RJC High School runs three grade-based programs that focus on interdisciplinary, cross-curricular thinking:
- The Imagine program is a peacebuilding program that encourages Grade 10 students to reflect on the challenges of the world through hands-on learning experiences.
- Thrive, a relationship-development program, helps Grade 11 students pursue holistic student health through positive relationships with God, each other and creation.
- Explore, a leadership program for Grade 12 students, seeks to equip students to be leaders in the communities they find themselves in throughout their lives.
While many of these programs have typically included off-campus and interprovincial travel between places such as Winnipeg, Edmonton and Saskatoon, the grade-based program leaders found creative ways for students to engage with local and on-campus learning experiences that meet the goals of these cross-curricular programs and meet COVID-19 restrictions.
Back in November, the Imagine class held a Zoom conference with the Florence Centre, a community development program in Ukraine named after Florence Driedger, co-pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Regina. The centre is committed to supporting children and families with disabilities, and those who encounter abuse, addiction and mental health issues. RJC students had the opportunity to speak with the centre’s community leaders about how they have been able to continue to do their work during the pandemic. This learning experience was integrated into the students’ Christian ethics curriculum.
Shekinah Retreat Centre has been a common destination for the Thrive students over the past years. Because it is within reasonable driving distance of the school, RJC students were able to continue to visit Shekinah and spent two days participating in activities. One day the students were trained to recognize patterns in their thoughts and feelings during an emotional-agility workshop. Another day, the class spent time building and examining trenches as part of their history class.
The Explore students had several opportunities to consider their leadership development in unique forms last fall, when they participated in a number of virtual university workshops, and heard from individual post-secondary speakers through various online forms. Their Christian ethics project, called “Acts of service,” which typically involves an aspect of community service, involved engagement with more local acts of service around the school: decorating for Christmas and leading other on-campus school activities.
Staff and students together have been encouraged to think outside the box of what might be typical during the school year and have found new ways of learning and building community together.