CHS middle school student Genesis has been announced as a winner of the 2020 Trumbull Library Literary Competition for Creative Writing.
Genesis’ dramatic and evocative poem, “Two Sides, One Glory,” was inspired by the intense prophetic imagery in Revelation 20:7-10, in which God’s power consumes the forces of evil in a fiery confrontation. “It says in the Bible that God will destroy all evil on the earth,” says Genesis. “My poem is about my vision of that fight.”
In her writing, Genesis wanted to acknowledge that “the real world isn’t always full of just happiness.” But, she says, we have hope even in the midst of the most trying hardships. “God will change all that and make the world full of peace,” she reflects. She felt the Lord’s prompting to submit her poem to the competition.
Entries were judged anonymously by a distinguished group of authors, educators, and editors, based on originality and quality of expression.
In addition to a cash prize, Genesis’ poem will be published in PenWorks, an annual literary magazine.
Learning in Action with Lower School Robotics
We’ve all heard that jobs in fields related to science, technology, engineering, and math are projected to increase both in number and importance in the coming decades, and that such jobs are, on average, better-paying than non-STEM careers. And we’ve all heard that robots are an increasingly important tool in fields as diverse as transportation, health care, and energy.
Even so, according to lower school teachers at CHS, our robotics program is about something more fundamental and universal than future job prospects. Here, robotics helps students to think in new ways, solve complex problems, and collaborate – all twenty-first century learning skills – while having fun in the process!
Robots in kindergarten
During Winterim Events and STEM Friday afternoons, CHS kindergarteners get a beginner's look at the world of coding. They work with two robots that help them to learn the basic concepts involved in writing simple code.
One, the Beebot, is a small bee-shaped robot that can follow a series of commands input through a group of buttons on the top of the robot. Through exploration and discovery, the children learn that everything they want a robot to do must be instructed, or programmed, into the bot. Students work together in teams or pairs and discover for themselves the basic “rules” of the Beebot. “There is always a hum of excitement and energy when we work with the robots,” says Lilian Mogle, kindergarten teacher.
Ozobot is a more advanced robot with more sophisticated functions and therefore more complicated coding. The kindergartners love the challenge of trying to understand the robot's advanced abilities, according to Mrs. Mogle. “The classroom is filled with discussions and ‘aha’ moments whenever we work with robots. For many of the children, these activities are a first experience with robots or the concepts of coding.”
Fifth grade engineers
Fifth graders use the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robots, advancing their programming skills in order to control a wide range of functions such as moving in various directions, stopping, turning at different degrees of angles, recognizing a color, repeating a loop, and so forth. Through careful programming and problem solving, students can accomplish tasks such as navigating their bot through an obstacle course or clearing objects from an area.
Typically, the culmination activity of the program is a Space Challenge involving students’ choice of seven different quests. “The students absolutely love Lego Robotics as it's a fun way for them to use math and critical thinking skills to solve problems with their partners and teams,” reflects fifth grade teacher Mrs. Marshall.
Taking it further in middle school
Our middle school students work with VEX Robotics under the direction of Mrs. Cosgrove, mastermind of CHS’s robotics program. This year, students competed in their first-ever VEX Robotics Tournament, and came away with the Judge’s Award for perseverance and grit. As students progress through our lower school robotics program, Mrs. Cosgrove is hopeful that the ranks of competitive roboticists will grow in the middle school – and, with them, the skills, teamwork, and sense of accomplishment that robotics helps to cultivate.
CHS Lower School Student Wins Literary Prize
CHS lower school student Keane has been announced as a winner of the 2020 Trumbull Library Literary Competition for Creative Writing.
Keane originally wrote his short story, “Snow White Reversed,” as an assignment in Mrs. Marshall’s class. His stood out as “clever, creative, witty, and all around amazing,” according to Mrs. Marshall.
“When I saw this competition, I was thinking of what I should write. I remembered my story and thought it would be great for this competition, so I added more to it, asked Mrs. Marshall to proofread it, and sent it in,” says Keane.
Entries in the competition were judged anonymously by a distinguished group of authors, educators and editors, based on originality and quality of expression.
In addition to a cash prize, Keane’s story will be published in PenWorks, an annual literary magazine.
Read Keane's story HERE.
Diversity Week 2020
Community. It’s a central theme in the Bible and a cherished, defining feature of CHS.
The kind of deep, authentic community that characterizes God’s Kingdom doesn’t just happen, though, as Miss Liu reminded us in a recent chapel message. It’s a result of God’s refining processes in our lives – processes that we are called to participate in.
“We are looking for God to purify our hearts into the shape of something truly welcoming of people…to be able to replicate the Kingdom of God into the community that we so long after,” says Miss Liu. “It takes active work. We look for opportunities to engage in that active work, and Diversity Week is one of those opportunities.”
Diversity Week is a project of Imago Dei, a high school club of which Miss Liu is the faculty advisor, and it is a highly anticipated annual event.
This year, learning-at-a-distance is presenting design challenges for an event meant to bring us together. “It goes without saying that Diversity Week will look different this year,” says Miss Liu. “We thought carefully about the things that really matter about Diversity Week and how to best bring those things to our community right now.”
Two initiatives emerged as winning community-builders.
The first will be a book comprised of short essays written by CHS students that capture stories, thoughts, and feelings from their vantage point as the world experiences this pandemic together. The volume, entitled Peace With Us, May 2020, aims to capture an authentic, diverse view of the human experience during this unique time in history -- something that will potentially become a piece of history itself -- an artifact.
“While it might seem like ‘nothing has been happening’ as we stay quarantined in our homes, many of our students have been doing a lot of internal processing,” says Miss Liu. “They’re thinking a lot about how our world has irreversibly changed as a result of this pandemic; how the outbreak has both divided and unified people and communities; how its effect on government and economics might shape their dreams for the future. There's a lot to process. This book of essays aims to capture a bit of that process.”
The second is a reprise of last year’s successful student-led coffee shop event, “All Together, Now!” – in a virtual format. All current CHS students are invited to submit a video of a meaningful song, poem, or story that will be edited into a virtual concert that will be "aired" on Friday, May 8th.
Both the book and the concert are opportunities for students to understand and be understood in new ways. “As a club that advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Imago Dei chooses to focus in on the experiences and stories of students of color because those things often go unseen,” explains Miss Liu. “But the spirit of making space for voices and perspectives to be heard can extend beyond that, as well.”
Thus, the submissions for this year's book and virtual concert are not limited to students of color, nor are they restricted to stories highlighting race, culture, and diversity. Anyone is welcome and encouraged to participate.
"All Together, Now!" will be streamed Friday, May 8th at 7:30 here.