Spectrum – both UV A & B Rays
·Apply 20 minutes before going out, reapply every 2 hours, or more often if swimming, or sweating
3. HAT with a broad brim
-cover ears and back of neck
·Whenever possible – especially when the sun is at its highest and UV rays are the strongest
·Clothing – long sleeves, knee length shorts or longer
5. DRINK WATER!!!
-Make sure children and adults drink plenty of water to keep well hydrated and prevent heat stroke
For more information please contact Oxford County Public Health www.oxfordcounty.ca/health and the Canadian Dermatology Association www.dermatology.ca.
Life is full of changes. Vehicles are replaced, parking lots wash out, washers and dryers are repaired, weather alters from one day to the next, winter turns to spring, computer technology advances, parents become grandparents, play rehearsals become live productions, and education changes.
Last week this place was busy hosting an art walk, parents-student lunches, drama productions, and the all exciting Grandfriends’ Day. How many changes were noticeable? Hallway wall spaces were transformed with art pieces, volunteer hero posters were displayed in the front hall, finishing touches were completed for the set, “Truths to Treasure” was sung, and “Oliver Twist” was performed twice.
In a few weeks time, Woodstock will have its annual Track and Field Day, a day when students display their talents for running, jumping and throwing. Gym classes are currently busy with preparations for the day, and even some lunch recesses utilized for high jump practice. There will be a few changes happening on the upcoming Field Day as well. The details are still being worked out, but here are some changes that we anticipate: the schedule is revised so that everyone has a lunch period at the same time; the distance running (800m and 1500m) will no longer be a part of the day but will occur later; and our current system of handing out standard ribbons for each event for our primary and junior students will change to one standard ribbon given per child based on the results of the day once the data has been analyzed. More information is forthcoming about those changes.
No matter what changes occur around us, we at WCS acknowledge that God is the same God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He remains faithful despite the changes in our lives. We echo the words of James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. We can sing out the words of the old hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness:
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
Greg Hiemstra, V.P. & Gr. 6
Why were our predecessors, almost 60 years ago, so determined to create Christian schools in this place? They did it for the children. They did it for the grandchildren. It was done out of obedience to “tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, the signs and wonders that He has done” (Psalm 78:4). They did it so that generations yet unborn will know what God has done and is doing! Our school buildings and our communities stand as living testimonies and witnesses to God as God of this place. In Christian schools we proclaim that every square inch of creation belongs to our God. The fall into sin has spoiled it and thrown the world into chaos. While Christ’s death has paid the price of sin and redeemed us, the process of restoring and reclaiming this broken world continues. We are his kingdom-advancing agents called to confront a world where people continue to put other gods in God’s place. This week is designated as Christian Education Week. It is an annual reminder to us to tell the story of what God has done. Our theme - Faith in Action: Heroes for God - has given us at WCS opportunity to share with our students how God has worked in the lives of ordinary people of the Bible and to study how they and learn how we can respond. We continue to tell God’s story. During Christian Education week, we have opportunity to tell stories of vision, commitment, and sacrifice. It is an opportunity to go beyond the explanation of what Christian education is and into the stories of why Christian education is vital for kingdom-minded disciples of Jesus. What has God done and what is God continuing to do in this place? Tell about it.
(Reference: Christian Schools International/Christian Education week resources)