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Church School Summer Break?
By Aristea Zekios

Even though our Sunday classes will not meet during the summer, church school planning is already underway for the 07/08 school year. The staff will meet to evaluate the past year and plan the fall program. Our teachers are always bursting with ideas!

As a church school teacher, I would like to offer a suggestion to parents. Since summer means a break from secular school homework, encourage your child to read Bible and Saints' stories. If your youngster is a preschooler, there are many books you can read to them. And I'd like to thank the parents who have already introduced their children to these exciting stories.

Looking back to the early 60's and 70's when I was raising my own children, the amount of Orthodox Christian reading material for youngsters was not as abundant as today. Available to you today are easy-to-read youth Bibles loaded with attractive pictures. Books of Saints' stories are colorfully illustrated and always present an icon of the Saint. Our Saints are the role models for young impressionable minds. So why not flood our youth with wholesome Christian influences?

Today one of my favorite bonding times with my grandsons (ages 6 and 3) is to read stories to them. They love the Bible Arch Books and often ask me to reread them. (They listened to the story of the 3 youth in the fire at least 5 times.) They were also fascinated with the storybook of how St. Helen found the real Cross. I thank God that our 21st Century children are blessed to have a wealth of information available. As a child, I read the Bible faithfully each day, but I learned about the Saints later in my life when books were finally published in English.

Our Saint Luke Christian Resource Center offers youth books to purchase like "Christina's Favorite Saints" or "A Child's Paradise of Saints." If you don't find what you are looking for, consult Deacon Danial. He'll be happy to place an order for you. In addition, I would be delighted to lend you books from our teachers' reference library. There are many Arch Books, Bibles for various levels, and other books that would interest your child. I hope you will take advantage of these Christian resources to bring your child closer to our Lord and Savior, the Saints and teachings of His Holy Orthodox Church.

CHURCH SCHOOL 06/07 HIGHLIGHTS

Throughout the school year there were many events in addition to weekly Sunday classroom instruction. Here are two of my favorites:

(1) On December 17th after Divine Liturgy, the "The Christmas Story" was presented with an added feature - the entire congregation provided the musical accompaniment by singing Christmas carols as the story unfolded. Our students processed to the front of the church dressed as the Virgin Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, and magi. The children then formed a lovely nativity scene. (Because of the enthusiastic response, we hope to present a repeat performance in December.)

St Nicholas made his appearance at the end of the program. Our children sang for him and presented him with gifts for PASS. Later during class time, Father Andrew (dressed as St Nicholas) passed out icons of Archangel Michael. Also, students left their shoes outside classroom doors for Saint Nicholas to fill them with candy.

(2) The annual Lenten Retreat was held on Sunday, March 25th, the Feastday of the Annunciation. The theme was "Our Mother the Theotokos ".The students learned about the Theotokos through the instruction of Lana Kokayeff and Deacon Danial Doss. The students eagerly completed craft projects and everyone enjoyed cheese pizzas in the afternoon. The retreat culminated in the church nave where Father Andrew led in Akathist prayers.

CLOSING PROGRAM

On June 10, under the direction of Maria Vrame, our students presented hymns and songs they had learned. After this, Father Andrew presented awards to attendance winners and graduates.

Faithful Attendance Awards were given to the student(s) in each class who attended the most Sundays. The number after their names indicates the number of years they have been recipients of this award.
¨ Joan Betsanes (7)
¨ Madeline Betsanes (7)
¨ George Evangelopoulos (2)
¨ Emma Hansen (5)
¨ Alexandra Lewis (3)
¨ Evan Nickolaou (2)
¨ James Nikolaou (3)
¨ Marika Nickolaou (2)
¨ Nicholas Wassilkowsky (10)
¨ Michael Wojcik (2)
¨ Alex Zimny (2)

Congratulations to Our Graduates!
¨ Azieb Andu (8th grade) from St. Thomas of Canterbury School
¨ Joseph Partoll -From Lockport High School
¨ John Zacharias - From Andrew High School
¨ Svetlana Lynch - Associate Degree in Interior Design from Joliet Junior College
¨ Jason Homiak - Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy NY.
¨ Dr. Michael Bauml - Medical Doctor Degree from the Loyola Medical School.
¨ Dr. Anna Kokayeff - Medical Doctor Degree from the University of Illinois Medical School - Chicago.
¨ Dr. Luke Kopulos - Medical Doctor Degree from the Pritzker School of Medicine - University of Chicago

Finally, we welcomed our students who became Orthodox Christians on Holy Saturday:
¨ Emily Olson
¨ Katrina Olson
¨ Nicole Szpakowicz

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