Take a peek at what's happening on our campuses
The Window offers an inside look at Dock Mennonite Academy
NEVER TOO LATE FOR
A CHRISTMAS PARADE
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - January 15, 2021
It was not quite the balmy weather day
we were hoping for, but we braved
the winter temperatures and wind
to enjoy a school-wide Christmas
parade, hosted by our
own Middle School teachers and students.
CLICK BELOW FOR A
LOOK AT OUR FESTIVE
Grand Organizer, Mrs. Claire Wanamaker with Christmas Parade Grand Marshal, Erik Kratz.
Dr. Swartzentruber (AKA Joseph) had a firm grip on the snowy Christmas tree.
(We think maybe Mrs. Frederick was a speedy float driver...)
Our teachers were working hard to try to keep students warm and protected for the celebration.
We had carolers, floats, cheers, and cottony snow (from the Christmas tree) caught on the morning winter breeze. The young students were chilly but excited to see what was coming next. When we spied Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, we knew the parade had come to an end. But the good vibes from such a fun schoolwide event carried us through the rest of the day. It was a great way to close out Christmas on the EC-8 campus.
HERE COMES THE PARADE
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - January 11, 2021
The middle school students are so excited to have a parade!
"We know it won’t be anything like the Macy’s Day Parade, but it is our parade. Maybe the first of many. The students have been working hard on their floats. I just wanted to share a few pictures with you." - Middle School Teacher, Claire Wanamaker
Yes, that is a full size tree. The students put it together themselves and will be placing it on a trailer pulled by a golf cart...complete with Mary and Joseph.
Shout out to the teacher who lent the middle school a baby Jesus on Friday morning!
Mrs. Wanamaker also sends thanks to the elementary teacher who helped students make ornaments for one of the floats.
Mrs. Mease has been working with a group of energetic girls to provide some dynamic movement for those watching from the curb. They've really perfected their routines!
Check back later in the week for some photos and maybe a video clip of parade highlights!
Current forecast for Parade Day is 50 degrees.
We will see you on the parade route!
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - November 25, 2020
Eighth grade student, Ryan Park has been doing some great work in Service Learning. He is promoting a regularly occurring meatless day to raise awareness about climate change and reduce our school’s carbon footprint
While livestock uses most of the world’s agricultural land, it only produces 18% of the world’s calories and 37% of total protein.
Animals like cows naturally release methane, a greenhouse gas that has a significant impact on speeding up the effects of climate change.
Animal agriculture contributes approximately 40% of annual methane emissions worldwide.
“These gases remain in the atmosphere and trap sunlight, causing climate change. By urging people to eat less meat, I may be able to bring awareness to this issue. Climate change is an important issue, and I want to make a difference, no matter how small.” – Ryan Park
The expansion of agriculture has been one of humanity’s largest impacts on the environment, threatening the extinction of 24,000 species.
See Ryan's poster below:
Thank you, Ryan,
important advocacy campaign.
THE BOOK HUGGERS
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - November 13, 2020
The picture of the week highlights Mrs. Mast's 4 year old class hugging their carefully chosen library books.
This is a well-practiced routine to keep media materials secure as the students walk back to the classroom.
Happy Reading, friends!
ADDING A LITTLE
COLOR TO THE WORLD
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - October 28, 2020
The Coloring for Christ Service Learning Group created and constructed a 31 page coloring book that will be donated to Keystone Opportunity Center.
The students are seen here working
on drafts for the coloring book.
The coloring book will be handed out
to families who utilize Keystone’s
food pantry over the holiday season.
Liza Landes collected donations from family members and
local businesses so that kids will have crayons,
markers, and colored pencils to use with them.
The students are praying that lots of
children are blessed this Christmas
as they color and read God’s
Word woven throughout each page.
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - October 21, 2020
Expo Day is time to shine for our hard-working middle school students!
The students were well-informed and eager to talk about their projects.
Ryan authored an amazing book about the Rohingya tragedy.
Nice work, students! We are proud of each of you.
THE STUDENT BECOMES
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - October 9, 2020
On this beautiful October day, the
kindergarten students from the classes
of Mrs. Dando and Mrs. Ness ventured
outside for a fun activity.
Each student had written a book about something they "know a lot about."
These creations were their "teaching books," which they used to share information about
whatever subject they had chosen.
It was fun to watch these young "experts"
instructing their peers.
Cassandra chose to teach about horses. Her partner, Gage shared facts about trees.
What a fun way to share interesting topics with friends.
LAST DAYS OF SEPTEMBER
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - September 29, 2020
Our Early Childhood students love their playground!
One of our fourth graders
hard at work, researching information
for a puppet show.
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - September 16, 2020
Dock's 4-year old students are learning about Creation during their September Faith Formation/Bible time. This week, they took a walk on the beautiful EC-8 campus, in search of "God's paintbrushes."
The children discovered lots of different plants to use for painting and sorted them in groups. Students experimented & made some wonderful creations using "process art" while enjoying God's creation.
A DIFFERENT KIND
OF FIELD DAY
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - June 2, 2020
Middle School Field Day was a little different this year, but still a lot of fun! Students created the events as part of their physical science class. Explaining how the activities related to Newton’s three laws of motion was part of the task.
Students looked at acceleration, angles, and curves.
Some went as far as explaining associations with the unit on waves, light, and sound.
The week prior to Field Day activities,
students created team logos
and slogans in science class
with science themes.
Events were placed on two playing boards so students could decide which activities they preferred.
Some of the options included:
Animal Race, Tug of War, Scrambled Egg Toss, Rubber Bands, Bandana Retrieval, Fork Flip, Paper Throw, Toilet Paper Toss, Soccer, Bottle Toss, Basketball, and the old nausea-inducing favorite – Dizzy Lizzy.
A few faculty and staff members made some stops to support some of our Dock families.
They wish they had been able to visit more!
Points were received in the following way and score updates were shared four times during the day.
3 points for creating a poster/sign for your team
1 point for wearing your team color
2 points for participating in an event (2-5 events)
5 points for participating in a virtual tug of war
The final update was as follows:
In 4th place with 104 points - The white team!
In 3rd Place with 107 points - Gray!!!
In 2nd place with 150 points - Black!!!!
And our 2020 virtual field day winner with 161 points was the green team!!!!!!
Many more photos were received but not all had formats
for easy saving and editing, so some participants
are unfortunately not featured here.
Special thanks to Mrs. Cheryl Ryder and several teachers for working at logistics for this final school week event.
We loved seeing your photos! It was a great way to end the year.
HANGING OUT WITH THE GOLDCAMPS
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - May 26, 2020
We are thrilled to have a window into
some Goldcamp happenings!
Dock students, Morgan (grade 5),
Avery (grade 4),
and Henry (kindergarten)
were kind enough to be our subjects
for the Dock pictures of the week.
Here we find Morgan diligently working at math. (We see that awesome Dock Girls Run shirt, Morgan!)
Henry is working at online school in this photo. We aren't what role the fork plays....
Keeping fit is a very important part of pandemic learning!
Mrs. Ryder and Mrs. Longacre will be so happy to see this photo!
Guess who learned to ride a bike during
this time away from campus?
Good work, Henry!
Wish we could HEAR what is going on here! Avery and her trumpet, having an online lesson with Mrs. Berg!
Thank you, Goldcamps. We can't wait to see your faces when the new school year begins!
TAKING THE PLUNGE
FOR A WORTHY CAUSE
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - May 19, 2020
Left to right: Bronwyn Histand, Martin Wiens, Ken Kabakjian, and Jayne Longacre.
A big thanks to the team players above who agreed to
take the GROFF POND PLUNGE.
Was the pond cold? YES
Could they see their feet? NO
Did they jump anyway? YES, INDEED.
Good sports, all!
Dock's high school campus is home to Groff Pond, the site for all sorts of tradition and fun.
Nobody can quite match the enthusiasm of our Jayne Longacre. She is always ready for an adventure.
Thank you, Dock Family for making our first-ever Dock Rocks Giving Day a splashing success!
Over $52,000 was raised during our Giving Day and Online Auction events, supporting student scholarships for those who need it.
It was a beautiful reflection of generosity, expressed by those who love this school community.
WITH FURRY FRIENDS
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - May 12, 2020
With all their other friends at least six feet away, Elizabeth and Colton decided to adopt some new friends into the Detweiler household! Our enterprising students used their own money for the purchase and agreed to caretaking duties.
And that is how Winnie and CiCi joined the family! Arriving at the end of last month, these two fur-balls soon became part of all family activities.
Word on the street: they’ve become expert LEGO builders, they enjoy assembling trains, and they don’t shy away from stuffed animal friendships.
Winnie and CiCi appear to have a knack for unexpectedly trimming human hair with their teeth, so if you are really desperate without your hair salon….
Mom reports they are inquisitive (well…she used the word NOSY),
so they enjoy insinuating themselves
into all the Detweiler ZOOM conferences taking place.
These adoptees enjoy healthy salads for dinner and exercise in the baby pool each evening.
(Is it me…or does this sound like a health spa….)
Winnie runs laps in the baby pool, as fast as she can, causing Cole to collapse into fits of laughter.
Despite their very sharp claws, they’ve even weaseled their way into the hearts
of the other Detweiler pets, becoming BFFs with the family cats and the dog.
Cole reads books to a very attentive Winnie.
Elizabeth takes her guinea pig for stroller rides
and even totes Cici around in a baby carrier.
There is so much love for these furry friends,
it is hard to let them rest at naptime.
Thank you, Colton and Elizabeth!
It was a pleasure to meet your new housemates!
WE'VE GOT WEATHER!
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - May 5, 2020
We have experienced quite an array of weather extremes recently. As a culmination to kindergarten literacy plans this week, Mrs. Ness and her class took the opportunity to experiment and create around themes of weather!
Options for hands-on fun and research included creating a dog raincoat (and other waterproof hacks), making snow, and despite the oversaturation we have all recently encountered…trying to produce rain from a cloud.
Here is Izaac, “making it rain” from his shaving cream cloud.
Our kindergarten students learned FACTS about rain and snow through read-alouds. Then they shared an OPINION as to whether they'd prefer to be RAIN or SNOW and wrote reasons to try and PERSUADE their teacher and classmates to agree with them!
Cole did a great job with colorful rain clouds!
Andrew and his family had
a great time doing the experiments
together. The volcano was
Evonna chose to work at the "rain from a cloud" activity, learning about density and saturation.
We LOVE those "scientific" goggles!
Karena and her mother fashioned a raincoat for their dog but in her mother’s words,
“The dog was trying to bite us when we
put on his plastic raincoat…
so we didn’t get any pictures of that!”
Kari did have fun with the shaving cream, baking soda and vinegar activity.
Olivia made snow (and a snow volcano!) with a little help from her sister Isabel, (from Mrs. Mast’s Early Childhood class).
Somehow our dear Declan made it all the way to 5 years old before realizing not all cream is edible.
Research Finding of the Week: "Shaving cream is NOT the same as whipped cream!"
So if you are looking for some information about weather, you no longer need to rely on weather.com!
Just call one of the experts in KNE.
GETTING TO WORK
AT THE DERSTINE'S
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - April 28, 2020
Thank you, Derstine Family!
We loved seeing you!
LEARNING AT THE MAST RESIDENCE
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - April 21, 2020
Learning looks a little different these days, but it is happening in hundreds of
Dock family households. Thank you to the Mast family for sharing a peek
into the daily schedule for a 3rd, 6th, and 9th grader.
Here we find Micah, working on an assignment for his Life Skills 101 class. Pie crust making!
His mother admits Micah's crust-crimping skills are superior to her own.
3rd grader, Mikayden has found
a cozy spot for reading. His teacher,
would definitely approve.
This spot in the house has a new label. Matthew's office!
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - April 14, 2020
Some of our students have been creating rainbows to inspire hope during this time of social isolation.
Thanks for sharing them with us!
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - April 7, 2020
Our PE teacher, Mrs. Jayne Longacre and her daughter got crafty this week and came up with a prototype for fabric masks. Many of you are likely doing the same. Who could have predicted our bandanas, old socks and scarves would be called up for face mask action?
Looking good, Gracie!
Some tips for face masks here if you'd like to try to make your own: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM25135
WORKING FROM HOME
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - March 31, 2020
Working from home has taken on a whole new meaning for our students and their parents.
The sign on the wall at the Lupisella home pretty much sums up what we are all currently experiencing.
SOME CALL IT CHAOS - WE CALL IT FAMILY
Christian and his father, Nicholas working companionably above.
We are lifting prayers and giving thanks for all of our families during this time of unscheduled family togetherness!
DRIVE-THROUGH ART KITS
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - March 23, 2020
Early Childhood Department faculty and a few staff members gathered last week to assemble art kits for our youngest students. Six feet of social distance and lots of hand-washing was involved!
It was so nice to see the parents and students as they pulled up to our "drive-through."
We particularly enjoyed the smiling faces of students in their car-seats, waving to their teachers as their parents received supplies for at-home creativity.
We look forward to seeing some of their final products!
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - March 20, 2020
The weather was lovely on our final Monday together before the unexpected news from Governor Wolf's office. We practiced our fire drill procedure with precision while basking in the sunshine.
We're looking forward to being back together again. Structure is good!
In the meantime, enjoy the extra time with the ones you love.
TITANIC ON TRIAL
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - March 16, 2020
Dock 4th graders conducted a mock trial last week, putting the White Star Line (manufacturer of the infamous Titanic) on trial.
Lots of great learning took place as they prepared for and enacted the hearing.
The students read a lot of history for this assignment, spending time focusing on and recognizing different perspectives.
The discovery of evidence was vital to this project as they needed to support the claims they were making.
The students brought the story to life, demonstrating the underlying principles associated with participating in debate.
The class and teachers are so thankful for the assistance of Mr. Jason Sprunger (EC-8 Campus Technology expert) and for Mrs. Claire Wanamaker’s Middle School Service-Learning group, all of whom provided encouragement and support.
The model for the mock trial was developed by 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Taylor during her years of teaching 5th grade
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - March 12, 2020
Our middle school students have been working really hard to prepare for their production of Frozen Jr, happening this weekend!
Per Director, Heidi Painter, the production team wanted to find a show that would engage the large number of middle school students interested in participation. And what a huge number there are! Frozen Jr was chosen and the students are thrilled to be presenting it to the audience in such an engaging way.
"I hope you find yourself immersed in this Scandinavian world - dazzled by the effects, entertained by the comedy, and moved by the music." This is a story that "shows the power of true love - a quality that is sure to thaw even the coldest heart!" - Heidi Painter
If tickets for the performances are still available, you will find them here: https://dock-mennonite-academy-ec---8-campus.ticketleap.com/dock-presents-frozen-jr/
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - February 25, 2020
70 Dock students experienced a fabulous afternoon of building, creating, and problem-solving during last week’s Dock/Microsoft STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) event!
The magic of coding and building was brought to life through winter-themed STEM activities for grades K-2 (led by Dock teachers), a robotics workshop for grades 3-5 (led by Microsoft representatives), and a 3-D movie with mixed reality workshop for our middle school students (also led by Microsoft).
THE LIBRARY DRAGON
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - February 18, 2020
by Brenda Shelly
There’s a new reptile in town! Please say hello to Norbert, Dock’s new library dragon.
EC-8 campus librarian, Melissa Camilleri recently adopted this young bearded dragon from one of our high school fathers, Eric Scialanca.
Mrs. Camilleri’s family has long considered living with a bearded dragon, so when the opportunity arose, it was practically a no-brainer! The family was thrilled to invite Norbert into their home.
Tuesday, the 18th was Norbert’s first day in the library. Because he loves interaction with people, he will spend time commuting between his new home with the Camilleri family and his library home. He loves shuttling inside Mrs. Camilleri’s coat for the drive!
The students were very interested in the chosen book and the novelty of this new library pet. They were especially intrigued to know he supplements his fresh produce diet with BUGS! Ewwwwww….
The students learned to pet our colorful new friend gently with two fingers, not touching his eyes or his tail. They were also instructed to use hand sanitizer thereafter.
Our librarian reminded them that she will be the only one to lift him from his cozy habitat, being careful to scoop him from below so he doesn’t become startled, imagining a predator nearby.
A few of the children opted against interacting with the new library pet (at least for today…) but most were enthusiastic about meeting our exotic reptilian addition!
SOMETHING LOOKS FISHY
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - February 12, 2020
Last week I discovered a roomful of elementary designers working on some aquatic habitats in Mrs. Bergey’s art classroom.
The students are preparing some 2nd grade musical décor. They hope to turn a school hallway into an art gallery, depicting some of the miracles of Jesus.
It's messy work, making sea creatures and their habitats! Washing hands is always more fun with a friend.
Some young artists are ALL IN when it comes to becoming one with their work!
DAY OF PLAY
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - February 5, 2020
Several of our classes participated in the Global Day of Play on February 5th. Our second-graders could not have been more excited!
Experts are increasingly imploring adults to recognize the importance of unstructured playtime for children.
This was the fifth Global School Play Day, and there are more participants each year. The creativity of children drives the agenda (or should we say non-agenda) of this important day. Screen-free peer interaction takes center stage. Unless an Etch-A-Sketch counts as a screen....
If you are interested in knowing more about this topic, you might enjoy listenting to a fascinating Ted Talk by psychology professor, Peter Gray. https://youtu.be/Bg-GEzM7iTk
Found these two board game competitors snug as bugs
under their sheet fort.
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - January 30, 2020
It’s always interesting to walk to the art display cabinet in the middle school hallway after our 6th grade students complete their linoleum block prints.
Teacher, Ms. Alice Wolfgang prompts the students to think about whose image they’d like to portray. They are to research someone who is “famous and worthy of respect.”
William chose Confucius and did a great job!
This year’s collection includes Hillary Clinton, Confucius, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Bill Gates, Malala, Barack Obama, Dr. Seuss, Donald Trump, Carson Wentz, and others.
SOMETIMES IT'S WHO
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - January 24, 2020
Front desk receptionist, Linda Souder goes above and beyond for every one of us...but second-grader, Caleb Kulp gets a little extra love.
It’s hard not to play favorites when your grandson receives his elementary education at the very place you earn a paycheck! Linda loves having this sweet boy just down the hall.
GET OUT OF JAIL FREE
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - January 17, 2020
Sixteen seventh grade boys have begun participating in Monopoly Monday as a nice way to add fun and a little friendly competition to an otherwise routine lunchtime.
As we all know, the length of this particular board game tends to carry on endlessly so the group should have no trouble picking up where they left off the week prior.
The idea was initiated by Logan Sell and Luke Smeland. Mrs. Messina is working with the crew to keep things running smoothly. If your son/daughter missed this round of play, tell them to be on the lookout for more signups in the coming weeks!
FROM ARCTIC TUNDRA TO PSEUDO-SPRINGTIME SUNSHINE
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - January 13, 2020
It has not been an easy week to dress for recess! We've needed hats and gloves one day and felt the need to shed layers the next. Our Early Childhood Department teachers are standing guard on one of the chillier recess days above.
"KNOT" A BAD WAY TO START THE NEW YEAR
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK - January 3, 2020
Some of Mrs. Claire Wanamaker's 7th & 8th Grade Service Learning students knotted comforters to donate to Mennonite Central Committee in their classroom after their visit/tour of MCC's Resource Center in Harleysville on Friday.
WAIT A MINUTE...WHO'S ED?
Brenda Shelly, OCTOBER 2019
Sneakers donned and enthusiasm palpable, it was a gorgeous fall day as we walked to the fields for Dock Mennonite Academy’s annual Race for Education.
Our youngest students were the first group to spend an hour circling the course for the cause.
Race Day always brings a wonderful party atmosphere with family/friends cheering from the sidelines or joining the throng as they wind their way around the gravel track.
The lively musical rhythm dancing out of the giant speakers is a great motivator. Even those who might not be wild about exertion soon get into the spirit of the day when that thumping beat drops.
The athletic or competitive students love to go head to head...in fact if you're not paying attention, you can easily be trampled at the starting line.
In contrast, the focus of others is to engage in as many social interactions as possible while simultaneously and reluctantly accomplishing laps.
Cheerful volunteers punch cards while participants zoom by, counting the number of laps each student achieves.
Our middle school students worked up an appetite, taking part just before their scheduled lunch.
The final walkers/runners from grades 2-5 hit the track in the afternoon, completing our active and productive day.
The monies raised during this fall fun tradition go directly for our school's curriculum materials, advancements in technology, and playground updates.
We want to clearly report where these generous donations end up and it became obvious recently that our desire for excellent communication needs to extend even to our small students....
Case in point, a spider was discovered residing above the classroom inside a light fixture in Rachael Grim’s Pre-K class. The students quickly named him “Frank” and he grew to have a starring role in science conversations and daily childhood banter. The group was, in fact, a little obsessed with Frank's comings and goings. Might he require fluids? Sunshine? Prayers? Meal assistance?
Let's just say...snacks were accidentally left in the bin....
In anticipation of the fundraising event, some of our curious five-year-old students wondered whether it might be possible to “RUN FOR FRANK” rather than this whole “race for Ed” affair which was already planned. After all, they weren’t even sure they’d ever MET this elusive “Ed” who seemed to be the beneficiary of their impending exertion….
(Have I mentioned I love this age group?)
Frank (the classroom arthropod) ultimately did not fare as well as our participants or beloved school. But fear not, little friends. Your dedicated efforts on behalf of the mysterious fewer-legged “Ed” were not in vain.
A huge thank you to everyone who made our 17th Annual Race for Education a wonderful day this year!
LORD, LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN PRAYING
Brenda Shelly, SEPTEMBER 2019
What a beautiful crisp morning to gather in worship and lift prayers to heaven.
For many of us, folding hands in prayer was one of the first postures taught us by parents who loved us.
They wanted us to understand the important connection we have to our Heavenly Father.
Prayer gatherings occurred on both of our campuses this morning with our oldest students meeting at the high school pillars and our middle school students gathering in the main courtyard on the EC-8 Campus.
The universe declaring our Maker’s majesty was a centering point as the middle school teachers, faculty and staff came together to sing God of Wonders, accompanied by Mr. Nathaniel Freed on guitar.
Prayers were framed in three specific areas, led by Mrs. Laura Landes with some help from a few of the students.
Carley read Psalm 17, prompting silent and audible prayers for our world.
Shane read scripture which inspired prayers for our country.
One courtyard bird seemed to have a lot to say on the subject of our country, chirping away insistently in the pauses between prayers spoken aloud.
Corbin lifted a particularly moving request for the homeless and homebound.
In the final category, Ben began the prayers for our school by reminding us all to fix our eyes on Jesus.
Mother Teresa once memorably suggested, “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts."
Lord, listen to your children praying.
RUNNING THE RACE
Brenda Shelly, MAY 2019
Truth be told and despite trying hard, preadolescents only hear about half of the words that come from the mouth of an adult. But for some reason, when a teenager is speaking…the same preadolescents tune in with razor-focused attention. They REALLY want to hear what teens have to say!
This was the case on Thursday after school when two particularly engaging High School students came to the EC-8 Campus to meet with our Dock Girls Run Club.
Laura Bergey and Elissa Odeh were asked to speak to our girls about how to be a good friend, how to stay positive during hard times, and how to stay out of the gossip and drama that sometimes accompanies friendships.
The day of the interaction was a rainy one. Instead of splashing through the rain per their usual Tuesday/Thursday training run, the girls were captivated by Laura Bergey and Elissa Odeh’s sharing.
Laura and Elissa encouraged the girls to intentionally look for the people who are alone…to be confident in who they are…and to invite others in.
The presentation was meant to be a 30-minute introduction to the afternoon but because the younger girls were so engaged, the discussion ended up taking every minute until the 5:00 departure time.
Mrs. Jenn Crissman and Mrs. Jayne Longacre supervise and mentor the runners. This is a springtime group, open to interested girls in grades 4-6. The purpose of the club is to build comradery across grade levels and to inspire the girls to become healthy and confident in who they are as children of God.
The culminating event for the group this season is to participate in a 5K on June 1st, raising awareness for Bethany Christian Services.
The running group is studying the book “Just Sayin,” by Carol Adams Moore. They incorporate team exercises, running as a group, and studying the devotional in their usual sessions.
Instead of strengthening their legs this past week, our young runners fortified their hearts and souls. Rather than getting drenched in the puddles, they soaked up the love and attention of some generous and insightful big sisters.
It was a good day.
PRINT MAKING DAY!
Brenda Shelly, APRIL 2019
“Can you come help?” As the third graders streamed into her classroom, elementary art teacher, Mrs. Kim Bergey began separating pages from yesterday’s news. Like a well-oiled machine, the obliging students sprang into action, pulling sheets of newspaper to provide a protective barrier before paint was dispensed for the project of the day.
The class had already been trained in the basics of print making, so they got right to work. Interesting architecture from around the world had been previously chosen and carefully drawn by the students.
Mia chose St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.
Drew was working on his drawing of a Spanish building he admires.
“Everyone needs a smock!”
Oversized leftover 5K shirts provide perfect coverage on particularly messy days in art class.
A thrilled collective gasp filled the art room when Mrs. Bergey announced she was adding something new. “Since this will be your second or third round of printing, you may do some color mixing today!”
Ilana began distributing the brayers. (Ink rollers, to those of us without an extensive art vocabulary….)
As a well-recognized structure,
drawings of the Eiffel Tower
At least two Empire State Buildings were spotted, as well.
This is Taelyn’s print of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Taking advantage of Mrs. Bergey’s offer of color mixing, Taelyn has opted for a two-tone presentation. Who could ever have imagined that destabilization via shifting soil would produce such an iconic landmark?
Print making has been around since AD 105 and from the looks of it, brayers will be rolling well into the future. At least for these enthusiastic 3rd grade students!
TALE OF THE TAPE
They say you can fix almost anything with duct tape. Who knew it could also bring comfort to refugees in places like Iraq and Ukraine?
Jay Gordon, MARCH 2019
CHILLIN' WITH CHICKENS!
Brenda Shelly, FEBRUARY 2019
Why did the chicken cross Godshall Road? Because the Mennonite Grapevine was clucking with the news that we’ve got some feathered friends on the EC-8 Campus of Dock Mennonite Academy!
As part of a Design & Technology project, Mr. Nathaniel Freed encouraged students to meet with teachers, inquiring if they had any any construction needs for their classrooms or the school.
It turned out, science teacher, Ms. Ann Detweiler had just begun to seek approval for a classroom project working with chickens. The timing was perfect!
One of the five D&T projects in the eighth-grade class is a chicken coop, constructed by three of our enterprising students, Eli Alderfer, Trey Leatherman, and Blake Yoder.
They are doing an amazing job! The coop is still in progress, with construction taking place even on the snowy days in January and February.
Student Ivan Dean has a mother who conveniently works at Moyer’s Chicks, so a Chick Connection was made.
On January 4th, the eggs went into the incubator.
For the following two weeks, 6th grade students watched the eggs for activity and sketched images depicting developmental progress.
By January 23rd, four chicks had effectively departed their shells and entered the bustling classroom schedule.
Names for the fluff-balls were assigned by very eager students. We’ve now got Big Bird, Dumpling, Gerald, and of course, Drumstick….
Let’s be honest, Drumstick represents some cringeworthy foreshadowing to the butcher lesson which is likely imminent.
Ms. Detweiler’s homeroom students take care of cleaning the brooder and visiting with the chicks each day prior to classes and just before dismissal.
The students jockey for position, each one hoping for time to connect with the fluffy classroom visitors.
Shhhhhh.... Don't tell the well-adored chicks, but future plans include a cookout with eggs and chicken as well as some fertilized eggs for another round of incubation.
GAME SHOW FOR THE WIN!
Brenda Shelly, November, 2018
Five days before Thanksgiving, an epic competition went down in Old City, Philadelphia. Despite Dock’s strong history of athletic excellence, this showdown had nothing to do with soccer balls or drafty metal bleachers. There were "uniforms"…in a way. And all the contestants were basically playing for the same team. Let’s go back to the beginning.
Close to fifty members of the Dock school community gathered together in the chilly Saturday morning air as dawn was cracking. Brand new school sweatshirts were distributed and vehicles were loaded. The group was an unusual mix of students, teachers, parents, and staff members.
The Philadelphia skyline was just waking up when three Dock sprinters and several cars rolled into the city.
Our reserved parking spaces would end up remaining vacant because a Philly Half-Marathon effectively cut off most of our attempted routes as we tried tenaciously to reach the Fox 29 Studio at 4th and Market Streets. Let’s just say we were crawling along. And stressing a bit. And walking REALLY fast to our destination....
Some of us even got to “run” in the half-marathon (where running means briskly propelling oneself across the street while dodging the forward momentum of the actual athletes)!
All of our drivers managed to find alternate parking spots and still get to the taping on time. Yes…taping! For you see, our agenda for the day was to represent our school in a little bit of friendly on-air competition. The game show in which we participated is called, The ClassH-Room. This is a trivia-based game show for teachers and students in grades 7-12. Each episode features students and teachers from the same school, competing against each other to try to win funds for their chosen charities. The show can be watched weekdays at noon and just began airing in October.
Upon arrival, we were divided into categories and sent to our respective entrances where we were soon subjected to all manner of security procedure. The contestants went one way…the spectators, another.
Mr. Hertzler couldn't pass up the
opportunity to impart some
historical Philadelphia wisdom
while we waited on the street.
Those of us in the live audience probably got to see lots more as the contestants were sequestered in a waiting room until their turn on camera.
One of the most fun parts of our day? Meeting the host, Richard Curtis. You may remember him as the Souderton Area High School technology teacher who found himself in the national spotlight when he won the “Live! With Kelly” co-host competition. His genuinely engaging demeanor and quick wit make him perfect for this new television role. He immediately put our 12 contestants at ease and it was rather amazing to realize he hasn’t been doing this for decades. He’s that good.. It was also rather amusing to see him popping out after changing his outfit THREE TIMES in the course of the taping.
We had two student teams (one high school, one middle school) and two teachers teams for the taping. Three total shows were taped while we were in the studio, two of them with contestants from Dock Mennonite Academy.
Our devoted mascot, Christopher the Pioneer, was in attendance. Though he tries really hard to win one over with his rather intense grin, Christopher is the kind of fellow one does not want to be seated behind in a theater. His hat alone completely obstructs the vision of anyone seated in the unfortunate rows to the rear! But what our pioneer lacked in audience-friendly size, he more than made up for as he bebopped his way into the hearts of everyone in attendance during the catchy between-scene musical interludes. Well…that…and the way he brought the school spirit while eyeing Dock’s brave competitors through his trusty looking glass. What a guy. The inconvenience of carrying Christopher’s very bulky head in a bright blue sack over blocks and blocks of Philadelphia pedestrian sidewalks…well, that’s a story for another day. Thank you, Mr. Doug Hackman, for your service to school spirit!
First up at the show taping was our high school crew. Louis Cocco, Nicole Ford and Sydney Leaman represented the students while Mr. Ron Hertzler, Mrs. Kathy Kennel, and Mrs. Kellena Smith made the faculty look good. We were so proud of them all.
There is a portion of the program where team members are given the opportunity to send someone from the other team to “Detention.” No sooner did science teacher, Mrs. Smith get sent on her way…the first chemistry question was posed. The timing was wonderful. For the students….
Our middle school team consisted of Marlyse Giesbrecht, Haley Harper, and Simon Hershberger. During contestant introductions, Simon had the opportunity to show his brand new Abraham Lincoln socks to the entire viewing world. Representing middle school teachers: Mrs. Kaci Hunsberger and Mrs. Claire Wanamaker. Director of Marketing, Mrs. Kathy Gordon, was the pinch-hitter for a teacher who was ill and could not make it to the taping. Despite her non-faculty status, a math question involving fractions did not scare her off!
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about watching the middle school portion of the game was the AMAZINGLY impressive spell-off our teachers and students managed. If the lengthy volley of correctly-spelled words is any indication, our spelling curriculum is ON POINT!
We are not allowed to tell you who won (YET!) but the middle school game came down to a thrilling tie score of 320 points and the winning answer was related to the book title, The New Moon! We loved the expression on the face of the person giving the correct answer!
After the taping, a short walk down Market Street fit the bill for those craving a Philly cheesesteak. We walked a wide perimeter to avoid some demonstrations in the city and returned safely to our waiting vehicles.
As soon as we are notified of the dates our Dock shows will air, we will share that information so you can set your recording devices and pop yourselves a bowl of popcorn!
Our chosen charities, Keystone Opportunity Center (for the students) and Mennonite Disaster Service (for the teachers) will have to wait for the exciting results with everyone else!
It was a great day for the students and teachers of Dock Mennonite Academy.
FALLING FOR FALL
Brenda Shelly, October, 2018
Autumn. A time for crisp mornings, gorgeous skies, crunchy leaves, and let’s be frank…a little too much pumpkin-spice.
At the EC-8 Campus of Dock Mennonite Academy, it’s also a time for fun learning in our Early Childhood Department.
Daylight is becoming a shortened commodity and the small friends in our Early Childhood Department are enjoying the season.
On Monday, a leaf hunt was the highlight of the afternoon. When Mrs. Nelson announced there was to be a hunt, one of the students was dubious. “I’m not a good finder!” But reassurances were given...and coats, hats, and gloves were donned.
Small feet lined up for the excursion. Everyone was excited as they made their way out to the nature trail next to the school.
The children were full of advice for me.
· “Watch for skunks!”
· “Be careful of poison ivy!”
· “Hey, Nurse Shelly! I hear there are foxes and raccoons out here!”
BETTER WITH A FRIEND
To say the hunt was slim pickings would be an understatement! The unusually generous rains this year have made for moist soil and a very late fall color season. There was LOTS of green, requiring the children to diligently search to find anything of color to add to their special sorting bags.
Even after all the precipitation we’ve experienced this year, the tiny stream running through the nature area was just slightly more impressive than a trickle. But you would not know it to hear the banter. The shared advice persisted. “Mrs. Shelly, stay away from the river!”
The morning after, it was time to see what goes on inside a pumpkin.
In preparation, Mrs. Nelson read The Bumpy Little Pumpkin to her class.
It never ceases to amaze me how all those small bottoms stay so nicely pinned to the squares on the carpet during story time.
The children were so excited about getting their hands into that pumpkin. Mrs. Gerta cut the tops off the pumpkins for easy access and all was well until a few of the children smelled the odd odor of pumpkin "guts." Noses were pinched and cries of "ewww!" ensued. Once the children felt the slime inside that seasonal gourd, some of them were ALL DONE extracting seeds! The seeds were washed and prepared for baking by the class.
This looks like a "stick-up," but really, it was in response to the following request: "Everyone roll up your sleeves!"
They were cooperatively showing their teacher when they were ready to start pulling out seeds.
The 3-year old class
headed out for
a walk with some
Across the hall, Mrs. Mast’s 4-year old class was making bat hats and pumpkin pancakes with 8th grade buddies.
The bat hats were a quick and easy activity. We’re not sure who loves this shared time more. Our little students love their big buddies. But our eighth graders are ecstatic to spend time with "the littles."
The pancakes were a hit with lots of small voices chiming in with requests for MORE!
Some plate-licking was also unsurprisingly noted!
Cooler days and nights are padded with fall fun and Thanksgiving Day is already on approach!
It’s a great time of year to remember how thankful we are for these, and all of the faces of Dock Mennonite Academy.
NEED THUMB INSPIRATION?
Brenda Shelly, September, 2018
A smile that lights up the room is the first thing you’ll notice upon meeting first grader, Avelynn Myers. Her big eyes and engaging personality are soon obvious, too. What you might not initially know, is that we’ve got an author in our midst!
When Avelynn was a bit younger, her thumb was a little too appealing. She found it was difficult to keep that temptation out of her mouth! It became quite a frustration during her kindergarten year. Searching for solutions, Avelynn and her family came upon a pair of gloves made of a material the Myers family calls “mermaid tail fabric.” They thought the gloves might be something fun to keep Avelynn’s thumb out of sight.
With the help of her trusty gloves, a lot of encouragement from her parents, and not a small supply of resolve, Avelynn tackled the problem! And then she told her mother she wanted to help other kids who experienced the same struggle.
The children in her kindergarten class had been practicing book writing, so Avelynn was pretty excited when her mother suggested they write a book about thumb troubles!
In no time at all, our little author put her storyline together. Mom helped with spelling and rhythm. Since Avelynn loves to swim, she knew right away she wanted her protagonist to be a mermaid. She got down to work on some original illustrations.
Mom and Avelynn set up the concept using standard Microsoft software, deciding the finished book would be an 8x10 paperback.
A little online research helped them to discover the illustrator they wanted to hire for the book. The artist lives in Macedonia, a place Avelynn soon found on a map.
The cost involved with producing a book was part of the learning process too. The family started a file to keep track of expenses, so their young author would have no illusions about the costs involved with creatively authoring a book.
Each time a new design came from the illustrator, Avelynn would become excited all over again. It was so hard to wait! Her mother recalls, “It was good practice in patience.”
Avelynn’s parents did not have any experience in publishing, so more research was in order. They chose a “print on demand” company for their project. They learned a lot about page bleeds and margins. As is true with anything worth doing well, there was a lot of trial and error!!
Final steps included the proofing process and learning about copyrights to protect the hard work Avelynn, her illustrator (and her mother!) invested.
I was pretty thrilled to
be the recipient of
the first book Avelynn
25 copies of the book were ordered for Avelynn’s first supply and the box was a much-anticipated delivery at the Myers’ residence!
The book can be found and purchased on Amazon. In fact, the book was a #1 New Release on Amazon in its category!
What a productive way to spend some summertime hours. We are so very proud of you, Avelynn!
In the coming weeks, young readers will have the opportunity to borrow the book, Isadora!: Take That Thumb Out of Your Mouth from the Dock Mennonite Academy EC-8 Library.
A PASSION FOR COMPASSION
Brenda Shelly, June 2018
A little kindness goes a long way. So there’s no telling the distance a big kindness like this could travel.
Early this school year, Mrs. Kelly Kratz’s fifth grade students began brainstorming ways to combat recess loneliness.
They didn’t just sit on their idea to see what would hatch. They pursued their cause with determination!
Younger children were surveyed, a letter was written to administration, and parallel biblical concepts of a welcoming community were drawn.
A presentation was given in chapel where the students told the story of the Good Samaritan in a new way.
A bulletin board was created, the focus of which was to spot kindness in others and to keep lifting one another up.
The final goal of the project was to add a “Buddy Bench” to the elementary playground.
If a student is feeling lonely, that student could take a seat on the bench. When other students notice, the hope is that surrounding students will try to include that person in play.
As energy for the project continued to build, a presentation was prepared by the students for a select group of potential donors. I spoke with one of the donors immediately after the lunch meeting. My friend, Dorothy was very impressed by the earnest student presentations. She noted that the children were so engaged in their quest to be servants, one of them even chivalrously offered to return her lunch tray the split second she finished eating!
The bench project provided a wonderful way for two generations to come together.
I love to think of these ten and eleven-year-olds demonstrating so visibly their profound passion for compassion.
The unconstructed bench arrived on campus in a large flat cardboard box on May 8th. The FedEx delivery truck pulled in just as the last of the buses were pulling out.
Mrs. Kratz’s fifth grade class was hoping to meet the truck on delivery day, so the dismissal hour timing was not ideal! Fortunately, a handful of the students were still on campus for “Dock Girls Run” (an afterschool running club) and “24 Club” (an interactive afterschool math game).
THERE WAS A LOT OF
EXCITEMENT WHEN THE STUDENTS
WERE INFORMED OF THE
Mrs. Kratz signing for the delivery
Since most of the students missed the bench delivery, the entire class participated in a box signing the following day.
Assembly and bench decoration were next on the agenda. This part was a lot of fun for the creative souls in the group!
It was a beautiful day when the students began painting primer on the waiting boards.
Despite careful instruction about tapping the brush on the can...primer painting did not happen without lots of dripping.
"Watch your shoes, painters!"
These two were the muscles behind the drying dock!
Mrs. Kratz sharing some helpful tips for "painting while outside." The painters were listening but trying not to be blinded by the sun as it had been a FULL WEEK of clouds and rain prior to this lovely painting day!
Close proximity to the elementary playground makes signs quite necessary! Drying primer paint is serious business!
The kindergartners are writing their names on the boards between the primer coat
and the base coat. What a great way for them to feel included.
The next step was circle tracing in preparation for the colorful paints to be done in
conjunction with several of our younger classes. The younger students will benefit from the bench in
coming years. A memorable shared experience for our elementary and EC students!
FINALLY ADDING SOME
It was so inspiring to listen to the fifth graders taking leadership of their project and helping the smaller students with painting and instructions. The photo below shows fifth grader, Seth, giving encouraging instructions to the first graders and reminding them of the importance of the buddy bench.
Concentrating on keeping the paint within the circle!
The following smile-inducing snippets were overheard as the fifth grade boys worked
tenderly with their young painting partners:
"I love being a group leader. Helping the kindergartners is the best." - Jordan
"You have the chance to sign your name inside the circle so you will always be a part of the bench!" - Corbin
To say Mrs. Kratz is ALL IN on this project with her students would be an extreme understatement!
Once the creative embellishments are dry and the pieces are assembled, the bench will be carefully positioned on the Elementary Playground.
Alongside our industrious fifth grade students, we have great hopes for Dock’s new Buddy Bench.
May it be a wonderful tool for fostering new friendships and inspiring creative acts of kindness for many years to come.
BAMBOO. It's Not Just for Pandas!
Brenda Shelly, April 2018
Our fourth graders are embarking on a creative journey in art class.
They are working on some beautiful Chinese-inspired art.
An underlay of pastel watercolor paints is being carefully applied to plain paper.
This background sets the stage for original India ink designs and careful placement of Chinese symbols.
Lovely Liliana is especially excited about this project.
As one of our current Chinese-born students, it is special for her to enjoy an artistic and cultural connection.
Mrs. Bergey’s sample piece includes a tree and the Chinese symbol for peace.
You'll notice most of the students are wearing matching shirts in these photos.
Some adult-sized 5K t-shirts from a past school event transform perfectly into protective smocks for small artists. The smocks came in handy for this project.
Mrs. Bergey enlightened her students with some great laundry advice.
"India ink is the blackest ink you can buy. It stains LIKE CRAZY!"
The students enjoyed handling a Chinese art kit, a loan from one of our kindergarten teachers.
Years ago, Ms. Price taught at a school located in Zhejiang Province, China!
At the posting of this blog, the student's Chinese-inspired watercolors are still in progress. Most of the students are working at finishing up paint and/or underlying pencil drawings. A few of the speedy ones have already applied ink!
I enjoy the way Mrs. Bergey interacts with her students.
“If you hear ‘scratchy scratchy scratchy,’ you do not have enough water on your brush!”
After a long day of coaxing artistic energy from young spirited students, one might imagine an elementary art teacher goes home at a reasonable hour and slips into a pair of fuzzy slippers.
In lieu of slippers, Mrs. Bergey sets off on school related expeditions! For this particular project, the expedition involved searching out and physically gathering bamboo for her students.
Mrs. Bergey has a sister-in-law whose back yard contains an enthusiastic thicket of bamboo. (Every panda’s dream, but a veritable nightmare for anyone trying to keep an unruly patch at bay.)
Rumor has it, our devoted art teacher spent hours determinedly chopping away at the resilient stalks.
She had dual motives for this imaginative scheme. Bamboo “quills” serve as the actual writing tool for her students. Touching the staining black ink to contrast the waiting colors on the page is an authentic way to form the Chinese symbols.
Stubborn lengths of bamboo are also used in this project as ingenious bars to hold the finished artwork for display.
Our very own Dock Mennonite Academy Bamboo Harvester....
Above and beyond…Mrs. Bergey! Above and beyond.
"The most destructive experience the inhabitants of this island have ever seen."
No one who lives in Puerto Rico will ever forget the night of September 19, 2017.
That's when Hurricane Maria ravaged the island and left most of it in shambles. Power went out on the entire island. There was no clean water. Many no longer had a roof over their heads.
In the six months since the storm, Mennonite churches, schools, and relief agencies have worked together to restore hope.
Now, Dock is asking you to help, too.
On Tuesday, March 20, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., we invite you to come to the EC-Grade 8 Campus as we try to ease the burden experienced by our brothers and sisters because of this storm, and help them get back on their feet.
Specifically, our goal is to raise a total of $10,000 this school year to rebuild, re-stock, and re-supply our sister school in Puerto Rico, Academia Menonita Betania. Our students held a couple of fundraisers back in the fall to get the relief effort off the ground, and we have already raised a little over $3,000—leaving us $7,000 short of our goal. While we don't necessarily expect to raise that much in one night (it's OK if we do!), we want to put a serious dent in our goal. Will you please join us?
Read a first-hand account of the devastation at Academia Menonita Betania from school superintendent Alex Gonzalez in The Mennonite (above).
Watch students run through the halls cheering when the power came back on at their school (below).
Our Partnering with Puerto Rico Family Fun Night will have something FUN for everyone.
- Play Dodgeball and Knockout against teacher teams
- Duct tape one of your teachers (or a principal?!) to the wall
- Learn how to salsa dance, sample Puerto Rican food, and lots more!
Brenda Shelly, February 2018
I am a fan of “giving” holidays, but let’s be honest. Valentine’s Day is rather odd.
When I was a student, there was not much I enjoyed more than spending hours at my kitchen table preparing homemade construction paper and lace valentines for the boys and girls in my class. Chunky paste piles and careful penmanship (formed on the edge of my ruler) were important parts of the equation.
Some years later, a box of store-bought valentines filled the bill. But not without stress!
Deciding which girl should receive the tiny colorful “best friends” Minnie Mouse card was almost as dicey as determining which of the cootie-laden boys was worthy of a signed cheesy request from Mickey Mouse and me.
Asking a random classroom boy to “be mine” was the stuff of nightmares; an utterly nerve-wracking enterprise.
Two to three decades later, my own children entered Cupid's favorite fray. Valentine cards had evolved into a Superhero folded version of their predecessors. These colorful paper mandates all but shouted the sender’s wishes, forcefully pressing recipients to HAVE FUN OR ELSE!
It was almost impossible to find cards offering gentle suggestion. The mid-90s was a time of insistence, the message of children’s valentine cards peppered with at least one exclamation point!
And here we are in 2018, having strayed into a ritual where almost every folded valentine’s command includes a sample of unnecessary tooth-decaying indulgence. Ingredient lists are weighed down by sugar, artificial dyes, and preservatives with names like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
If the dental assault is not sufficient, Valentine’s Day paraphernalia appears on store shelves the day after Christmas, shoving the traditions of this formerly sentimental holiday fully into the commercialized realm.
But even with my wet-blanket assessment of the procedure, I admit there are elements that
cannot be ruined
by the overzealous marketing of your local Stuff-Mart.
The third graders from Miss Slemmer's class joined with Mrs. Quirk's kindergartners on Friday afternoon for some Valentine's Book Box Buddies time.
The bonding of different age groups is something Dock Mennonite Academy does really well.
Older children and younger children LOVE spending time together.
Nostalgia pierces even the most hardened when
small children begin the annual task of creating
their Valentine’s Day “mailboxes.”
Construction begins with simple items like
tissue boxes and brown paper lunch sacks. Glittered
and stickered embellishments are added, and the
mailboxes are arranged in classrooms with care.
Anticipation grows as finished cards are dropped covertly into the waiting containers!
When the day finally arrives, the ritual of dumping the contents of one’s mailbox for inspection is one of the mountaintop moments of childhood!
Let's be honest.
There is not much finer than swimming in a marvelous stew
of encouragement, admiration,
and the kindness of one’s peers.
This is the part that makes all the rest of it worthwhile!
A valuable Senior Experience
Jay Gordon, January 2018
"Shadowing made me realize I may not be able to work alone on a project for days and days. Research is incredibly interesting and important, but I feel myself already leaning to the more hands-on medical parts of science. I still plan on majoring in biology, but now I will take more pre-med courses. I don't know yet what level of medicine or specialty I will study, but I am so happy to have more clarity." ~ Ella Barlick '16
For most seniors, the end of their high school experience brings a mix of strong emotions, ranging from joy to anticipation to anxiety. Important questions and difficult decisions await answers. What's next? What college should I attend? What should I major in? What careers interest me?
At the end of semester one, Dock provides a week in seniors' schedules to help them work at the answers to these questions. As a component of the senior-level Bible class called Kingdom Living, students develop a proposal for a week-long independent project. This project can involve job shadowing or service, or some combination of the two. These experiences can take place locally, across the country, or halfway around the globe. Wherever they go and whatever they decide to do, students are required to keep a journal of their experience.
The quote (above) from Ella Barlick's journal from two years ago is indicative of the value students place on this Senior Experience. For students who choose to primarily job shadow, Senior Experience can affirm a college major or career path—or perhaps rule one out. For those who choose service, the experience is often an eye-opening introduction to the way people live in other cultures, and helps develop a passion for serving others that often lasts a lifetime.
At the end of Senior Experience week, seniors spend two days in a retreat setting to reconnect, fellowship, and reflect on their service/job shadowing experiences.
Celebrating the Best Gift of Christmas
Brenda Shelly, December 2017
Middle School Student Council representatives met for lunch one day, way back when the mid-October temperatures were pretending it was still summertime and the trees were still holding tight to most of their leaves. The discussion at hand was the annual Christmas parade. Students, advisors, and Kathy Gordon began brainstorming ideas for this year’s school float.
Between bites lifted from their green plastic lunch trays and home packed baggies of PBJs, the suggestions were coming fast and furious. Some proposals were offered humbly and softly. Other ideas spewed forth with great enthusiasm, highlighted by the percussive sounds of crunching Doritos.
Simon was pretty sure camels should be involved.
The long-held tradition of throwing candy soon turned to deliberation on collecting contributions that might help others in need. The idea of gathering diapers for families without means was floated. (Pitiful pun intended).
Miles immediately began to channel his inner poet and with his customary incendiary grin, he threw out this little ditty. “If your baby’s in need and you like Mr. Freed…we’ve got what you need….” And for good measure, someone added, “Maybe Mr. Freed could be sitting on the float atop a haybale….”
Oh boy. I’m not sure how our unsuspecting athletic director got involved, but the conversation was thankfully and deftly guided back to the general parade theme of “silver and gold” by Mrs. Wanamaker.
One month later, we were back to handing out something sweet.
An afterschool meeting was held for the assembly of chocolate bags. Student Council representatives joined forces with the little people of our afterschool program (Penn’s Pals).
It was an inspiring dovetailing of ambitious early teens and their adorably eager counterparts.
As boxes of supplies were unpacked, some of the older boys were captivated to discover large swaths of bubble wrap.
Mrs. Kotecki put a quick halt to the misappropriation of what appeared to be her preferred antistressor.
“Stop squishing the bubble wrap! You’re stealing my joy!”
The mission at hand:
A certain number of gold and silver Hershey’s kisses were counted and sealed in a baggie with a message containing school information and Christmas greetings.
The chocolate scent in the room was overpowering.
“Imagine the torture of working in a chocolate factory all day,” mused one of the students.
But Mrs. Wanamaker established firm boundaries. “Our priority is FILLING THE BAGS…not EATING the chocolate!”
Dr. Swartzentruber stopped by and named the energetic scene. “It looks like a party in here!” He was absolutely correct.
But one of the smallest candy-counters took issue with the comment, viewing his important task in a much more serious light.
With solemn expression, he countered, “This is not a party…this is a FACTORY!”
With the oldest students manning the staplers, the work was completed cheerfully and effectively.
No fingers were stapled, and as far as I know, no child labor laws were breached....
Parade preparations for float décor continued at subsequent student council meetings.
Parade day loomed, and the forecast called for partly cloudy skies and a whopping HIGH temperature of 48 degrees. Those new Christmas sweatshirts would come in handy, adding another layer of warmth for the riders and walkers representing our school.
Despite discouraging temperature predictions, the sun was shining beautifully on the morning of the parade.
The crowds and parade participants were jubilant with Christmas cheer!
Our energetic banner holders, Miles and Ryan were more than ready to go! To the casual onlooker, it appeared for all the world that they'd each consumed a gallon of coffee before arrival. Note the hilariously dispassionate expressions of their female counterparts.
Links below for short video clip:
Girl’s basketball coach and former Dock parent, Jim Rittenhouse arrived in his shiny red sleigh to pull the float. His sleigh was the color of a perfect candy apple and maybe it was really a shiny red truck….
The initial curbside throng was so thick, our student elves ran out of Hershey’s kisses before the last third of the parade route!
It was quite a party to ride on the school float, thanks to our "DJ" Ryan Detweiler’s stirring Christmas tunes thumping from the back of the truck and Jayne Longacre who always brings the celebration to a new level!
(Seriously, WHO gave that exuberant gal a megaphone)?
I discovered that my upper body muscles are in pitiful shape; still noticing the effects of tenaciously waving at curbside friends two full days later....
What a great start to our favorite season and a wonderful way to celebrate God’s indescribable gift to the world.
Merry Christmas from the EC-8 Campus of
Dock Mennonite Academy!
Jay Gordon, November 2017
'Twas a month before Christmas, when all through the schools
Not a singer was silent, not even an alto;
The songs were selected by the directors with care,
in hopes the world would hear us sing on the air…
— with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore
Christmas music is in (and on) the air
Dock enters the B-101 Christmas Choir Competition!
The question has been debated, seemingly, for ages, generating passion and controversy on both sides of the issue. As with other matters of disagreement in this polarized age we live in, there is precious little ground in the middle on the matter. Friendships strain and families divide over the question:
When is it OK to start listening to Christmas music?
Some practically forbid it before the turkey is digested. Others look forward to the first strains of White Christmas as soon as the last trick-or-treater toddles away from the front door. And there are always a few hearty souls who, when the question is put to them, are quick to volunteer that Christmas music suits them just fine all year long.
The Dock community had some extra incentive to embrace the musical spirit of Christmas a little earlier than usual this year: for the first time, Dock Mennonite Academy entered the B-101/More FM Christmas Choir Competition!
Since it was launched in 2009, the B-101 More FM Choir Competition has quickly become one of the most widely anticipated choral competitions in our region, with dozens of local choirs competing in two divisions, K-8th grade and grades 9-12. We are grateful to both our Middle School and Concert Choirs, as well as their directors, Mrs. Laura Landes and Ms. Emily Grimes, for all of their hard work in practicing and recording their songs (have a listen below!).
While Dock was not selected as a finalist in either division this year, we're confident that with choirs as good as ours, and the support of a fantastic school community, it's only a matter of time before we bring home the prize!
Because the competition generates such strong interest in the community, Dock chose to advertise on B-101/More FM during the month of December. In fact, our ads were prominently displayed during voting for the K-8th grade division, and the top prize went to a local school, Bridle Path Elementary School in Lansdale. Listen to B-101 and visit the Christmas Choir Competition web site to learn more, and to see our ads.
Middle School Choir member Allie Delp pauses during a break in recording.
$5,000 cash prize & the opportunity to perform with The Philly Pops at the Kimmel Center on 12/13/17
Next year, perhaps another Lansdale school will win the top prize—Dock Mennonite Academy!
A screen shot of Dock ads that appeared on the voting page for B-101.1/More FM's Kindergarten to Grade 8 Choir Competition.
Have a listen!
Middle School Choir
"Mary, Where is Your Baby?"
Brenda Shelly, October 2017
Looking at the main courtyard in recent weeks makes me want to sing the Hallelujah Chorus! Despite my indescribable joy, I’ll save you all the agony of hearing my serenade.
Over a decade ago, someone carefully considered what plantings should be placed in the courtyards of our new school building. Their vision has blessed us with the opportunity to appreciate various blooms and fruits, continuing to delight us when the seasons change.
However, after 14 years, it is fair to say even the best visions need a good caretaker to make sure things are as they were meant to be. Weeds and volunteer plants make their presence known when given the opportunity! Enter John Frankenfield.
John was our school’s Director of Development from 1974 to 1986. Sarah Price, one of his lovely twin daughters, is a devoted kindergarten teacher on our EC-8 campus.
When John heard there was a need, he made the decision to volunteer his time, adopting a courtyard in need of some TLC.
The courtyard face-lift began on a Wednesday as John stood in the courtyard chatting with a family member and imagining how he would tease and tweak the space back to its original orderly beauty.
His imagining was interrupted only slightly by the deafening strains of a planned school fire drill. Undaunted by the piercing sound, he considered which items needed removal, which existing plants were due for a haircut, and how many chrysanthemums would be needed to make his plan a reality.
On Thursday, he returned with the gorgeous plants he intended to donate. Dressed for the job and with appropriate tools in hand, he coaxed the earth into submission, leaving bunches of perfectly positioned colorful mums in his wake.
Friday rolled around, and John was back. This time, he brought friends!
Eldon Miller, Wilmer "Wib" Zook and Libbie Derstine were his crew. Mulching was the order of the day, and what a wonderful difference it has made! Eldon and Wib are retired Dock Mennonite Academy teachers, having cumulatively served our high school students for 56 years.
Eldon's wife, Gem, continues to teach 1st grade students (right), and if her lovely home garden is any indication, this was not Eldon's first mulching rodeo.
Ninth grader Libbie thought she might have at least part of her day off on Friday to relax like most of her classmates. But it was not to be! Her grandfather (John) is apparently as proficient at coercion as he is at gardening.
I think I saw the crepe myrtle smiling this morning with all that gorgeous mulch around its feet. Even the birds seemed chatty and thrilled with the makeover of one of their favorite spots.
Our students love to spend time in the courtyard. Classroom games, outdoor lunches, seasonal learning and special reading times are all favorite activities in this wonderful space.
Ms. Price’s kindergarten students are seen below, checking out the handiwork of their teacher’s father.
Libbie thought she might have at least part of her day off on Friday to relax like most of her classmates. But it was not to be! Her grandfather (John) is apparently as proficient at coercion as he is at gardening.
There are other reasons our Main Courtyard is a special place. Several plantings in our courtyard honor friends we miss.
A columnar oak was planted in remembrance of a wonderful kindergarten teacher, Janice Meyers.
Another tree reminds us of beloved math teacher, Karen Nofziger. When the white flowers bloom on her dogwood, it makes us smile.
A gorgeous butterfly bush from the high school class of 1991 honors the memories of both Travis Bechtel and Garrick Clemmer, graduates of Penn View.
We suspect John Frankenfield would like to fly under the radar (or as Director of Marketing, Kathy Gordon, so aptly phrased it, “Mum’s the word.”) But we who peer through the window each and every school day could not be more appreciative. We didn’t want to miss a chance to give thanks for the generous investment of time, energy, and beautiful flowers.
The courtyard renaissance is a truly wonderful gift to our school community.