When I reflect on my years at Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary and Middle Schools (WMEMS), the thing that stands out to me the most is the community.
Focus On Education
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Ind., is reporting upward trends in several enrolment statistics this fall.
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.
Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) began the 2021-22 academic year with fall enrolment holding strong and steady.
Preliminary results for all CMU programs indicate a student complement of 875 (full-time equivalent). This includes 615 FTE at the Shaftesbury main campus and 260 FTE at the Menno Simons College campus.
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 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)
Are traditional school productions a thing of the past? Or can the authentic experience still be delivered virtually?
On Wednesdays at Conrad Grebel University College, a group of students, faculty, and staff choose to gather in the chapel for a worship service. In light of the pandemic, services have moved online.
RJC High School runs three grade-based programs that focus on interdisciplinary, cross-curricular thinking:
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 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)
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.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
“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.
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.
Mennonites around the globe yearn for Anabaptist theological education, identity formation and leadership development, but attending an Anabaptist-related college, university or seminary has not been possible for Mennonites in many countries. A new partnership has been designed to respond to this need.
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.
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.
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.
I often get asked what draws me to work at a small private Christian school in Gretna, a small rural town in Manitoba. The answer is quite simple: because of the people. It’s not always easy, but I can always find ways to point towards God at work.