Monday, December 14, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015!

by Isaiah Durbin, student boosters small group

Mr. Barnes put together another wonderful Christmas program. He has put so much time and effort into his programs and this year was yet another example of his hard work. Some elements of the program come together at the last moment - one thing he mentioned was that the different classes had learned a song separately and come together to do it for the first time that morning! First and second grade said they had fun learning with Mr. Barnes. 

Every year we have a Christmas tree decorating contest where the grades are separated out and get to decorate their own tree. Kindergarten had a foil tree where they made ornaments and a star out of foil. First and second grade had a snowflake tree with candy canes. Third and fourth had a camping tree complete with s’mores ornaments.  Fifth and sixth had their traditional World Vision tree with picture of many flags of countries across the world, which leads me to another topic I will discuss in a moment. The 7th and 8th grade class had a heritage tree covered with little snippets of information about our American heritage. Ninth through twelfth had the simplicity tree (their excuse for not decorating the tree). The trees are then judged by the people who attend the Christmas program by donating money to the tree they think is the best. That money is then put into our World Vision missions fund. Our winning tree this year was the 5th and 6th grade, who brought in an additional $103.00 for our World Vision shopping day.
I mentioned World Vision a little bit ago. Every semester the entire school gets together for World Vision Chapel where we buy things for people in need with the money that we raise throughout the year and from donations we get for each tree. It's a lot of fun and everyone participates. World Vision Chapel is Friday, December 18, 2015, and all parents are invited to join us.

 Thanks again to all the parents and guests who came out to join us for the Christmas program!  We do wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Operation Christmas Child

by Heather Burdges and Faythe Baxter, Student Boosters small group

 We had a large group take advantage of the opportunity given to us to volunteer at the Operation Christmas Child Warehouse in Denver. This is one of nine facilities in the United States. This organization’s goal is to tell people of the good news of Jesus and to point people towards God. The nine facilities in United States send out approximately 8.6 million shoeboxes every year. The Denver facility proposed a goal to send out 800,000 shoeboxes around Christmas in 2015. 

While some who had volunteered before were excited to again participate in this activity, those who had not partaken before saw the excitement of others with experience and were encouraged by the positive atmosphere walking into the warehouse. “It was a good experience; it really put things into perspective for me. We take our Christmas and gifts that we get for granted and forget about how fortunate we are especially around Christmas time,” Tori McManamay (9th) said. 

Some of the roles that we played at the OCC warehouse included a pre-inspector, an inspector, a taper, a scanner, and a “cartonizer.” The pre-inspector would look through the box for donations for shipping to the organization, the inspector would examine the box for any items such as liquids, foods, or anything that could ruin the box or put the child in danger. Next the taper would tape the box shut to seal it, and they would give it to the scanner if it had a bar code on it in order for the family to track their box in order to see what country their shoebox traveled to. Lastly, the “cartonizer” would pack the shoeboxes into a box to be shipped. “It was a good experience because I got to take part in bringing joy to children around the world. I got the opportunity to be the scanner of my station. Scanning allows you to keep track of the boxes so that we make sure to know where the boxes go. As the scanner, I held the responsibility that every box was accounted for so that the people who donated the extra money for tracking can have peace of mind when they see where their shoeboxes were delivered,” said Tanner Culp (12th). In the midst of the work, everyone in the warehouse would stop for a minute to pray over the boxes and to be reminded of how much of an impact we are making on many children.

 All of the students and staff had a great time packing the boxes for the children and all had a great attitude, even after a four hour shift. It was certainly difficult to stay standing for that long period of time, but everyone had a great time and couldn’t believe that four hours had passed by so quickly. The thought of a child’s face first opening that gift kept us working hard to get as much done in the time we were given. We hope to have another opportunity to volunteer at Operation Christmas Child again in the future.

Thanksgiving Chapel

By secondary students in the Student Booster small group

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the Thanksgiving Chapel!  We extend our gratitude to all the volunteers and donations that made the event possible. Parents and students alike enjoyed grade-level
elementary performances including songs, verse recitation, and a one-act play, while the secondary school contributed poems and foreign language orations.

Chapel was followed by a luncheon made possible by our middle school students and parent volunteers. In total, we served over two-hundred patrons and raised fifty dollars in donations for World Vision. Darren Patterson Christian Academy is thankful for you and your contributions this Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

EMH Instructor Lindy Reese Completes Wilderness First Aid

by Erik Ritschard, Administrator

Miss Reese teaches EMH courses and English
Over the weekend of October 3-4, Ekklesia Mountain High instructor and DPCA teacher Lindy Reese completed her Wilderness First Aid certification, raising her first aid skills from general first aid with AED and CPR to more advanced abilities suitable to EMH wilderness courses and instruction.  Here's what Lindy had to say about her experience taking the class:

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a class through the National Outdoor Leadership School on Wilderness First Aid. The course was taught by instructors from the Wilderness Medical Institute and included twenty hours of fast paced, hands-on training. Classroom lectures and demonstrations were combined with realistic scenarios in order to practice knowledge and skills.  In two short days, we studied patient assessment techniques along with a wide range of treatments options geared towards wilderness settings. In addition, we learned how to make critical medical and evacuation decisions for remote locations. I found this course to be expressly applicable to working with EMH students as well as to my own lifestyle and outdoor pursuits.

The most challenging and helpful aspect of this course were the scenarios integrated throughout. These situations required quick analysis and creative critical thinking. Instructors would pull aside people from the class and give them incredibly realistic wounds using stage make-up. They would assign each “patient” a personal medical history, symptoms, levels of responsiveness, and a detailed rendering of the situation involving their injury. The patients would go outside and position themselves accordingly - sometimes crumpled on the ground moaning from a fall or hyperventilating from shock - each patient really committed to acting out the scene in order to make it as realistic as possible. Then, the instructors would prepare the rest of the class separately by describing the scenario in which we would come across the patient. The rescuers would go outside, sometimes to find fairly gory scenes, and begin to figure out how to connect with and care for the patients.

These situations felt very realistic and challenged me to immediately implement the things I was hearing, seeing, and writing down in class. They also tested each participant’s ability to remain calm, communicate clearly, act efficiently, and administer care accordingly. The variety and frequency of these scenarios continually reinforced skills taught in the classroom. This unique format was effective in solidifying skills and in building confidence.  I found that I loved learning about the detailed medical aspects of patient care and, perhaps just as importantly, I discovered that my personality was very well suited to performing in high-pressure situations...

Kate on winter mountaineering course winter 2015
Ekklesia Mountain High provides high adventure for students - and we want to be sure our instructors are well-equipped for the task of leading students in meaningful, adventurous wilderness courses.  On-going training for our instructors is part of our program and helps ensure that EMH courses are run well and carefully to provide great experiences for the students.  Both Lindy and Jordan Euler, our lead instructor, will be completing additional avalanche training in early December, and Mr. Euler holds and keeps current a Wilderness First Responder certificate, yet another level of training above Wilderness First Aid, and the eventual next step in Lindy's first aid training as well.   I am really proud of our wilderness instructors' conscientious and careful efforts to provide such great care for our kids when they are on course, and appreciate Lindy's diligence this last weekend in completing her Wilderness First Aid. 

For more information (and great pictures!) about DPCA' EMH program, please visit

Monday, September 14, 2015

Teen Mental Health and Social Media

It's pretty phenomenal - around 90% of teens around the world are using social media sites like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.  According to researchers referenced in the article link, below, the resulting effects on teenager's well-being is mixed:

Using smart phones to look up Bible commentaries in chapel
Scott Campbell, an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan, made the point that teenage engagement with social media "is not all bad." "There is another side to this story, and that is that kids are getting a lot of social support through social media," said Campbell, who was not involved with the study. Still, "research has also shown that there is definitely a causal path between social media use and lower well-being in general," he added.

The "study" mentioned above is one carried out by British researchers who found that generally,

 "The more teens engaged with social media and the more they were emotionally invested in site participation, the greater the risk for impaired sleep, poor self-esteem, depression and/or anxiety."

Of particular interest to parents, perhaps, is that student's risk factors rose considerably when they were using social media sites at night - no real surprise, since social media activity after bedtime would obviously compromise healthy sleep patterns.

Readers wanting to learn more can find the whole article here:
Constant Social Media Presence May Jeopardize Teens' Mental Health

As you might imagine, the use of media devices among students has produced a great deal of thinking and talking in education circles. Some schools, public and private, have tried to severely restrict or prohibit the use of such devices during the school day. Other schools, DPCA among them, have made the choice to include and even embrace the use of personal devices during the school day, believing that they are a settled fixture of our culture and that learning to use them well is now or should be part of a student's overall education.

Here are things we're working on at school that parents can help encourage:
  1. Use devices and your connections with others well: be edifying, uplifting, and encouraging in your posts and exchanges online.
  2. Use your devices as the powerful learning tools they can be: look things up, verify evidence and arguments, find out things, add to your understanding, seek for wise solutions to problems, verify what you find with multiple sources.
  3. Use your devices appropriately: Be on guard against unhealthy use of time, distractions, separation from face-to-face relationships and obligations, etc.
Other thoughts as we strive to raise healthy teens in a social-media world:
  1. Be on the same social media sites as your teens, and "follow" them as they post. Be part of their online world!
  2. Schedule your internet connection to go offline during the night on whatever schedule fits your family - but probably at least from midnight to early morning? That way there's no temptation to your teen to be logging on during his or her primary sleeping hours.
  3. Make the use of social media part of your conversation - if you don't know how, let your teen teach you. Talk about what healthy social media use looks like.
  4. Be mindful of our adult example: are we good stewards of time and social media use? As our kids watch us, are they seeing a good example of how to manage it well?
As Dr. Campbell notes, there are a number of positive aspects to living in our wireless, connection-saturated world. And of course, there are pitfalls as well. Thanks for praying for one another in our school community as we work together to help students grow up with "the wisdom that comes from heaven [which] is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." (James 3:17)