Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Missions Conference: Original Poetry

Missions conference.  It came and went but not without a lot of hard work by the academy students.  One of the high schoolers' projects was to create a missions poem and perform it for the class.  The following was written by a member of the class of 2013.

Sacrifice and Service
by Thomas Hames

Missionaries give their all,
Nothing they're withholding.
They have heard their Master's call,
He their lives is molding
Into vessels fit for use
For His holy mission;
Able to withstand abuse
For Christ's Great Commission.

Flowing from their every deed
Is God's sovereign power.
Hum'bly they God's voice do heed
He who is their Tower;
They to Him do oft resort,
'Lone they would but cower.
And bring unto God the sort
Satan would devour.

Unto you with pleading voice
Jesus Christ is calling.
Will His mission be your choice:
To keep souls from falling?
All that is requir'd of you
Is complete surrender.
He alone the work can do,
The flesh can only hinder.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Poetry Recitation

Years ago, an elderly woman handed me a poem after church one day.  I read it, hung it on my wall next to my desk and thought, "I really should have my class memorize that poem."  Year past year and finally, this past September, I included this poem in our poetry recitation.  You can read it at the following link:  http://www.potw.org/archive/potw199.html

Because the poem ends in a way that could begin a new thought, the students had to create a final stanza.  Tony and Sarah (both pictured below) imagined themselves to be senior citizens with not a little history of their own to tell.

Friday, November 9, 2012

More Journals from the Past

Keep On!  A Reminder from John Paul Jones
By Michaela Pieczynski

The brisk air of the British Atlantic coastline nipped at the faces of the American crew aboard the Bonhomme Richard.  As the rising sun met the Americans, the gallant Captain John Paul Jones stood upon the deck of his mighty vessel.  Sails with British colors glistened in the distance, outline two British ships, the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough.  The approaching vessels fired at the American ship, and the presence of a second ship only increased the odds.

The sight of battle never startled Jones.  Nevertheless, the single American ship battled fairly with the two enemy ships.  Cannon fire echoed in the distance while strident men shouted orders.  The morning sky was filled with cannon fire.  The three-and-a-half hour battle started poorly for the Americans, but courageous Jones tried to overcome the British cannon fire by merging close to the enemy vessel, yet the Serapis’s cannon fire tore through the heart of Jones’s ship.  Just when victory seemed hopeless, a British officer exclaimed over the crash of gunfire, “Do you ask for a quarter?”

American spirits were lifted as Captain John Paul Jones rose up boldly and said, “I have not yet begun to fight!”

Although his ship was being engulfed by cold Atlantic waters, Jones continued to pound away at the British.  Finally, the British captain of the Serapis had fallen, causing the Countess of Scarborough to flee from American hands.  The American crew commandeered the British warship and watched the Bonhomme Richard sink beneath blood-stained waters.

Jones and his men hoisted American colors and set sail to Paris, leaving an American victory at sea—the first great victory at sea.

John Paul Jones had the courage and heart of a true American.  Though his life was at stake, Jones never gave up—even when his ship was sinking.  All of Jones’s energy he channeled into his duty.  As a result of his faith, loyalty, and love to America, John Paul Jones helped his nation to win her first naval battle.  From John Paul Jones, I have been encouraged never to give up, no matter how hopeless the battle may seem.  

Journals from the Past

Placing oneself back in history and reliving the past through journals is an exercise my US History students do regularly.  From each chapter read, discussed, and taught, they venture back in time to a particular setting or event that particularly captured their imagination during our discussion of the unit.  Below is a journal written by junior Sarah Kuchta, who imagines herself wife to a wigmaker in the original colonies.
DECEMBER 23, 1735

Today was my birthday.  I cannot believe that I am now 23.  Tomorrow will be my seventh anniversary.  It is incredible that I have been married to my beloved husband Richard for seven years tomorrow.  What a joy it has been!  Richard’s occupation has made our endeavors prosperous.  As a wigmaker—the best in the colonies—Richard works diligently.  Today, he measured five men’s heads in order to make wigs for them.  As well, Richard bought hair from seven different ladies.  Oh, how sad it was for those women to be rid of their hair which they most tenderly cared for.  As I write, Richard is still in his shop making wigs.  When I was in the shop last, my dear Richard was making a bagwig for a very wealthy man named Barack Franklin.  I suppose now that he has finished that wig and is now crafting a Sunday Buckle for Joe Henry.  For dinner, I am making a dish of duck and steaming succotash.  This afternoon, I enjoyed a cup of coffee and tea at the neighbor’s house while we discussed the latest news, or rather, rumors.  I hear Richard at the door now.  I must go.