8th Grade Camp 2017, Paschal Mystery Retreat and Beyond...
“Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2
At the start of 8th grade each year there are a series of ASA beliefs and core value related projects that the staff plan to help the 8th grade class set the tone for their leadership year. These projects start with a day at Camp Manitou Lin.
We Are One & All things are possible through Christ: At camp students work through a series of teambuilding and goal setting activities. They are given the chance to practice outdoor survival skills (fire starting and shelter construction), try horseback riding, climb a rock wall, and navigate a high ropes course. During each of these activities students are reminded that they need to both rely on their teammates to help them accomplish the task, and they also need to cheer on their teammates. As Caitlin M. reflected afterwards
“I learned the power of cheering on others!”
“I would give a shout out to our whole class because we all tried something new and we enjoyed it.” - Hannah
We Can All Grow: After camp students return to school for a potluck dinner with their parents. At this dinner students share their camp experiences with their parents and also spend some time talking about their goals for their 8th grade year. This year students set goals for:
- Academic growth
- Spiritual growth
- Personal growth
During dinner students shared shout outs for different classmates showing leadership, teamwork, courage, and communication skills. They also celebrated their parents who took time to join them at various points during the day.
Faith: The day after camp the 8th grade class returns to school for their class retreat day, starting with Mass at 8:30 am with the St Jude parishioners. The 8th grade retreat is themed around The Paschal Mystery and the bible verse the 8th grade selected for their 8th grade year. This year’s 8th grade selected Colossian 3:2 as their verse:
“Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”
Take a moment to watch these videos of the 8th grade explaining why they selected this as their class verse:
Students spent their retreat day this year setting their minds on things above by reflecting on what it means to “die to self” so that we can rise with Christ. They finalize the design of their class shirt to proudly proclaim their class verse during Catholic Schools Week and other various community events. There is also some element of community service worked into the day. This retreat day ends with the class praying The Stations of the Cross together.
Creativity and Innovation: With the added celebration this year of 10 years of ASA, the 8th grade class spent their service time during retreat this year starting a few 10 year celebration projects for the entire school. This included the initial planning for an ASA Time Capsule and the first of 10 ASA Student Top 10 lists. The Time Capsule will be packed with the entire community during Alleluia Day in the spring. The 8th grade’s Top 10 List of ASA will be announced at the end of September.
Serving: Shortly after camp and retreat, the 8th grade is invited to volunteer at the Grand Rapids Bridge Run. This is a great opportunity to give back to our local community and cheer on some of our own ASA adult athletes (Mrs. Farnquist, Mrs. McKinney, Mrs. Hormuth, Mr. Schmalzel…). It is also an event that tends to prompt families to show up together to volunteer.
Learning: In October, on the day of the All A’s Walk for Catholic Central and West Catholic, we invite our alumni, who are now freshmen, to return to All Saints Academy for a few hours to eat with the 8th grade class and share the advice they have after completing their first month of high school.
Forming Saints to Serve All: Shortly after their visit from our ASA Freshmen Alumni, the 8th grade students will begin celebrating The Sacrament of Confirmation with their parishes. This year Confirmation for Blessed Sacrament candidates is October 11th and October 17th for St. Alphonsus candidates. Confirmations for St Jude and St Isidore parishes have yet to be scheduled but will likely take place in the spring.
Putting it all together and applying our developing leadership skills throughout the school year:
Faith: During Lent, the 8th grade class will prepare and present a Living Stations of the Cross meditation for the entire ASA school community to start our Via Dolorosa Walk between campuses.
Learning: Again this year we will host the High School Placement Test for both West and Catholic Central at ASA in January.
Loving: Shortly after the first ASA parish Confirmation, 8th grade parents will begin meeting to plan 8th Grade Fun Day. This is a final day of celebration and fun, together as a class, for the 8th grade before their graduation. Prior to the fun day, the 8th grade will pass the leadership of ASA to the current 7th grade at the leadership Mass. They will also travel to our 4 parishes for a day of service, and they will spend time reflecting on how they will continue to live the ASA Core Values as A Graduate of ASA.
Serving: The 8th grade has begun working with Mrs. Zimelis on their Service Corp Projects for this year. They will partner with a local organization and complete service hours with that group during school release work days. In the spring the All Saints Academy community is invited to gather at the middle school to hear about the work the 8th grade students participates in with their chosen community partner. Check out the blog of last year’s 8th grade class’s Service Corp projects here.
These are just the highlights of 8th grade year here at All Saints Academy. There are amazing things happening here each day in all grades. Continue to check back here for more stories from both students and teachers and check out social media accounts for daily snapshots of life at ASA.