Goshen Summer Academic Recommendations

By Claudia McCrocklin, Director of The Learning Center

It is hard to believe summer is just around the corner. The Learning Center is excited to offer several options to keep students’ skills sharp! For some students, it is essential that they do something academically over the summer to maintain their reading, writing or math skills. All students would certainly benefit from academic enrichment. Click here here for information about what is available for rising 1st-8th graders.

The Math Department recommends the Summer Solutions Workbooks for all students as a great way to practice multiple skills in a short amount of time.  By doing one page a week for the entire summer, students will have practiced 50 to 60 problems that spiral through all topics they need in order to be prepared for the upcoming school year.  If you aren’t sure what grade level is appropriate, feel free to reach out to your current math teacher and he/she will be sure to help.  Other fun ways to keep math on your child’s mind over the summer include encouraging your child to practice some “real life” math skills!  Ask him/her to help you calculate the cost of your family’s ice cream bill at Dairy Queen, calculate the total time spent doing a particular activity (and practice reading a clock!), or estimate how much time it will take to arrive at a destination going 60 mph. Happy Math-ing!

**For rising 4th and 5th graders:  Please review multiplication tables over the summer!**

The Six Guiding Beliefs of Dr. King

By Reed Gabhart, Head of the Goshen Campusmlk

While sitting inside, warm, admiring the view on our first snow day of the winter, I thought I’d take a look back out at our annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assembly last Friday.

Alexandra Thurstone led off the assembly by sharing some of her favorite Dr. King quotations. Here is one that stood out, The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. As our students absorbed and reflected on these quotes, I followed up by asking the young ones in the front if Dr. King believed in using force to achieve one’s goals. Of course even our primary students knew that he advocated peaceful means of social change. After that, we were in for a real treat. School Librarian Lindsy Serrano and Spanish teacher Salema Jenkins put together a slideshow presentation entitled “Martin Luther King’s Six Guiding Beliefs.” They narrated the presentation, and after each principle there was a slide featuring one of our students and his/her response to the belief. The six principles were:

  • “Have courage”
  • “Love your enemies” (Jude Sleadd’s response to this was, “If there is a person who bullies you, it would confuse them if you were nice to them.”)
  • “Fight the problem, not the person who caused it.”
  • “Resist violence of any kind.”
  • “When innocent people are hurt, it inspires others to help.”
  • “The universe honors love.” (A group of 2nd and 3rd graders responded thus: “Fight violence with love. Use kind words. We will use kind words. Sometimes our words can hurt more than physical violence.”

After this very meaningful slideshow, Kim Aberle led a group of Lower School students in the song, I Have a Dream. The juxtaposition of their sweet, innocent voices with the historical impact of the message was devastatingly powerful. I showed a clip of Dr. King speaking to close the assembly, this time from the “To the Mountaintop” speech. Many of the kids reported having goosebumps at the end.

This is one of my favorite assemblies of the year. The students have a different demeanor during it, a definite sense of gravity and awareness that they are witnessing something historic and vital to the progress of the U.S. and the world. The challenge now, as then, is to take these principles and put them into action in our daily lives. We will try to help the students do that, just the same as all of us struggle at times to do what we know in our hearts is right.

6th Grade Showcase

By Anne Farra, LS & MS Humanities, 6th Grade Quick Recall Coach6thGShowcase

On Saturday, our academic team competed int he 6th Grade Showcase.  The team made our school proud, coming in 2nd place for our region!

The 6th grade Quick Recall team began practicing during lunch and recess on Fridays in late September.  In November, students additionally gave up a morning recess to practice.  The Showcase competition included five other regional middle school teams: North Oldham, East Oldham, Trimble County, Henry County, and St. Aloysius.  6th Grade Showcase is made up of three parts: written composition, written assessment (5 subject areas), and quick recall.  Our team did wonderfully all around!  Lily Gilbert placed 2nd in written composition and 1st place in Arts and Humanities.  Grayson Karleski placed 3rd in Science.  Ali Muse placed 5th in Language Arts.  The team placed 2nd in quick recall, losing to North Oldham in the final round.   Way to go, Wyverns!

The team is composed of Lily Gilbert, Grayson Karleski, Ayda Marshall, Kathryn Denham, Veronika Vawter, Natalie Koch, Maddy Feitelson, Ali Muse, Harrison Aberle, and Reese Ragland.

A huge thank you to the following people: Anne Farra, head coach of the 6th grade team; Debbie Adkins, assistant coach and contest manager of the event; and Lindsy Serrano, who served as the head scorer. Andrew Frechette, Heather Varda and Misty Chanda served as moderators and scorers.  Audrey Morrison was the chief official. Judy Riendeau, Joanne Brock, Melanie Pugh, Erin Staley, Pattie Koth, Sarah Wallace and Cara Baribeau helped as proctors, graders or with registration. And Charlie Patton helped make sure all of the tech needs went off without a hitch.

An “Earnest” effort from the SFS Drama Project!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

I hope you were able to get out to one of the four performances of the SFS Drama Project’s fall play The Importance of Being Earnest. We wrapped up a four-show run Wednesday night, and the show was quite “smashing,” if I do say so myself. Many patrons remarked on how difficult this production must have been for middle school students to pull off, and I think that’s what makes us most proud about this choice. While the script was edited just a little, some of our actors had to memorize more than 300 lines, with difficult and archaic vocabulary tossed in for good measure. Their appreciation for the subtle (and at times scathing!) humor grew during the rehearsal process, and by show’s end they sounded like real London aristocrats from a bygone age.


What is especially gratifying to me is how much the kids want this authentic type of experience and challenge! While we routinely bemoan the fact that kids are glued to their video games and phones, these adolescents are choosing to participate in a laborious rehearsal schedule (with five-hour weekend dress rehearsals), spending countless hours working on their lines, and all for two performances (in most cases). It is obvious they are proud of what we have achieved as a company, and the skills they are learning will serve them long after the lights are dimmed (not to mention all the heart-warming memories). To all the actors, crew, adults, and parents who helped with Earnest, I candidly say, “Thank YOU, sir.”   Respectfully yours,  Mr. Bunbury.

And as we look ahead to next week, I want to wish our large group of KyACDA All-State Choir kids the best of luck on their trip to Bowling Green to perform! We are so proud of them and look forward to hearing about their concert. And, of course, the 8th grade will be heading out for our annual pilgrimage to Big South Fork for a week’s worth of backpacking and life lessons. I will be with them this year and look forward to all the adventures that await us. At press time the weather looks pretty promising! I’m sure we’ll flood (bad choice of words!) everyone with pictures and tall tales!

6th Grade Hands-on, Minds On Learning

By Shelly Jones, 6th Grade Language Arts & Social Studies


Last week, the 6th graders had two unique hands-on, minds-on learning experiences connected to their Language Arts and Social Studies curriculum. The first, cooking okra two different ways, connected to their study of the novel Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani. In the novel, a 12-year-old Kentucky coal miner’s son named River and a 12-year-old Indian immigrant in New York City named Meena become pen pals and eventually best friends. The novel is written in a series of revealing letters exploring such topics as environmental activism, immigration and racism. One food they discover a shared love for is okra. Meena’s family prepares it in a stew with tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices, while River’s Mamaw batters it in cornmeal and fries it.  

School Garden Coordinator Christine Brinkmann worked with the class to prepare the okra both ways. The students worked in collaborative teams, bringing in the ingredients and preparing the food in stations set up in the classroom. In the spring, we will work with Christine to plant our own okra saved from last year’s seeds. Then next year’s class will be able to harvest and cook the okra grown in our school garden (unfortunately this year’s okra was past its prime). To say the kids loved cooking was an understatement!  I heard from one parent that when her son came home from school, the first thing he asked her is, “Mom, when can we cook some okra?”


Our second hands-on, minds-on learning experience, “Walk A Mile in My Shoes,” gave 6th graders the opportunities to experience life as a refugee. Students had new identities, health histories, skills, ages, and family members assigned before the simulation, and they faced many challenges while “in character” at the event held downtown at Waterfront Park. Together they navigated challenges such as learning a new language, obtaining food and water, filling out paperwork they couldn’t understand, securing food, bartering with few possessions, avoiding random arrest, or being forced to go back to their home countries. The students left the refugee simulation after debriefing, where they shared their thoughts, reflections and new understandings of the challenges faced by millions of refugees around the globe today. A special thanks to the newly-formed Louisville group, Global Commons. They provided this opportunity to 800 Louisville-area students free of charge in order to help bridge local and international communities to help students to think of themselves as global citizens.

After these experiences, the students wrote reflectively about what they learned. I’ll close with a couple of excerpts from their work, which speaks for itself:

“I could not imagine being a refugee. They run miles to get to safety from war. They don’t have the stuff we have, such as a lot of water and a lot of food. They face many challenges. They have to make hard decisions, like should they run from their home and leave everything behind or collect everything and die? They would love everything that we have.”  
Isaiah Green

“Our [mock] family was arrested many times for little reasons, like not being able to read a foreign language. I feel extremely sorry that these refugees have to suffer, so I’m glad that we will help Kentucky Refugee Ministries for our service-learning project. No one should have to go through what Dania [the refugee we learned about in class] did.”
Lily Gilbert

“I learned a lot of things from the simulation that I never realized were true. Now I realize how difficult it is for them to survive with such limited resources and materials.  When I was in the camp, I thought this isn’t so bad, but then I realized people would spend their whole lives inside gates and maybe never be able to leave.  When the refugees finally get out, they usually have very few belongings and they can only hope that they can start their lives over again, which must be a very difficult process to go through.”
Grayson Karleski

“Refugees’ experiences are tough; it’s very hard to trust anyone. If you make it to a different country, it will be hard to understand the language and fill out papers. During the simulation you ALWAYS HAD to have your papers with you or you would be sent to jail. You got to keep one thing to bribe people with if you got into trouble. The experience was hard and meaningful to know what it was like to go on the journey of a refugee fleeing from their country.”
Stevaun Butler

5th Graders Welcome Civil War Visitor

By Heather Varda, 5th Grade Language Arts/Social StudiesCivilWar_2

This week the 5th graders had a special visitor who time-traveled from 1864. Our guest was a private in the 4th Infantry Ohio, from the Civil War … Of course, this was our High School faculty member Bob Jones, who teaches Chinese; however, he was disguised as a German immigrant Union soldier. The kids were able to experience a simulation of “living history”, and the discussion helped reinforce facts the kids have learned in social studies recently about the Civil War.

5th Grade Takes In the Capitol

By Heather Varda, 5th Grade Language Arts & Social Studies 5thGradeCapitol_1

The 5th graders enjoyed an historically informative tour of Frankfort last week. They toured the Thomas D. Clark History Museum, viewing artifacts from the Civil War and other historical artifacts relating to Kentucky history. Students were especially impressed with Abraham Lincoln’s watch, used in the movie Lincoln, and hearing accounts of how divided our state really was during the Civil War.

We walked down the block to the Old Capitol building, built in 1834. The kids participated in a mock trial in the Senate chamber, thinking about the pros and cons of a bill proposed in 1850. They debated about a bill proposed to enclose the property with an iron fence. Each 5th grader re-enacted the role of either a senator, visitor (taxpayer), president, or a secretary. The visitors decided that the Old Capitol should not be fenced with tax money; however, they discovered that it was in fact fenced, as the the senators eventually got their way. Then the kids walked across the hall and discovered artifacts in the House of Representatives’ desks, items that were carried by Representatives 185 years ago. The students learned that there are 100 representatives and 38 senators in Kentucky’s legislature, just as there have been for more than 180 years.

Next, we ventured over to the current Capitol. Students admired the wood-paneled Supreme Court chamber, thoroughly learning about our justice system. They now know about the three branches of government, after visiting all three branches and discussing the responsibilities of each. Lastly, the 5th graders learned that our Capitol ranks 3rd in aesthetic beauty, behind the Washington D.C. Capitol and Philadelphia’s Capitol. Overall it was a fun and informative field trip!