PD in the time of Covid-19

Professional Development days have always been a late-summer feature at HDCH, as we join together for two days as a united staff learning community. HD’s theme of 20-21 is Care. Mr. Todd emphasized that student well-being and the quality of the student learning experience is our primary shared purpose. We continue to focus on caring for students and connecting them to God’s call in their lives.

Practically, pandemic protocols and implementation of these has been a focus of our PD sessions. Teachers are actively preparing for the new reality of teaching 150-minute classes and incorporating remote learning within a Covid-19 context. Staff sat in rows, masked, as students will be. Workshop leaders modelled different kinds of brain breaks and movement breaks, which will be so important this year. 

Unerringly, HDCH staff is focused on caring for each student, engaging in deeper learning and balancing curriculum expectations, in this time.

On Wednesday, all staff spent the day in Professional Development, and today, teachers continued with a focus specifically on instruction. (Not pictured below: the mid-afternoon ice cream break!)


The Foods class had the opportunity to reflect on their culinary journey this semester and to conclude this course with a Virtual Food Fair summative project. As a class, we had the opportunity to learn from each other by sharing a visual step-by-step presentation that included techniques, tips, and responses from each family as our authentic audience. It was a blessing to take time to reflect and review what we learned in the HDCH kitchen and to see the results of each student’s culinary confidence and growth from their kitchens at home. Great job!

Learn It, Live It in Kinesiology

The Introductory Kinesiology class has been working on a project called “Learn It, Live It”. Students were challenged to craft a question that both interests them and relates to the subject of Kinesiology. Some examples of questions that students posed are:

  • How can I teach my brother to kick a soccer ball with his non-dominant foot?
  • How can I turn hiking into a full-body workout?
  • I rarely ever eat breakfast, would I actually notice a difference if I ate a healthy breakfast?
  • What factors contribute to improving my balance for horseback riding?

Next, students completed the “Learn It” section through research and analysis of their chosen topic. Secondly, students were challenged to “Live It” by attempting to integrate their project into everyday life. Examples of how the student’s lived out their projects include:

  • a week-long yoga program aimed at improved flexibility and athletic performance
  • replacing unhealthy snacks with healthy snacks and journaling about the process
  • trying various forms of exercise in order to lessen the symptoms of migraines
  • engaging in morning workouts to try and boost energy levels throughout the day

It has been great to observe the student’s high level of engagement in their learning as they attempt to answer questions that are relevant to their health!

Quarantunes: The Quaratine Album

The Senior Vocals Class, taught by Mr. Vanderwoude, has been working on a project called “Quarantunes: The Quarantine Album.”

Students selected songs from a list comprised mainly of Musical Theatre, Folk Song, Art Song, or Standards. They learned their music and sent their Mr. Vanderwoude recordings for feedback, going through a few cycles or recroding and critique (including their own self-critique) before doing a final recording.

Students said that they grew musically because of the attention to detail required and the opportunities for self-reflection throughout the cycles of performance. They also learned a lot about recording and the editing and technology side of music.

According to Mr. Vanderwoude, the biggest challenge was getting on the same page, musically, while never being able to work together directly. Even so, students expressed a lot of gratitude for all they learned through the experience.

Listen to “Quarantunes” here!

Visual Devotions

Some of our Visual Arts students created and shared visual devotions with our whole school community on Edsby School Talk. Here is some of the beautiful work we got to enjoy!

Carly SluysThis is my small devotional art on Ruth from the Bible. I decided to use watercolour for my visual and paint around the writing. The birds flying away are symbolic to how Ruth had to let go of so many things in her own life and I painted blue irises to symbolize Ruth’s journey as the flower can mean both hope and faith.

Ruth – by Carly Sluys

Alyssa DeVries – This is my devotional for Harriet Tubman. I made a collage using maps of all the places she went in the US to rescue enslaved people, overall rescuing upward of 300 people using the underground railway. I used tea to age it with some splatters.
The painting is what I envision Harriet was talking about when she recalled how she felt as she escaped into the free state of Pennsylvania: “When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.”
I used watercolour and some acrylic paint for the painting.

Anonymous – Saint Valentine is a hero of the faith because of the way he fought corrupt powers under Christ’s guidance, and inspired people to fight for those they love. We don’t know much about Valentine’s background, but according to most myths and stories, he was a priest who officiated the marriage of couples in the sight of God. He was a very compassionate and loving man who dedicated himself to bringing couples together. So his call to adventure came when the current Emperor at the time, Claudius II, outlawed marriages.

Trusting God despite a threat of death over his head, Valentine continued marrying couples in their homes instead of the Square to avoid a commotion. Still, news got out soon enough, and Valentine was arrested and locked up. There he met the daughter of the jailer, a lovely girl named Julia who brought him food every day. She had been blind for many years, and everyone who knew her, including her bitter, aged father, saw her as useless for everything but delivering lousy food. But Valentine saw her worth as a child of God and taught her about the Lord Jesus Christ.

He showed her Christ-like love, keeping joy in his heart, and as the days stretched on, the two talked more and more. Since Julia couldn’t see, Valentine described colours and flowers and everything he remembered. The next day, Julia brought him his favourite flowers. That was the day Valentine told her he had been praying for God to restore her sight, and that was the day he did.

Valentine led Julia, and her family to Christ through God healing her, but sadly, this miracle did not affect the Emperor. That day, when Valentine was on trial, he was asked to and refused to renounce his faith and stop performing marriage ceremonies, so Claudius condemned him to die on February 14th.

Over the years, February 14th has come to be known as a day to remember and appreciate our loved ones. Though its true meaning, however unacknowledged, is a story of faith and devotion to our Lord, Jesus Christ. God can take even the most intimidating times of our lives and turn them into something beautiful that impacts the world for centuries to come, and I think that’s beautiful.

My artwork was supposed to ere on the symbolic side of this assignment, using one of those old fashioned marriage arches I guessed might have been around in Valentine’s time. I put designs of love on the pillars to demonstrate this. In the middle, I have what are supposed to be broken down prison bars, showing how Valentine broke Christians out of prison, and that nothing can stop God. The vines represent new life through Jesus and marriage, and the heart in the background is self-explanatory. I enjoyed this project, and I loved learning more about St Valentine’s journey.

Saint Valentine, Victorious! – Anonymous

Out in the Classrooms


Grade 11 math started the last unit on exponential function this week. Use some simple examples to guide students to understand what an exponential function is. The lesson was then shifted to look at the pandemic, which is relevant to everyone and a real-life application. We looked at the graph and data from this website to briefly study why the graph looked the way it was. An exponential equation can be modelled to describe such pattern, which can also be applied to all epidemics such as SARS, swine flu, ebola virus etc.

The website also talks about the concept of growth factor which serves an important indicator as to whether the entire Covid-19 is actually getting worse or better world-wide (or national-wide) A growth factor greater than 1 indicates more people are infected than the people who recover; a growth factor less than 1 means the other way. When the growth factor is under 1 for a certain period of time means the virus is under control and the government could start to issue the 2nd phase of re-open business.

Through a brief example yet important and relevant to every student, we hope that more students can start to appreciate and see that math can be applied to everything else outside the textbook and classroom, and there is a great amount of knowledge hidden behind everything that is created that is worth studying and exploring.


HDCH Drama Class Presents . . . Scenes from a Quarantine by Lindsay Price. In this scene called “Best Friends,” Alex is introduced to a new friend named “Co” that she is not happy to meet. See what happens when friends decide to break quarantine and sneak out for a get together in this humorous story with a warning.


The Food & Nutrition class continues to focus on developing their culinary skills while preparing various appetizers, main entrees and desserts for their families to enjoy!

As a class, we are celebrating our culinary growth through a ‘Virtual Food Fair’. This experience enables students to select, plan, prepare, and serve their family the food they have prepared. While completing the recipe at home, students take photos in order to teach their peers the steps, provide the chance to share different culinary techniques and describe the final outcome on Zoom.

From this virtual experience, we are learning from each other, sharing delicious recipes, and challenging each other to continue to prepare food from scratch. Here are a few photos of recipes made recently with more to follow as we continue to share our culinary growth together.

Christians in Society

In this time of change, the Christians in Society class has been focused on a Peer Group Bible study that encompasses how to address the issues faced in our world while growing in our own faith. Months ago, students shared their own personal questions about the Bible, faith, grace, prayer, how to communicate with God and how to communicate their faith with others etc.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been working through these questions in our Small Groups. Today we focused on, “In my darkest times, how can I stay close to God, trusting in him regardless of my situation?” Focusing on this student submission was so pertinent because we all continue to face different struggles in our lives and we could also consider what has been happening globally over the past few months. It was effective to compare our lives to the struggles that the apostle Paul faced in his life and to learn about the ‘open hands’ approach bringing our God into the forefront of our lives during these times.

Our discussions enable us to share our joys, concerns, sorrows and to find ways to connect with Jesus Christ on a daily basis. “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10. It is such a blessing to have the opportunity to share and grow together as a group.

Mrs. VanderVelde


The Law 12 and Philosophy 12 classes welcomed General Romeo Dallaire as a guest speaker. Gemeral Dallaire talked about some of his experiences in Rwanda during the genocide, his encounteres with child soldiers, his founding of the Child Soldiers Iniative, and his ongoing work in this area. Students then had an opportunity to ask questions.

Law 11 and Law 12 classes are both preparing and presenting a Zoom version of a mock trial. Law 11 is focusing on criminal mock trials, looking at charges of theft under $5000 in one trial and pointing and possession of a weapon in the other. The class is divided in half, each looking at a different case. Students are witnesses and lawyers in their case, and jury members for the other trial.

Law 12 is looking at international crimes against humanity, where the trial would take place in the International Criminal Court. The charges are related to the recruitment and use of child soldiers. One team of students represents the Prosecutor, another the Defence, and another the Victim. Some students play lawyers and others are witnesses.

Remote Classroom


In senior drama class this semester, we spent the first weeks of school working on a project to be shared at the Spring Fundraising Dinner. It was a selection of personal stories that highlighted how members of our class had felt like they were “on the fringes” but then found a place of belonging at HD.

The stories were nearly ready for performance when life as we know it came to a halt, so they were never shared. Because they are beautiful and meaningful, we wanted to give you a glimpse of them in this format.

Hollie Stronks’ Story:
When Hollie was in elementary school, she struggled to find friendships that were true and real. Continue reading >>

Vocals Class

Mr. Vanderwoude produced accompaniment tracks for each voice type and sent them to students in his Vocals class. The students practiced with the track then recorded themselves singing while listening to the track with headphones (to keep it synced). Mr. Vanderwoude has mixed all the tracks with the accompaniment, and here is the beautiful result of the virtual choir.

We invite you to listen to the vocals class singing May it Be.


Grade 11 math students are going outside to experience where math can be found in nature. Students study the famous Fibonacci Sequence by going outside to examine some plants, such as a pinecone, a pineapple, or just how leaves are spread out on plants. This then leads to the concept of the Golden Ratio. The golden ratio is used almost everywhere in human civilization and history, found in architecture, design, aesthetics, logo, photography, human body etc. Through this fun and interactive lesson, students gain an appreciation of nature and the amazingness of our creator.

Class News


Mr. Selle’s and Ms. Style’s students have been busy creating and practicing speeches in English 3U. They are speaking to the theme “I Know This Much is True” and have already come up with some interesting and insightful stories.

Since the project is online, we have had to adapt to a new forum and discuss presentation skills we might not have otherwise considered: how clean should our space be before we present? Hoodies or no hoodies? How can we avoid looking down at the camera? How can we make our physical gestures and voice extra expressive? With the occasional internet glitch or spotty microphone, students have come up with creative solutions and helped each other create their best work.

Many students have used this opportunity to share some of their most profound experiences. They shared their thesis statements in breakout rooms and offered feedback to each other at a formal rehearsal. After completing a reflection on peer-feedback, students will complete the final step of their project and film their speeches.

I’ve really enjoyed writing about my life and the experiences I’ve had in my speech. This unit has been a great way for me to share a little bit more about myself with others while sharing some truths about life! My favourite part has been writing about my experiences in Dominican, it’s something I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to share otherwise!” ~ Kaelyn Vanderniet

It has been a delight to watch the dedication of our students and the way their stories have strengthened our classroom communities.

You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

This past fall, a group of senior level students embarked on a dramatic quest: to produce and perform a full length drama production. Working with a small cast, limited budget, and a desire for excellence, they decided to perform the musical You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown featuring characters from Charles Schulz’s beloved comic strip, Peanuts. Four student directors and eight energetic cast members got to work.

Twice a week they met after school to learn songs, lines, and choreography. With the assistance of Mr. Vanderwoude, who volunteered to play piano for practices and performances, scenes started to fall into place. By mid-March, the directors felt that they were on track for their planned performances at the end of April.

When HD announced that after the March break they would shift to online learning, the whole team, now dubbed the “Final Act Drama Company,” scrambled to find a way to share their hard work. Eventually, they came to the sad conclusion that they would not be performing their show.

Despite the unfortunate ending, it was still a great experience for all the members of the cast and the directorial team. Favourite memories include growing together as a cast, rehearsing “Book Report” in all of its wacky choreographic glory, the uncontrollable laughter that seemed to come with each practice, and the “aha” moments that came when choreography started to look good.

Some of the students involved reflected on the experience, saying,

“Even though we weren’t able to perform, getting to create hilarious scenes and sing
zany songs with this drama team will be an experience I will never forget.” ~Ashlyn D.

“I was disappointed that we didn’t have the opportunity to perform, especially after the immense amount of work our directors put in to get us a show, but I’m very glad I still was able to spend as much time as I did with my friends practicing. If anything, I miss the cancelled practices more than I miss the potential to perform” ~Providence W.

“ Though we did not get to perform as originally planned, the times we had together were so enjoyable and there are so many good memories from us all. I’m going to miss our practices.” ~Jackie M.


Last week, Nutritionist Jenn Potter joined the Introductory Kinesiology class to talk about food myths and answer student questions. Jenn challenged our class to eat a more balanced breakfast, with specific instructions to focus on protein intake. Here are some of the examples that our class created.

Grade 11 Entrepreneurship

Our business class has been busy brainstorming and planning business ideas!

During our time in remote learning, we’ve learned about MVP (minimum viable product) strategies through designing our own product landing pages, powtoon videos and conducting currency surveys.

As we continue to learn about business and what it means to be an enterprising person, we’ve been blessed by the presence of some amazing experts in our Zoom classes:

Dave Swan, Director of Innovation and Technology at Skyjack (Guelph)
Dave joined us for two class sessions to talk about agility, innovation, iteration and prototyping, as well as how businesses are being affected by and adapting to the current pandemic. Following Dave’s visits, there were many great takeaways from students. One of our classmates noted:

“Foresight is never something I really thought about within innovation. It makes complete sense to look to the future and do the best you can to stay on top and work with the customers and the changing times.”

Ella Dam, Grade 12 student from Chatham Christian High School
Ella currently runs two online businesses through social media platforms. She spoke to our class about how young people have much to offer the business world. Ella took our class through the set up and running of her photography and thrift store businesses, giving us tips on finding our target markets.

Dragica Lebo, Hamilton Business Centre
Ms. Lebo spoke to our class about the importance of business plan writing, providing us with some important tips on what to include in our business plans. She also spoke to our class about the Summer Company grants that are available to students who want to start their own businesses and took time to listen to some of the business ideas from our class. We now have some keen students thinking about potential summer grant applications!

We’re looking forward to future visitors, and are excited to be digging into our business planning!

Grade 9 Integrated Arts

It has been exciting to think about the different ways we can explore the arts (visual and dramatic) from home. During the first weeks of our remote learning, our class learned about storytelling and how to tell a story well. We were so grateful for Ms. Sara Van Barneveld who joined one of our Zoom classes to give us some pro tips on telling a great story. Some of those tips included how to use pace, voice and tone well.

Our students then took their own turns at storytelling. Each student chose a children’s book that would be appropriate for a student between Kindergarten and Grade 3. Once books were selected, students emailed authors and publishers, asking permission to use their stories. Once they had permission, students were tasked with practicing their readings and creating a video recording of their story being told.

All of our videos were uploaded to an unlisted YouTube channel and shared with the primary grade teachers at some of our Christian elementary schools, as well as with our staff, to share with their students and children. It has been fun to watch the number of views change on our video stories as they are enjoyed by people in the community!


Senior drama students spent the first weeks of school working on a project to be shared at the Spring Fundraising Dinner. It was a selection of personal stories that highlighted how members of our class had felt like they were “on the fringes” but then found a place of belonging at HD. The stories were nearly ready for performance when life as we know it came to a halt, so they were never shared. Because they are beautiful and meaningful, we wanted to give you a glimpse of them in this format.

Nathan knows the power of drama and its ability to transform people’s assumptions by revealing the truth about who they are and why they are valued.
Read Nathan’s story at hdch.org/nathans-story

In the Virtual Classroom

Lamb on Zoom

This past week, the grade 11 biology class had a guest on their zoom session, a baby lamb.
The lamb had been born earlier that morning and student, Brooke Houwer, explained that it had been rejected by it’s mother. The mother would let the lamb’s twin feed but head butted this cutie out of the way anytime it tried to get some milk. The family had milked the ewe and were bottle feeding this newborn lamb. A zoom session with a lamb bleating, trying to nibble on Brooke’s clothing and being bottle fed can be seen as a distraction or a fantastic lesson in biology. We choose the latter and welcome baby lamb into our class anytime.

English ~ Grade 10

During this last month, English 2D has been discovering poems and the meaning that lies behind them. We started our unit by talking about literary devices and how they are able to strengthen a poem. After becoming professionals at using literary devices to describe a theme or topic through our five senses, we took a look at other people’s poems. Uncovering the meaning behind someone else’s poem was the next task.

Each student selected a poem written about a social justice issue. Using the poet’s statements and discussing with their classmates helped the students understand more about the meaning and beauty of poetry.

To finish off our unit, students were tasked to write their own poems about an issue that affects their daily lives, or a social justice issue. COVID-19 and quarantine, racism, technology, and equality are a few of the topics that students selected. The final task in this unit was creating a blog to share with our school community.

Check out our blog of original poems here: 2dpoetrycollective.blogspot.com.
– Jasmine Issa – Leadership Student

English ~ Grade 12

Mrs. Alkema’s and Mrs. Boonstra’s English 4U students have been working hard to finish a literary criticism unit that began before March Break. The unit traditionally involves a lot of class discussion and presentation with students taking much of the leadership for applying the principles of the literary theory we study (Northrop Frye’s Four Stories of the Monomyth).

As we moved to online learning after the break, we needed to rethink our lesson plans while still providing students with meaningful connections to both content and each other. For one of our recent lessons, we invited students to choose a film from a list of four and then take notes on how the film fulfills the requirements for the literary mode of Comedy. We then organized breakout rooms for our next in-class Zoom session according to the films students had chosen; students then engaged in a discussion about how their chosen film fulfilled Northrop Frye’s requirements. We came back to the main session all together again, and ended the class with groups sharing one significant highlight from their breakout discussions.

We were able to conclude the unit this past Monday with an open book test during our Zoom session. Students received a sight passage story and had to apply the principles we had been covering to the new story. We’re trying to focus on skills and analysis, so students were challenged to use a wider variety of tools–their notes, the story, and even Grammarly –to craft a well-articulated response.


My grade 10 science class is working through a unit on Climate change and how it affects the world we live in, specifically Canada and Ontario. After covering the information part of the topic, I wanted to try to make it personal to each student and each family so I asked each student to calculate their Carbon Footprint using an online calculator. We didn’t use the basic version of the software as it didn’t go into enough detail for what I wanted them to learn. However, some of the questions in the advanced calculator could be difficult to understand without me being there to walk them through it. So I asked parents to work with the students.

Having parent involvement accomplished a number of goals:

  1. students would get a deeper understanding of their Carbon Footprint
  2. parents would be involved in their child’s learning
  3. students/parents would also learn about how their choices in the home affect the amount of Greenhouse gases that are produced. That was part one of the parent homework assignment.

It was fun assigning homework to parents, some of them being students I had back in the day.

Part 2 – For the unit summative assignment, I required the parents to come back and work through a couple of questions with their child relating to their personal kgs of CO2 produced per year and then compare it to: the average in Canada, the average in the world (much, much less than Canada’s average) and the average in the Hamilton area.

Hopefully discussions can occur between parents and students about what they are learning, why it is important and what can family do to make their little difference in our world. Some of the questions assigned were meant to lead into these types of discussions.

~ Mr. Hordyk

Christians in Society

In response to Covid-19, a group of students from Christians in Society and the WATCH group is focused on reaching out to those who are feeling lonely or isolated at this time. The vision is to provide the opportunity to build connections and provide human interaction in a virtual way.

These students would like to dedicate some of their time to alleviate the feeling of isolation by connecting via email and phone or even Zoom if possible with those living in isolation in our community.

If you know of someone who would appreciate the opportunity to have someone reach out to them for a brief conversation or email connection throughout the week please ask them if they would like to be a part of this outreach program. We will be setting up a ‘Connection Calendar’ with those in our community who would be blessed by this interaction.

 “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:26 ESV

We want to provide an outlet for caring for others in a safe way at a time when it is needed. If you would benefit from this or know someone in your community, or church please ask if they would like to be included and connect with Pauline VanderVelde at pvandervelde@hdch.org.



Remote Classrooms


The Grade 12 Biology class is finishing up a unit on metabolic processes, and for their summary task, they had to show in chart form the basics of everything we’ve covered in the unit. They were encouraged to be creative and get off of their screens. Some students drew on windows, or on sidewalks – or other mediums.

The students are asked to make a visual product once a week that they can share. Mr. Harskamp notes that he’s been impressed so far. “While this is a new way of learning, I have been greatly encouraged by how resilient my students have been in their ability to continue their education out of the physical classroom. That being said, I miss them, and can’t wait to be back in person teaching them again.”


Mr. Vanderwoude made accompaniment tracks for each voice type and sent them out to students. The students are to practice with the track and when they are ready, record themselves singing while listening to the track with headphones (to keep it synced). All the tracks will then be mixed with the accompaniment and shared. We can’t wait to hear the final track!


The Grade 9 Girls’ Phys. Ed classes are working on activity logs for our online learning. Girls have the opportunity to choose any type of activity they enjoy, which has been a perk for many. Many girls have been walking, running, biking, playing different sports in their backyard and doing a variety of online workouts.

We also do a class workout together on Zoom that I lead the students through each week. So far, most girls enjoy that this is their “homework”, but are really missing the social and team sport aspect that Phys. Ed classes usually have. We are working towards community and accountability while staying active together by sharing photos and ideas of ways to stay active. I encourage all students to find time to take a screen break from online learning and enjoy some physical activity!


The grade 10 Academic Mathematics students are getting a taste of what a “Flipped Classroom” feels like while we are using distance education here at HDCH. In a traditional flipped classroom, the learning of a new concept happens outside of regular class time for the students (by video), and the class time is used for the students to do their “homework”. This way there can be more collaboration between students while they do their work, and the teacher can lead the class through some tougher problems or simply go around and help students that have questions.

The students watch a video lesson at home that has been prepared by the teacher; the video goes over the basic concepts of the topic that is being learned. Math students are being provided with videos to watch on their own, and then we use the Zoom meeting time to go over some tougher problems or questions that a student volunteers. We are experimenting with different ways of making collaboration happen in our Zoom meetings. So far, the students have found the video lessons to be an effective way to learn the concepts.

Some of the comments received have been:
“I really do like the video lessons.”
“They’re pretty good.”
“They feel like an actual class.”

Of course, as in all cases, this kind of learning will be great for some students and more of a challenge for others. Our ultimate hope is that the students feel like they can understand the concepts they are learning, and know that if they are in trouble, we are only a video chat away!


Parenting class is in full swing in our second week of online learning at HDCH. We are in the midst of learning about infant and child growth and development, and student learning has been enriched by the participation of guest speakers.

Yesterday, Melanie Burnip, an expert in speech therapy, spoke to the class about speech development in young children. Tomorrow, Linda Jonasson will be joining us as an expert in children’s literature and the effect of reading on the development of young children. It’s so good to work in partnership with parents and community experts to keep online learning fun and interesting!


What a Break!

An Adventure in Nicaragua

Before things changed radically on a global scale, the Nicaraguan Mission trippers were en route to Managua, Nicaragua to support EduDeo’s HANDS – Helping Another Nation Develop Schools Program in this region of Central America. As a team, we managed the late-night travel through Mexico City and onto the capital of Nicaragua which for many students was their first time flying in an airplane! Coming from temperatures around zero we arrived in Managua and were welcomed to a humid 34 degrees and bright sunshine!

Our days in Nicaragua were filled with building community, sharing our faith, exploring the culture and learning so much more about the school that we raised money to help support their growth and learning. Our time at Bautista Libertad School was remarkable as we spent three days with over 600 students who attend this Christian school that was built by EduDeo in 2000. https://edudeo.com/get-inspired/schools/bautista-libertad/

We had time to lead devotions, participate in devotions, worship and sing together, teach crafts, play sports, perform in a school-wide assembly, travel with the senior class in the city, and participate in local house visits to the homes of the students we got to know while spending time at this school.

Some of the money we raised paid for paint and supplies to fix up their front gate and the murals within the schoolyard. We worked alongside the senior graduating class on this painting project on our final afternoon in Nicaragua. The bulk of the money we raised will be utilized to build more classrooms in the near future as the needs of this growing school are evident in this region of the city.

Over the first weekend, we joined another Christian School Mission team from Abbotsford, British Columbia to learn more about this region and culture. As a team, we toured the Masaya Volcano, enjoyed a boat ride on Lake Managua, ziplined Miravalle Canopy in Granada where the insects created a symphony of sound especially all the dragonflies, toured the city of Granada, and enjoyed an afternoon on the Suan Jan del Sur beach that weekend.

A highlight was the opportunity to attend a Nicaraguan church service Sunday morning where we were welcomed and provided with a translator during the service. The Pastor provided a clear message of how to handle Covid -19 as Christians and the different ways we could protect and support each other. Our nightly devotions provided time to share, grow, study God’s word and gain a better understanding of the world that we are living in today.

Connecting with the Canadian government, we were granted the assurance of re-entry into Canada but knowing the changing legislation for borders and flights EduDeo arranged an earlier flight home. This was a blessing for the entire team to ensure our health and safety.

As a team, we were blessed with the opportunity to work alongside EduDeo to support a HANDS school in Managua with their present programming and for future expansion.

In His name, Alysha, Emma, Esther, Grace, Hannah, Isabella, Jasmine, Jorja, Josh, Takiya, Taylor, Will, and Pauline & Ed VanderVelde

French & ESL

Our combined classes of English Language Learners and Gr. 9 French students took turns leading a number of different communication activities that included icebreakers, tongue twisters, charades, and French number activities.

In small groups, the French 9 class executed a lesson plan that they had developed to teach the ELL students French numbers 1-20. Mrs. Alkema and Ms. Zagala were impressed with the variety of strategies that the French students used to teach, as well as the level of enthusiasm and engagement from the English Language Learners.