Archive for November, 2016

Loving Community: 7 Billion Reasons

GRACE is honored to support the ministry of 7 Billion Reasons (7BR) through our sponsorship of their annual Reasons to Run 5K. This year’s event raised $5,000 to support their Global Leadership Academy in Busia, Uganda.  Representatives from 7 Billion Reasons recently shared the following news with us:

On our recent trip to Busia Uganda, one of our goals was to meet with parents of Global Leadership Academy at their homes, away from the school. We want to be sure the school is providing all that was promised, and we want to be able to give you, our 7BR community, a good feel for how things are going. Among the families we visited was that of Abdul, a sweet five-year-old boy who is shy but confident. We met his family and spent time interviewing his dad, who also happens to be a leader in the local Muslim community. We are praising The Lord for the diligent work of the staff of GLA, as they clearly communicate Biblical principles to Abdul, who then discusses, reviews, and repeats these lessons within a home that few Christians would have access to. Friends, please join us in praying for this young boy, as he is asked every day to recount for his family all that he learned at school that day.  We pray for him to remember well the lessons he will come to understand later. We pray for his family members, who now hear the message of truth alongside their daily lessons in Islam. And we praise The Lord Jesus Christ for showing us again that no situation is beyond His reach.

We invite you now to watch this short video of the interview we did with Omaru, father of Abdul.  We began by asking what his first impressions were of the school.  (Click HERE to watch the video)

Hope Connection Shoe Drive

Donate your gently used shoes to our Hope Connection Shoe Drive and help our organization as well as people around the world! These shoes will go to countries across the globe to help those who are recovering from disasters, who have lost businesses. This will help them take care of their families. We need about 7000 pairs of shoes, so please help by December 31st!!

shoe-drive-pictureDrop off locations:

  • Ms. Barkett’s classroom on the 1101 Buck Jones Campus through December 16th
  • 1301-B or 1317-B Buck Jones Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606
  • or call 919-377-1785.

Earn Community Service Hours at Duke Basketball Games

Local ministry Hope Connection International is a multi-faceted recovery and prevention center that connects with non-profits worldwide to provide support, healing, education and resources to hurting people, specializing in reaching youths and individuals in crisis.  Hope Connection is helping people by providing a safe environment for them to connect and share their hurts, find peace and ultimately be restored as healthy, contributing members of our society.

Support this ministry, earn community service hours (high school students) and be part of a Duke basketball experience by working a merchandise booth at Duke home basketball games. Sign Up today via this Duke Basketball Volunteer Sign Up Link.

Fall Sports Highlights

Congratulations to all our fall sport athletes for a season well-played.  We would like to recognize the following teams and individuals for receiving recognition at the conference and state level.

Varsity Coed Cross Country

  • Boys NCISAA 2A State Champions (4th in 6 years)
  • Will Sossaman – EPIC Individual Meet Champion, All-State, & All-Conference
  • James German – EPIC All-Conference

Varsity Boys Soccer

  • NCISAA 2A State Tournament Qualifier
  • Peter Morrow – EPIC All-Conference
  • Andrew Morrow – EPIC All-Conference
  • Jack Harrison – EPIC All-Conference
  • Zach Bosco – EPIC All-Conference Honorable Mention

Varsity Girls Tennis

  • Grayson Vick – EPIC All-Conference
  • Lilly Airington – EPIC All-Conference Honorable Mention

Varsity Football

  • Mitchell Haughee – CCC All-Conference – RB & All-State
  • Derrick Chen – CCC All-Conference – OL
  • Zach Usher – CCC All-Conference – OL
  • Quinn Carter – CCC All-Conference – DL
  • Cameron Ballance – CCC All-Conference – LB
  • Blake Myers – CCC All-Conference – CB/S

Varsity Volleyball

  • 2016 EPIC Regular Season Champions (12-0), Second Consecutive Championship
  • NCISAA 2A State Tournament Qualifier
  • Russ Wolfinger – EPIC Coach of the Year
  • Hope Lapsley – EPIC All-Conference
  • Brooke Hanshumaker – EPIC All-Conference
  • Kristen Leavel – EPIC All-Conference
  • Madison Zechman – EPIC All-Conference
  • Liz Ditcheos – EPIC All-Conference Honorable Mention

JV Volleyball

  • 2016 EPIC Regular Season Champions (4th Consecutive Regular Season Title)

Loving Community in Action

Following Hurricane Matthew GRACE, via our football team, delivered checks to Rocky Mount Academy and Arendell Parrott Academy to distribute in their local communities where the need was greatest. A total of $2700 was donated; $1500 coming from the proceeds of the Love Where You Live 5K held in August and $1200 raised by GRACE fans at the home football game played against Rocky Mount Academy.

One of the recipients, David & Shelly Barnes [Kinston, NC], sent this thank you note to the school:

We really don’t even know how to write this note other than to say, “thank you for lovingly reaching out to a brother and sister in Christ and sharing very generously with us.” You not knowing us at all blew our mind, and then your gift really confounded us. It has been a very trying and sad time, but we have been amazed with the Lord bringing alongside of us people to ease the strain. From the depths of our hearts…we sincerely thank you, and thank you for shining for Jesus Christ!

Below is a picture of the Barnes house at the peak of the flooding:


Project Based Learning

Laura’s Favorite Projects of the Year (so Far)

This post was written by Laura Warmke, our 7th-12th grade Technology Coach and originally appeared on November 17, 2016 in the 21st Century GRACE Blog

A lot of what I do is help teachers think through innovative projects–projects that spark curiosity, require real student innovation, and allow teachers to do less lecturing and more facilitating. This is called Project-Based Learning, and it’s a growing pedagogical strategy.

I think it’s enjoyable and inspiring to see what other teachers and students are doing, so here are a few of my favorite GRACE projects so far this year. As you can see, the GRACE family is doing some pretty amazing things.

Injustice Awareness (8th grade English with Kellie Petty):

Kelly said,

“I chose to do this project because after our summer reading, Bamboo People, students are suddenly aware of the horrors of forced child soldiers and ethnic warfare. As a response to the frustration resulting from that new knowledge, I hoped we could answer the question, ‘What can an 8th grade Christian do?'”

Students used Maslow’s heirarchy of needs to identify an unmet need in the world, learned and used research skills, and did something with their knowledge. Some students created posters, made t-shirts, or wrote letters to US Senators or Representatives. Others volunteered with an organization or had fund-raising campaigns.

Time Hop (10th grade Bible with Daniel Fairchild):

10th grade Bible is focused on the life of Christ, and that begins with knowing where and when Jesus lived: Ancient Israel. Before school started, Daniel approached me with an idea for a project to make this material more engaging: what if students had to prepare a modern day person to travel back in time to ancient Israel? Students would learn about ancient Israel, but it would be much more exciting than listening to lectures.

Working in groups, students 3D-printed maps of Israel, made timelines of Jesus’s life complete with Aurasma Auras, and produced videos about the political structure of Israel, among other things. My favorite product was a 3D-printed replica of a coin used in Jesus’s time.

Demystifying Nuclear (8th grade Science with Beth Hawks):

I asked Beth why she did this project, and she said,

“Nuclear is becoming an increasing part of all of our lives, from cancer treatment to power production to consumer products, and yet it is still very misunderstood. There isn’t time to add a unit specifically about nuclear to the curriculum, so this is a way that they can understand an important concept without taking up a ton of class time.”

In this project, 8th graders are tackling one group of nuclear uses (e.g. fusion as an energy source) and, as a class, choosing how to present: a live forum with invited guests, building a website, or curating a YouTube playlist with videos they’ve made and some they’ve found.

That’s three examples from many. I could have talked about 20% time/passion projects for sophomores and juniors in English, PE/Health 9th graders running their own leagues during their football unit, Seniors mentoring 7th-grade students, or Chemistry students creating their own labs using inquiry principles. As I am writing this, our 7th-12 grade Media Specialist, Daniel O’Brien, tweeted a picture of spinning tops that physics students designed and 3D-printed to learn about rotation.

In all of this, GRACE teachers are focused on creating the most meaningful, impactful, engaging learning possible. That’s one of the things I love about projects at GRACE: they aren’t just to be cute or different; they exist to make learning richer. It’s all part of our Open Learning initiative.

I do want to note that not every product on every project is mind-blowing. Sometimes students want to do something great and run out of time, technology seems to be fighting them, or the project needs to be tweaked to produce better outcomes. GRACE hasn’t figured out how to do everything perfectly on the first try. That said, what we do have is a “Let’s try it!” attitude, and that’s a great thing to model to our students.

And if you thought that was it, there are some really exciting projects beginning or upcoming:

  • Growing plants to maximize yield in Biology
  • Spreading Kindness at GRACE project in Health
  • Designing (and hopefully building) Tiny Houses in Geometry
  • Designing and engineering for missionaries in Physics
  • Creating Digital history pieces in History
  • Making positive propaganda in English
  • Creating Spanish tutorials for GRACE students going on missions trips

There’s so much going on, look for more project recap blog posts in the spring!

Our Trying Times

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in the crisis, shrink from that service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”  Thomas Paine, December, 1776

When Thomas Paine penned The Crisis two-hundred-and-forty years ago, the United States of America was little more than an audacious idea. Independence from Great Britain had not been won. The Constitution and Bill of Rights had not been written. Paine could not have envisioned a Civil War that would end slavery or the struggle for equality that would follow. He had no idea that the very loosely connected confederation of states would eventually become the greatest economic and military power the world would ever know. However, what he did see with uncanny clarity was that he was in the midst of an event of historic importance. He grasped the magnitude of the moment.  Specifically, he understood that if the colonists failed to respond to this moment with action — tangible, impassioned, purposeful action — the moment would be lost.

I feel we have reached another crisis point in American history that requires action, albeit a very different type. The 2016 election results revealed empirically what we already knew emotionally — our nation is deeply divided. We are challenged by passionately held economic and philosophical differences, as well as racial divisions dating back generations, that reach well beyond political party ideologies. Disappointingly, there is an inability or unwillingness among our population to acknowledge that reasonable, well-intentioned people can have differing viewpoints. It is important for us to think back to Paine’s words. We may be guilty of esteeming our freedom too lightly, forgetting that it was paid for dearly by those who did not shrink from serving their country, the very veterans we honored last week in the days following the election.  At Gettysburg, Lincoln poetically acknowledged the sacrifice of the men who “gave the last full measure of devotion” so that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The sacrifices of those men, as well as the men and women who both preceded and followed them, must not be in vain. Those individuals sacrificed for our right to worship as we please, to protest peacefully when we feel the need to do so, and to elect our leaders through democratic means. Today, billions of men and women around the world dream of the freedoms that we too often take for granted. As Americans, we owe a debt that cannot be fully repaid. We honor the sacrifices made by demonstrating the proper respect for and practice of those freedoms that have been so dearly won.

Furthermore, as ambassadors for Christ on foreign soil (2 Corinthians 5:20), we have an even greater responsibility in service to our eternal King. As was the case in 1776, this moment requires action. There are people throughout our nation who are wounded, angry, and frightened. We have the great responsibility and awesome opportunity to demonstrate to these individuals the love of Christ, whether we find common ground over political ideologies or not. In his book Serious Times, Dr. James Emery White writes, “The heart of Jesus’ strategy for transforming the world was unleashing a force of transformed lives…This is how the world will be changed: individuals who have had their lives touched by Christ turning around and touching the lives of others.” In the midst of this volatile season of American history, I encourage you to be counter-cultural by demonstrating a love and respect for your neighbor that sets you apart from others. Allow the joy of Christ to shine through you in such a manner that others cannot help but be drawn to it. Seek to be the difference-maker in your community through acts of servant-leadership. Speak truth, but do so in love. Demonstrate compassion under challenging circumstances. In so doing, we will play our part in healing the wounds of our nation, but, more importantly, we will live out our calling from Romans 12 to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.”

Contributing Author:

  • Eric Bradley, Head of School

Bible Mentors

The Senior Bible class has spent the last couple of weeks coming up with plans to start mentoring 7th & 8th graders. Last week the seniors met with two 7th grade classes and one 8th grade class. They were split into male and female groups and the seniors lead the group time. I was very encouraged by what I saw happening. Students were encouraging one another, sharing stories, asking questions, giving advice and having a good time.

We are entering into uncharted territory…a student planned, student driven (but teacher supervised) mentor-ship program. As teachers, we will discuss how the meeting times are going and how we will move forward. Please pray for these students as they meet together. May the love of Christ shine brightly through them.

20% Time, I-Search and Free Choice Projects

Students at GRACE have the opportunity to be involved in a variety of long term assignments that lack the traditional boundaries of the stereotypical school project. Loosely referred to as free choice projects, these assignments enhance learning and have important benefits beyond the acquisition of knowledge. Teachers plan backwards from the goal, set the timeline, and hold students accountable with checkpoints to keep them on track. Milestones include status updates and documentation of research as well as dialog between students, subject-matter mentors, and the teacher.

Specifically, GRACE uses this concept in several grades and subject areas:

  • 10th Grade English –  20% Time: Patterned after the Google employee initiative with the same name, 20% time gives students one day per week (20% of the week) to immerse themselves in a topic that interests them.
  • 11th Grade English – I-Search Research Project: Students are free to pick their topic as well as their inquiry goals while simultaneously adhering to a rigorous research process.
  • Free Choice Projects in Chemistry, Physics & US History: Students select the topic of their project as they satisfy the requirements of the rubric to demonstrate knowledge of each subject area.

The 20% Time, I-Search projects and Free Choice projects in addition to being academically rigorous, have the following benefits:

  • Students find places where their interests intersect with the curriculum and because they have picked the topic, students engage with the material more passionately and are more motivated to learn and engage in the research process.
  • Research skills are developed and strengthened and can be built upon each year. The research skills are transferable and will be useful in other stages of their education and careers.
  • Students are able to excel and grow in a subject area where they can be an expert.
  • Students are given the freedom to present their projects in different media, taking advantage of their unique gifts and talents.
  • The projects teach 21st century digital and learning skills: collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication and problem solving in the real world.
  • Opportunities exist for students to work with adult mentors or an adult who is an expert in their field. Mentor guidelines help both student and mentor to utilize the time well and hold the student accountable.
  • Students learn time management skills and how to be accountable for completing their research on time by developing specific checkpoints for their projects. As a result, they learn valuable skills related to balancing their workflow across an extended period of time.
  • Each project creates a foundation of knowledge and increases the likelihood that students will impact the world outside of GRACE (real work for the real world).  This is especially valuable given our focus on impacting the world for Christ. Some projects provide direct application to this portion of the GRACE mission statement such as: researching the ministry and exploring God’s call in their life, writing a devotion for middle school students, learning worship songs on the guitar to play at church and organizing a charity fundraiser event
  • Students are given time to explore nontraditional topics and see the benefit of being a lifelong learner. Examples include: designing and patenting a self-propelled hang-glider, studying how GMs in the NFL make a good draft pick, hypothesizing ADD as an alternative learning style rather than a disorder, learning Chinese, learning music theory, investigating potential career paths, comparing and contrasting the nursing programs of top colleges and learning how to invest in the stock market.
  • Because topics are not limited to a single subject area, each project increases the opportunity for cross-curricular involvement.
  • Students can work independently or in groups allowing introverts, extroverts and students with different learning styles to create the optimal learning environment for themselves.
  • Projects that involve blogging allow students to build a positive online presence that can be shown to potential colleges and employers.
  • The student/teacher relationship is enhanced as they both engage in the joint discovery of the learning process of different material and new discoveries. There is increased opportunity for student-teacher connection (teachers have had the opportunity to read drafts of books, try new fitness workouts, learn how to invest wisely, hear original musical arrangements, and converse in Japanese).

Contributing Authors:

  • Beth Hawks, MS & HS Science Teacher
  • Kristen Foxworth-O’Brien, HS English Teacher
  • Mandy Gill, 7th-12th Grade Principal