Focus On Education

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RJC: Becoming a missional school

RJC students increasingly come from non-Mennonite families. Rather than seeing this as a problem, principal Ryan Wood sees it as an opportunity. (Photo from RJC’s Facebook page)

Rosthern Junior College has been a steadfast presence in Mennonite education for almost 115 years. However, decreasing enrolment has prompted the school’s administration and board to rethink what the school is all about.

Strangers become friends at college

Katrina Steckle, left, is pictured with her first-year Grebel roommate, Madeleine Graham. (Photo courtesy of Katrina Steckle)

My older sister met her best friend at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., in 2013. They were paired together as roommates for their first year, and lived together in their second and fourth years as well. I remember my sister coming home from school on the weekends and telling amazing stories about the fun she and her roommate were having at Grebel.

Their stories showed me how to be brave

Hannah Larson of Vancouver, Wash., serves with SALT in Siliguri, India, with the West Bengal Voluntary Health Association. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Larson)

In the last few months with Mennonite Central Committee’s Serving and Learning Together program, I have thought often about how we all use stories to communicate. And how sometimes I have found myself wishing I could politely use a bookmark to pause someone’s story when I wasn’t that interested in it. 

Lessons from Narnia

Peter (Zach Pearce), left, the White Witch (Ella Hinz), and Aslan (Charlie Krahn) battle for control of the land of Narnia in Menno Simons Christian School’s performance of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe earlier this year. (Menno Simons Christian School photo)

Ella Hinz is pictured in her ‘White Witch’ makeup and costume. (Menno Simons Christian School photo)

Peter (Zach Pearce), left, the White Witch (Ella Hinz), and Aslan (Charlie Krahn) battle for control of the land of Narnia in Menno Simons Christian School’s performance of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe earlier this year. (Menno Simons Christian School photo)

Menno Simons Christian School put on an amazing performance of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe earlier this year. 

It’s an adventurous story about four children who find themselves travelling through a frozen land to reach a great lion named Aslan while being hunted by an evil witch.

Embodying knowledge

Workshop participants in Petitcodiac, N.B., reflect on community development ministries by thinking with their hands—and with their whole bodies—as they weave bands of cloth together. (Anabaptist Learning Workshop photo)

Knowledge is truly amazing. When you really know something, it can light you up, it can discombobulate you, it can put you in touch with your body or it can make you feel connected to a much bigger body.

Seminary short course offers congregations tools for engaging conflict

Betty Pries, a conflict management specialist based in Waterloo, Ont., leads an online short course of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary as a sessional faculty member. (Photo courtesy of BettyPries.ca)

Betty Pries, a conflict management specialist based in Waterloo, Ont., provides mediation, coaching and consulting services for businesses, nonprofit organizations, governments and congregations. For six weeks each year, she also leads an online short course of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) as a sessional faculty member.

Conversations about sex and spirituality impact Rockway students

Sara Wahl, Rebecca Hiller-Ranny and Micah Neufeld take part in a panel discussion on ‘Let’s talk about sex, power and spirituality’ during the evening session for parents and pastors during Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s Spiritual Emphasis Week, held from Sept 24 to 26. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

Rebecca Hiller-Ranny, a Grade 12 student, affirmed the blunt tone taken to address sex, power and spirituality at her school. “It was so important,” she said. “It was so impactful.”

And Micah Neufeld, in Grade 11, said he was glad for the open communication, noting how it sparked good conversations with his parents. 

CMU recognizes distinguished alumni with 2019 awards

Randy Klassen (clockwise from top left), Donna Kampen Entz, Jeffrey Metcalfe and Eileen Klassen Hamm are the recipients of the CMU 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

A former teacher dedicated to building relationships with Indigenous peoples, a former Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker invested in intercultural relationships, a long-time pursuer of justice with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), and a priest and canon theologian in the Anglican Church are the recipients of the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Grebelites strike for climate action

On Sept. 27, Grebel students, staff and faculty took part in the Global Climate Strike in Waterloo, at which more than 4,000 people gathered for three hours of singing, chanting and speeches. (Conrad Grebel University College photo by Margaret Gissing)

According to the United Nations, “Climate change is the defining issue of our time.”

On Sept. 27, around 80 Grebel students, staff and faculty took part in the Global Climate Strike in Waterloo, at which more than 4,000 people gathered for three hours of singing, chanting and speeches.

Reclaiming the value of health-care assistants

Brenda Klassen, a health-care assistant, helps Carolyn Grove-Seely, a resident of Menno Place. (Photo by Rebekah Bielefeld)

Brenda Klassen, a health-care assistant, greets Irv Rempel, a resident of Menno Place. (Photo by Rebekah Bielefeld)

Health-care assistant Frank Bond helps resident Esther Unrau with her walking. (Photo by Rebekah Bielefeld)

The head of a Columbia Bible College diploma program is seeking to prove the value of health-care assistants and help raise up a new generation of them in B.C.

The eight-month program is starting this month and is provincially recognized. According to the Abbotsford college, it will follow an approved curriculum for training and will integrate a Christian perspective.

Lessons in the Kinderforest

College Kindergarten students play in the snow during a Kinderforest Day in Goshen (Ind.) College’s Witmer Woods on Jan. 15. (Goshen College photo by Brian Yoder Schlabach)

College Kindergarten students work in Witmer Woods on a fort made from branches during a Kinderforest Day on Jan. 15. (Goshen College photo by Brian Yoder Schlabach)

Teacher Jenna Labash talks to her Kindergarten class during a Kinderforest day in Witmer Woods last September. (Goshen College photo by Brian Yoder Schlabach)

About once a month, 24 students from the Goshen College Laboratory Kindergarten class—a partnership between the college’s education department and Goshen Community Schools—spend the day climbing trees, building shelters and making mud pies in Witmer Woods. 

Volunteers ‘go beyond’ in the community

Grade 9 Rockway students Thomas Klassen, left, and Haolin Li repair bicycles at the Working Centre’s Recycle Cycles shop in downtown Kitchener, Ont. (Rockway Mennonite Collegiate photo)

Our journey at Rockway focuses on students developing an ability to lead with compassion when classroom learning is extended so they can live out Christ-centred values, develop empathy and perspective, and serve the community locally and globally. This is the inspiration behind Rockway’s new Students Learning in Community (SLIC) partnerships. 

Seminarians study sustainability at Merry Lea

Benjamin and Rianna Isaak-Krauss sit in front of a pocket prairie at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center’s Rieth Village in Indiana. (Merry Lea photo)

A vision for incorporating sustainability into seminary education came to fruition in the fall of 2018 when two students from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Ind., joined the Sustainability Leadership Semester at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen (Ind.) College.

From Winnipeg to Win-Stick

RJC Grade 10 students pose with the Win-Stick, an artistic representation of what they learned on their class trip to Winnipeg. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

The Win-Stick, created by RJC’s Grade 10 students, tells the story of their class trip to Winnipeg, where they learned about many forms of injustice through the theme “Insiders and outsiders.” (Photo by Donna Schulz)

It’s called the Win-Stick and it tells a story. Created by the Grade 10 class at Rosthern Junior College (RJC), the Win-Stick expresses some of what they learned during a class trip to Winnipeg.

Grebel sings to bridge gaps and build community

Grebel students, faculty and staff will spend the 2018-2019 school year intentionally singing together as a way of building bridges and exploring issues of diversity, justice, hospitality, faith and peace. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)

At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, students, staff and faculty at Conrad Grebel University College took a deep breath and sang together, first in unison, and then in several different parts to build a new melody. The piece called “We All Sing” was written by Karen Sunabacka, a Grebel prof, and commissioned for the College’s 2018-19 integration initiative.

Students gain out-of-school experience

Grade eight Rockway students, Alors Lin (foreground) and Ellery Ezekiel help plant one of 20 10’ by 10’ plots in the Courtland-Shelley Community Centre Garden. (Rockway Mennonite Collegiate photo)

The garden plots are open primarily to Courtland-Shelley townhouse residents. The gardeners come from many different cultures, making this an opportunity for Rockway students to learn about gardening and different cultural practices. (Rockway Mennonite Collegiate photo)

This past spring, students from Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s Grade 8 class began participating in a new project whose goal is to build character, skills and perspective; and to create opportunity for students to serve our larger community.

Canadian schools show slight student increases

Systems design engineering student Isaac Veldhuis was among 40 official Orientation Week leaders who welcomed new students and their families to Conrad Grebel University College this September on Move-In Day. The eager crowd was greeted with cheers and a song, and students soon got to know each other during a week of games, activities, and an all-college retreat. (Grebel photo by Jennifer Konkle)

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) students enjoy the sun and play games at the welcome festival on September 4. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Mennonite University)

Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont.

Grad takes the helm of his alma mater

Mark Whyte, Conrad Grebel University College’s student council president, left, and University of Waterloo president Feridun Hamdullahpur, centre, stand with Marcus Shantz, who was installed as Grebel’s eighth president on Nov 2, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Conrad Grebel University College)

Marcus Shantz laughs when it’s noted that the previous seven presidents of Conrad Grebel University College have all been pastors or academics, or both. “I guess the board sees that it takes a broad skill set to be the president,” he says.

A child’s world in the palm of their parents’ hands

Parents of students at Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary & Middle School can now download a school app to help them connect with their child’s school world.

When most parents send their elementary-and middle-school-aged children off to school, they rely on school websites and notes in their children’s backpack to keep them informed. But one Winnipeg school has changed all that. Now, Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary & Middle Schools (WMEMS) parents can download a school app to stay in the loop with their children’s world.

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