Raggant Standard

March 2019

Letter From Mrs. Bowers 

Stories have worn many adjectives over the years: escapist, imaginative, devilish, deceptive, sub-creative. They have worn many outfits: epic poem, history, speech, play, novel, short story, film. They have changed civilizations and civilians; they have brought down walls and plastered them together; they have unchained the slave and bound the free in post-modernism’s free-love. With this kind of power, it is easy to eschew fiction of any kind out of fear. Oddly, we can also minimize it, treating it as mere entertainment and popping a Twinkie here and there from the Bestseller list.

In this smorgasbord of story around us, from the screen to the page, Christians lack discernment. If stories be a kind of formative food for the soul - certainly lower on the food pyramid than the perfect Word of God, but still with nutrient value - we are far too apt to roam the entertainment aisles dumping everything into our cart from chintzy picture books to sentimental teenage drama novellas to the latest blockbuster. Or we run from the supermarket entirely, holed-up on a hilltop somewhere and missing out entirely on the formative value of incarnational art.

There are a host of reasons for this failure of discernment - lack of sound, biblical teaching and anemic fellowship within thriving Churches being two of the most prominent. These and more have smudged the glasses of our vision - we simply do not see the world correctly through our crinkled contacts and stifled imaginations. We also haven't been taught well by our schools to understand things like worldview, literary analysis, and more. We do not grasp and love reality as God has made and revealed it to us, and do we not see what those created in His image are creating around us. We need to embrace that fiction “is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system” (Flannery O’Connor). The best fiction is anything but escapist; it takes ideas and enfleshes them, which makes it very powerful. And very dangerous.

As Christians, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit and a renewed heart to “guide us into all truth” (John 16:13). We have every blessing and ability to see the lies the world is packaging in moving images on a screen, through lyrics synthesized with vocal pitch machines, and in paperbacks with gold-leafed covers. We of all people should know when to pick up the book and read, and when to put it down...when to walk into a movie theatre, and when to walk out.

But we need to be trained, and I heartily believe that the Fiction Festival is an invaluable tool to train you and those in your community to see clearly and engage the battle about us with wit and vigor and fervor. As Hebrews 5:14 says, “but solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” There is some fantastic literary food out there, and The Chronicles of Narnia offer some of the best meat-and-potatoes you can find. There are a few mushy peas here and there, but they are easily picked out, unlike arsenic-laced Marvel fare. Because make no mistake, there is devilish food available on every corner, and they are choice morsels that sink down into the heart.

At the Festival we will dive into some big questions: How do stories operate? How do they glorify values that you find detestable, possibly without you realizing it? How, as a parent or grandparent, can you grow your children with Nebraskan steak instead of JELLO? How can you grow by identifying with characters, seeing how a certain sin or virtue works itself out to the end point of a plot? How can your worship and feasting and glorifying be better because of some make-believe story about something that never even happened?

All of Lewis’ novels have been some of my greatest teachers. I have seen myself in the mirrors of Jane and Orual, reading my own thoughts back on the page...and it has terrified me. I have seen the virtuous faith of Lucy or the pessimistic realism of Susan amplified within a world not my own, so that I could own some of my failings and fan some of my baby virtue. I have read biblical truth, and then seen it incarnated in a story - of looking to Christ’s standard instead of my own, of walking out in obedience as my faith caught up, and of knowing that ultimately, the battle is won, and all the trials and tribulations of this life are the worst it will ever be for those with whom He is well pleased; that pleasures here are but the beginning of the most wonderful story that has ever been written, world without end.

So we hope you will join us for this year’s Fiction Festival, perhaps to strum a few pages for the first time, or to wipe your glasses with the dish-towel of discernment, or go romping in a thunderstorm. We can’t promise you much, but we can promise you one thing: it won’t be entirely safe, but it will be good.

- Mrs. Bowers

Congratulations to Grace Manus, who won FIRST PLACE for 4th - 6th Grade at the Inter-School Spelling Bee!

Standardized Testing
CTP-Testing is happening this month: 1st - 6th graders will test March 5th - 8th, and 7th - 8th graders will test March 12th - 15th. The school has sufficient testing devices, so just plan to show up!
Large Group Choral Festival

Last year Opus Dei (the 7th-12th choir) had a great time at the Large Group Choral Festival at Arlington High School.  It was great for them to get to hear other area high schools sing as well as to be featured themselves.  It was also a good opportunity for exposure for our school!  We have the opportunity again this year, though the festival will be in Everett.  Here are the details:
What: Large Group Choral Festival
Who: Opus Dei (all secondary students)
When: Tuesday March 19
Times: 7:30am - lunchtime. Our performance is probably going to be 11:30, though the official schedule has not yet been released.
Other details:  Students should wear their event uniforms and pack a sack lunch...and probably a book to read.  We will rendezvous in front of the Everett Civic Auditorium at 7:55am to support the first group, performing at 8:00.  
Regarding the times, we know this is early, and a big ask.  The reason is to offer support for the other groups performing.  Last year, we were the last group of the day, and the auditorium was nearly empty. This was disheartening, and the same thing often happens for the first group of the day.  In the interest of loving our neighbors and lending the support we'd enjoy receiving, we're meeting at 7:30am at the school so we can support the first groups of the day.  If you'd prefer to arrange transportation for your student(s) to and from the Auditorium, please let us know.  

When our own performance time is finalized (again, probably 11:30ish), we'll be glad to announced it so you can come support the Raggants.  We should be back for 5th period.  

We need a few drivers and chaperones; if you're interested in joining us, please inform Mr. Sarr.   
 Paperwork and deposits are due by April 9th (the day we return from Spring Break). If you are re-enrolling and adding a new student, please get a "sibling enrollment" packet from Mrs. Bowers.  
Grammar Speech Meet

ECS will be participating in the Inter-School Grammar Speech Meet on April 25th at Woodinville Community Church. Below are the deadlines (more information will be forthcoming via email): 

3/14 - Poem selection due to individual teachers
4/11 - In-Class Speech Meets to determine ECS representatives
4/25 - Inter-School Meet @ Woodinville Community Church 

Here are a few guidelines to help you work with your student: 

Category Guidelines: Speeches will be broken down into the following categories
  1. Poetry (grades 1-6)
  2. Bible memorization (grades 1-6)
  3. Fable and Folklore (grades 2-4)
  4. Historic, Patriotic or Literary Oration (grades 5-6) 

We will once again be using TreeRing for our Yearbooks! Everyone should have received a purchase reminder via email this week. If you did not, please let Mrs. Bowers know. Books must be purchased by 4.19.19 and custom pages must be finished by 5.3.19.
Field Trip #3
Our third "Field Trip" will be our annual Clean-Up Day at the school! This is an awesome opportunity to bless Reclamation Church for providing a wonderful facility for us, and also an opportunity  to get our hands dirty (though hopefully not frostbitten). Wear work clothes and arrive at school as usual for Matins on Friday, April 19th.
  • Specifics are still being determined, but KinderPrep will begin in early May at the school, one day a week for about two hours a day.
  • KinderPrep will be open for students who are considering Kindergarten for the 2019 - 2020 school year.
  • KinderPreppers will gain valuable skills such as how to hold a pencil, follow standard school directions, respond to a teacher, line up, etc.
  • The cost is FREE and it is a wonderful time of fun! 
  • To register, or if you have questions, contact Gale Light:

The Intern's Ideations
Introducing a new piece of musing  from our very own Intern, Miss Kara Rothenberger:

Firstly, I should assure you that I despise resolutions, and have thus resolved to make none. Secondly, the dislike of life-mottos follows close behind, and that is something I shall die by. But do not be mistaken - I have no qualms about having resolve, resoluteness, or any other variation of resolutions, nor am I attacking our school’s own beloved motto. In fact, it is partly due to the winsomeness of “Risus Est Bellum” that I have resolved (see, there it is!) to write this ideation.

As many other fellow-despisers of resolutions might tell you, the unappealing nature of making goals and hopeful solutions to past problems is not the actual act of planning ahead - but the act of failing to follow through. How often do you hear someone say, “I just can’t believe how much work that person can accomplish. If only I had more hours in the day….” And so is planted the false seed of believing that there is no way of changing their current lifestyle. And that person would be correct - there is no way of changing their current lifestyle, or, at least, no way of changing their lifestyle in the way that they want it to be changed.

And this is really just another way of saying that extra magical hours shall not be tacked on, nor shall their chores be done by singing woodland creatures, nor shall their children become perfectly independent and well-behaved, nor shall the snow suddenly cease to clog their driveways. If you need any further confirmation of this, “Go to the ant… consider her ways.” I am told that it is abnormal for ants to mill about and discuss the benefits of building nests and gathering food (if only our lives were that organized), and to compare their impossibly busy schedules to that of the bees (who have it much easier than us), and to bemoan the oppressive and untimely needs of their clueless queen-mother (who volun-told us to be manual-laborers today).

But I am aware that these analogies may be getting wildly out of hand, so now may be the time for me to take a more blunt approach. Dear friends, what will it take? What will it take for you to joyfully take a look at your current circumstances and realistically gauge how terrible and overwhelming they really are, and estimate how much effort you have actually been putting into them? I say this, not as someone who has “figured it out,” but as someone who has become well-versed in dropping responsibility and blaming everything else for a lack of progress. But I am also told that creatures made in the image of the Almighty, who have been given His Spirit, will have a rough time trying to stay as they are. This is not a call to selfish self-care, nor is it a denial of God-honoring nurturing self-care. However, if we believe that part of our mission is to “Commend the works of the Lord to another generation with...sacrificial labors so that they will carry and advance Christ-honoring culture,” then we also deny the “freedom” of staying dissatisfied with our lives. The God who orchestrates the inner-workings of anthills and snowflakes, and calls them to accomplish much, will also call us to take joy in storing up what is good, to wield wisdom in offering up what is true, and to be faithful in our building up of what is beautiful.
Upcoming Events
  • 3/1: Dress Uniform & Assembly @ 2:15pm with our "Cheerman" Mr. Chuck Weinberg speaking
  • 3/5 - 3/8: CTP Testing for Grammar Students
  • 3/12 - 3/15: CTP Testing for 7th and 8th Grade Students
  • 3/15: Dress Uniform
  • 3/15: Grammar Speech Meet pieces due to teachers
  • 3/19: Large Group Choral Festival for Secondary
  • 3/22: Special Assembly with Rebekah Merkle at 2:15pm
  • 3/23: 4th Annual Fiction Festival
  • 3/29: Last Day of Quarter 3
  • 3/30 - 4/7: SPRING BREAK!
  • 4/8: School resumes (at home)
  • 4/9: Re-enrollment paperwork due

March Birthdays

  • 3/19: Isabella Lawson
  • 3/20: Reese Paine
  • 3/23: Aaron Blacker
  • 3/31: Ellie Sarr
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Evangel Classical School · 9015 44th Dr NE · Marysville, Wa 98270 · USA

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