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Notes from the Junior High Class
By By Aristea Zekios – Instructor

Each September, our parents are asked to renew their commitment to the new church school year. It involves attending each Sunday with their families and making sure their children participate in the church services, educational program, and youth ministries. Our staff is encouraged and inspired by conscientious attendance. So I want to thank all the dedicated parents who have supported our staff in the past. And I’d like to say, “Keep up the good work!”

Parents usually ask their children, “What did you learn today?” Quite often, the response is, “Nothing.” Of course, as a teacher, I know better. This past year, our staff initiated an email communication with the parents. We shared our lessons with them so they could follow classroom activity. It’s a great way to stay in touch and send out reminders for various events.

To encourage our parents and students, I’d like to share this feedback with you.

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The past school year of 2007-08, the junior high school class covered the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. I enjoy teaching this exciting book because every chapter is loaded with significant events. It moves from the Ascension, through Pentecost, the labors and lessons of Saint Peter, the conversion and missionary journeys of Saint Paul to the rapid spread of Christianity throughout the Mediterranean world.

I studied this book as an eighth grader and was awed at how Saint Paul endured persecution, imprisonment, beatings, and even stoning. Yet nothing stopped him from doing the will of God which was to be a chosen vessel to the Gentiles.

Remembering how this book impressed me, I asked my students what impressed them. Here are their replies.

• I liked when Saul became Paul by faith. By this I mean he became a totally different person overnight. At one time (as Saul) he watched the stoning of Saint Stephen and later he encouraged others to laugh Christ. This shows that no matter who or what you are, you can always turn to God. Joan
• I enjoyed that part when Peter was freed from prison by simply walking past the guards. Miraculously, they didn’t even see him! Stephanie
• I was impacted by the Acts as a whole and all the difficulties that the Apostles went through. Katrina
• Pentecost - because it is very cool that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles giving them the ability to speak different languages to spread the word of God. Sarah
• I thought the event with the earthquake and the jailer was a great example of Christ’s love for mankind. The jailer was about to kill himself because he let the prisoners escape. But Paul told him not to kill himself because the prisoners were all there. The jailer started to believe and became a Christian. Alexandra
• The fact that Paul turned to Christ. It is amazing that the man who persecuted Jesus could turn to Christ and believe. Nicholas
• For me, Paul’s missionary journeys made an impact. It surprised me how far he traveled in order to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ. It also surprised me that the missionary journeys were successful and that many people became Christians. Kevin
• What affected me in the Book of the Acts was the way Paul never lost his temper. He always was understanding and gracious. Most people, including myself, are not like that. Alex

I was also curious about another facet. Each of our students participates in a ministry of the parish. So I asked them which ministry they enjoyed the most. Here are their responses.

• I enjoy being an altar server the most. It’s a joy to work for the Lord and be with the other guys. Alex
• I enjoy singing the most because when I sing the hymns, I feel as though I am being filled with God’s love. Katrina
• The choir because I love to sing. The handmaidens because I like to serve God. Sarah
• I like the choir the most. They work really hard to make the church services sound good. It is really fun and you learn a lot of new things. Alexandra
• I enjoy serving in the altar. I like it because I can see everything up close and I can be a part of it. Nick
• The ministry I enjoyed the most was serving as an altar boy. I thought it was fun to do, and I enjoyed helping out. Kevin
• I like being a handmaiden because I like helping people. Stephanie
• I like being a handmaiden because it was more like a team effort rather than an individual activity. Joan

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