By: Mike Margy 6th grade teacher at Mission Hills Christian School It seems like only yesterday, but it was actually 10 years ago when my wife and I made an important discovery that would change our family’s morning routine. At about that time, we realized that our oldest son, then in second grade, was unable to control his seemingly limitless energy in order stay focused in class. We decided to try changing what he ate for breakfast to see if it would make a difference. We thought it would make sense to eliminate as much sugar as possible and instead offer our son plenty of protein. Of course, cereal (which typically contains a fair amount of sugar) had always been an easy, go-to breakfast, so this required a whole new morning routine for us. My wife Stacey began waking up about 20 minutes earlier every day to make both our sons a high protein, low-sugar breakfast–eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast burritos. No more high-sugar breakfasts. The loss of sleep was sometimes difficult, but Stacey stayed the course, and the results were immediate. Justice was better able to focus, stay in his seat, and get his classwork done every day. Now, after 10 years, Stacey is still going strong, cooking that high-protein breakfast for both boys every single day of the school year. From a personal and professional standpoint, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for children to get good “brain food” every morning. During my 14 years in the classroom, I’ve seen innumerable students come to school with doughnuts and chocolate milk as their breakfast, and I know how it impacts their ability to do their best work. Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a doughnut as much as the next teacher, especially when one of my students brings me a tasty chocolate one. But that’s the exception, not the norm. Of course, our boys still sometimes eat cereal and waffles on weekends and during the summer. But the high-protein breakfast habit has made such a difference, we are not going back to our old sugary breakfasts during the school year. Changing your breakfast routine may be a struggle at first, especially if your young one is conditioned for that sugary breakfast – or if you’re conditioned for that extra 20 minutes of sleep. But the results are unquestionable. The Margy family is living proof.
For Ellie Ward, Monday, August 31, 2015, was not just another back-to-school day. It was her 60th first day back at school. Ellie has been in the field of education since 1956 when she began teaching 4th grade in New Jersey. Through the years, she has taught 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grades as well as serving in administration. Ellie began serving at Mission Hills Christian School in Rancho Santa Margarita during its inaugural year in 1980. For all these years she has been a constant reminder of what a faithful educator is. She currently serves as the school librarian and record keeper. Ellie is known for her hugs and words of encouragement to students and parents alike. The key to Ellie’s long-term success in education has been her love for people and her passion for learning. Ellie remembers the days when, as a teacher in public school, reading of scripture and prayer were a regular part of her classroom routine. In 1963, Bibles were removed from the classroom, and Ellie was no longer able to share her faith openly. Her favorite thing about being at a Christian school is the ability to come alongside parents and students and support them through prayer and to be able to encourage them in difficult circumstances by sharing from the Word of God. Even now, her attitude remains constant—positive and hopeful. “The Lord and attitude are my bookends.”
So, a not-so-famous tradition appeared once more today in schools across the country…the start of a school year. Parents await it (or most of them, at least!), teachers wonder if they are adequately prepared for it, and students have mixed emotions concerning it. Whatever our feelings about it–here it is and here we go! I have a few thoughts to share with you as someone who has been the parent who released the child, the teacher who prepared the seating chart, lesson plan and classroom rules, and the student who (in my case) was rearin’ to go because school was where I learned AND where my friends would be! First, much of what we start in life will ultimately conclude with a degree of finality. Elementary school will end; junior high beckons. Kindergarten promotions are cute; junior high promotions bring tears and often unsettling emotions as high school awaits. Study concludes with tests taken; books read find their way into a report, and hard work sees its results on a report card. Much of the Christian life, however, has no point of finality. What begins with a conversion experience doesn’t conclude until admission to Heaven. We will never finish learning about Scripture, the deep truths of God, the fullness and majesty of His Bride, the Church of Christ. Solomon tells us to “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser. Teach a righteous man, and he will increase his learning” (Prov. 9:9). Our character will continue to be developed throughout our lifetimes. Peter admonished his readership to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Grace speaks to a sustaining and sanctifying presence in a believer’s life that demonstrates itself in character and conduct. And we will never “finish” the work of ministry: there will be someone else to share the Gospel with, someone else to mentor or disciple, some other land to evangelize, some other social condition to redeem. School starts and ultimately finishes…all part of a lifelong journey whose ultimate finish line is drawn by the Savior who has called us, equipped us, and will see us to the end. May your school year be marked not only by growth in areas of academics, but also by the hand of God at work in every aspect of your family. By Dr. Michael Bruce Foell, Campus Pastor
We strive to make all kinds of connections during our lives. We all have a longing for belonging. There isn’t anything we won’t do to be accepted, and we will do anything to reject rejection. Here are eight things you can do to increase your sense of belonging and experience acceptance by others.
- Demonstrate a personal interest in others’ challenges and in their life journeys. Show empathy for what they are struggling with or going through.
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Become a reflective listener, always focused on others’ ideas.
- Be generous with your encouragement to everyone you meet. Everyone has dignity and worth!
- Extend numerous sincere compliments to others about their gifts and capabilities. Tweet positive comments about your classmates /colleagues!
- Reject rejection! Connect with people who accept you along with all your flaws. It’s better to have one non- judgmental friend than numerous conditional relationships.
- Everyone is branded by others whether we want to be or not. Be intentional about branding yourself. Avoid letting others define you and brand you!
My name is Alex Sajjadi and this is my Mission Hills story. I attended Mission Hills Christian School from 7th grade to 8th grade, and I like to consider these as the years that changed my life. I grew up attending a large public elementary school, and when it became time to head off to junior high, my family thought that a small Christian school would be a better fit for me. They were right. I walked on to the campus as a shy, apprehensive, 7th grader, not knowing what the future had in store for my life. Mission Hills welcomed me with open arms. I never felt like a new kid or an outsider when I came to Mission Hills. I quickly became acquainted with everybody in my grade, which never would have happened at a large junior high. I met some of the most amazing friends at Mission Hills that I still keep in contact with on a daily basis, even though most of us go to different high schools. I thrived in Mission Hills’ unique community, and for the first time, I was a name and not a number at school. My teachers knew me personally and how I learned as a student. They knew when I was struggling and were always offering help. The teachers at Mission Hills are unlike any other teachers I know. Although the teachers and friends that I met were incredible, what I really left Mission Hills with was an identity in Christ. I came to Mission Hills believing that Jesus was the Son of God, and that’s all I knew. Through daily Bible class and weekly chapel, I learned that Christianity is so much more than just knowing who Jesus is. At Mission Hills I learned what it was like to have a relationship with God, how much He loves me, and how he has a perfect plan for my life. With knowing God, I gained an identity in Him, and with this new foundation, I became confident and strong in my faith. I am now a senior at Trabuco Hills High School, and the shy 7th grader who walked on the campus six years ago has accomplished more than she could have ever imagined. I have run for class president, held a position on my school’s ASB for the past two years, planned all of the social events at my school, and was voted most spirited in the senior class. I couldn’t have done any of this without the confidence that I gained from Mission Hills. My junior high experience at Mission Hills not only brought out a whole new side of me, it also prepared me for my future–academically, spiritually, and socially. Mission Hills taught me about having a relationship with God and building character that honors Him. Mission Hills changed my life and has given me the tools that I needed to succeed at Trabuco Hills High School and that I will need as I begin attending Point Loma Nazarene University in the fall. I am thankful for my junior high years at MHCS and how God used them to build in me a firm faith foundation that will be with me throughout my life.