I just walked the new high school wing that’s been under construction since last year. The contractor is working hard to ensure we are ready for an occupancy permit. Final flooring is being installed, touch-up painting is underway, and ceiling tiles are being dropped into place. This is one beautiful building! The architecture is interesting, with lots of natural lighting, high ceilings, and classrooms that are bright and spacious.
When high school students return in August they’re going to be impressed with their new classrooms. Middle school students will also enjoy fully occupying the Student Center, which is now dedicated exclusively to middle school. I am thankful for how the Lord provided through the sacrificial gifts of our OCS families. Generations of OCS students will enjoy this new building.
This summer the OCS Barnabas Club and Saints Parent Organization (SPO) used a portion of their funds to purchase new bleachers for the home side of the football stadium. The bleachers arrived in early summer, and Mr. Shuck, OCS athletic director, quickly began the assembly process. The new bleachers are positioned above the terraced hill (where fans spread out blankets and lawn chairs), allowing the OCS fans to sit in closer proximity to each other, and the action action on the field. Barnabas Club also funded the addition of a new concrete pathway to separate the new bleachers from the terraced hill. The project completes the bleacher upgrade that began last summer when the visitor section was replaced. The project is a big improvement to the stadium and will be enjoyed by OCS fans for many years. Thank you to Barnabas and SPO who work diligently to make OCS a great place! A big thanks is also in order for Mr. Shuck!
Swimming returned to OCS this year. With a lack of facilities, we were unable to offer the sport for two years. However, Mitch Park’s new facility relieved some pressure on the local demand for practice facilities, allowing OCS to continue the program. Our first year back, we went to State. Here are comments from our coach, Krista Kezbers.
“First off I want to say how proud I am with all of our swimmers and their amazing efforts at State!! They all raced as hard as they could! It was also amazing to see the OCS swimmers inviting other swimmers to pray with them before races and overall just being extremely supportive of everyone! We had an “adopted team” for the weekend as Newcastle did not have a coach on deck with them. After the meet they all told me how awesome it was to feel like they had a big team and to know that there were kids on deck cheering for them. We truly have a wonderful group of swimmers!”
Girls Team – 19th overall
Boys Team (Conner) – 25th overall
Girls 200 Medley Relay – DQ
Boys 50 Free – Conner – 10th
Girls 100 Free – Madelyn – 12th
Girls 200 Free Relay – 16th
Girls 100 Back – Madelyn – 5th
Boys 100 Breast – Conner – 9th
These new classrooms will alleviate our space needs in the high school, as well as allow the middle school to exclusively use the Student Center. With new Advanced Placement and elective courses planned for the high school next year, we can really use this space.
Our high school football season is over, but I didn’t want the semester to end without mentioning a noteworthy effort from some our OCS parents. This year OCS parents served students from our opposing teams by providing them nutritious snacks, personalized game towels, team locker magnets, and inspirational notes of scripture.
Spirit Bags were handed out at the conclusion of each game as the team boarded their bus for home. This was a very special time and allowed OCS parents the opportunity to engage with the players, coaches, parents, and fans from other schools. OCS received many kind words of thanks.
“Who would do this for us?”
“Thank you so much, no one has ever done anything like this for us.”
Our Saints football family was truly a blessing to these schools, coaches and young players. Thank you for your generosity and for supporting this important ministry. If you like to learn more about the OCS Spirit Bags and how you can help, contact Kathy Gold at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I enjoy hearing stories about how God is using OCS students. Zach Elliott is an OCS senior with an online Christian apologetics ministry. He has developed an impressive website and is producing equally impressive videos. Click here to view Zach’s site – Ex Nihilo. I’ve posted two of his videos below.
You walk on it every time you make your way to an OCS football game, but you may not realize its name – Alumni Avenue. Alumni Avenue is the pathway leading to the OCS football field. It’s paved with engraved bricks commemorating the achievements of past, present, and future graduates. If you take a few minutes and study the names, memories of past students come rushing back.
I taught at OCS in the late 90’s and have some wonderful memories of my time in the classroom. However, when I recently studied the engraved bricks on Alumni Avenue, memories of specific students flooded my mind and brought a smile to my face. I remembered Zack Martin, who was the senior class president in 1999. As a high school senior, Zach told me one afternoon that he was undecided between choosing a career as a psychologist or businessman. I remember being humored as I contemplated the prospect of laying on a couch in Zach’s office undergoing psychoanalysis. I chuckled this morning, thinking about how much fun Zach was. By the way, Zach chose the business route and continues to enjoy a successful career in commercial real estate.
We haven’t talked about the ongoing OCS Brick Campaign in recent years, but it’s an important project. Each name on Alumni Avenue represents a student who lived a portion of their life on the OCS campus. It’s a great way to commemorate those students and their contribution to the 45-year history of OCS. Parents, grandparents, or alumni can learn how to secure their student’s place on Alumni Avenue by contacting Kristine in the OCS development office (405) 341-2265 or by going to the Brick Campaign page on the OCS website.
Free Voluntary Reading is a scholarly term for reading for pleasure. It’s a term used by Dr. Stephen Krashen, an education professor who has written extensively on reading and second language acquisition. As a former foreign language teacher I was exposed to some of his foreign language theories, but I also read about his research on the impact of reading on academic success. Krashen writes on the compelling research correlating free voluntary reading and reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary development, spelling, and grammar. It’s an activity that pays dividends in school.
Without providing a comprehensive review of Krashen’s work, here are a few ideas that we, as parents and educators, can consider with our own students and children.
- Allow our children to read books that are of interest to them (obviously within reason).
- Avoid attaching “strings” to reading – let the pleasure of reading be the reward itself. However, consider creative incentives for unmotivated students.
- Designate a regular reading time in your home.
In a busy, screen-driven society, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to institute some of these ideas. However, the more I read about the power of reading, the more motivated I am to make it a priority at home and school. If you want to read more about the affects of free voluntary reading on your child’s academic success, simply google “Stephen Krashen – Free Voluntary Reading.” You’ll find a number of interesting links to articles and videos.