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Ponderings From Our Principal

We have reached the end of another school year. The grade 8 graduation ceremony was Friday night, the excellent yearbooks have been handed out, and most of the energetic year-end parties are being planned.

It is been a good year. There have been times when things have gone really well and times when days have had their challenges. I am so thankful to God that He allows us to live in the shadow of the cross so that grace abounds in my life and the lives of all who enter this place.

We began the year with a goal to further explore Proverbs 3:5-6 in which was a command to trust in the Lord with all your heart. We wanted to speak into the lives of our students so that they are to seek Him for all decisions in life. We also wanted to make sure that our students know that He will make their paths straight. My hope and prayer is that our students have those truths emblazoned on their hearts.

May the Lord bless and keep you. For those of you returning to John Knox, have a safe and relaxing summer. For those of you not returning, may the Lord go with you as you begin a new chapter in your lives at a different school.

Watch this week’s video for a student-made glimpse of other students sharing their stories. I leave you with this blessing from Number 6:24-26:

"The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you;
The Lord turn His face toward you
And give you peace.”

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma

The end of the school year is a busy time. It is a combination of finishing the year well, getting ready for grade 8 graduation, and writing the learning reports. We are now just six short school days away from the end and the grade 8 students are writing their exams as we speak.

Our grade 8 students put me in the mood to reflect on who they are as people. These last few days signify the last time in which we will see them together as a class in our halls and classrooms. My sentimental side says keep them here, and my rational side says send them forth to the next level of schooling.

I know that my own children getting jobs and leaving home is what my young adults are supposed to do. They can’t live with their parents for the rest of their lives. We teach them to be independent and think on their own, and then when they are ready, we want to keep them around.

Are you feeling what I am feeling? Do you look at your children and see them grow up before your eyes? It’s all good. The Lord has promised to guide each child. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Watch this week’s video for a glimpse of two of our grade 8 graduates and their feelings about the ending here and the beginning somewhere else. If you are a parent of a young student, know that life moves quickly and you need to make the most of every moment. Know that if you are a parent of an older student, the Lord has your child in the palm of His hand and has a plan.

By the way, feel free to come to our graduation ceremony on Friday, June 24 at 5:00 pm at Clearview Church as we say goodbye to our grade 8 students who have completed their time with us. Join us in feeling sad and happy all at the same time!

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma

I am still very excited about the membership meeting which happened in our gymnasium this past Tuesday night. It was a beautiful combination of devotion, singing, reporting, honouring, electing, and questioning. I am sorry if you missed it.

If you did miss it, there are some things that I would like you to know regarding our academic program changes for the coming school year. Here they are:

  • Grade 7 students will have a language arts exam in January and a math exam in June.
  • Grade 8 students will have a language arts exam in January and a math, French, and science exam in June.
  • Our present report cards will be renamed “Learning Reports” and include a structure that provides feedback around habits, skills, worldview, and grades.
  • Our math resource called, "Jump Math" will be transitioned to the next upper grade over two years time so that the resource will be one year ahead in all grades. For example, a grade 5 student will be using the Grade 6 Jump Math resource.
  • All students in our primary and junior grades will be required to know their multiplication tables at the appropriate grade and will need to work on them during the summer if they are not mastered.
  • The arts program will now include mandatory music for all students in grades 6-8.

In addition, we will teach all of the senior math periods at the same time so that our senior teachers can co-plan through the professional learning times and make adjustments as our assessments and differentiation goals dictate.

We feel as though these program adjustments will help us build on our program. We are excited and hope that you are as well! Please spread the word to potential parents of these changes and please sing the praises of our school.

Tune in to this week’s video to hear me talk about our present process of class configurations and the ideal class structures that are presently being made for your children. That is another selling feature of our school! Encourage your Christian friends and their children to join us. Please pray for the Lord to fill our place next year so that as many people as possible experience the blessing of this place!

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma

This feels a bit awkward to state publicly, but I need to say it. There are parts of student failure that I enjoy watching. Many life lessons are learned through the process of experiencing failure. Watching students fail, dust themselves off, set new goals, go back at it and learn from the experience is a wonderful sight. Don’t you agree?

There is another aspect to watching students that I thoroughly enjoy. Students using their God-given talents and abilities in the context of a team to achieve a certain goal. Those moments come in the forms of academic studies, travelling as a group to Quebec City, and competing in a sporting event.

This week, I would like to highlight our track and field team. They represented our school well in placing second at the recent Toronto District Christian School meet. I didn’t attend, but heard many great stories of students who competed well.

Click on the video this week to receive a little glimpse of the wonderful event. You will see our senior boys running in the 4 X 100 metre relay event in which they narrowly beat the other teams as they propelled their bodies as quickly as they could around the oval track. You will also get an idea of the cheering and atmosphere that was present.

As you watch, thank the Lord with me for opportunities such as these to help our students grow and develop, compete and collaborate, work and rest, and blossom into servant leaders ready to take their place in our society today. It is a blessing!

In Christ,

Mr. G. Petrusma

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3: 5, 6

In addition to this being our theme verse for this school year, this verse has a very deep and personal meaning for me. In March of this year I learned that a previously diagnosed leak in the mitral valve in my heart had progressed from mild to severe and needed to be either repaired or replaced. The gold standard treatment for this is open-heart surgery where the valve is repaired. This, in the end, is the procedure I had at Toronto General Hospital by Dr. Tirone David, one of the most experienced and respected heart surgeons in the world.

My journey from the realization that I would need open-heart surgery until the actual surgery itself was very challenging for me. With each successive visit with my cardiologist, heart surgeon, and eventually the many specialties that would be involved in my surgery, the outlook kept getting better and better. My rational self knew that I was actually blessed to have a surgical procedure that had a very high success rate, low complication rate, by a surgeon that was one of the best in the world, that would essentially return my lifestyle and lifespan back to normal. My irrational self focused on the multitude of things that could go wrong. In my research I learned about things that I never knew existed that deeply concerned me. By the time I received a date for my surgery, I had a sizable list of things to worry about, even though most would likely never happen. As it turned out, only one of the items on my worry list happened, and it wasn’t as difficult as I feared it would be. A complication I was aware of but not worried about did happen (I bled profusely at the start of the procedure and it took an hour to get the bleeding under control) but the expertise of Dr. David and his team saved my life. The miracle of blood transfusion helped me to regain the lost blood.

All of this brings me to the fact that our theme verse showed up for me on four separate occasions during my six month long journey to heart surgery, sending me a message from the Lord that I continually needed to hear. Proverbs 3: 5, 6 was selected as the verse for our 2015-16 school year. I also came across an old Bible a friend had given to me some 25 years ago and the personalized inscription contained our theme verse. I went into my son’s room at one point and he had written out the verse and posted it on his wall. He chose this out of the Bible without any awareness it was appearing to me in other places. And the place it appeared most dramatically to me was in a store on my way home from a visit from my heart surgeon. The verse was written on a figure of a red heart. Written above the verse in large letters were the words “Let it go.” I had to see it several times but the message was clear - this is in the Lord’s hands, He will get me through whatever happens. The week before surgery I was at peace. I never had any fear of dying, and now all of the other worries had dissipated as well. I am so thankful to the Lord for caring for me through the supportive words and actions of so many people, and for comforting me with His Word.

Please watch this week’s Principal’s Ponderings as I interview Carl, a grade 4 student. Carl shares his understanding of what our theme verse means to him. Enjoy, and may God richly bless you and your family as you journey through life. As you face life’s inevitable challenges, always remember:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3: 5, 6

Steve Cruickshank

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