Fresh Ideas for the New Year

pexels-photo-269370.jpegYour friends at Grace Academy would like to wish you a glorious, rewarding and productive new year. Around Grace, this time means a chance at a new beginning.

To quote a New England poet and exquisite thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“You have done what you could—some blunders and absurdities have crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

It is with this sage advice in mind that board members are weighing a host of ideas for the upcoming year.  One idea that received unanimous support was creating a newsletter/blog to help build a more cohesive community of friends and families who support the efforts of Grace.  We have actually had a blog for many years here and on our MARCH site, but with all the work we have been doing to get Grace up and running, we neglected this wonderful tool. So, here we are again.  We hope you enjoy it and please feel free to give us feedback.  Our next post will feature more new ideas.  Until then-Peace.

WINTER FUN AT GRACE

Goodbye 2017 and HELLO 2018

2017 was filled with bouts of growing pains and many, many good times. One of the best times came right before Christmas when we met for a prayer service, Advent/Christmas party,  and an act of service.  This season marks the 6th year we have purchased toys, toiletries, and clothing in order to fill the “Sweet Dreams” bags for the children at the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter in Waterville.

During our Advent/Christmas party, the children also chose a prayer partner from the Christmas tree.  Red hearts filled our tree with the names and addresses of priests in our diocese. The children selected a heart from the tree, and pledged to pray for ‘their priest’ throughout the year.

Here are a few pictures of our day and yes, it does feel better to give than to receive.

It’s a wrap!

AQUATIC ROBOTICS

Building an under water robot is very cool. Of course, it takes a lot of time.   Building a Sea Perch ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) teaches basic skills in ship and submarine design. In addition, it encourages students to explore naval architecture, as well as marine and ocean engineering principles. It also teaches basic science, engineering concepts, tool safety and technical procedures. Students also learn the important skills of leadership and teamwork.

This year, winter evenings at Grace Academy were filled with busy hands and minds, as five teams of curious youths worked diligently to complete their robots and lab manuals  for the Northern New England SeaPerch Competition. (More on the competition results later!)  

Music Stirs the Soul

Midcoast Symphony Orchestra

With snow all around, forty children and their families made the trek to the Orion Performing Arts Center in Topsham to take in a warm performance of the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra.  It was a delight to the ears and the soul. There is nothing quite like a live musical performance to stir the soul.

During the intermission, students were invited to “Meet the Instruments”.  Orchestra members brought their instruments to the front of the stage one at a time to allow the children to see, feel, and even try playing a violin, cello, trumpet, bassoon, trombone, harp and more.  Everyone really enjoyed this learning opportunity.

Alion Science Presents

 

 

Naval Engineers from Alion Science in Bath came to talk to us about the SeaPerch program and gauge interest in starting a STEM Program at Grace Academy.  STEM Programs focus on creative ways to teach our youth the important skills needed for future STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related careers.

 

  

The evening was a success, and YES it looks like we will be running our very first STEM program!  Now to order the equipment…

Fall Fusion

Fall is here and with our new building ready to go, we have been creating many new classes for your students to take at Grace Academy.  Science has always been a favorite and this year is no different.  We are offering two science classes.  An Astronomy class for elementary students and a General Science class with lab for middle schoolers.  For all levels, we have also included a Nature Study course.  Each student received their very own Nature Journal and have already spent many beautiful days outside investigating the hillside.  They have explored, documented, and sketched a variety of trees, shrubs, spiders and flowers.

Geography is also filling up fast.  This year’s Focus on Geography will be the physical environment of the United States.  Students will begin by learning to draw the map of the United States from memory.  The students have already begun practicing the outline of the entire country and have worked their way through the New England states.  They have even taken to the yard with colored chalk to practice their map drawing skills on the pavement.

Poetry is growing in popularity.  This year we are offering two classes.  Each class is memorizing the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow or Robert Louis Stevenson.  Students enjoy doing poetry in the lounge area where they can discuss the poem and listen to one another’s recitations.  On very cold days you may even find some students wrapped in blankets on the couch as they work through Longfellow.

We did many projects during the fall, including designing a shaduf while studying Ancient Egypt, building our own solar system in Astronomy, and creating dioramas for Bible History,

Typing, Grammar, and Math require lots of work, but the students and the tutors enjoy seeing the children grow and develop in these areas.

Living out the Liturgical Year is another special feature of Grace Academy.

Here we are learning about All Souls’ Day

We prayed for one another’s friends and loved ones who have passed on while we lit candles and held a small vigil.  Yes, you do see a candy bar graph too.  Math is in everything we do ♥.