A HUGE congratulations to Covenant students Carolyn and David Johnston for bringing home three medals in the Division III State Swim Meet held in San Antonio, Texas recently! Carolyn, a junior, brings home two first place medals in the 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter freestyle as well as the TAPPS DIII Women's Swimmer of the Meet Award. You can listen to her post-meet interview here! David, a freshman, brings home a second place medal in the 500-meter freestyle! We are so proud of them and how these two students represented Covenant at the State Meet this year! Way to go Knights!
In addition to the productions put on by our theater department several times a year, once a year our Rhetoric students take ownership and put on a production of their own! This year they performed Into the Woods and opened up auditions to Logic School students as well. A special thanks goes out to Rhetoric students Stevie Michel and Haley Hawkins for directing the play.
Though all the roles were different – some on stage and some off, some with many lines and some with none, some funny and some serious – every student involved had a creative part to play. Thank you, students, for reminding us that as image-bearers of a creative God, we are all creative by nature!
Did you miss our First Things lecture in November? You can view the video here. Dr. Elizabeth Corey, Director of Baylor University's Honors College, spoke about achievement and the Christian life.
Congratulations to 2007 Covenant graduate, Matthew Johnson. He and a fellow researcher received second prize for their paper during the prestigious 2016 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Energy Conversion Congress & Exposition (ECCE) in Milwaukee. Matthew also successfully defended his doctoral dissertation recently and finished the program at Texas A&M with a 4.0 GPA. In 2011 he completed a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, also from A&M and with a 4.0 GPA. We’re so proud of you, Dr. Johnson!
Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child is a school wide event at Covenant. Every class from Explorers to 12th grade collects items as a small way to give back when we have been given so much. Once the items are collected, Rhetoric School students pack the boxes. It's very serious work, as you can see from the pictures below!
Congratulations to our students for their selection to three extremely selective choirs: the TPSMEA Middle School Honors Choir, the TPSMEA All-Region Choir and theTexas All-State Choir!
The following students were selected to participate in the TPSMEA Middle School Honors Choir:
The following students were selected to participate in the TPSMEA All-Region Choirs
Congratulations to Sally Shaw who was selected to participate in the prestigious Texas All-State Choir.
Our beloved headmaster, Dr. Robert Woods, wrote an opinion piece that was recently featured in The Dallas Morning News! Click here to read the piece, entitled "How Good People, Reading Good Books, Can Lead Good Lives."
A Teacher's Shakespearean Summer
April Miller teaches Shakespeare and drama in the Logic School. This summer she had a unique opportunity, which she shares with us below.
My affection for Shakespeare’s stories and words began in 9th grade when I was cast as the Queen of the fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The director costumed me in beautiful flowing layers, cast a larger than life Oberon, and sent us into an enchanted wood made of UIL grey blocks, platforms, and ramps. To a simple high school audience with some Shakespearean exposure, it may not have seemed magical, but for me, it was transformative. I want that same transformative experience for my students today, so when I learned about “Teaching Shakespeare through Performance” at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, I knew I had to go. The three week intensive workshop for American English and Drama teachers did not disappoint; in fact, it was pure magic!
I arrived on a muggy Sunday morning in London with a large 52-pound hot pink rolling suitcase, a computer bag, and an overloaded backpack looking very American. My one-hour Tube ride with only two train changes from Heathrow to the Great Dover Street Apartments was uneventful except for the two changes in trains with large pieces of awkward luggage. I was told it was just a five minute walk from the Borough Station to our flats, but that is only if you know the way and follow the map. So with Kimmy Schmidt optimism and a prior knowledge of London (not this area, mind you) that walk became a 25-minute circumnavigation (with aforementioned large hot pink rolling suitcase and other bags) around blocks of London that I am convinced no one would ever purposely seek out. I started to see people twice as I circled blocks. It became a sort of friendly unspoken joke that I was making – thinking, “Just make it look like you want to get some exercise with all this luggage and you don’t mind a bit being lost” and “Smile, laugh even; maybe a taxi wasn’t a bad idea after all.” At last, I found the apartments, and that was the beginning and end of my frustrations for the three weeks I spent at the Globe.
There were 24 American teachers from all over the country, mostly literature but some drama teachers. Six men, 18 women ranging from 27-60 years in age, all hungry to learn and grateful as I was to be there. And now I understand why the LORD put all those genealogies in the Bible because he wanted us to know those people, just like I wish I could have you all know these precious diverse people, the teachers and practitioners at the Globe. Humble. Joyful. Exuding a love for their work. Grateful. Giving. Expert. Gracious. It was like moving into a house with an extended family around a common love, without any weird uncles. We were treated to all of the shows presented this season at the Globe, and we stood as the Groundlings would have stood in the Yard in front of the stage. We were put into groups of six the second day to go and find a list of Shakespearean monuments around London. They gave us tube passes and a map and said be back at 5:30. Clever way to get us loving the city and one another. Together we learned movement, historical dancing, text, ensemble exercises, song, voice, storytelling, directing, acting, costuming, the language of Shakespeare’s day, and best practices in the classroom--all with humor, grace, sweat and profound professionalism. We shared hearty English dinners each evening at a long farm table with hot, thick-cut bread and butter and big pitchers of water with lemon at Theo’s, the café on the bottom floor of the Sackler Studio where much of our learning was done.
We rehearsed on the Globe stage early in the morning or late at night when none of the shows were being rehearsed. The wood of the stage is worn, soft English oak, the air is cool, the galleries rise high above and all around you, and the sky of course is open and endless, glorious. Entering from backstage through a curtain created for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it was like a dream, truly magical. As I held my breath there, I thought about how good it was and how small I felt and how sweet God is to let such a place be, where stories are told so powerfully, where lives can be changed. My deepest desire was to bring that back to Covenant.
My time at the Globe has made me a better teacher of Shakespeare. It has been exciting to implement all that I have learned. My hope is that students will grow to love the goodness, truth, and beauty in Shakespeare. More importantly, though, I want students to realize that they are part of something bigger, to realize they are storytellers for the One who made them and to embrace the role they have to play!
If you have visited campus recently, it is hard to miss our newest addition – a chicken coop, consisting of a house and a large run. The run is so large because the chickens will become a portion of the curriculum. As such, Laura Mountjoy, Grammar School Curriculum Coordinator and the driving force behind this new development, wanted the children to see the chickens in their environment and get into the run to hold and care for them. Although they just arrived in mid-April, classes have already begun visiting the chickens and bringing them treats. Next year, the fourth graders will sell the eggs, then use the money to learn about budgeting.
“Why chickens?” you might ask. Mrs. Mountjoy was inspired by this quote from classical education proponent, Charlotte Mason: “Let them [students] once get in touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life. We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things” (HomeEducation, pg. 61). Likewise, from a biblical perspective, Mrs. Mountjoy was convicted by the verses giving humanity dominion over the animals (Gen. 1:26), instructing us to subdue the earth (Gen. 1:28) and making mankind rulers over creation (Ps. 8:6).
In our urban environment, we are distanced from the natural world and these biblical imperatives can become distorted. Mrs. Mountjoy comments, “God’s command to ‘subdue’ the earth and the animal life in it is a command to have ‘mastery’ over all of it. A true mastery (of anything) cannot be accomplished without an understanding of the thing mastered. In order for mankind to attain mastery over the animal kingdom, we must understand the animals.” Covenant children take care of the earth through class gardens, but other than finding Mr. Whiskers (Covenant’s cat) on their desk or seeing the occasional possum caught overnight, Covenant students do not have many opportunities to interact with animals throughout the school day.
Thus, we now have chickens! There are eight chickens: Beak-a-trice and Ole Hun are Buff Orphingtons (light orange color, lay brown eggs), Sweetie and Elfrieda are American Leghorns (white, lay white eggs), Nana and Ida Lee are Barred Plymouth Rocks (black and white, lay brown eggs) and Mrs. Beller and Mamie are Arucanas or “Easter Eggers” (multi-colored, lay blue/green eggs). The chickens were raised by GT Fenton in Stigler, Oklahoma, a cousin of Covenant Grammar School student, Walt Farrington. GT took care to socialize the chickens so that they would be comfortable with our enthusiastic children petting and holding them!
Such a big undertaking could not have been accomplished without the help of our parent volunteers. Bobby Rodriguez has been an instrumental part in this process. Along with Mrs. Mountjoy, Mr. Rodriguez worked out the vision for having chickens at Covenant and he helped build the coop with a group of volunteers. Jon Buell asked an outside architectural firm with close ties to Covenant to design and draw up plans for the coop. He also oversaw the design work and designed the logo. Wes Dowdle helped translate the design plans into construction needs and provided the resources and the construction team to build the coop and frame the run. Leo Risolio provided the roofing materials and labor for the roof. Bobby Rodriguez and Trace Bailey took two days off of work to put up the wiring on the run. In addition, a couple of families contributed money toward the project and numerous Covenant parents came out to paint. We still hope to finish the front (level it off and add stepping stones) and possibly add a bench or picnic table. A “Coop Troop” has been set up to feed and water the chickens (they only like cold water!) and collect their eggs during the summer. What an egg-citing time to be at Covenant!
Latin Program Makes Top 20 in Texas!
Hundreds of Latin students descended upon Atascocita High School recently for the Texas State Junior Classical League convention. Covenant sent a small team of six Rhetoric students and five eighth graders, who competed against several other schools, public and private, large and small. Several of our students placed in the top 10 in the state! Thanks to their outstanding performance, Covenant was ranked in the top 20 Latin programs in Texas. Here are the students who made the top 10:
Ella Buell, 9th in monochromatic drawing
Shaina Burgos, 4th in ancient geography
Scout Hodges, 3rd in sight recitation
Jackson Murray, 4th in ancient geography
Aliki Pappas, 3rd in Latin derivatives, 2nd in Greek derivatives
Carson Peters, 4th in grammar, 7th in vocabulary
Storey Record, 3rd in reading comprehension
Barrett Scully, 4th in classical mythology, 5th in Roman history
Jack Wilson, 5th in classical mythology
Covenant Swimmer Beats State Records!
Covenant 10th grader, Carolyn Johnston, swam in San Antonio at the TAPPS DIII State Championship meet. She came home with 1st place in both the 200 IM and Free and set new states records in both!
Don't miss the inspirational story about Covenant Girls' Varsity Basketball Coach that aired on NBC5 on Wednesday, February 3rd. Click here to see the video.
Covenant Art Teacher's Work on Display
We’re so proud of Gail Smith, Covenant art teacher, whose artwork, a 16"x20"x2" oil on canvas piece entitled "Anna," was on display in a local art exhibition this fall.
Mrs. Smith's passion for the Lord and art are also on display. Read these words written on the plaque displayed below the painting:
"For over 23 years, teaching the fundamentals of drawing and painting to students in middle school and high school has been my passion. It is my passion because through the process I have discovered a way to explain who God is and how He works. The truths that permeate the scriptures come alive in the art classroom, and students can experience who they are and who their awesome God is. They discover that drawing is a learned skill. They discover that they really don't know themselves as well as they think. They discover that we are all artists, created in the image and likeness of a creative God, and that they have only touched the surface of who they are and what they can accomplish. "
"As an artist I have had a lifetime fascination with nature and the human form. The complexity of color and composition is never ending, not to mention the life one has to give that goes beyond the challenge when pursuing representation painting. There are so many beautiful relationships to be explored and experienced. Each painting is a study of such relationships. It is my attempt to dive into the complexity of nature and the joy of seeing it!"