Spring Term

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I love working with the junior high and high school students at Arborbrook. I get to experience the change in the atmosphere when something exciting is getting ready to happen.  A couple of weeks ago the change in the air was spring term. Spring term (previously called May term) is a week set aside from the regular class schedule where junior high and high school students may choose a single intensive course for one week.  Students chose between options that corresponded to their interests. As the week approached, you could feel the excitement in the air.

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If you were on campus at all the week of March 9-12, you may have wondered what was happening.  We had a group of 15 students actively building a gazebo that can serve as an outdoor classroom! This was our Project Management Class led by one of our parents, Tom Schrachta.  Tom took 15 junior high and high school students and taught them how to use basic tools and follow instructions to build the gazebo. One of our junior high students, Carolena, said, “Mrs. Trent, I actually got to use a drill!”

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Elijah described it like this, “It was fun, and challenging and overall a hard task to tackle, but we did it!”

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Another exciting class on campus was our Sports and Nutrition Class hosted by the Charlotte Eagles.  The Charlotte Eagles are passionate about engaging students in sports while promoting healthy habits such as nutrition. Students spent time in the classroom learning about proper nutrition and what the Bible says about their body being a temple and how they are to take care of it.  They played various sports including soccer, volleyball, and Ultimate Frisbee.  Student Cora E. wrote about her experience. “Over the week we talked about nutrition, trust, identity, confidence, and how to apply God to sports. It really helped me play sports more to the glory of God and less for myself.”

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One of Lorien’s favorite activities was the trust exercise.  She explained you had to lead your partner over various obstacles, then fall back into a group and trust that they would catch you. “Both of the times we did it, I was with someone I usually didn’t hang out with, but I loved getting to know them.”

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Now for those who were not excited about sports or building, Home-Economics was the perfect class.   Eleven students met each day at the home of MaryLou Scott for a week of meal planning, sewing, and cupcake decorating.  Students received a recipe that they used to make their own lunch everyday. Some of the items on the menu included enchiladas, turkey potpie, fruit salad, taco soup, and chopped salad with homemade dressing.  They even had a special caterer come in and teach cupcake decorating! Students also learned how to sew a pillow.  Jessie Z. said she used a sewing machine for the very first time. “I made a pillow all by myself.  It was fun because I had never made anything like that on my own before!”

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And to add to an already fun-filled week, they learned how to build a wardrobe on a budget.  When I asked junior Rachel her favorite part of Home-Ec. she said, “Everything!”

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And for our history buffs out there, do you know about the cool places you can explore all within one hour of Charlotte? Our students hiked the Battlefield Trail at Kings Mountain and learned about a great battle that changed the course of the Revolutionary War.  Gabe described it by saying, “So I was in Kings Mountain and I was breathing the fresh mountain air and I was just thinking about how great it is to be an American. I mean people in some other countries like Russia are ‘free,’ but not really free like we are.”

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Or how about a trip to Historic Camden where the worst American defeat took place during the Revolutionary War? Then there was the visit to Fort Dobbs, the only French and Indian War site in all of North Carolina.  Students engaged in the “Gone for a Soldier Tour” where they actually got to dress in uniforms the soldiers would have worn and see a musket fired.  And one of my favorites that I highly recommend for anyone wanting to learn more about Charlotte was the Charlotte Historical Walking Tour. I took this tour a few years ago and was amazed to learn how the city got its name as the “Queen City.” I also learned the old Ivey’s building my mom worked in as a teenager is one of the only original buildings left it downtown Charlotte.  Or how about Fourth Ward where there are still some homes that date back 75 years. Nicole said, “One of my favorite things that happened during spring term was when I got to tour Charlotte Center City.  It was beautiful and I enjoyed looking at the buildings.” Four trips, in one week; that is the kind of history class anyone could enjoy!

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One week, one class that really interests you, and the experience of a lifetime!  That is spring term! I wish I had a spring term when I was in school.  To sum it up, when I asked Madalyn T. if she enjoyed her spring term she said, “I wish we could have a fall term, winter term, and spring term. I loved it!”

by Missy Trent, Guidance Counselor

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Club Protocol and the Spring Formal

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In this modern day, the practice of etiquette is something that is becoming a lost art. Because we want our students to be prepared and able to be confident and comfortable in many different settings, and because we also believe that good manners never go out of style, we decided to offer a new experience for our students this winter: Club Protocol.

Humans love to be independent, justifying that we are stronger if we do everything on our own. The problem with independence is that it directly contradicts what God wants for us as a people. We are called to be a community, working together, learning to lean on each other, and in essence, care and love one another. How can we possibly learn what it’s like to be united if we are running solo in life?

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For about eight weeks this winter, students came together once a week to learn about proper etiquette in a more formal setting and about good manners in general. Topics included how to set a table, how to eat properly (how to use utensils and which items to use for what), how to be courteous (opening doors and pulling out chairs), and even how to respond to an RSVP and write a thank you note.

When I taught the students about walking together and opening doors for one another, the explanation is that it’s not that we are incapable or helpless, it’s that we can’t all lead and we can’t all wait (for the door to open) either. One must lead, and one must allow for it. If we all lead ourselves around, we bump into each other and it becomes very messy. In class, the students were also able to learn the roles required by etiquette, as well as learning how to sit and eat at the table properly. They learned how to set the table, and why it was arranged in such a fashion. They were taught what was acceptable as well as inappropriate at the table. In the world of etiquette, there is always a reason for the behavior we should carry. Lastly, they learned why manners were important; manners show respect for others. Without understanding the importance of respect, we cannot possibly have good manners. The two work hand in hand.

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After eight weeks of learning the roles of protocol, the students finally were able to show off their new skills in a beautiful formal setting. The pressure was off, as the event took place privately rather than out in public. The students all dressed up in beautiful dresses and handsome suits. The gentlemen escorted the ladies to the table, and seated them to the chairs. They stood when the young women left the table. It was so refreshing to see young people acting in such a courteous manner.

Our wonderful seniors had arranged the tables in a lovely setting and served dinner (using correct serving techniques!), and etiquette was in full swing in the room. An amazing three-course dinner was served to the students including a soup course, main course, and dessert course – beautifully prepared by parents within the school. Finally dessert and tea was served, and the students practiced the art of sitting still and conversing. Being still in today’s environment is so very important, as it shows each other they are dedicated to sharing time with that person (without checking a phone every few minutes!).

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After dinner was served, the students had a wonderful opportunity to learn how to dance. An instructor by the name of Mike Stowers from Metropolitan Ballroom taught the waltz and salsa steps. After 15 minutes of instruction, the students were able to dance to music and slowly were becoming accomplished dancers! The evening wrapped up with a little contemporary music and I was pleased to see many of the students formally thanking the adults and seniors for their hard work. It was a beautiful and successful evening, and we look forward to continuing this tradition in years to come!

by Andrea Robson

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