Change is a word often muddled with connotations of apprehension, sometimes excitement, and definitely, the unknown. We are reminded of change as we breathe in the cool September air. We see it as the shadows become long while the sun sinks down a few minutes earlier than previous days. As Minnesotans, we know that our glorious summers make way for the last hoorah that is the autumn season (even if all we can think about is the loom of winter). The bells began to ring again, lockers received fresh decorations, and squeaky new shoes filled Concordia’s hallways— the school year has begun. Although change can be uncomfortable at times, it is during these times where we truly can experience life and growth.
Here are five tips for parents and students as you transition from middle school years into the high school experience.
- Take a deep breath. You’ll get used to the adjustment. Just as our bodies need time to get used to waking up (really) early, making long-lasting, meaningful friendships takes time.
- Ask a lot of questions. If you don’t know what time a sporting event is, ask! If you’re not sure of someone’s name, introduce yourself and meet a new friend. Inquiry is a great way to ease confusion and allow for a smooth transition.
- Get involved. Join a club, board, or athletic group. Attend parent conferences. Show up to school events and cheer on CA’s athletes! When you are involved, you will become invested—it is YOUR school.
- Develop the habit of putting forth effort. Sometimes the right thing to do is also the hard thing. Whether that is toughing it out as the homework starts to hit hard, or having hard conversations with your student, grit through it all. Your perseverance will not be in vain.
- Enjoy it. These years go by very quickly, but they will be impactful. This community of believers is special—our hope is not dependent on our circumstances. As we all transition into a new school year, our joy that is found in Christ will make it meaningful.
What a blessing it has been for me to watch my Freshmen Seminar classroom fill with students who are excited and perhaps a bit apprehensive about the transition from middle to high school. As we partner together this year, I would encourage you to consider these five tips. We are all in this season of change together! Blessings on you and your families as we walk through unknown and exciting new adventures.
Sarah Tramm, a 2009 Concordia Academy graduate, teaches Freshmen Seminar, a semester-long course designed to help students transition to high school, plan for the future, and develop their God-given strengths and talents.
I like to plan ahead.
I like to be organized.
At times, I even like to think I’m in control.
This illusion of being in control is a part of many areas of my life…but really, it rears its head most often with my girls. I have two little ladies, one in Grade 3 and one in Grade 5. Many things about being their mom have taught me that I am not as in control as I’d like to be.
I like to best invest my energy as a mom in relationships, opportunities, and experiences that help the girls grow in their faith. I want to offer them people and places that cultivate their faith and support their own personal walk with Jesus. I believe relationships, role models, and experiences will help them see Jesus as real and alive.
I believe my girls are on loan to me from God. They are gifts that I am entrusted with on this side of heaven, and I am blessed to parent them with my very best friend, my husband. Together, we decided long ago that Concordia Academy would eventually be our children’s high school of choice. Remember, I’m the one with the plan.
A top reason we support and choose CA is that we see first-hand that Jesus is living and breathing at Concordia Academy. The Word of God is brought to life in so many ways: in staff interactions with students; as teachers share their love of learning; in the numerous specialized academic programs that are offered; through extracurricular activities, including athletic teams, theatre, and the chapel band, just to name a few. The whole school is thick with living out the Word of God. Jesus is present and I feel it and hear it and see it every time I am there.
And I’m there a lot. Although currently too young to formally attend, our girls have many opportunities to experience Concordia Academy. We often take our girls to sporting events. They attend plays with their classmates. We’ve listened to His People and gone to concerts. Over President’s Day weekend, our oldest took a friend to the “Beacon Blast,” just one of the many official events Concordia Academy sponsors for middle school youth.
Our girls also enjoy the summer camps offered at Concordia Academy. Last year, one of our girls tried worship camp and dance camp. This summer we have a repeat for worship camp, as well as volleyball and basketball camp already on the calendar. New camps like photography, CSI, and auto shop are tempting, too.
My girls know Concordia Academy will be their high school. They, too, like knowing what is coming next. They feel safe and confident and excited about whatever they are involved in and enjoying at CA. We feel God will guide them through these next years as their own relationship with Jesus evolves through their opportunities as students. We are grateful that God has connected us to Concordia Academy long before we officially enroll our girls as students.
I think a bit more prayer, less controlling, and more trusting in God’s provision are in order with my parenting. I’m grateful for God’s provision and promises as well as partnering with Concordia Academy to share Jesus’s love and teachings with our girls.
The hunt would be fine
But things here have changed
Now it’s my turn to whine
The powers that be
Decreed tomes obsolete
Their haven is dead
My plan’s met defeat
Why bother, why go?
The prize that you seek
Is elsewhere you know
Last year by a pole
Now think like it’s Christmas
Or you’ll only find coal
Playing with the last line,
Nat, Krauts, he did flatter
When he sang with much cheer
“wie treu sind deine Blätter!”
That Kilmer once decreed
What God alone creates;
But poems, from fools like me
Come join me, let’s play
So let’s all go Into…
You shouldn’t delay
The way it is clear
And when lighting is good
You need not have fear
To find what you should
This section reinforces the above. “Dramatic” and “play” are references to CA’s spring musical, but not the auditorium. “Into…” doesn’t really make sense unless you consider it’s capitalized and Uses an ellipsis (…), thus indicating more, perhaps a title such as “Into the Woods.” Ah, woods, another tree reference. This entire verse is simply a paraphrase of an early line in “Into the Woods”, one said by Little Red. It’s really only here because it is a reinforcement for the play imagery, it kind of flows nicely, and doing so amused me. Plus, Little Red is played by my kid.
A line of true sentries
Keeping guard ‘gainst a foe
Face off against Norsemen
To here you should go
Keep your eyes to the sky
The trinket is nestled
In reach not too high
We’ve reached the fifth day
The prize remains hidden
But spruce up a bit
And I am not kiddin’
No shot in the dark
We’re close, but not looking
In grand Central Park
"I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution that does not unceasingly pursue the study of God’s word becomes corrupt…. I greatly fear that the universities, unless they teach the Holy Scriptures diligently and impress them on the young students, are wide gates to hell."
Thus concluded Martin Luther in his 1520 treatise on educational reform, “To the Christian Nobility.” Luther’s words may shock modern sensitivities, yet the truth of them is inescapable. The pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, untethered from the revelation of God, inevitably leads to the individual and his or her desires, being the center of the universe and the only norm and guide for what is good and right. What Luther greatly feared for the universities of his time, has become the modus operandi for the majority of modern American schools and universities, to a degree that would shock Luther himself. The vast majority of modern American uni-versities are anything but, they are really multiversities, adrift without any unifying values or educational goals and, at worse, dominated by contradictory values and competing goals.
Peter Keefe, a philosopher of Boston College, argues that this unmooring from Scripture is the norm not only in modern education but also in entertainment and journalism as well. He writes, “The three major mind-molding establishments in the Western world – formal education, entertainment, and journalism – are massively dominated by the subjectivists and secularists.” If what Peter argues is even partially accurate, then the wide gates to hell confront us, and our children, at every turn of modern life.
In stark contrast to this modern spirit of subjectivism and secularism, stand Lutheran schools. Yesterday, January 23, over 1000 students converged on Concordia Academy (including students from ten Twin Cities elementary schools) to celebrate the beginning of National Lutheran Schools Week. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Upon this Rock.” This theme encapsulates the contrast between Lutheran schools and the “three major mind-molding establishments in the Western world.” Lutheran schools, and all Christian schools where Holy Scriptures are supreme, are anchored on the Rock of Christ. The world around us is indeed adrift, tossed back and forth by every wind of doctrine and human cunning, and the wide gates to hell may indeed surround us, but in our schools we have set before us the straight road that leads to life.
Lutheran schools are built Upon the Rock, Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. And the joy that was evident on over 1000 faces yesterday is a testament to the power and importance of that firm foundation.
Below, view a video of part of the opening event of CA's National Lutheran Schools Week Celebration.