2018-09-14: New Programs for Students in 6th-12th Grades

Post date: Sep 19, 2018 11:26:56 PM

[The following message is from Fr. Nick.]

September 14, 2018

Dear Parents of Church School students in 6th-12th grades,

This year, we are going to try something a little different for the 6th-12th grades. Once a month for the 6th-9th graders, and once a month for the 10th-12th graders, the students will meet in the conference room where I (or Fr. Alex) will offer a discussion on various topics meant to stimulate thinking and the application of our Greek Orthodox faith in everyday life.

Below is a list of tentative dates and topics.

Following the distribution of Holy Communion, I will go to the conference room to meet the group for that Sunday. Fr. Alex will conclude the Divine Liturgy, make announcements and distribute antidoron. There, I will meet with one of the two groups mentioned above for the length of a normal church school class and we will discuss some of the issues noted below.

Also, during the week before the session, we will send an email to the parents of the group at hand, and let them know the outline and some of the material that will be covered so that the parents will have an opportunity to see what will be discussed. For example, this Sunday, the topic is “Building Friendships.” The points of discussion are as follows:

    1. “Guess who I am survey” – an ice-breaker for the group.

    2. What are the characteristics of a good friend – students call out ideas, and I or the teachers may add to the list and certainly discuss the list from an Orthodox perspective.

    3. Making new friends – what are some ways we can learn to make new friends or be friendlier – How do you meet new people? How should one act? How should one try to comport himself/herself? What does our Orthodox faith have to say concerning these issues?

    4. Closing thoughts/Team idea – extend to an idea that we are a team here at St. Nicholas striving together for salvation.

The goals of this new program are to:

    • Talk about issues directly related to the lives of the students from an Greek Orthodox Christian perspective.

    • Stimulate thinking and expressing ideas from and Orthodox perspective.

    • Create stronger bonds and friendships between our students so that they know they have generally like-minded friends within the Greek Orthodox Church.

    • Promote critical thinking from an Orthodox Christian perspective to help solve, or at least help navigate through, challenges or challenging situations.

The reasons we are trying this new program are as follows:

    • Though we often talk about such issues in GOYA, not all of our students participate in GOYA, so we are “casting a larger net”.

    • In my experience, these topics seriously challenge our students – listening to the many confessions of students here at St. Nicholas and at the camp have shown me that these issues and challenges affect many of the students, and I think an earlier point of contact on these issues will be helpful to them.

    • A number of parents have reached out to me and asked that we talk about these topics in church from an Orthodox perspective.

    • We want to promote a tighter-knit group of friends within our Greek Orthodox Church.

I am particularly grateful to Dr. Karen Kolias, Ioana Nadra, and Dani Nadra for their help, support, and development (in all areas) of this program.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

God bless,

+ Fr. Nick