We have had an exciting, busy, and challenging time here at Menaul School these past few months! We share our news with you in hopes that you will tell us how life has been for you, too. We look forward to news from you! Since our last newsletter in January, these are a few of the adventures we have had:
We were invited to attend “The Next 100 Years” at Menaul School, a fundraiser designed to show what we can look forward to as Menaul continues to prosper. We were treated to an exotic hotel suite with heated bathroom floors, a patio overlooking the surrounding mountains, and fancy meals. We convened just north of Santa Fe in Tesuque, NM. Later that weekend we went to the Santa Fe Ski area (spectacular at over 10,000 feet high!) and later stopped in the little town of Madrid to look into its many quaint shops.
We faithfully attended all the home basketball games here. Menaul’s boys and girls teams went all the way to win their district championships! Our boys went that far for the first time in 16 years. Our girls team won district championship for the first time in Menaul history! Very exciting games! The kids did a spectacular job!
We visited Grants Visitor Center, El Malpais Arch and Acoma with three other VIM’s (Volunteers in Mission). The next day we went to Jemez Springs. These are all exceptionally awe inspiring places, high up in the mountains with lots of desert to be seen on the way there! Landscape here is so different from the green and gently rolling hills of New England.
We have visited many churches here and have been attending the Church of the Good Shepherd UCC regularly. The people are very friendly, the church is informal, the study group is reading Jim Wallis’ book Rediscovering Values which has been insightful. The church is located in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains where we go to hike the trails after church! There are wonderful paths leading up, up and up! Spectacular views! All that and a Starbuck’s coffee as a reward!
We continue to publicize Panther Camp@ Menaul, for kids in grade 1 to 6, 3 weeks in June and 3 weeks in July. We have put our ad in 2 magazines, made 10,000 flyers (Pat made half page ones, cut and counted them, and Kim delivered them to 27 elementary schools in the area!) We’ve been receiving calls and emails ever since! Many people want financial aid. We have some scholarship dollars, but are awaiting the United Way’s decision re: how much we may receive from them, if any. We are conducting aid interviews of each candidate and base our aid on federal poverty guidelines for free and reduced lunch income. Interesting process!
Kim and I continued to tutor students until we started our Human Body Biology class, March 21 to April 28, 2011. We had planned to go away during spring break 3/14 to 3/20, but due to Pat’s fractured ribs and the need to prepare our biology class lessons (very time consuming for us non-teachers), we stayed on campus and planned out the first 3 weeks of class. This included reading all the applicable chapters in the textbook, figuring out which body systems to cover, how long to spend on each. We also made up quizzes, handouts, labs, lectures, chapter tests, etc. Lots of preparation and then, of course, lots of grading quizzes, test, homework,…
It has been interesting getting to know the kids in our biology classes. We have been teaching two back-to-back classes each day, an hour and twenty minutes each. The first class of 9th graders is very active with short attention spans, which can be challenging when trying to keep them on task. The second class is the more studious group. Student absences of a week or more create a make-up nightmare, because we want to keep kids up to date on current information and reading, but also want them to make up homework, quizzes and tests. There is a new computerized grading system here. You tell the computer how much weight to give a quiz or test and it figures out what the final grade is! Pat grades papers, posts them on line along with the homework for each week and does “Health Alerts” associated with the systems we are studying. Kim has done a lot of the lectures, labs, demonstrations and makes up tests and quizzes.
Students in our classes are active in drama, music and sports and we try to attend their events. We’ve seen Oliver, Charlotte’s Web, Once Upon an Island, Flamenco dancing, the Junior Prom, the “Green Tea” at a local Presbyterian church (where we asked people for “green” $$ to go for Menaul scholarships). We attended the Laguna Pueblo feast day and Indian Taco Night dinner put on by the Senior class. Another fundraiser at Menaul School is an occasional “Jeans Day” where you pay $2 to wear jeans.
This past week we spent 4 days in Socorro, NM, south of here, for Mission Week with twenty-one 9th graders. Our mission was to renovate the outside of a house owned by the Presbyterian church to ready it for a couple in their 80’s about to get married. Pat’s group raked a lot of dirt, moved gravel into the middle of a driveway, broke up and bagged dead branches which another group pulled down from a tree, swept, mopped and cleaned the church’s interior walls, tables and chairs in the church kitchen, hall and fellowship room, used Murphy’s Oil on the church pews and woodwork, … Kim’s group had harder jobs: they were out in the hot sun all day digging the hardened clay dirt, lifting out flag stones which later had to be placed in a walkway to the front door, after leveling the ground and placing the stones “just so”! Hot, backbreaking work, but the kids really pitched in! We stayed overnight in the church basement one night (nice hard floor!) and worked the 4th day for the town of Socorro doing trash cleanup! The town treated us all to lunch at a Mexican restaurant! We all got to know each other better, had fun and met some challenges keeping kids on task!
We are having a great time here. We plan to stay in Albuquerque until mid-June so we can complete Panther Camper registrations, collect money, and give the financial aid we have promised. After the teachers and campers are all set for a wonderful summer experience, we plan to take about a month to travel back to CT. We may return by way of Florida (to see daughter Julie and family) if they are not coming North this summer.
We miss you all and hope to hear what adventures you are having. We know New England and other parts of the country were slammed with snow this winter. We wish you God’s blessings of peace, joy and love!
In faith and friendship,
Kim and Pat