UGM

ArushaTimes News

As members of the John Knox Christian School (JKCS) community, we are no strangers to the reputable name of Union Gospel Mission (UGM) and its impactful work in Metro Vancouver. Founded in 1940 upon a firm Christian foundation, UGM has for decades been a beacon of hope and transformation for the less fortunate in our community, amplifying the Christian message of hope, restoration, and salvation.

As organizations sharing a common mission in Christ, JKCS and UGM have established a long-standing partnership of mutual support. Every Tuesday, the school organizes grade 10 students to volunteer at UGM in New Westminster in support of their charitable efforts. In a rotating fashion, three students go each time, ensuring that by the end of the year, all students in the grade will have had the opportunity to serve twice. This Tuesday, I was among the three students who went. Compared to when I last served there a few months ago, the welcoming warmth of the place remained unchanging—the presence of Jesus is strong within those walls. Arriving at 7:20 in the morning, we joined the staff for prayer and to set up for the breakfast service. During this time, we connected with the staff, learning more about each others’ interests, backgrounds, and passions; we also took some fun photos to capture the moments.

Soon after, the doors opened, and the first guests arrived, their weary faces lit up as they stepped inside, seeking warmth and a sense of belonging. As we served them, we didn’t just offer food and shelter; we offered our time, our ears, and our hearts. In the intimate moments we were fortunate enough to have shared with the guests, we listened to their life stories, each one a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Serving at the coffee station, I conversed with people who used to be successful bodybuilders, contractors, and artists—people with whom we really do share a lot more in common than most of us realize. Ultimately, it is by sharing these personal moments that we see beyond the stigma and recognize them for who they truly are: fellow human beings, each with a unique story and a profound dignity.

Homelessness is a serious issue that worsens with each passing day, and it is organizations like UGM that offer glimmers of hope in helping to alleviate the crisis. Witnessing the unparalleled compassion at UGM firsthand has inspired many JKCS students to take a proactive approach to addressing homelessness. Many students within my friend group now are beginning to volunteer their time outside of school hours, not only at UGM but also at other shelters, such as Surrey Urban Mission Society. 

Inside the school, initiatives focused on helping those in need are also taking shape. One such initiative is Hawk Wheels, a project I am grateful to be part of.  Hawk Wheels’ primary focus is to assist those experiencing food insecurity in our New Westminster community with food, in Christ’s name. We will be  providing nutritious meals for free from profits generated from our Hawk Wheels Hot Lunches, our signature dish, the Rou Jia Mo—a traditional Chinese hamburger made with healthy ingredients. Please order a hot lunch or two for your secondary child for the May 23rd Hawk Wheels Hot Lunch, knowing the profits will go to helping the homeless.  We envision that we can offer these hot lunches directly from a food truck/trailer one day, hence Hawk Wheels.  

Together, my classmates and I realize we can make a difference in the lives of those in need and in the process build hearts of compassion, hands willing to serve our community, and a community that welcomes all.

By Lenny Y., Grade 10 Student

Fraser Health

ArushaTimes News

Get outside and play

Physical activity is a necessary requirement for optimal health – and the benefits are even greater if you can do it outdoors.

Regular physical activity in childhood helps to develop cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and bone density, and being outdoors is known to improve mental health.

There are many benefits to unstructured, outside play. When children spend time outside, they:

  1. Sit less, move more and play longer – key to cardiovascular health and fitness.
  2. Have healthier eyes – 10+ hours a week outside reduces nearsightedness risks. 
  3. Sleep better – sunlight helps regulate melatonin and sleep patterns.
  4. Enjoy improved mood – exercise reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  5. Feel more connected to nature – experience calm and develop mindfulness.

Planning active outings doesn’t have to be challenging or costly. Here are some ideas that you can try this week:

Find more ideas to keep your kids active through the year on Fraser Health’s website:  https://ow.ly/lrmm50PezbK

Parent Education Evening

ArushaTimes News

Dear parents,

You are invited to a special JKCS Parent Education Evening with presenter Hannah Beach.

There are periods in history when cultural influences create parenting challenges that are unique to their time and place.

Today, many children and youth are more anxious than ever before. Some of them are glued to their phones and devices; some are facing emotional health challenges and behavioural problems. If our children are struggling, parenting can be exhausting.

When we deeply love our children but are finding their behaviours difficult, we may find ourselves wondering what we can do. Is there a way through?

Join Hannah Beach for a warm and conversational parent workshop exploring practical, relationship-based strategies that you can use to support your children and youth, so they thrive.

This workshop is appropriate for parents of children of all ages. Please note that this is an event for adults only; childcare is not provided.

If you have any questions, please connect with Director of Curriculum Wendy Perttula at wperttula@johnknoxbc.org.

Parent Education Evening: Building Resilient Kids and Families
Thursday, April 25, 2024, 7:30pm
New Westminster Christian Reformed Church
(across the street from the elementary campus)

RSVP here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0849A5A729A5F49-48446569-jkcs

About Hannah Beach

Hannah Beach is an award-winning educator, author, emotional health consultant, and keynote speaker. She and Tamara Neufeld Strijak co-authored the best-selling book, “Reclaiming Our Students: Why Children Are More Anxious, Aggressive, and Shut-Down than Ever—and What We Can Do About It.”
This book is a trauma-informed resource for teachers and parents rooted in the relationship-based approach. It is being translated into multiple languages internationally (including French, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Ukrainian and Korean) and has been adopted by school boards across Canada.

Hannah Beach was recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 2017 as one of five featured changemakers in Canada. Her bestselling, “I Can Dance,” book series, supporting the emotional health of children through movement, play, and expression, won a 2017 Gold International Moonbeam Children’s Book Award.

Hannah delivers professional development services across the country, provides emotional health consulting to schools, and speaks at conferences about the power of bringing more feeling and human connection into the classroom. Hannah is leading professional development sessions for our teaching staff, and we wanted to create a parallel learning opportunity for our parent community.

In Him,
The JKCS Admin team

Grade 6 LA

ArushaTimes News

The Kids and the Unexpected Visitor

Chapter 1

By Cadynce G., Grade 6

Elliot was playing a game of ping pong in his cousins’ basement, against his eleven-year-old cousin, Eleanor, oblivious to the action that awaited them.

Their score was at eleven to one, him obviously winning (no, just kidding; she was in the lead) when his aunt called them up for suppertime, which was some kind of… casserole?

“This game was just getting good,” he called out sarcastically, “but we’re coming up anyway.”

It was early evening in springtime, at approximately five o’clock. Elliot and his siblings, Isaiah, Kevin and Samantha, were visiting from Nanaimo, Vancouver Island. Here they were in Kamloops, sleeping over for six nights. The drive and ferry ride from the island here had been at least a long seven hours, which had seemed like days to Elliot, which in turn had felt like weeks to Samantha, his youngest sibling and only sister.

Halfway upstairs, the sound of the parents chatting droned into one of Elliot’s ears and out the other. This was usual for parents, at least for his mom, dad, aunt Enika, and uncle Josh. It was probably about politics, he suspected. If you listened to them talk for a single hour, you’d potentially know, like, everything.

“And here the kids are now!” remarked Aunt Enika, and, “I hope you enjoy dinner. It’s new; I’ve never made it before.”

With their bellies full, the kids, all eight of them (Eleanor had three siblings as well: Nya, Eliza, and Cody) headed upstairs to bedroom level to play video games and play with toy guns.

After a little while, Elliot said, “Let’s find something else to do. Let’s go to the basement.”

They all agreed that this was a good idea. Every kid (with the exception of Samantha and Nya) walked down to the basement to play pool, ping pong, rod/dome hockey, or air hockey.

Tonight was going to be the best night at their cousins’ house, as it was the first one this time. They hadn’t seen each other for nearly a year, and that was just a bit too long for all of them. They would go to bed in maybe around three-and-a-halfish hours. They had lots of time.

Atticus thought that the cousins were lucky to have all these games at their house, but, at the same time, he still thought they should maybe do something else. He wasn’t alone.

“Hey, guys!” one of his brothers or cousins called;he couldn’t tell who, “we could do something else. We’ve been doing this a long time, so maybe we could ask the parents to watch a movie.”

“Nah, let’s do that a little later in the week. Let’s go on a walk.”

There were many nods from everyone, so it was settled. It wasn’t too dark out, so they could still go when the night was young. The adults agreed it was okay, as long as “they all stuck together and stayed on the path”. Samantha and Nya would stay home.

About halfway through the walk around the neighborhood, they heard a call. “Hello? Hello?!”

Elliot crept forward, his coat scratching against his cotton T-shirt. The cousins and all his siblings moved forwards, but only a little. Not as much as he did.

The one who had called out was an old, exhausted man. The corners of his mouth curved up in a small smile. His pants and shirt were tattered and worn; he also had multiple scars on his face. It looked as if he himself was just a scrawny bit of skin stretched over a thin coat hanger, but he didn’t appear mean or anything. He actually looked quite kind, in fact.

“Here,” offered Elliot, “you can use my coat. Keep it, I promise.” He marched onward, not looking back. He almost said “it is not my best coat”, but decided otherwise.

There was only a small contact point between the man’s hand and Ellliot’s, but in a swift, singular motion, Elliot was whipped off his feet, the old beggar snatching the coat toward himself and shrouding it over Elliot. “What’re you doing?!” Elliot stumbled to the ground, scraping his left knee and scuffing the white edge of his left Nike shoe. “You guys, get out of here!” he yelled in sheer terror. “Stop!” he called to the man, but the demand went, of course, unheeded.

The rest of the kids looked on, so frozen into place, they could have been feeling cold. But they refused to run off, to leave their cousin in his terrible state of captivity.

“Elliot! We’re coming! Just stay there for now!” called one cousin.

“What else would I do?” he asked rhetorically, and frantically.

“I don’t know!” another cousin or sibling, he still couldn’t tell which, said, sounding exasperated. “Just… don’t do anything too stupid!”

The man continued to pull and thrash on the boy, until Elliot could do nothing but sit tight and ignore the man’s actions, which, I can tell you, was not an easy thing to do.

The bald man left him for a bit, which gave him a moment’s time to stop and think. The first thing he noticed around him was that his cousins had fled. The next thing he saw was no one but the old liar himself, emerging from a broken down shack hidden behind the lines of stunted trees. In his gnarled, callused hands he held a length of thick rope. He was playing and twiddling with it, sneering at the child.

“Here,” the man gestured at the rope in his hands, “sit tight and enjoy.”

Suddenly, Elliot was pushed and shoved in a very upright position, his wrists, being jerked behind his back. The rope was tied into an extremely tight way; he could only presume that his chances of escaping were very slim. Elliot could feel the piece of rope practically slicing into the tender skin around his hands and wrists.

All of the sudden, there came a blood-curdling scream coming from the left side of the street. The man behind him, admiring his tying job only a half-second ago, dashed toward the awful sound. A minute later, Elliot watched as his two siblings and three cousins stumbled toward his watchful eyes. He cowered before his captor.

“I expected them to fall on those little traps,” the man jeered, ordering the kids to sit on the ground. They reluctantly obeyed.

“Now!” the man exclaimed loudly, “where is the rope?”

The children had each been bound in turn. The beggar thought that his tying job was exceptional.

He turned them and released a sinister laugh.

“Psst.” said a voice. Elliot turned. It was Eleanor. Her face was scratched up, and the skin on her knuckles was dry and cracked.

“Yes?”

“What are we going to even do?”

He shook his head.

“I have no idea whatsoever.”

“Yes, that’s right,” said the man behind them. He laughed. “There will be no escape from here. I have you captive, and no one can rescue you now. No one messes with the Old Man and wins.”

He grasped at their shirt collars, their binds, anything he could get his hands on, and shoved them in a huge, white blank work car and shut the big doors on it.

There was one thing Elliot had noticed: the license plate on the car was: SKP 6OT. He had looked closer and taken out his ultraviolet flashlight, which for some reason was in his pocket, and flicked the ON button. The letters had an acronym: “Specially Kidnapped Kids – 6 Of Them”. In his mind he thought, ‘Uh-oh, he knew we were coming here!’ , but he said nothing to anyone. He continued to shine the light on the plate for any hidden clues he hadn’t seen before. It read on the sidelines in messy, eligible writing, “Blue vehicles: witnesses. Watch out! White vehicles: us kidnappers. Black vehicles, the most dangerous of all to our job: rescuers’. And a small mad emoji on the edge.

A shiver ran down Elliot’s spine. But he could see no more, as he was shoved into the back of the truck and the door was slammed shut.

The kids had been kidnapped by the Old Man.

Metro Kids

ArushaTimes News

Merry Christmas from Metro Kids! With your help, we gave away over 900 Christmas presents at Kids Klub and in our community this year! What a way to spread joy!

 “Do you LOVE CHRISTMAS???” a little Syrian boy asked me as I walked through his low income apartment parking lot one afternoon during my usual Thursday afternoon visit to that complex. I don’t know if it was my bright purple Metro Kids jacket, or the stack of Kids Klub flyers I carried in my hand, but he knew I was someone he could talk to about this special time of year. I gladly stopped and talked to this newly immigrated family for a few minutes, “Yes, I do!”
   His young  mother looked pale, worn down, and with a recognizable look in her eyes as someone who had seen much pain. But her young son was beaming, “It’s my first Christmas!” he said excitedly. I invited his family to our Kids Klub Christmas party and then added, “But if you can’t make it, I’ll come by next week and give you a Christmas present!”
    True to my word, one week later, I was knocking at their door, with an armload of Christmas boxes, donated by the students at Pacific Academy and John Knox Christian School. The little boys were practically dancing with delight, and the mother came shyly to the door with a smile on her face and something else in her eyes this time… the beginnings of a glimmer of hope and joy.”
 ~ Lynn Brownlee, Community Pastor

   This is why we do what we do in our community. There are REAL people with REAL stories who need to experience a little bit of the Christmas joy we often take for granted. This is why your partnership matters. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, and MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

Prayer Team

ArushaTimes News

God’s provision takes shape as a group of students in baking class.

“God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!”

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 MSG

What does it look like when the church comes together to serve our great King?

One of the churches represented within our John Knox community, Cityview Church has been hosting a weekly community meal for over 27 years called OpenTable. Whether you struggle with housing or food insecurity, mental or physical health, or the general brokenness that befalls all of us, it’s a space where everyone can enjoy food and conversation.

Last Saturday, was OpenTable’s annual Christmas lunch, which welcomes about 100 guests. I could spend hours writing of all the ways that God provided for this gathering (volunteers, food donations, etc.), but I want to share with you the part of the story that happened here at John Knox.

Several weeks ago while gathering with the parent prayer team, one of our faithful prayer warriors asked if we were hosting the event again this year and offered to reach out to her church (Burnaby Pacific Grace MB Church) to put together gift bag for the guests. Then a second member of our prayer team overheard our conversation and her heart was stirred to ask her church (Burnaby Canaan Church) if they too would consider supporting us in this.

Praise God, both churches they agreed and started shopping. I had anticipated something modest, especially given the inflation we’ve experienced this year. However, the Lord is the one who opened His storehouses for us. Each church has stories of God providing funds, unexpected discounts, helpful store managers, people with large enough vehicle to gather all the items!

Last week on Monday, we got together in the kitchen after our regular parent prayer team meeting to pack these gift bags. I had scheduled about 40 minutes in the kitchen, but I did not anticipate the many items we would need to pack and how long it would take us. There is no way we could finish before a group of students from 5C would join Mrs. Loewen for baking.

This is probably just Mrs. Loewen’s nature, but I like to imagine that the Holy Spirit prompted her to say “Don’t worry, I’ll get our students to help you with that.” Moments later, they arrived and were asked to help us. We briefly explained about OpenTable, what we were doing and gave instructions on how to pack each gift bag. They all got to work in a way that kids do, laughing and joyfully using their hands to serve without even realizing that they are serving, loving their neighbour without realizing that they are loving, preparing gifts without realizing that what they are doing is a gift. We, however, did perceive it and were moved. It was a beautiful thing to see God at work though them. They were part of God’s provision.

It would have taken us at least an hour, but within 10 minutes, each gift bag was packed with scarf, socks, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, lotion, washcloth, granola bars, energy bars, hot chocolate pouches, smoked oysters, tuna, crackers and more. We prayed a special blessing on this small group of students and let them return to their baking.

Oh how faithful and good is our God! How wonderful that he gives us all a part to play in His kingdom.

It was reported to me after the event on Saturday that some of the guests were amazed at the blessings found in these gift bags… they have no idea just how true that is!

by Jeff Groulx, Parent and Prayer Team member

Wing and a Prayer

ArushaTimes News

Sebastian wiped his eyes and pushed back the wool blanket. He blew a wispy breath and shivered. Embers burned in the grate and he knelt to light the spill and carry it sputtering to the small lamp. The walnut oil caught and the small flame sent flickers over the room. Something had woken him. At first, he thought it was a bat, for in the margins of sleep he had heard flapping and the sound of tiny wings. All was quiet, all was still. Sebastian sighed a cloudy sigh. He looked down at the vellum where he’d left it with his quill and ink. He frowned. Words had sifted in and out of consciousness moments before waking. And a tune; what was it now? He lifted the velum and stared at the empty page. What would they do? They needed a Christmas hymn and nothing of value had surfaced, not from novices, not from the brothers, not from the apprentices, no one. There would be nothing for those who would gather and fill the church in two days’ time, all waiting anxiously for the new Christmas hymn to welcome in the holiest day: God with us. He was tired. Bone tired. Perhaps sleep would awaken the words and tune and a miracle would happen. As he made to slide once more under the blanket, he paused. The fluttering sound: it was back. He turned his head but just as quickly the noise came from the opposite side. He turned again, twice more before something finally stayed in view. He gasped. He blinked, wiped his eyes and blinked again. On level with his nose was something that simply could not be; there fluttering and dipping shyly, was a quill, a quill with two wings as gossamer as a hummingbird’s. Sebastian opened his mouth, readying a scream that would wake the cooks in the lowest level. The flying quill struck him, at the center of his forehead, a smack with its stock that stole the scream and made him suck in a deep breath instead. The quill flew down to hover above his left hand, his writing hand, the hand all others said was cursed not to be his right. The quill bird settled on his wrist and made its way to his fingers. Instinctively, inevitably, inexplicably, boy and bird touched ink to page. The scratch of tip on vellum and the puff of burning oil were the only sounds for a count of ten. Sebastian sat bolt upright and raised the page to the light.

Adeste Fideles laeti triumphantes,

Venite, venite in Bethlehem.

Natum videte, Regem Angelorum

“Oh come, all ye faithful,” he whispered. And then the tune came, flowing out of his mouth as easily as the Latin. Sebastian looked heavenward uncertain of where else to look. Movement made him look down. In his hand, his cursed left hand, was his old familiar and well-used quill sitting quite ordinarily in his hand. “King of angels,” he whispered.   

By David Ward

Rhyming Story Contest

ArushaTimes News

The 2023 Rhyming Story Contest winner is Serena T. with her submission, “Skinny Love”. Congratulations, Serena!

Skinny Love

It’s dark outside,

Somewhere between four in the morning, maybe five

She hums lazily, tears falling down in streams 

She knows he only visits her in her dreams 

She watches silently, at the orange pill container

Its half empty, she wishes that would restrain her

From going out to buy more

From falling into heaps on the floor

She knows he’ll be there to pick her back up

Put her little broken pieces together, pour her soul into his cup

Soothing, gentle phrases, he whispers in her ear

“You’re safe, you’re strong, you know that I’m here”

She knows that he knows she needs him to survive

Like some tragic, toxic, pernicious lifeline

The clock nailed into her wall lets out a tiny chime

The spot next to her on her bed dips slightly, she feels his presence through her spine

“You’re safe, you’re strong, you know that I’m here”

She needs him like alcoholics need beer

Two broken souls leaning on each other like wooden beams

She ignores how his hugs feel like he’s pulling her apart by her seams

He feels like sandpaper

Iron beams trying to break her, shape her, change her

She accuses him of lying

He tells her he feels like dying

That his skin doesn’t feel right against his own bones

That her sympathetic eyes feel more like harsh jagged stones

Yet they still whisper, in the safety of the dark

Ignoring how loving each other gives them nasty, bloody marks

“You’re safe, you’re strong, you know that I’m here” 

He needs her like the god Phobos needs fear

She dulls out the pain, the whispers, the silence

He believes it’s normal that love holds hands with violence

He is the sun, just too bright it’s starting to burn

Icarus, flying too high, too eager to learn

To learn how to love, to be loved, to be together 

He ignores how her hands began to feel more like a tether

He knows that neither is to blame

That perhaps they were just too much the same

Can’t fight fire with fire and expect it to wither 

So he holds on to her like he holds on to his scissors

In the middle of the night, against the winter moonlight

Their souls are dark, until they collide and turn into a quiet blue light

Skinny love, a love so starved 

Patching wounds with salt, a heart broken and carved

They trade bruises and blows and words of comfort and kisses

Each speaks and the other one listens

“You’re safe, you’re strong, you know that I’m here”

They ignore how it’s starting to sound like a double edged spear.

By Serena T., Grade 11

Persuasive Writing

ArushaTimes News

Why Every Middle School Student Should Read an Hour in School 

It’s been a long day and all the students are weary of Math, French, and L.A. 

They look up to the schedule and see two words. Silent reading. An hour of reading would benefit everyone because… 

Firstly, reading provides you with an expanded imagination. It does because as you read, you imagine what you’re reading about. Because of this, students could be sitting at their desks, but in a different world of their choice. 

Secondly, if, in the middle of the school day, say, middle school students had an hour of silent reading, where they could relax and bury themselves in their favourite books in a quiet, peaceful environment, to rest before the next half of the day. They could also look at stressing school work under a different light, allowing them to get better grades. 

An additional bonus is that teachers could plan their lessons during the hour of silent reading. Do you know how long it normally takes a teacher to plan a lesson? 

Lastly, an hour of reading would also encourage students to use a larger vocabulary of many different words and an interest in learning new and interesting words that can be used in many different scenarios.

Of course, not everyone is interested in reading. Many middle schoolers prefer comics or graphic novels to regular books, but an hour of reading would firstly develop different interests and open-mindedness, secondly encourage a healthy interest in reading (Did you know that reading can boost emotional development and career prospects by 50% to 100%!) and thirdly allow students who would normally never read to discover how fun it can be. Another counter-argument is that most students have time to and do already read at home. However, an hour of reading at school forces the students to read as much as a 10-13 year old should. In conclusion, an hour of reading daily in school would provide rest, relaxation, an improved vocabulary and imagination, and a chance to grow interests. So go out today and ask your teachers, principals, and administrators for an hour of reading time each day.

By Victoria K., Grade 6

Christmas Programs

ArushaTimes News

Elementary Christmas Programs December 12 and 14 

Students in K-6 are preparing to share a variety of Christmas music with our community in less than three weeks! The performances will be at New West CRC (the church across the street from the elementary campus). This will be a musical celebration of Christ’s peace and joy to us at Christmas and we pray that you will hear the good news of Christ’s birth in new and familiar ways.

Students are expected to participate in all music classes and performances. They are encouraged to wear nice clothing that is appropriate for a Christmas performance. Clothing your child has worn for a piano recital or similar events would be suitable. Please do not wear shirts with words/logos or large headpieces/decorations that can be distracting.

We have a school photographer and videographer for each performance so we ask that parents come and enjoy the live performance and not take any photos when students are on stage. Cameras and flashes are extremely distracting for students when they are trying to focus on their songs and look at the director. Families will get a link to all the school photos and videos after the performances.

There is limited space in the church so we ask those who are able to attend the afternoon performances do so in order to allow others to attend in the evening. You and your extended family near and far may also choose to watch the video instead of attending a live performance.

For the evening performance on Dec. 12, primary students will meet in their SCHOOL classrooms at 6:30.  School doors will be open at 6:25 and church doors open at 6:30 for the 7pm performance. 

For the evening performance on Dec. 14, intermediate students will meet at the church in their designated rooms. Church doors will open at 6:30pm for students and families.

We are so excited to share the good news of Christmas with you!

Primary K-3

Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 1:30 and 7:00pm

Intermediate 4-6

Thursday, Dec. 14 at 1:30 and 7:00pm

By Rebecca Visser, Primary Music Teacher with Jocelyn Groot, Intermediate Music Teacher

Discovery Days

ArushaTimes News

This month eight JKCS students and Mr. Frank Sun, our Chemistry teacher, had the privilege of attending Discovery Days in Health Sciences hosted by the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. 

“Discovery Days in Health Sciences is a one-day event that gives high school students and teachers the opportunity to explore a variety of career options in medicine and the health sciences. Organized by The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, the day comprises a dynamic keynote lecture, hands-on workshops, and a career panel discussion. Students gain a clear picture of what it would be like to be a health professional by interacting with researchers, clinicians and educators in their real-life work setting.”  

Here is one student’s account of their day:

“Before the sun rose, students were assembled and already hard at work saving lives. In an underground room, doctors and physicists clustered around CT scans identifying treatment plans for several patients with tumours. These tumours were located anywhere from their leg, prostate, breasts, lungs, and to their brains. These doctors planned to administer both external beam radiation and internal radiation (brachytherapy) on patients to beam their cancer down.

They calculated the amount of radiation different types of tissues could withstand and went out of their way to protect as much neighbouring tissue as possible from the particles targeting the tumour. They meticulously designed a personalized treatment plan that could protect their patients, catering both to their comfort during treatment and side effects after treatment.

In another hospital room nearby, other students diagnosed patients of an ophthalmologist, checking numerous aspects of their patients’ vision. These students tested their patients’ 3-D vision, their sensing of motion, and the way their eyesight affected various motor functions, all under the guise of various video game designs.

The clinic was full. While students scrupulously marked on papers, clients of all ages with various eye problems played computer games and deciphered images on books while wearing coloured glasses. Still others squinted and strained at the distant charts, trying to identify the minuscule imprints on it until their eyes watered…

I finally blinked. The tiny letters were still smaller than ever, and I surrendered to my myopic vision amidst a roar of amusement from my peers.  My eyesight was poor, and that was undeniable. But the two workshops (“Putting the ‘Rad’ in Radiation Therapy” and “Human Vision: How to Assess it”) really opened my eyes to experience this sector where more and more of us suffer from the radiation of electronic devices.

The radiation workshop, “Putting the ‘Rad’ in Radiation Therapy”, piqued my interest in the study of cancer and the methods of treating it. It was an intriguing experience enough to make me start exploring more about the disease before the lecture was over.

During the workshop, my peers and I got to experience firsthand the procedure an oncologist would take to treat a patient with cancer. From being given the chance to think for ourselves how we would direct radiation beams at patients during treatment, to hands-on situations where we got to immobilize a dummy, it was peek at the daily life, challenges and delights of a radiation therapist.

The keynote lecture challenged my perception of doctors in immaculate rooms, suited up and operating with shining metallic tools.  I learned that in many countries, doctors were not able to operate with such facilities, and I felt a real pang towards their challenges. The lecture revealed the path of becoming a trauma surgeon, and the day-to-day pressures and responsibilities the job entailed.

Dr. Emilie Joos oration of Doctors Without Borders showed me just how committed people can be, and the risks they are willing to take to help others.  It was a reminder, as beautiful as the last rays of the sunset in the afternoon as we left, to persevere through difficult times.”

By Matthew C. 10A

DTES Reflections

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Each month JKCS students work together to make sandwiches, baked goods, and compile nutritious bagged lunches together for residents in Vancouver’s downtown east side (DTES) who are currently experiencing homelessness, food insecurity and financial challenges.  Grade 11 students are tasked with distributing the 200 lunch bags to the people living in DTES.  Here is one student’s thoughts and impressions of her first ever visit to the area:  

     “Vancouver is facing challenges related to homelessness. Efforts have been made by the government and nonprofit organizations to address this issue through initiatives like providing shelters, supportive housing, and social services. However, homelessness is still a problem; it is not a singular problem but a complex issue influenced by multifaceted factors such as socio-economic disparities, mental health concerns, and inadequate support systems.

     People experiencing homelessness have diverse perspectives. It’s essential to recognize that individuals experiencing homelessness have their own unique stories, struggles, and ways of understanding their circumstances. Many among them seek not only assistance but also opportunities to rebuild their lives and reintegrate into society. 

     The younger generation can play a crucial role in addressing homelessness through volunteering at local shelters, food banks, or community-driven organizations. They can extend their time, skills, and resources to offer support to those in need, and learn and understand more about the complexities of homelessness. Other ways that the younger generation can become involved include:

  • Encouraging conversations and educating peers about the underlying issues contributing to homelessness. 
  • Engaging with local and national policymakers. 
  • Advocating for changes in policies related to housing, healthcare, and social welfare that can positively impact homelessness. 
  • Encouraging community projects that bring people together and support those who are marginalized or experiencing homelessness. 

The collective efforts of the next generation can lead to substantial changes in addressing homelessness and cultivating a society where everyone feels seen, valued, and supported.  It begins with taking a trip to DTES and handing out bagged lunches.  It begins with writing this article to encourage you.  It begins with reading further.  Here’s an article to get you started.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/greater-vancouver-homeless-count-2023-1.6987718

By Ophelia L. 11A

Gairdner High School Symposium

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Student Reflection: Nick L., Grade 10B

The 2023 Gairdnеr High School Symposium was filled with inspiration, knowledge, and a glimpsе into the fascinating world of science. As a high school student attending this еvеnt, I was fortunatе to participate in a sеriеs of lectures and hands-on еxpеriеncеs that left an indelible mark on my understanding of thе scientific rеalm.

Thе morning bеgan with thе opportunity to listеn to two scientists who shared their expertise and insights. The first lecture was presented by Dr. Wеiss, a rеnownеd biochеmist who shеd light on thе captivating world of brain stеm cеlls. The second lecture was equally captivating, as Dr. Vеrchеrе introduced us to the intricate world of bacteria. Shе emphasized the remarkable impact that microscopic organisms have on our health and well-being. Morеovеr, both scientists emphasized the importance of еmbracing challenges and not being dеtеrrеd by difficulty. Thеy еncouragеd us to ask questions, reminding us that curiosity and pеrsistеncе are key attributes of successful scientists.

Following thеsе enlightening lectures, I had the opportunity to еntеr a laboratory where I could obsеrvе and study cеlls undеr a microscopе. The hands-on еxpеriеncе of examining cancer cells up close was both educational and еyе-opening. It allowed me to connеct thе theoretical knowledge from the lectures to practical applications in thе lab.

In thе final lеcturе of thе day, I lеarnеd about cardiac arrеst and heart attacks, gaining a deeper understanding of critical medical issues that affect countless livеs.

In conclusion, the 2023 Gairdner High School Symposium was a remarkable еxpеriеncе that broadened my horizons and fuеlеd my curiosity about the world of science. Thе insightful lеcturеs, hands-on laboratory еxpеriеncе, and invaluablе lifе advicе from Dr. Wеiss and Dr. Vеrchеrе lеft a profound impact on mе. This reinforced my belief in pursuing one’s passions, asking questions, and embracing challenges on the path to scientific discovery. It was an opportunity to learn, be inspired, and contemplate the endless possibilities that the world of science offers. I am gratеful for the chance to attend this symposium, as it has undoubtedly enriched my education journey and ignitеd a passion for further exploration in the field of scіеncе.
——————

Student Reflection: Claire Ann Y., Grade 10B

On October 23, 2023, I attended the Gairdner High School Symposium at the BC Children’s Hospital. Dr. Weiss and Dr. Bassler, Princeton University professors, came to speak to students interested in going into the field of science, specifically biochemistry! I learnt a few things related to science, but this event has made me think about whether or not I want to major in biochemistry.

Dr. Weiss talked about his discovery of adult neural stem cells in the mammalian brain and its importance in nerve cell regeneration while Dr. Bassler discovered how bacteria communicate with each other and surrounding non-bacterial cells, and how this idea can fight against infectious diseases. 

From these two fascinating speakers, I learned being a scientist is not the goal, science builds logic, improves communication, and boosts critical thinking skills.  Furthermore, being a scientist is puzzling, never boring, and it changes the world. I also learned that biology/chemistry sparked an interest for me. I am currently still thinking about whether or not this is something I want to learn about for four or more years. However, to get there I learnt that getting into any university, especially competitive ones, requires an impressive amount of extracurriculars, an interesting background, unique experiences, and most importantly,  knowing who you are as a person instead of just being an ideal student. 

Volunteer Reflection

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During the 2022-2023 school year, I collected a total of 275 hours, which I am proud of because I beat my high score from last year. I enjoy volunteering and working for others. I believe it is a gift from God, and I plan to continue putting my all in volunteering throughout the rest of my high school years.  I have volunteered with various organizations, inside and outside of our school. I get most of my volunteer hours from Yearbook which I really enjoy.

Graphic Production 12 – Yearbook is offered as a class at JKCS, and being able to use my abilities for my school is really fulfilling. I always enjoy taking photos for sports as it allows me to explore a different side of my passion for photography. This makes up a big chunk of my athletic service hours.  Athletes are always very grateful for my time, and I am sure Mr. Loro does as well. 

However, the volunteer experience that I have appreciated the most was my time with the Girls and STEAM event** with Science World. I find that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) is very boy-oriented, noticeable even during my time with Future Science Leaders***.  It was nice to make friendships with girls younger than me, who share the same passion as me. The spark I saw in their eyes reminded me of myself when I was their age.

I am very grateful for the ability to volunteer for my community, especially when it means doing things that I love. Hopefully, in the following years I can volunteer for more diverse organizations, including those outside of our school.

Beatrice L., 11A

** ”Girls and STEAM, presented by STEMCELL Technologies, is a Science World program that encourages young girls and women, ages 12-14, to pursue their scientific interests and explore careers in STEAM by expanding their knowledge of and access to STEAM opportunities.”  Please check out the Science  World website for more information.     https://www.scienceworld.ca/girls-and-steam-summit/

*** “Future Science Leaders (FSL) presented by Acuitas Therapeutics is an after-school science enrichment program for teens designed to unleash creative potential and build a life-long network of like-minded peers while engaging curious minds with the nature of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art & design, and math) in sessions led by diverse experts and professionals.”  Please check out the Science World website for more information.    https://www.scienceworld.ca/futurescienceleaders/

Ride for Refuge

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Thank you to all the students who came out to the first volunteer opportunity of the 2023-2024 school year.  Students volunteered with Ride for Refuge with Journey Home Community Association (JHC) to help with parking, setting up, decorating bike helmets, face painting, waiting table, cleaning up, cheerleading and disassembling tables and chairs.  Journey Home Community staff said, “John Knox students reflected Christ’s love by showing their servant hearts in humble acts of service and their excitement for God’s people.  They give us hope for our next generation of leaders.”  Here is what one of the volunteers had to say:

“Volunteering at the Ride for Refuge event hosted by the Journey Home Community was an awesome and rewarding experience. Journey Home Community is a Christ centered organization with a mission to create a caring community that offers refugee claimants housing, settlement support, and opportunities for connection. My role as volunteer at the event primarily involved assisting with traffic control, table setup, cleanup and whatever else needed to be done, but it was so much more than just those tasks. Being part of such a well-organized and purpose-driven event was inspiring and encouraging. It was rewarding to witness the enthusiasm and dedication of the riders, walkers and volunteers alike, all coming together for a common cause.

The event not only provided me with a sense of community but also offered some perks, such as a free shirt and a delicious meal. These small gestures of appreciation from the Ride for Refuge organizers made me feel valued and motivated to give my best throughout the day. I’m grateful to have been a part of this event and I look forward to volunteering again in the future and continuing to support the Journey Home Community in their meaningful endeavors.”

By Joshua C., 10A

Healthy Schools

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Make dental, hearing and vision checks part of a healthy routine

Health screenings help find issues early which can make treatment easier and more effective. It’s important for your child to have regular eye exams and routine dental checkups. It is also important to recognize any hearing loss early as this is essential for speech and language development. Read on to learn when and how to access services for your child.

Dental

Tooth decay is the most common, but preventable, childhood chronic disease. It is important to establish good oral hygiene at a young age and have children’s teeth checked by a dentist regularly. To find a local dentist near you who is accepting new patients, visit the BC Dental Association’s Find a Dentist database. If you are a member of a low-income family and you do not have extended health coverage, there are several programs that can help you access affordable dentistry for your children. You can also contact the dental program at your local public health unit and ask about resources available in your community.

Vision

BC Doctors of Optometry recommends children receive their first eye exam when they are six to nine months old with a follow up exam at least once between the ages of two and five and then yearly once they enter school. You can find an optometrist accepting new patients near you at the College of Optometrists of British Columbia’s Find an Optometrist database. In B.C., basic eye exams, one per year, are free up to the age of 18. Some optometrists may charge a small user fee of about $35 per visit so be sure to ask about any fees before you make an appointment.

Hearing

Good hearing is essential for speech and language development and plays an important part in a child’s social and emotional growth. It is important to recognize hearing loss early and seek out testing and treatment if needed. Fraser Health’s Public Health community audiologists provide hearing services for children from birth to 19 years of age. If you have a concern about your child’s hearing, referrals can be made by a parent or caregiver, a health care provider or education professional to your local public health audiology (hearing) clinic.

Find more information on child health screenings and how to access free vision, hearing and dental exams on Fraser Health’s website: https://ow.ly/oK9z50PegZB

Information provided by our school nurse and Fraser Health’s School and Wellness Program – Burnaby

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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Our school is a gathering of many different histories.

We have families who have been attending John Knox for three generations, and we have families who just joined this year.

We have families with a long lineage of faith, stretching far back to distant relatives, and we have families who are the first in their household to know Christ.

We have families who have lived in Canada for over 100 years, and we have families who have only recently moved to this land.

There are many histories here, and it is a great privilege to live and partner together in creating new histories as the family of God. Often we do so with great joy, but some parts of our past require special and somber attention. This is especially true when we consider Canada’s treatment of First Nations people. It is a part of our history that needs to be remembered, but not passively. It demands action and response, especially by us who wear the name of Jesus.

When considering an appropriate, Godly way of responding to this horrid aspect of our nation’s history, we look to God’s word for guidance. I invite us to consider the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah (9:24):

““…but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.”

JKCS community, it is our desire to delight in the same things our Lord delights in, including the exercising of kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth. It is our calling at all times, but especially as we respond to the atrocities of our past and their legacy in our present.

As we approach the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we are keeping this call at the forefront of our hearts and minds. We are teaching, talking, and learning about the histories that have led us to this point. In age-appropriate ways, teachers are leading discussions and lessons on the histories of residential schools, the presence and impact of bias, racism, and stereotypes, and the ways we have treated – and still treat – “the other,” which at some point in our shared histories has been every one of us.

But we’re not stopping with the history lesson. We are also exploring tangible ways we can exercise Christ’s kindness, justice, and righteousness right where we live.

Parents, we ask that you talk with your children about what they are learning in school. Walk through this troubled past, and consider together how you and your family will respond.

As a school, we will be marking our call to remembrance and response by having a special chapel next Friday (September 29th). Students and staff are encouraged to wear an orange-coloured shirt as a way to visually honour First Peoples and our shared process of reconciliation.

As we take time to remember and reflect upon the events of our varied past, we do so with great hope that God will be free to speak to our hearts, and use us in shaping a future history that better reflects the desires of his heart, especially His kindness, justice, and righteousness.


By Jacob Rodgers, Elementary Principal

Grade 9

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More photos from the Grade 9 Encounter Days activity: White Water Rafting on the Chilliwack River!

Encounter Days Waivers

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Grade 7 https://johnknoxbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Grade-7-Waiver.pdf

Grade 8 https://johnknoxbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Grade-8-Waiver.pdf

Grade 9 https://johnknoxbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Grade-9-Waiver.pdf

Grade 10 https://johnknoxbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Grade-10-Waiver.pdf

Grade 11 https://johnknoxbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Grade-11-Waiver.pdf

Grade 12 https://johnknoxbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Grade-12-Waiver.pdf