Focus On Education

Rockway mounts virtual Christmas concert

Pictured here are several high school students who participated in the Lower Voices Ensemble, directed by Jeff Enns. (Photo by Xingyi (Jessica) Li)

Musicians come from all walks of life, with varying degrees of passion for what they do, but most are quite resilient to begin with. Add a global pandemic for two years, with assorted lockdowns and restrictions, and the desire to make music together with others increases exponentially. Rockway Mennonite Collegiate musicians are no different.

Westgate volleyballers win first provincial title since ’78

Westgate Mennonite Collegiate’s varsity boys volleyball team won this year’s AAAA Provincial Volleyball Championship, ending the season with a 30-0 record. Team setter Sammy Ludwig was chosen tournament MVP. (Westgate Mennonite Collegiate photo)

I first heard of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate in the fall of my final bachelor of education program year. It was 1978, and this very small school surprised the local sports scene by capturing the Manitoba Provincial “A” Volleyball Championship by defeating teams with several-fold larger school populations.

Students relieved and excited to be back at school

A grade 11 chemistry class meets in Rockway’s courtyard, as students return to in-person learning. (Photo courtesy of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate)

UMEI students take part in community-building activities at the beginning of the new school year. (Photo courtesy of UMEI Christian High School)

Rockway student council members drum up some school spirit for the start of the new school year. (Photo courtesy of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate)

UMEI students participate in a community building exercise. (Photo courtesy of UMEI Christian High School)

Faculty, staff and students are excited to be back in person at Mennonite schools in Ontario. To allow for a safe return to campus, they are committed to following local and provincial health guidelines while they prioritize finding ways to create a sense of community and connection.

Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont.

RJC students return to overnight class retreats

Lucas Epp, Braden Martens-Funk and Tyreese Hildebrandt, Grade 10 sudents at RJC High School, enjoy their retreat activities. (Photo by Hugo Malan)

There is much to be grateful for as a new year begins at RJC High School. With faithful constituent support, two consecutive years of increased enrolment, and the return of inter-collegiate athletics and choral programs, the energy among students and staff is high.

The journey back to Menno Simons Christian School

Dayle Vienneau, a former teacher at Menno Simons Christian School in Calgary, has returned to take the position of principal. (Menno Simons Christian School photo)

For Dayle Vienneau, who has been appointed principal for Menno Simons Christian School in Calgary, the road back to the school has not been a straight path, but definitely a God-led one. She began her journey to Menno Simons in June 2005, to fill a French and language arts maternity leave, and she stayed for 10 years.

CBC holds fall ceremony for 2021 grads

Columbia Bible College students were finally able to celebrate their 2021 graduation in September. Graduates included the first class of health-care assistants. (Columbia Bible College photo)

Graduates filed into the Columbia Bible College chapel to receive their diplomas Sept. 18, five months after completing the 2020-2021 academic year. Commencement had been delayed from the spring due to the pandemic. All 2021 graduates had been invited to return to campus for the event, with one-third attending in person. The ceremony was also livestreamed.

Students joyfully return to campus

Students at Conrad Grebel University College plant cloves of garlic to symbolize the importance of community. (Photo by Jen Konkle)

As families arrived for Conrad Grebel University College’s move-in day over the Labour Day weekend, joy was visible in student eyes, even as masks hid their smiles. With waves of move-in times during the day, there was space to safely welcome students, assure parents, and get everyone settled in dorm rooms.

Love does no harm

(Rockway Mennonite Collegiate graphic)

Rockway’s chapel theme for the 2021-2022 school year is “Love does no harm.” This scripture passage from Romans brings us to the core of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. What does it mean to love our neighbour as ourselves? To do no harm to a neighbour?

‘The show must go on’

The Three Wise Men check their map in Menno Simons Christian School’s 2020 virtual Christmas production of The Little Drummer Dude. The performers are not identified as per school policy. (Photo: Ann Pan / Menno Simons Christian School)

The titular Little Drummer Dude performs in Menno Simons Christian School’s virtual Christmas production. The student is not identified as per school policy. (Photo: Ann Pan / Menno Simons Christian School)

Christina Carpenter

Are traditional school productions a thing of the past? Or can the authentic experience still be delivered virtually?

Practising hope

Chris Huebner, associate professor of theology and philosophy, pictured, and his colleagues found ways to enhance online classroom participation at Canadian Mennonite University during the COVID-19 pandemic. Huebner discovered that teaching from the classroom, where he could employ large displays and multiple cameras, allowed both him and his students to read each other’s faces and body language better than when he taught from behind a laptop. (Canadian Mennonite University photo)

People who arrived on the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) campus last fall were greeted by singing, soaring not through the windows of the music wing, but from outside. In order to create a safe environment during COVID-19 but still continue voice lessons, CMU scheduled them outside.

Rockway raises $25,000 for food drive

Rockway Mennonite Collegiate student council members celebrate in the school parking lot after staging a pie-in-the-face incentive that helped to raise $25,000 for the school’s annual Christmas Food Drive, one way this small school makes a huge impact, according to the student council’s motivational video shown in the food drive kick-off chapel. (Photo by Jo Scott)

Hanneke Isert Bender, co-president of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s student council, tosses in the first $20 as she motivates her fellow students to get behind the school’s annual Christmas Food Drive, as a way to ‘put our words and faith into action.’ (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)

The annual Christmas Food Drive at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate is a big deal. It starts in November with a kick-off chapel and fun incentives. Normally, students collect non-perishable food for the House of Friendship, a local organization that provides Christmas food hampers for people living on low income.

Bursary connects students to their faith

Danika Warkentin, one of this year’s recipients of the Mennonite Church Alberta student bursary, is a first-year student at Canadian Mennonite University. (Photo credit: Jeannie Willms)

“Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to attend a Mennonite post-secondary institution,” says Danika Warkentin, one of seven recipients of this year’s Mennonite Church Alberta student bursary.

CBC navigates fall class restart 

Staff member Tina Richardson, left, checks in with CBC President Bryan Born prior to attending chapel service. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Life at Columbia Bible College (CBC) looks quite different than it did back in mid-March, when classes suddenly ended and students were sent home due to COVID-19. After six months of inactivity, CBC has reopened for in-person classes. Staff were busy over the summer preparing the campus for a safe return, balancing residence life, instructional space, and general community living.


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