ELF Run

 

Uvalde Classical Academy’s Cross-Country team participated in its second event Saturday, December 10—the E.L.F. Run at the Civic Center.  Despite a high of 45 degrees, the one-mile race had a prompt 9 AM start time with 25 kids participating.  Of the 14 UCA students who ran, 8 were Cross-Country members. 

Children started at the city pool, took a right at Wood St. and another at Nopal St., ran the original loop at Memorial Park, and came back to the Civic Center.  During practices, the Cross-Country team regularly runs a similar loop.

Team member Jack Brock placed first overall, with a time of seven minutes and four seconds.  Siblings Westin and Anna Cate Walker, neither a member of the team, placed second and third overall, respectively.  Both finished the race in under eight minutes.

Congratulations to our winners!  The E.L.F. Run marks the Cross-Country team’s final event of the season.

 

Turkey Trot

Saturday, November 19 marked the 32nd annual Southwest Texas Junior College Turkey Trot—and the Uvalde Classical Academy Cross-Country Team was ready for it!  Team members run together twice a week and strive for a mile each time.  Kathy Phillips is the Cross-Country coach.

Seven of the team’s eight members participated in the children’s mile run, all of whom placed within their respective classifications.  Some UCA students even ran, and placed, who were not on the team.  Members Trey Dockal and Rankin Rylander placed second and third in the 9-10-year-old male bracket.  Mackenzie Pitts, a non-member, came in second in the 11-15-year-old female bracket, just under team member Morgan Dreyer, who won first place. Jack Brock, a sixth grader and also a team member, won the “top male” for the race and finished at six minutes, fifty-seven seconds. 

Congratulations, UCA students, on a job well done!

 

Canned Food Drive

Food Drive

November 7 through 17, students at Uvalde Classical Academy were given a chance to give.  They brought non-perishable food items for the school’s Canned Food Drive.  The class with the most items collected—Mrs. Wright’s seventh through tenth graders, who brought in 567 items—earned lunch out at an establishment of choice, and also the chance to play Pie Face. 

“We made it a contest so you would give more,” laughs Parent-Teacher Committee chair Ashley Hale. 

The trick worked: over 2,070 items were donated for the drive.  Food collected went to the Presbyterian Church to be given back to community members in need.

Of those community members, Hale says, “When we’re hungry, we go to our kitchen to get our food… [but] they know what it’s like to be hungry and… [not] know where to go.”

She commends the students who gave:  “What [they] did makes a difference.”

 

Veteran's Day

VA

This year's Veterans' Day program at Uvalde Classical Academy was a huge success, thanks to the hard work students put into the presentation.  There were poems recited, songs sung, and a Fallen Comrade ceremony performed to remember those who have been lost.  At the end, [rank] Robert Garland, great uncle to students Kash and Briggs Shepard, voiced what many in the audience felt: genuine appreciation for the effort put forth.  "Thank you for today," he told those gathered.  "Thank you for remembering." 

Garland also had an admonition for the students.  "It is my hope and prayer," he said solemnly, "that none of these young people will have to go in harm's way, but if you do for this country--" and here he looked pointedly at several-- "stand tall and know that we're with you."

In all, fifteen veterans were in attendance for the program, some still active duty.

 

Fly Fishing

Fishing

Through steady rainfall, second graders at Uvalde Classical Academy rode off on a grand adventure Friday, November 4 to learn how to fly-fish.  Their dedicated teacher, Mrs. Janis Prather, of Camp Wood, brought them to Cooksey Park Crossing on Highway 55 and introduced them to fellow Camp Wood resident Ray Hood who taught them the subtleties of the art. 

“It’s a patient sport,” Hood told the attentive students in a soft-spoken tone, “but you’re constantly moving.” 

Each student was then given a one-on-one lesson.  The child held the reel while Hood stood behind him patiently guiding the movement.  “Pick it up, pause, push,” he instructed the students, mimicking the gentle rhythm of a fly-fisherman’s cast.  Students were later given an opportunity to practice the newly learned skill by fishing on their own.  Though not all on fly fishing rods, they each averaged almost six fish caught and released.

 

Big Bend National Park

Uvalde Classical Academy’s fifth through tenth graders recently went on a three-day trip to Big Bend National Park.  Students were able to tour a ghost town, hike to the historic Hot Springs, and even raft the Rio Grande.  The adventure left an impression on the students as big as the park itself. 

“I was able to look up at the stars at night at the ranch we stayed at,” says eighth grader Chris Rendon.

Fifth grader Westin Walker suggests what he “will never forget is that I touched Mexico on the rafting trip.”

“The hike was a killer,” says Jordyn Johnson, also a fifth grader, “but it had good rewards like [the] Hot Springs and ice cream.”

In total, students were on the bus for 16 hours and fourteen minutes and logged 920 highway miles.  But the memories made are well worth the resources spent!  Indeed, they are priceless. 

 

Grandparents Day Celebration

To honor the families of our students, Uvalde Classical Academy hosted a Grandparents Luncheon Monday, October 3.  In all, at least fifty-six parents and grandparents were in attendance.  Some honored guests came from places like Houston, others from places closer to home like Leaky. 

Tables were decorated simply, with fresh wildflowers and bright yellow tablecloths.  Guests, as well as students, were served a pineapple party punch and nibbled on sugar cookies from The Cookie Kitchen.  There was even a sign for the unwritten Beatitude: “Blessed are those who snuggle and hug, spoil and pamper, boast and brag, for they shall be called grandparents.”

UCA’s Parent Teacher Committee, or PTC, organized the event.  “It’s my favorite thing,” says Ashley Hale, co-chair of PTC.  “I love it—having the families here.”  Many families are grateful, indeed, for the opportunity to come and the work put in to make the event so lovely.

 

See You at the Pole

SYATP

Entirely student-led, See You at the Pole is a gathering of young people across the world to pray for their nations, their schools, and individual needs.  It began in 1990 with a group of students in Burleson, Texas and has now grown to over three million students globally who meet to pray around their campus flagpoles. 

This year, Uvalde Classical Academy joined the throng of those who “come boldly to the throne of grace,” as Scripture says.  A total of nineteen students stood at a microphone near the flagpole and prayed, while the rest of the student body, as well as the parents gathered, listened reverently.

“We are so very blessed to have been led by the students in prayer,” said Aubrey Whipkey afterwards, mother of students Whitney and RC. 

Corporate prayer is a freedom we still have in America.  Let us continuously teach the next generation its importance.

 

Newton's Laws of Motion

Newton's Law of Motion

“Jack Brock and Colton Tatsch prepare for a presentation on Newton’s Laws of Motion in science class.”

Sixth graders at Uvalde Classical Academy, dubbed “science whizzes” by their teacher Mrs. Charla Jenkins, have been studying the laws of motion in their first weeks of school.  “They’re putting a name to what’s happening around them,” Jenkins says.  Many of the students are able to recite the laws verbatim, which prepares them for studying physics in high school.

One thing Jenkins hopes students will get out of the study is the ability to converse about the topic.  “It’s one thing to understand,” she notes, but desires that “if they hear something, they can contribute to the conversation.”

When asked what she has learned thus far, Felicity Fry responded with an illustration: “If there was no gravity and you kicked a ball, it would keep going forever until it bumps into something.”

 “Be careful hitting something hard,” warns Jack Brock, “because it bounces back with an equal amount of force.”

 

Miracles in Scripture

September 15 Chapel

Uvalde Classical Academy holds chapel services for its students every weekday from 8-8:15, which community members are welcomed to attend.  This month’s theme focuses on the miracles in Scripture.

Last Monday, September 12, Head of School Amanda Dockal began the service by asking if students had ever witnessed a storm.  “What did you do?” she asked the crowd at her feet.

“I tried to find a safe place,” replied one fourth grade student, Laney Goetzel.

Dockal reminded those listening that Jesus is that safe place.  “What would it be like if we were having a windstorm outside and all of a sudden it just stopped?” she asked.  “What we must remember is this: Jesus is in control of even the most violent storms.”

Well-timed after the anniversary of 9/11, this message is not just for school children: If Jesus is Lord of All, He is Lord of the Storm, too.

 

September 6, 2016 - UCA's First Day of School

UCA FDOS

Uvalde Classical Academy kicked off its new school year the day after Labor Day, Tuesday, September 6.   And Head of School Amanda Dockal had a message ready for the students.  An invaluable blessing to UCA families and the Board of Trustees, this will be the second year for Dockal to serve as Head of School.

Nervousness is expected, Dockal explained to her wide-eyed audience, many of which were elementary students.  Yet knowing the expectations is key to fostering peace and calming nerves.  In true Dockal style, she wasted no time in setting up those expectations.

“At UCA,” she said, “we will work hard, keep our promises, tell the truth, count our blessings, love one another—and have fun!”  Based in Scripture, these simple tenets are a fitting reminder to those returning and a calming reassurance to new faces that the culture at UCA is one of cooperation.  Welcome back!


 

SCHOOL YEAR 2015-2016

“Awards and Graduation”

Thursday, May 26 marked an important transition in the life of one of Uvalde Classical Academy’s students:  She graduated high school amid a crowd of supportive parents, relatives, classmates and friends.  Upon walking the stage that night, Abby Chisum joined a group of elite men and women, proud UCA alumni.  Since its first in 2012, the school has only graduated 4 students, including Chisum.

Before receiving her diploma, Chisum gave her testimony in front of the gathered crowd.  The testimony centered around how valuable UCA had become to her in the two years she had been a student there.  Attending public high school in ninth and tenth grades had become uncomfortable at best because of bullying and the like.  “We were considering home school,” she says, “and then we heard about UCA.” 

Not only did the school provide a safe environment to escape bullying.  Through UCA, Chisum discovered the worth of forming bonds with not only fellow students, but also teachers.  According to  her testimony, teachers like Mrs. Mueller helped her appreciate her current stage in life all the more.  This year Mueller, her homeroom, Bible, History, Literature, and Logic teacher, took her to visit colleges as well as helped her decide on a class ring.  Influence like that can never be understated.

In addition to graduating its senior that night, UCA also recognized its student body with awards for a job well done.  Medals were given to students for being placed on the honor roll, being the most improved in their classes, setting an outstanding example for others, and winning each division of the spelling bee.  As well as these, character trait awards were handed out to each student, showing what Christian character he best exemplifies.  Congratulations, UCA students—and our honored graduate, Abby Chisum—for making this a truly successful year!

 

“Slip-n-Slide Field Day”

With the end of school comes a favorite among school children:  Field Day, with its wacky games and a chance to escape the normal classroom routine.  The administration at Uvalde Classical Academy put in countless hours of prep time just to make this year’s Field Day, held Friday, May 20, extra special.

Hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church, students walked the short distance up Getty Street to participate.  UCA’s Field Day included expected favorites like tug-o-war and three-legged race, yet also had new challenges such as “sheet volleyball”—popping water balloons over a fence for the opposing team to “catch”—and the potato relay.  

Upon seeing the sizable potatoes set out neatly on the starting line, fifth graders gathered round to cheer them on.  “All right, potatoes, you can do it!  Go, go, go!”

Not to be outdone, UCA faculty and staff had their turn at events as well.  They first faced off in the “donut relay”—a four-man 400-meter race where participants run down the stretch and back wearing an inflated inner tube painted to look like a donut!  Staff then faced off against fifth through tenth graders in an epic battle of tug-o-war.  The faculty, of course, won fair and square.

The best part of the day came in the afternoon.  Head of School Amanda Dockal had advised students to wear swimsuits under their clothing, “just in case.”

“How many of you think we’re having a water gun fight?” Sixth grade teacher Mrs. Hesse asked.  

When hands went up, she declared, “Y’all are all wrong!”

 

Surprised at how well the secret was kept, Dockal had arranged for two inflatable water slides to be set up during the students’ lunch that day.  For the rest of the afternoon the students engaged in wet, muddy fun.

 

“Farewell, Mrs. Hesse”

Rachel Hessee

 

Having begun in the living room of an Uvalde resident some six years ago, Uvalde Classical Academy has always felt more like a family than a typical school. As the school year ends, the UCA family prepares to say goodbye to one of its key members—an absence which will be keenly felt in the years to come.

Rachel Hesse has been with UCA from the beginning.  She has served as administrator and second/third grade teacher, among many other roles.  Beloved among students, she has taught many of the current student body.  This is what some of the third through fifth graders have to say:

  • “Every day you make me smile,” writes Whitney Whipkey.
  •  “You were the best second grade teacher ever,” remembers Presley Schell.
  • “My favorite thing about Mrs. Hesse [is that] she controls the fifth and sixth grade,” Allison Goggans asserts.
  • Jackson Evans says his favorite thing is: “I like that her voice is always heard.” 
  • Westin Walker remembers pleasantly, “One time we did a race and I won, so the next day we got a root beer.”
  • “She is so pretty and she is really nice,” Jordyn Johnson admires.
  • “Thank you for helping the school in your way,” Samson Diaz says.
  • “I had a lot of fun in second grade,” says Trey Dockal.
  •  “You are a teacher who cares about others and is one of the coolest teachers I have ever had,” writes Trinity Ogburn.
  • “I want to show the love you showed me to other people…  You have been a blessing in my life,” says Felicity Fry.
  • “God will be with you on your move; He will lead you there safely,” Jack Brock declares.
  •  “UCA loves you,” writes Abigail Sanfor

Indeed we do love you, Mrs. Hesse.  God richly bless you!

 

“How Sweet the Sound”

Amazing Grace

Friday, May 6, the Grand Opera House was flooded with guests eager to watch a show, and many of them arrived early to get a good seat.  At 6:30 sharp, drama coach Addie Langham took center stage to welcome the audience to Uvalde Classical Academy’s second play of the year, Amazing Grace.

Written by Langham, the production is based on the Easter story.  Following a blue “twitter bird,” two children, Anna—played by fifth grader Felicity Fry—and Caleb—played by fifth grader Jack Brock— overhear the plot of the Pharisees to kill Jesus of Nazareth.  They do what they can to stop the plot—including eavesdropping at the window to the Upper Room.  Yet in the end, Jesus still hangs humiliated on a cross.

“It’s my fault Jesus is dead,” Caleb confesses to Jesus’ mother, Mary, played by sixth grader Morgan Dreyer.

In the shadow of the ugly Cross Mary boldly declares, “No, dear boy.  None of this is your fault… He chose to die.”

“Why would He choose death over life?” Anna chimes in.

“Jesus chose death,” proclaims Mary, “so that you could have life.”  Her message brings hope to those gathered—and peace to us as we put faith in Jesus’ precious sacrifice two thousand years later.

Many original songs were used in the play, such as “Fifty-three Verse Six,” written by David Maynard of England, a lyrical retelling of Isaiah 53:6, which describes our need for a Savior.  Another original song, voiced by sixth grader Shandaniah Fry, “The Woman at the Well,” was written by Ann Millen Longacre.  Beloved favorites also graced the stage, including “Amazing Grace.”

We at UCA are so proud of the work the students did both on stage and behind the scenes to put this vital production together.

 

“T-CAL Meet and Info on Production”

Vocal Competition

UCA's sixth grade girls attend a vocal competition in San Antonio.  From left to right:  Parent Jana Fry, Anna Cate Walker, Shandaniah Fry, Brinley Goggins, Sadie Rendon, Zada Garcia, and Morgan Dryer.

The weeks finishing out the school year at Uvalde Classical Academy have been and doubtless will continue to be quite busy for students.  Students have participated in a wide range of competitive events recently, in addition to continuing to prepare for the upcoming performance of Amazing Grace.

One such competition was an academic and fine arts meet hosted by T-CAL, which stands for Texas Christian Athletic League and is headquartered in San Antonio.  Held at Sunnybrook Christian Academy in San Antonio April 21-23, member schools competed in events ranging from persuasive speaking to interpretive dance. 

Though the meet itself was primarily for high schoolers, special permission was granted for UCA’s sixth grade girls to participate in the choir competition.  The girls sang from memory “Veni, Veni Emanuel,” Latin for “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”  Results from the competition are pending.  Yet no matter the outcome, we are still so very proud of them!

Another such competition for UCA students was the 35th Annual Southwest Texas Junior College Creative Arts Competition.  Many of the art students submitted entries in categories like drawing with color, painting, scratchboard, pen and ink, pencil, and charcoal.  In total, 31 percent of the student body will receive an award from SWTJC for their outstanding achievement.

Behind the scenes, students are still diligently preparing for the production of Amazing Grace, the salvation story through the eyes of children, scheduled for this coming Friday, May 6, at 6:30 p.m. at the Opera House.  Tickets will be sold at the door: $10 for adults and $8 for children.  We hope to see you there!

 

“Results of the Great Debate”

Greate Debate

The judges stand behind the pro and con sides of UCA's "Great Debate" on prayer.  From L to R:  Erik Castillon, Chris Rendon, Sabrina Guevara, Karina Rojas, Paris Davis, Abby Chisum, Nolan du Plooy, Myles Culver, Tripper Wright, Isaiah Huerta, and Jackson Elliot. 

Friday, April 15, the seventh through twelfth graders at Uvalde Classical Academy were engaged in what has been dubbed “the Great Debate.”  Students spent weeks preparing for the formal discussion and arrived at school in their Sunday best.  In attendance for the event were UCA’s second through sixth graders, as well as Algebra II teacher Elijah Evans, and Tiffany Culver, debater Myles Culver’s mother. 

The purpose for the debate was to sharpen students’ reasoning and argument skills.  As Scripture says in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  The discussion was designed to help the students sharpen not only what they believe but also how they communicate that belief to others.

The debate itself sought to answer the question, “How effective is prayer?”  There were two sides to the discussion:  pro-prayer, the side that says prayer has great effect in the kingdom of God; and “anti-prayer,” the side that says prayer has little effect.  In the end, the judges sided with “pro-prayer,” noting, however, that the opposition did argue quite effectively.

“You say that Moses asked for mercy on the people [in Exodus 32],” Myles Culver, team captain for the anti-prayer panel, began in his opening statement. “How can you say that prayer effected that and it wasn’t God’s plan to begin with?”

Chris Rendon, though the youngest on the pro-prayer panel, expertly summed up the panel’s argument: “Prayer is the privilege of touching the heart of our Father.  It is the exercise of faith and hope and the practice of the presence of God.”

The students did so well that another debate—this one school-wide—is set for Monday, May 9.   The subject for the upcoming discussion is still to be determined.  As always, parents and interested community members are encouraged to attend.

 

"The Privileges of a Small School"

HeartHeart

You may have understood the expression to “have a heart” as advice to be more compassionate.  For senior Abby Chisum at Uvalde Classical Academy, having a heart also means having the attention of all the curious little ones at school. 

Crowded around the anatomy class science dissection last Wednesday, students in pre-kinder through fifth grade gazed in awe at the eight-pound hunk of organ meat soaking the newspaper in front of them.  Could this really be what a real heart looks like? they wondered. 

“Our heart looks almost just like this [cow’s], only smaller,” answered Larri Ann Wright, science teacher for seventh through twelfth grades.  She pointed out the left and right ventricles to the students, as well as the tendons connected to the muscles that make the heart move.  At nearly eight times the size of the human heart, a cow’s heart serves as an accurately magnified picture of our own beating hearts, which is a mine of information for anatomy students. 

After cutting open the heart with a pocket knife, Abby traced the flow of blood with her fingers inside the cow’s blood vessels.  “It was cool how all the different tubes lead to different parts,” she replied when asked about the most fascinating element of the dissection.  “They [the blood vessels] all have a certain role.” 

“That’s the privilege of a small school,” third grade teacher Caryn Goggins notes, whose own students poked their heads through the railing on the second floor to be a part of the dissection.  “One kid has a biology lesson [and] we all get to learn something.  Fourth graders dissected a [pig’s] eye because they had the time and could.” 

This type of all-school inclusion certainly does make learning come alive.

 

“For the Sake of Young Minds”

2016 Spelling Bee

This past week has been eventful for students at Uvalde Classical Academy.  Students have enjoyed a little friendly competition, as well as a visit from an out-of-town special guest.

Friday, April 1, pre-Kinder through high school students participated in a school-wide spelling bee.  Pre-Kindergarten competed in letter recognition, while those in kindergarten and up were asked to spell whole words.  A winner was chosen at each grade level: Tripper Wright, representing seventh through twelfth grade; Fletcher Sample, sixth; Grayson Hesse, fifth; Nixon Havelka, fourth; Samson Diaz, third; Connor Dalrymple, second; Zacarías Cardona, first; Logan Knape, Kindergarten; and Addison Sanford, representing pre-Kinder.  Congratulations to our nine winners!

In addition to the excitement of the bee, students enjoyed a guest speaker for Monday’s all-school chapel.  On April 4 Chemist John Pendleton spoke to the students, having traveled all the way from Zacatecas, Mexico, to encourage them.  Founder of Científicos Creacionistas Internacional (CCI), a science organization which promotes knowledge of creationism, Pendleton shared the possibility of dinosaurs being alive today.  He showed a slide of what he called a “dinosaur pine,” what the reptiles would have eaten.  If the dinosaur’s food is still around, he reasoned with the students, why not the one that eats it!

Pendleton gave the students quite a lot to think about through his presentation.  “The purpose of Noah’s ark was to preserve life,” he declared.  He reminded students that God brought the ancient animals—one of every kind!—to the Ark, what he calls “the greatest miracle.”  Why would God have allowed the dinosaurs onto an ark only to have them die off later?

Both the students and John Pendleton should be commended for their efforts. Mr. Pendleton just mights be the speaker who has traveled the longest distance for the sake of our students’ young minds.

 

“Results of the Drawing”

UCA Truck Raffle Winner

 Uvalde Classical Academy recently partnered with Griffith Ford to host a raffle ticket sale, the proceeds of which benefited the school.  Participants bought tickets for a chance to win a brand-new 2015 Ford F150.  March 19 the drawing was held at Oasis Outback; anticipation mounted as ticket-holders waited for the results.  Juan Santos of Uvalde was the lucky winner.  Total ticket sales reached $60,325.  Thank you, Uvalde—and all the UCA families who put in such hard work and tireless dedication—for making this fundraiser such a huge success!

 

“Upcoming Debate”

From time to time, Uvalde Classical Academy uses its school-wide chapel time to showcase the learning happening within the classroom.  Next month, students in grades seventh through twelfth—affectionately known as the “upper school” at UCA—will have a chance to showcase their own understanding of logic.  Put together by logic teacher Mrs. Kathy Mueller, upper-school students will conduct a formal debate on the topic of prayer. 

Each of the eleven students participating will have a role to play in the debate.  There will be a panel of three debaters “for” prayer and a panel of three “against” it, as well as five judges fielding questions.  Mueller has asked the panels to prepare opening statements, main points, and rebuttals; for the judges, they are to create four questions each to ask both panels.  Students will earn credit for their logic classes on how well they prepare.

“I don’t want it to be just opinions,” Mueller mentioned as she fleshed out the idea with a colleague.  She noted that knowing and understanding what the Bible says about this topic is key.  She has asked each of the panels to dig into Scripture for evidence of prayer’s effectiveness, as well as of the sovereignty of God.

Participating in the debate will be as follows: Abby Chisum, Karina Rojas, and Isaiah Huerta “for” prayer’s effectiveness; Myles Culver, Chris Rendon, and Jackson Elliot “against”; and Sabrina Guevara, Erik Castillon, Tripper Wright, Nolan duPlooy, and Paris Davis as judges.

The debate is set for Friday, April 15 from 8:15 to 8:45 in the morning.  The public, as well as any interested parents, are welcome to join us.

 

"Fort Clark Days"

 Fort Clark

 L to R:  Maddy Johnson, Miah Melchor, and Hagen Hesse participate in Army drills at Ft. Clark Days.

Friday, March 4, Uvalde Classical Academy’s first and second grade students enjoyed sunshine and stories from the men and women participating in Ft. Clark Springs’ annual Ft. Clark Days.  Ongoing for nearly forty years, the event seeks to educate the public about Texas’ role in pivotal historical events such as the Civil War.  Here is what the students had to say:

“The best part about Ft. Clark Days was the shooting of the cannon,” wrote first-grader Zacaraias Cadona.  Amy Coblentz, Zacarias’ classmate, agreed with him but added that she also liked “the man that made nails and the army stuff.”  Recci Chisum, another of Zacarias’ classmates, declared, “The best part of Ft. Clark Spring Days [for me] was that helicopter and [the] camels.”

Students were able to learn about military units on the field trip, where the presenter instructed them in military drill.   “The funny thing about it,” noted second grader Maddy Johnson, “was that I was in the Army for four minutes!”

At one point, volunteers from Texas Parks and Wildlife created fire before the students’ very eyes.  Describing the event, first grader Alexia Alejandro marveled, “Sometimes they do fire all by themselves.”

Richard Gonzalez, the Lipan Apache band member who recently visited the school, was also there to remind students of the fascinating history of his people.  Nearly half of the second graders mentioned his display as one of their favorites.  “The best part of Ft. Clark Days was seeking the teepees and camels and what they used to make food and clothes and instruments,” noted second grader Miah Melchor.

Clearly, the students enjoyed themselves very much!

 

“The Wondrous Cross”

The Lenten season is an appropriate time to meditate on the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.  One local musical promises to have its audience do just that. 

Starting March 7, the students at Uvalde Classical Academy will be busily preparing for their upcoming spring performance.  Called Amazing Grace, the story is set 2,000 years ago in Israel and focuses on two young children who overhear plots to kill Jesus of Nazareth during Passover.  The children stop at nothing to warn Jesus of the plan—only to discover that dying was really His plan all along.

Fifth and sixth grade teacher Mrs. Addie Langham wrote the play expressly for the school to perform.  Over sixty percent of the student body at UCA will participate in the production, either through on-stage performances or as stagehands.  Two middle school and high school students will participate both on and off stage. 

The performance, a world premiere of the play, is set for Friday, May 6, at the Janey Slaughter Briscoe Opera House.  It will feature original songs, as well as beloved hymns like “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”  More information on where to purchase tickets to follow.

 

“Learning about Apache Ways of Life”

Richard Gonzalez shares how the tamale is actually a food his people would prepare as they traveled.Lipan Apache member Richard Gonzalez shares his rich heritage with students of UCA.UCA students carefully examine artifacts from the Lipan Apache way of life.

On February 19, students at Uvalde Classical Academy received a visit from a valuable member of our community and learned a peace of painful yet important local history.  Richard Gonzalez, Vice Chairman of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas in Bracketville and himself a Lipan Apache, shared with the students some of his family’s history, as well as aspects of the Apache way of life.

Gonzalez told the story of his great-grandmother, an eight-year-old in 1873 who survived the raid of Col. Ranald S. McKenzie, of Ft. Clark, on a village in Remolino, Mexico, west of Eagle Pass.  Two of the woman’s cousins were taken captive by the Calvary and sent first to Fort Clark, and then to an Indian school in Pennsylvania.  Lipan Apaches had moved to Remolino from Texas for survival.  “We were just people minding our own business,” Gonzalez noted. 

Every aspect of the Apache way of life is filled with purpose, Gonzalez shared—and some of our own beloved traditions have come out of that purpose.  He spoke of the quinceñera, a custom which has its roots in the Apache coming-of-age celebration of womanhood.  He also mentioned tamales, a food which Apache would prepare as they traveled.

Gonzalez showed students a small arrow quiver, brightly colored with beads tied beautifully on its top and bottom.  “This is for a child,” he said.  “It’s to teach you to hunt quietly.”  If a young hunter could be successful with such a noisemaker, imagine what he might be without one!

When asked what she learned from the visit, fourth grader Jordyn Johnson had this to say: “That the [American] people were very unfair to the Indians.”

Fifth grader Grayson Hesse noted pleasantly, “Indians are cooler than you think.”

 

“Lent and Valentine’s Day”

Lent and Valentine's Day

The season of Lent is important for a great many people in our community.  Frequently, Lent falls at the same time as other beloved celebrations, including Valentine’s Day.  Students at Uvalde Classical Academy recently learned how the two seasons are tied together.

In chapel, Mrs. Laura Dabney retold the story of Bishop Valentinus, a clergyman from the third or fourth century who secretly continued to marry young couples when it was against the law to do so.  Emperor Claudias of Rome had issued a decree at the time prohibiting the giving and taking in marriage; this was because, goes the story, Claudias wanted a stronger army.  If a young man were to have a wife, he might be less inclined to go to war and risk death on the battlefield. 

Valentinus was eventually caught for his “crime” and sentenced to death.  Once in jail, according to legend, he befriended a jailor and his blind daughter.  Just before Valentinus’ death, they found a note addressed to the girl—“from your Valentine,” it said.  Thus we have the tradition of giving and receiving little notes of love and affection.

But what about Lent?  According to Mrs. Dabney, the Lenten season focuses on “the ultimate expression of love.”  Jesus, she pointed out, is our Ultimate Valentine.  John 15 reminds us that His sacrifice is truly the greatest—“for greater love has no man than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Dabney challenged the students to remember that this season of sacrifice is really all about love.  “Do something more,” she urged, not something less.  One suggestion:  Set aside time for your Valentine.  “Give part of your life—to God, your ultimate Best Friend.”

 

“Grateful for Gift”

Grateful for Gift

Students at Uvalde Classical Academy have been eagerly anticipating a special event this year—the completion of the school’s new playscape, big enough and strong enough even for the big kids!  Through the hard work of dedicated UCA dads, students were able to play on the set for the first time January 18.  The addition comes brand-new from an out-of-town supplier, courtesy of a generous donation.

Not only did the donation pay for the playscape; it also funded other much-needed upgrades to the entire playground.  The new playset is only part of a plan already in the works to make UCA’s schoolyard as kid-friendly and play-friendly as can be.  Completed January 16, the play set marks the first phase of the project.

As well as the playground, plans to finish the schoolyard include the completion of a swing set and finishing the yard’s fencing.  The swing set is scheduled to be completed within the next couple of weeks.  Fencing will be done in the next few months.

Students are thoroughly enjoying the new playground equipment during their daily recess, as well as during the allotted “free play time” in P.E. class.  Indeed, they are thrilled to be so very blessed—and the only thing any of us at UCA can say about this blessing is one great big THANK YOU!    

 

“Participating in the Stock Show” 

Thursday, January 28, Uvalde Classical Academy’s Kindergarten through fourth graders spent their afternoon at the Uvalde County Livestock Show.  Students toured the arena beginning with the goats and sheep, and were also able to spend some time viewing the swine and horses.  They were excited to see the animals being prepped for their time on the show floor.  The students also enjoyed looking at the rabbits and were especially excited when they were able to pet them.  

Several second graders commented on their favorite part of the visit. Daren Havelka replied that she enjoyed helping her sister with her pigs and loved petting them. Connor Dalrymple said that after seeing all of the kids showing their animals, he was inspired to show an animal next year.

The student body at UCA had a busy part in this year’s livestock show, to be sure.  Of the 70 students currently enrolled, 10 students brought various entries to the junior show, while another 29 visited to express support of their fellow students.  Congratulations to those who participated, and also to those who placed.  We are so very proud of you!

 Exhibitor Name            Division                      Place  Special Placing

    Jack Brock               Swine                               4

    Mary Claire Brock    Swine                               3

    William Cassin         Meat Goat Wethers          4

    Morgan Dreyer        Baked Food Show-          1  Grand Champion

    Morgan Dreyer        Breeding Sheep-              3

    Morgan Dreyer        Meat Goat Wethers          2

    Morgan Dreyer        Meat Goat Wethers          1  Res. Division Champion

    Manny Hale             Meat Goat Does               1  Division Champion

    Manny Hale             Meat Goat Wethers          1  Grand Champion

    Nixon Havelka         Swine                               1

    Nixon Havelka         Swine                               2

    Trinity Ogburn         Meat Goat Does               5

    Trinity Ogburn         Meat Goat Wethers          7

    Mackenzie Pitts       Baked Food Show-          1  Division Champion

    Mackenzie Pitts       Meat Goat Does               2  Res. Division Champion

    Mackenzie Pitts       Meat Goat Wethers          2

    Anna Cate Walker   Swine                               4

    Westin Walker         Swine                               3

 

What it means to be Classical Part 1

This article begins a four-part series on the meaning of classical education and what makes this approach different from more traditional views of teaching.

The modern classical education movement in the United States has its roots in an article written by author Dorothy Sayers in 1948 entitled “The Lost Tools of Learning.”  In the article, Sayers urges educators to model their teaching styles after skills that were widely taught in the past, and in so doing rediscover the way God intended us to learn.

According to Sayers there are three basic skills one must master in order to learn.  Known as the Trivium, Latin for “the meeting of three ways,” these are: grammar, logic—also known as dialectic—and rhetoric.  Many great minds of the Western world were trained in these skills. 

Sayers calls these arts “stages” because they correspond to the way in which the human brain develops, and advocates tailoring teaching styles to each.  Young students in the grammar stage enjoy learning about the “grammar” of a subject, or the basic rules and facts of a thing.  Young adolescents, in turn progressing to the dialectic stage, thrive in an environment where they can argue and reason out through careful logic the truth of the world around them.  Older adolescents are able to synthesize and poetically add depth and personality to their observations, thus arriving at the rhetoric stage.

Rather than strictly “subjects” as such, these are tools to help one discover the world.  If you give a man a fish, goes the proverb, he’ll eat for a day.  But if you teach a man to fish, then he’ll eat for a lifetime.  Mastering the Trivium—grammar, logic, and rhetoric—is mastering learning for a lifetime.

 

What it means to be classical part 2

This article marks part two of a four-part series on what classical education means.  It focuses on what has been termed “the grammar years,” from ages 5 to about the age of 12.  It is important to start a classical education from the very beginning; that way, the student has the best chance to build a strong foundation.

From kindergarten through sixth grade students are fascinated by the “grammar” of a subject, its nuts and bolts, so-to-speak—the way it works, its particular rules, its basic facts.  They love to shout with glee bits of information simply because they know them.  They are awestruck with wonder at the world around them.  For them, learning is magic.

Classical education seeks to capitalize on the “magic” of a grammar student’s world.  These students enjoy collecting things—knowledge most especially.  Learning by heart for them is a proverbial piece of cake.  In the grammar stage they are busily collecting a large knowledge base that they will one day put to rigorous use.

To fill the student’s mind, the grammar classroom is filled with repetition and rhythm.  Students recite important names and dates through verbal timelines.  They also “sound off,” committing small doses of information to memory and saying them out loud with their classmates as part of a larger body of information.  The grammar classroom is also full of songs and chants as a way to aid memorization. 

The grammar of a subject—its foundational understanding—is key to learning any new thing in life.  No matter how old you are, at some point you will be in the grammar stage again, grasping the basics.  Repetition and rhythm help it all stick. 

“I enjoy coming to UCA because I know I’m getting the proper education I need.”  --Karina Rojas, 10th grade

 

What it means to be Classical, Part 3

This article marks part three of a four-part series on the nature of classical education.  The previous two articles have dealt with both classical education as a concept and the grammar, or elementary, years.  This article will focus on “middle school,” what is called “the logic stage.”

Once a student reaches a certain age—usually seventh grade, about age thirteen—he begins to question his world and yearn to see the connections that already exist around him.  This student likes to argue, as well as catch his authority figures in bad arguments.  He is still excitable, yet needs a challenge. 

It can be difficult to navigate this stage.  Frequently the student acts as though he is more knowledgeable than any others around him.  He will question and critique a wide variety of subjects.  However, the goal of this stage is to tap into the student’s natural desire to debate and teach him to argue well. 

Students in this stage study logic as a subject, where they practice analyzing arguments and defining one’s terms.  They also participate in debates, both formally and informally.  They thrive on research projects, persuasive reports, and oral presentations.  Educators look for ways to apply students’ growing knowledge of logic to other areas of study.

If you find it hard to relate to a student at this stage, remember to take full advantage of his natural inclination to argue.  Let your wisdom sharpen his budding reasoning skills.  He’ll be a much better man for it!

 

What it means to be Classical, Part 4

This marks part four of a four-part series on what classical education means.  The first three articles dealt with the definition of classical education and the needs of students ages five through fourteen.  This article will deal with classical education for high school, ages sixteen to eighteen.  If you missed an article in the series, they are available at the Uvalde Classical Academy’s website, uvaldeclassical.org, in “Community News” under the “School” tab.

For the high school, or rhetoric student, the goal of his education is effective communication, learning what to say and when to say it. There are five skills needed for this goal: developing an argument; speaking “off-the-cuff;” using appropriate style; speaking from memory; and smooth delivery.  Participating in drama helps to sharpen such skills because many of them are also needed for acting.

Rhetoric students are engaged in several activities besides drama.  Juniors work on a research topic to present and defend to a faculty member; seniors present to a panel of faculty.  In addition to these, many will participate in mock trial, where the goal is to sift through information and present opinions persuasively. 

There should be a measure of freedom for rhetoric students.  As Dorothy Sayers understood so many years ago, “The doors of the storehouse of knowledge should be thrown open for them to browse about as they will.”  Students are encouraged to focus on a special interest of their own by participating in independent study, which makes learning personal to the student.  He just may find what he wants his major to be in college!

We at UCA believe a classical education is essential for a well-rounded citizen who is prepared for the choices of a modern world.  Though rigorous, it is the most rewarding of pursuits.  Open enrollment begins April 1.