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AACS Students Return From the Netherlands

Written by: Graham Thorpe
On the last day of school, shortly after final exams were over, a very excited group of 16 AACS students left for the annual exchange trip to the Netherlands.  This Fulbright Exchange partnership with Dr. Moller College in Waalwijk, NL has been in existence for a decade. There are two parts to the exchange: in the spring, a group of Dutch students come to AACS and in June our students then go visit The Netherlands.

The annual immersion tour gives students a terrific opportunity to explore a foreign country while still being attached to the AACS community. Forging new relationships with their host Dutch families is one of the highlights of the trip. AACS students are provided a chance to step outside of their normal routines and comfort zones! And due to the fact that students are staying with host families, their experiences are truly unique.
Vanessa Hinton, Upper School staff, was one of three chaperones on the trip. She was impressed by the amazing historic sites visited and enjoyed watching AACS students stop to consider what significant events took place on the grounds and places they were also walking.
Hospitality, a valuable virtue for all who follow after Christ, is required during both legs of the trip. In the US, being able to host a potentially nervous and bewildered Dutch student in the home of an AACS family and show them around our country is a memorable part of the trip for all participants. And on the other side of the pond, being able to graciously deal with differences and possible miscommunications is another chance for our love for one another to be a fragrant offering to God. After ten days of exploring, laughing, bike riding, and eating the students and chaperones headed back to the United States.  They brought back some valuable life lessons as well as beautiful photos to help remember the picturesque country and new friends in The Netherlands.


AACS Bible Teacher to Study at The Colson Center

Written by Bob Topp, AACS Middle School Athletic Director

Susan Leonard, 8th grade Bible teacher, has been appointed to the Colson Center for Christian Worldview Fellowship Program.  The nine-month program will deeply enrich her desire to refine and reflect her Biblical worldview in her life and teaching. 

She cited John Stonestreet. President of the Colson Center, who said that if you want to know your calling ask yourself, “What breaks your heart?”
Mrs. Leonard said, “What breaks my heart is that our students, known as Gen Z, are now known as the ‘loneliest.’ According to a recent report, more than 1⁄3 of today’s teens believe it is not possible to know for sure if God is real, and those who do believe are less likely than adults to say they are very convinced that is true.  I applied to the program because I want to act for the sake of this generation and the Kingdom. We must engage culture and equip students with a Christian worldview in appropriate stages from kindergarten to 12th grade or our children will abandon the faith.”

Student Review of "The Case for Christ"

Written by AACS 8th Grade Bible Student

Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” is a book in which while reading it, challenges you to look at the facts about God, Jesus, and Christianity. This book is about Lee Strobel’s investigation on whether or not Jesus really walked the earth and is who He claimed to be.

During his investigation he found Christ and challenges the reader to keep an open mind while reading this book. This book is very well written and easy to keep track of, and while I was reading it I found it very enjoyable. In the beginning of this book I noticed that he had lost his faith when he learned about the theory of evolution. In doing this he lost his relationship with God that we were created for. He had fallen away because of sin and wasn’t seeking to fix his relationship.While reading this book you can find our worldview statement in his life and what he was researching. The first thing he talks about was how he left Christianity the moment he was given a good reason that God does not exist. He was created for the relationship with God he found later on in life, but fell to the ways of the earth. During his research to examine if Jesus really died and rose again, he found Christ and learned of Jesus’ death. He was redeemed through the evidence of God.In the Bible, we learned 15 main topics of God’s Salvation Story: Creation, Fall, Flood, Tower of Babel, Call of Abraham, Israel's enslavement, Conquest of Canaan, Judges, Early Monarchy, Exile of Israel, Exile of Judah, 400 years of silence, Christ, the Already But Not Yet, and Restoration. These topics are the main ways we see God in the Bible. Before Restoration, there is the Already But Not Yet, the time where Jesus has come but has not come again. While we wait for God to come and restore us to our proper relationships, this book can help spread the word of God and I definitely recommend it to all.In this book Strobel mainly focused on Jesus’ death and Resurrection. This is in the New Testament, and if you look closely you can see the differences in the two Testaments. In the Old Testament, for example, there were prophets that talked to God for you, you would sacrifice certain animals for your sins, and you needed to pay or your sins many times. In the New Testament, Jesus is the prophet, Jesus was our sacrifice, and there was only one sacrifice needed rather than many.

After reading this book I reflected on who is Jesus to me personally, and what I found in looking at was that Jesus to me is God’s Son, who was willing to give everything for what He believed. Even though we are flawed, He died for us and to me He is like a Father. This book can bring you to God, back to God, or just help strengthen your faith. I would recommend this book to anyone willing to read about the Lord - Christian or not.

AACS Bible Teacher is Honored for Excellence in Teaching

Written by Susan Leonard, AACS Bible Teacher

Each year the Upper School faculty are asked to submit nominations to recognize a colleague for the Excellence in Teaching Award. This award recognizes and honors an Upper School teacher committed to the mission of Annapolis Area Christian School, and who demonstrates excellence in the classroom and love of Christ in word and deed. This year’s award went to Ms. Katherine Black who teaches Bible 11.

Upper School Principal Bob McCollum presented the award to Ms. Black at Awards Night last month. He said, “Katie is an exemplary instructor and colleague whose commitment to her students and the profession are exceptional. She is a biblical scholar who has a passion for and deep knowledge of doctrine and theology. Students respond to her teaching because of her deep knowledge of the Bible, her informed biblical perspectives on a wide variety of topics, and her commitment to live as Christ calls us to live.”

Katie began at AACS in 2015. Since then, she’s initiated the “Agape Group” a group of students who meet daily before school to study the Word, worship God in song, and pray together for our school. She also started “Addison’s Walk,” a lunchtime forum where students who have questions about the faith can meet and process their thoughts with her. She encourages students and McCollum says she leads students “to love the Lord and one another as God calls us to do.”

Katie said, “One of the reasons why I love working at AACS is because I get to talk to students about the Gospel all of the time. There are so many students here whose hearts are just yearning for truth, and I love being able to help them learn to read the Bible and walk with them as they discover the beauty that it holds.”

Congratulations to our Upper School Teacher of the Year Award winner Ms. Katherine Black. Katie is pictured above with members of the “Agape Group,” a group of students who meet daily before school to study the Word, worship God in song, and pray together for our school.

Middle School Cross Country Coach Changes


Written by Bob Topp, Middle School Athletic Director

After five years of coaching Middle School Cross Country (MSCC), Susan Leonard has passed the baton to Jennifer Michie as coach, so that she can focus on working with the Colson Center for Christian Worldview Fellowship Program.  

Over the past five years, the size of the MSCC team has tripled.  She has made a demanding and disciplined sport one that is “so fun” (her signature statement and hash tag).  Coach Leonard challenged the best runners to be even better and encouraged those first-time athletes to stick with it and enjoy the athletic experience.  She has taken an individually-based sport and made it a team sport by saying that "nobody runs alone".  Observers and runners from other schools have seen and been inspired by AACS runners finishing a race and going back for those runners still finishing the course.  They see a team of kids living out what the back of their cross country singlet says, “All for Him.”

Susan expressed her thankfulness saying “what has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. I've done a lot in my years.  But I've rarely found the joy that I found coaching this team. May He continue to guide it with His loving Hand.”

Tracy Wood, mom to two cross country runners, said, “Lydia, who entered AACS as a sixth grader, was brought into immediate connection across the grades with both girls and boys by an enthusiastic coach, who would later become her teacher.  Susan is so enthusiastic about Christ that it trickles down to the running experience.  Thank you Mrs. Leonard for all you do for the kids at AACS, "All for Him!" 

Mrs. Jennifer Michie, the team’s assistant coach for the last three years, has been appointed head coach.  Bob Topp, Middle School Athletic Director, said of her, “I am confident that Jen can maintain the atmosphere and culture that Susan established.  Her experience with our program, her love for running, for kids and for God will be a blessing to our middle school runners.”

Two Students Win the AACS Senior Athlete Award

AACS Seniors Amanda Wadsworth and Cameron Williams were presented with the the Annapolis Area Christian School Senior Athlete Award at the school’s end of year awards program. Participation in multiple sports, all conference and all county recognition as well as school records set or broken are some of the criteria for the award.

Amanda Wadsworth was a 4-year participant in cross country and lacrosse, serving as captain of the lacrosse team her senior year. In lacrosse, she earned IAAM All Conference recognition all four years, and All County recognition her first three years (2018 has not been announced yet). She scored 51 goals to go along with 21 assists this year, leading the team to a 11-4 record and to the semifinal round of the IAAM playoffs. For her career, Wadsworth amassed 390 points (289 goals and 101 assists) which are AACS school records and places her 2nd on the State All-Time scoring list. Amanda will be attending Messiah College next fall and intends to play lacrosse.
Cameron Williams was a 4-year participant in basketball and football, serving as captain of both teams his senior year. He also participated in the inaugural season of track this year. In his junior and senior years, he led the football team in touchdown receptions and earned MIAA All Conference recognition. He played in four MIAA championship football games, winning two. In track he established the school record in the triple jump and in basketball he played in two MIAA championship games. Cameron will be attending Bridgewater College next fall and intends to play football.
Click here for more great stories like this on our Athletic Website!

Congratulations Class of 2018!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; 
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10
God is indeed faithful!  At 4:00 PM on May 24th, 2018, the 102 students that make up the class of 2018 walked across the stage at the Upper School Campus to receive their diploma. We look forward to seeing the plans that God has in store for our graduates unfold in the years to come. 

AACS Welcomes New Middle School Principal

It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that Annapolis Area Christian School announces that we've hired Benjamin Peddicord to serve as our new Middle School Principal.  It was a very competitive and comprehensive search process, involving Board members, parents, teachers, and members of the Superintendent’s leadership team. Benjamin's love for Christ and children, combined with his poise and experience, made him the best choice for AACS.
Ben has a Master's Degree in Education, with a focus on school leadership, as well as a Bachelor's in Education & History from Eastern University. He has over a decade of teaching and administrative experience at the Middle School level. In addition to his teaching and mentoring experience, he has served as an assistant principal in two different Anne Arundel County public schools, serves as an elder in his church, and knows many AACS families through his neighborhood, service, and relationships.
Ben and his wife Tara have two daughters who will both attend AACS as soon as they are old enough. He is eager to meet our Middle School families and excited to join our community. He will be meeting several times with AACS Superintendent Rick Kempton, current Middle School Principal Rick Slenk, and other members of our school leadership team as he prepares to start his new role on July 1st. We are thankful and blessed to have Benjamin join the AACS team. AACS Middle School families will have the chance to hear more from Ben this summer.

AACS Middle School Chorale and Band at Hershey Park

Congratulations to the Middle School Band and Mrs. Campbell for earning an "Excellent" rating on their performance at Music in the Park and congratulations to the Middle School Chorale and Mrs. Wenger for earning a "Superior" rating on their performance as well! Our music groups represented the school and our Lord in an excellent way on Friday, May 11th, plus they had a great time at Hershey Park. We are looking forward to their performance at the Spring Concert on on Tuesday, May 22nd at 7:00PM at the Upper School Campus. Your invited to bring the whole family to this FREE event! 

AACS Signing Event: Four Athletes Commit to Universities


Athletic Director Jim Domoracki said, "What a blessing these four have been.  They work hard, are respectful and humble. They have been a joy to watch over the years. It is great to see each one of them have the chance to continue to compete at the college level."

Will Bickhart has signed with Taylor University in Upland, IN to play baseball.  Bickhart has been a 4-year varsity baseball player along with 4 years of cross country.  He has been playing baseball for 13 years, primarily at 1st base.  During his junior year, Bickhart participated in the all-state baseball game.  He also served as Student Life prefect during his senior year.

Bickhart chose Taylor University for the similar community and environment that he experienced at AACS.  Taylor continued the Christian morals that have been built at AACS.  He will study history education while there.

AACS has given him a place to create Godly Christian friendships that he will carry with him into college.  He credits Head Coach Jim Simms for making him the baseball player he is today.  With Coach Simms' help on the diamond, Bickhart is now at the stage of being able to compete at the next level.  

Madi DiAngelo has signed with Wesley College in Dover, DE to play lacrosse.  DiAngelo has been a 4-year varsity lacrosse player along with 4 years of cheerleading and 3 years of soccer.  She has played lacrosse for 12 years with her primary position being attack, but has played each position on the field.  She is apart of the 2015 and 2016 championship teams and has won multiple school awards including Athlete of the Month and The Rock.

DiAngelo chose Wesley for the welcoming family-like environment.  While being an out-of-state school, she liked that it was still close to home.  While at Wesley, she plans on studying Exercise Science.

AACS has challenged her in the classroom with the rigorous school work and drive to succeed.  She has learned how to play in a competitive league among multiple sports.  She has become well-rounded through being a 3-sport athlete every year in high school.

DiAngelo recommends taking every opportunity to play a sport in high school and if given the opportunity to play at the next level, to take it.  The memories are everlasting.

Amanda Wadsworth has signed with Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, PA to play lacrosse.  Wadsworth has been a 4-year varsity lacrosse player along with 3 years of cross country and 1 year of soccer.  She has played lacrosse for 13 years from the midfield position with a transition to attack in middle school.  She has received All-County and All-Conference honors multiple times throughout her high school career.  She is also apart of the 2015 and 2016 championship teams.  Some of her highest athletic achievements are becoming the school leader for career points with 390 total points, holding the record in the county for total points, and being #2 in the state for total points.

Wadsworth chose Messiah for the campus, the lacrosse team, and the Christian focus that the College has.  After her overnight visit, she knew this was the place for her.  The welcoming nature of the team made her feel right at home.  Wadsworth plans to study Elementary Education with a Dual Certification in Special Ed.

AACS has been a big part of her development both academically and athletically.  In school, there is a constant strive to seek truth and ask good questions to further understand.  She has been challenged to think deeper about each subject from a Christian worldview.  In everything she does, AACS has taught her to keep God at the center and do it all for Him.  Many coaches have been noted as being of great help in preparation for lacrosse both in-season and in the off-season.

Wadsworth is thankful for her parents constant support throughout her playing career; for constant hours of encouragement and practicing with her.

Cal Anderson has also signed with Taylor University in Upland, IN to play baseball.  Anderson has been a 4-year varsity baseball player.  He has played baseball for 13 years and has played almost every position on the field.  During his senior year, he hit a 350 ft. home run and finished the final 15 games of the season hitting .349 from behind the plate.

Anderson chose Taylor University for the great atmosphere on campus.  From the student life to the school spirit, he knew this was the place for him.  Their baseball team has been very successful and have great coaches to lead the team.

The challenging academic environment at AACS has given him the tools to thrive in college.  AACS has not only helped him in the classroom and on the field, but also in his walk with Christ.  Doing everything in the name of the Lord has been a guide to Anderson throughout his 13 years at AACS.  AACS has helped keep him focused on being a man of Christ in all aspects of life.

Find this story and more on our official Athletic Website at!

AACS Student Signs Commitment to University of Pittsburgh

Rebekah Jenkins signed a letter of intent with the University of Pittsburgh last week, for a full athletic scholarship in gymnastics. She is pictured above with her parents and her coaches at Docksiders Gymnastics where her signing event took place. Of special note, a scholarship for 2018-19 opened up so Bekah is working hard to complete all of her diploma requirements by August 15 and she will enroll at Pitt in the fall of this year!  Bekah is an exceptional athlete and student who will thrive at the collegiate level.  We’re so proud of her!

AACS Senior Set to Play Football at Bridgewater College in VA

Williams has been a four-year varsity player along with a year of track.  He's been playing football since the age of 5 where he spent the majority of his career playing quarterback, but also played wide receiver and cornerback.  It was during the beginning of his freshman year when he was playing cornerback that he knew this is the position he would be playing in college.  He has been apart of two MIAA C Conference championship football teams along with multiple all-conference honors and all-county honors.  During his junior year, he was named 2nd team all-state.  Also during that year, he was ranked top 100 for his class in the state of Maryland.

Playing football in college has always been a dream for Williams.  When the opportunity arose, he knew that Bridgewater was where he wanted to go to fulfill that dream.  He has put forth so much effort and hard work to get to that next level and ultimately wanted to make his family proud.  His desire is to study Health Sciences while at Bridgewater in order to become an Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist.

During his time at AACS, he has been challenged both academically and athletically.  AACS has taught him the valuable skill of time management and to never give up regardless of what is put in your way.  He has learned that integrity and your love for the Lord will be the key to success.

Head Coach Mike Lynn said, "Isiah has been a natural leader since freshman year.  He leads by his actions and has a great work ethic that is matched by his walk with Christ.  We are blessed to have Isiah as a leader in the football program.  We are looking forward to watching him play in college next year."

Athletic Director Jim Domoracki said, "Isiah has been a great example of servant leadership. His selfless play and positive attitude has been a blessing to our school and athletic program.  His perseverance has been rewarded with a great opportunity to continue playing at Bridgewater.  I am happy for him and very proud."

Kindness ROCKS!


At AACS, we believe that our student body is made complete when we embrace and include each individual.   We believe that our diverse-abilities, gifts and cultures are linked together through mutual respect and empowering one another as friends.   

Recently the AACS group Eagle Links’ invited the whole school body to take part in a "Kindness Rocks" event.   With the purpose to have fun and to impact our entire school community for good, and ultimately impact the world.  We created a rock garden at our school and plan to add to it each year.  Some of the rocks will also be spread out into the community to remind others that there is hope. Click here to see the amazing video of the event.

We hope this inspires you to spread hope and love to those around you and that it reminds you of the unconditional love our heavenly father offers to everyone!

Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgive each other, just as Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

AACS Senior Signs With Bridgewater College

Williams has been a 4-year varsity football player along with 3 years varsity basketball and 1 year varsity track.  He's been playing football since the age of 4 and became a regular wide-receiver in middle school.  He has received multiple all-conference honors along with an honorable mention for all-county.  He has been apart of 2 MIAA C Conference football championship teams.  During both the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Williams led the team in receiving touchdowns.
Williams chose Bridgewater for their football program and the school atmosphere.  He really likes the campus and all they have to offer.  He plans to study business management while at Bridgewater.
AACS has helped play a large role in preparing him for the next level.  AACS has taught him independence and the need for a great work ethic both on and off the field.  He has learned to make the right decisions that will help make him successful in the future.
Head Coach Mike Lynn said, "Cam has a been a bright spot for our program.  He works very hard and has developed into a player with the ability to play college football.  His quiet and funny personality has made him a leader on and off the field.  His love for Christ is demonstrated in how he loves and encourages his teammates in the good and tough times.  He is one of the most unselfish players I have ever coached.  We were blessed to have him in our program."
Jim Domoracki, Athletic Director, said, "It has been a joy to watch Cam grow over the past three years. He excelled in three sports, was a fierce competitor, and most importantly, a great leader and teammate.  I am happy for him, he certainly earned it."
Click here for more great stories like this one on our Athletics website.

AACS Students Win The Cooper Cup in Rowing

L to R. Coach Pat Murphy, Whit Thompson, Ben Thompson, Austin Gordon, Ian Dennis, Claire Knox, Matt Bergquist, Will Stearns, Evan Robertson, and Tyler Murphy.

On Sunday, April 30, 2018, three AACS Students rowed in the Men’s Varsity 8+ of the Annapolis Junior Rowing Association (AJR) and won the Cooper Cup. It’s the first time an AJR 8+ boat has won the Cooper Cup. AACS students in the winning boat were Evan Robertson, Ben Thompson and Whit Thompson. Evan Robertson is AJR Team Captain and will be rowing at the Naval Academy next year. AACS girls who also row for AJR are Hannah Hoelzer and Brie Mori. They also did well on Sunday despite tough wind conditions. Hannah will be rowing for Jacksonville University next fall. Andrew Parker also rowed for AJR but had to stop recently because of an injury.

AJR is a rowing program in Annapolis, Maryland open to all high school students, drawing its membership from local public and private schools. AJR will be competing in the Baltimore City Champs next weekend and then the Mid Atlantic Junior Rowing Championships on May 12th and 13th in West Windsor, NJ the following week. For more information about AJR, visit

Anne Arundel County Announces Teacher of The Year!

Written by Susan Leonard, AACS Bible Teacher
Annapolis Area Christian School’s own Mrs. Lauren Rimando was named Independent School Teacher of the Year. The County’s best teachers were celebrated and honored at the 32nd Annual Excellence in Education Awards banquet sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. The award for Excellence in Education recognizes teaching excellence and businesses partnerships that promote and support a quality education for young people. Rimando said, "Pursuing excellence in education goes beyond evaluation and assessment. Putting my students first changes my focus from curriculum and tests to learning and application."
Excellence in Education
Rimando earned the award for her focus on excellence in education and relationships. As a Middle School Math teacher, she started the Middle School’s first “Project Lead the Way” course because she wanted to expose students to the design process and early techniques for sketching and modeling engineering prototypes. Rimando said the most valuable part is being able to help students to tap their God-given creativity and empower them with 21st century skills. “It’s exciting to be at a school that values students so highly and because of this is willing to do what it takes to lead the way. This is a direct embodiment of our mission statement that we engage students in an education of excellence to impact the world for Jesus Christ. I can not be more thankful and honored to receive this award.” Rimando said.
Teaching From A Biblical Worldview: Putting Students First
For Rimando, students are first because God is first. At Annapolis Area Christian School all teachers teach from a biblical worldview. For Rimando this means she thinks biblically about everything -  especially students. Rimando sees each one as a child of God who bears God’s image and are created for relationships with God, each other and creation.  “I believe that all humans were created for relationships. We desire to know others, but even more importantly, we long to be known by others. This desire for relationship impacts all aspects of life, including education. As a result, I believe that quality education is a product of an environment focused on building genuine relationships.”
Reaching the Next Generation: Utilizing Cutting Edge Research
Rimando is teaching and reaching this generation, utilizing cutting edge research to inform and form the next generation. She says, “Students need to know that teachers genuinely care. Recent Barna Group research shows this generation spends so much of their time in the virtual world and this prevents them from having real, authentic relationships.” Rimando stressed the importance of being a covenant school and partnering with our parents especially in today’s culture. “Since sitting around the dinner table and talking in the car without everyone on their cell phone are things of the past, educators must partner with parents to guide and exemplify the importance of real, genuine connections.”  AACS is meeting, reaching and teaching the next generation with teachers like Rimando.
Congratulations to Mrs. Lauren Rimando for being named Independent School Teacher of the Year for 2018!
Artwork done by AACS 7th Grader Gabrielle

Student Athletes Deliver Check to Cancer Institute

In its 10th year, the Pink Out raised $4,873.  Seniors Paige Adebo, Alexia Eggleston, and Cammille Sims helped present the check to the DeCesaris Cancer Institute at Anne Arundel Medical Center on Monday, April 23.  Over the 10 years that the Pink Out has been going, AACS has raised over $80,000.

Athletic Director and Girls Varsity Basketball Coach, Jim Domoracki, said, "It always hits home when we bring the check to the DeCesaris Cancer Institute.  It's an eye opening experience to our kids and I am grateful that we are able to help in a small way." The 11th Annual Pink Out will be January 25-26, 2019 so save the date!

Click here for more stories about AACS Athletics on our official athletic website.

Lower School Kids Help to Build a Classroom

Pelican Academy was started in 2013 by Priska and Protas Mushi. She was a teacher and he was a business man and jeweler. They sold all of the jewelry in his store and many of their personal possessions to start a Christ focused school in a neglected area that had no Christian education available. The school is in Kisongo, Tanzania, just outside of Arusha. As they are able to raise money, they build additional classrooms. They have approximately 40 students.

At AACS, the lower school in Annapolis was introduced to this school by one of their chapel speakers, Mr. Noah Kaye. He and his family served in Tanzania and knew this wonderful couple and have invested in their school. While sharing with our children about Tanzania, the kids noticed their only piece of playground equipment and then asked, “What can we DO to help?”
They made a plan to do something, play, get dirty, visit, serve, pray, worship, give. Students went home to their parents with their plan to "DO SOMETHING" to earn money for a donation. They agreed on a job to do at home to earn $5.00.  On April 18th students brought the $5.00 to school for a donation. The funds that were raised went directly to the Pelican Academy.

AACS Class Visits Downtown Annapolis

The fourth graders from the Lower School in Annapolis took a field trip to our state’s capital and learned all about the events and the impact Annapolis had on our nation’s history. Our colonial costumed guides walked us through the cobblestone streets, in our state house, and even pointed out our governor, Larry Hogan! Finally, our students took a boat tour aboard the Harbor Queen. This field trip is always a favorite among our fourth graders.

Grammy Award Winning Conductor Visits AACS

AACS has a visitor this week. Please welcome Dr. Jerry Blackstone, a Grammy award winning conductor who is visiting us through Wednesday. Come and see him TONIGHT at the FREE performance with all choir's at 7:30PM. Bring the whole family out for a memorable event. Performance is at the Upper School Campus in the Kerr building at 109 Burns Crossing Road, Severn, MD 21144
Dr. Blackstone's is a two-time Grammy Award-winning conductor (2006) and was nomination for Grammy Award in 2015. He is the Director of Choirs/Chair of Conducting Department at University of Michigan and is set to retire THIS WEEK! He taught Mr. King, AACS Choral Music Program Director, while he studied at University of Michigan. He has appeared as guest conductor for All-State choral programs in 42 states. Previously he was the Director of the UMS Choral Union, a 250-voice ensembles which regularly collaborates with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He is also the Director of Adult Choir at Interlochen Academy of the Arts.  We are excited to have him.

4th Grade Fraction Cafe!

The FractionCafe is the fourth grade's culminating activity for their fraction unit in math. The students make all of the food used in cafe (using fractions) and the guests order off the menu which is also written in fractions. Guests have to pay for their meals and the cashier needs to make change for them. The fourth graders learn a lot about math, having a job and teamwork and the fifth grade guests ate some great food!

AACS Auditioned Singers Perform in Oklahoma City

Just before Annapolis Area Christian School took a break for spring and Easter, a group of AACS students from 7th through 11th grade took a trip to Oklahoma City. The Organization of American Kodaly Educators had their 2018 National Conference Choirs event over 3 days in downtown OKC. Each year thousands of students audition for specific parts of each choir and only a portion are then accepted into their respective choir.
AACS was well represented as middle school students Kelley, Debbie, Gabby, Havana, Sydney, Rebekka, Georgie, and upper school students Isa, Courtney, and Alyssa all made the trip. The middle schoolers were selected to perform with the National Youth Choir. Isa and Courtney made it into the National Women’s Choir and Alyssa was invited to be a part of the National Chamber Choir. Unfortunately, weather issues hindered 3 other AACS students from making the trek west. The girls all thoroughly enjoyed the 6+ hours a day of practice and training which culminated in a Saturday night concert at the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall. The conductors are world-renowned and the emphasis on quality is high. Mrs. Wenger, who attended the conference as a choral teacher, was pleased with the challenging environment and believes that all the AACS participants greatly benefited from their time. All the girls hope to be invited to attend again when the conference moves to Columbus, OH in 2019.

Biblical Worldview in American History Field Trip


Written by Susan Leonard, Middle School Bible Teacher

Eighth graders visited the Impact Floor at the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. on Wednesday to study the foundational impact of the Bible, the chief cornerstone of our nation’s schools and heritage. On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., students collected information for their final graded discussion in history class that asks them to research, reflect and discuss how the Bible has influenced American history, politics and culture.

Some eighth graders had the exclusive opportunity to pilot a program for the Middle School. This small group learned about how augmented reality is being used in education and specifically how it is integrated in the Museum of the Bible curriculum. Augmented reality (or AR) is a new technology impacting the field of education that allows learners to access and manipulate information in dynamic, interactive and three-dimensional ways. Guided by Museum Education Staff, students used Ipads as the Bible was brought to everyday life!  Students hovered over an image of Noah’s arc and with AR technology manipulated the image to learn about the biblical story in three-dimensional interaction. Students viewed the arc from all angles and learned about God’s will for human beings as well as architecture and design principles. Now, this pilot group of students will take information learned about AR at the Museum and teach other eighth graders. The entire 8th grade will use AR technology to create a final project: their own three-dimensional augmented reality timelines of the period in American history studied this year that will “come to life.” (More about augmented reality and the Museum of the Bible 8th Grade Biblical worldview field trip will be presented at the Middle School Assembly featuring the 8th Grade Academic Showcase at 9:00 a.m. on Friday April 13th).

Thank you to the Museum of the Bible and Christian Schools International who partnered together with AACS Faculty to develop, plan and implement a first for us at AACS!

AACS Freshman is ABC 2 News Athlete of the Week

Written by Deanna Thorpe, AACS Varsity Girls Lacrosse Coach

Freshman goalie Taylor Grollman was named the ABC 2 News Athlete of the Week.  With stellar performances in the first two conference games, Grollman has a total of 35 saves this season.   

Taylor is constantly striving to be a better lacrosse goalie for herself and for her team!  She beats herself up a bit if she lets a ball get by her and into the back of the net. As coaches we are continually reminding her that NO goalie has a 100% save percentage. But knowing her, a 100% save percentage is exactly what her goal is (pun intended)!
Both myself and my assistant coach have had the privilege of watching Taylor grow into the goalie she is now.  We first met both Taylor and her fraternal twin sister, Tracy (an excellent attack player in her own right) when they were just 6th graders at AACS Middle School and we were their coaches.  Taylor was a very good goalie then . . . and has gotten even better!
Off the field Taylor is a solid student in honors classes, who generally makes the honor roll.  She is involved in the choir at school, and is generally a bit shyer than her sister.
In addition, Taylor is very involved as a volunteer youth leader for VBS (vacation bible school) at her church. She's also a greeter and an acolyte. This upcoming summer she will join a missions group serving in Elizabeth City, NC to help rebuild flood-damaged homes and ramps for the elderly and handicapped.
And to top it all off, she's a three sport athlete, gifted in all three!  Soccer, Basketball, and Lacrosse, like her twin sister. Taylor was selected for the All County team in Soccer this past Fall, and she's known to sink a mean three-pointer!  Just this week she was nominated by for the Brick Wall Club, given to goalies who stop at least 15 balls per game.  She stopped 23 in our game against St. John's Catholic Prep for a 70% save percentage! Taylor is one of those understated athletes.  You can tell she's athletic, but you don't realize just how good she is until you see her in action!
I am thrilled that I had the unique opportunity to even apply for the AACS Varsity Girls Lacrosse Coaching position when I did. Now I get to see Taylor rise up, mature as a person and player, and hopefully have a bevy of college offers from which to choose!
ABC 2 News will air a special on Grollman on TV on Thursday, April 12th. 

Cinderella Matinee For AACS Lower & Middle School Students

What a wonderful experience for our students who attended the Upper School Campus this week for a matinée performance of the Upper School spring musical, Cinderella.  After the performance students were able to meet and talk to the cast and crew. It was exciting to say the least. You still have a chance to see it before the final show this Saturday. Click here for details and ticket information on remaining showtimes.

Fun at The Cryptologic Museum

The 5th Grade class from the Lower School in Severn visited the National Cryptologic Museum last week to see how math is used in the real world.  Students learned about cyphers and code breaking, and then had to apply their knowledge to decode clues to open a brief case before it “exploded!”  It was really full of fruit snacks they got to eat after they cracked the code.  Students then went on a scavenger hunt in the museum to learn about the many different ways secret codes have been used through out American history and the amazing people and machines that crack these codes. Just another fun day for everyone!

Pi Day - A day of Worship?

Integrating Biblical Worldview into math class can often be a challenge for any theologian or mathematician.  However, AACS 6th Grade Eagles regularly worship in the midst of learning math processes, equations, and formulas during math class.

Discussions in math class center around who the Creator is and how he is revealed through our knowledge and discovery of the patterns in the world around us. When learning about equivalent fractions, Heysy Garcia explained, “Equivalent fractions remind me of the Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are equal in value but represent God in three different ways.” 
During our 6th grade NASA photo-walk on Pi Day (3/14), students reflected that, like the number, God is infinite and never-ending. He reveals so much about himself to us through his word and through creation, but we can never truly know the entire picture until he reveals himself fully in heaven. As their journey into the deeper concepts of mathematics continues, students at AACS can bring their gifts of worship daily as they reflect on the truths discovered about their Creator.

Pink Dolphins at FLL State Championship

Written by FLL Pink Dolphin Team Members, edited by Mrs. Bonnie Howe

The AACS Middle School Robotics Team took on the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) challenge to solve a real-world problem using hydrodynamics. The challenge had three parts: the robot, project, and core values. Through our research and some help from our water expert and fellow AACS parent, Dr. Magness, we discovered the Piapoco Indigenous Tribe that lives in Colombia, South America. They have high levels of mercury in their water. As a result of the high level of mercury, all the pink dolphins either died or left their lagoon. After learning this, we decided to call our team The Pink Dolphins.

We spent many hours researching ways to get mercury out of their water. We stumbled upon the ProSip. The ProSip is a straw that can filter out many contaminants, even mercury. Through our research, we found that many children in Colombia die under the age of five each day, and they are in desperate need of clean water. We wanted to help change this sad statistic. We took the materials out of the ProSip and made it into the top part of a baby bottle. The children would now be able to have their water filtered as they drank through the bottle.
God has blessed our team with so many wonderful opportunities! We went to the GEO Convention (Group on Earth’s Observations) in Washington DC. We were the first students ever invited to go. At the convention, there were countries from all over the world discussing new innovative thinking for water. Our team learned so much about the future of water and the new technological devices that are helping with the global water crisis.
After that experience, God began opening more doors for our team.We were able to FaceTime the governor of the Piapoco Tribe in Columbia, South America! We told them through a translator (Dr. Magness) that we cared about them and that they were not forgotten.   We also contacted the Propur company to ask questions about their filters. Mr. Steinway, the CEO, took an interest in our baby bottle idea. We were able to call him and ask him questions. He answered all of our questions and was very gracious to us. He even had his graphic designer make us new team shirts for our state competition! He was very excited to be working with us.
At our first robotics competition, we placed first for core values and advanced to the state competition. The state competition was held on February 24th at UMBC. Our team placed first in project presentation and third in robot out of seventy-seven other teams! Our team was awarded two trophies. Our research board and trophies are on display at the Middle School in the glass case. When you come to the Middle School Campus check it out and learn more about the Piapoco Tribe. Our team still has a passion for trying to help them. We have learned so much from this robotics season. We appreciate Ms. Howe, Mr. and Mrs. Grammas, Mrs. Tyburski, and Dr. Magness for being awesome coaches and mentors. We also want to thank AACS for all of the prayers and support this season!
-The Pink Dolphin Robotics Team

Tele-Surgery Takes Place at the Upper School

Upper School students had a unique and exciting educational experience this week.  In fact, it was so interesting that many students got permission to be excused from their regularly scheduled classes in order to sit in on this lesson. 

The surgery was broadcast live on Tuesday morning to numerous schools including AACS.  This was done through the SAIL Center, a world-class medical and surgical simulation and training facility located at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis.  The surgeon was Dr. Adrian Park, an AACS dad. 
Seniors Alyssa Hall and Nigel Park coordinated this opportunity for our school as a result of a local hospital-run program they’ve been a part of called "CASL" (Committee of Advanced Student Leaders).  CASL is a program that has been run by Anne Arundel Medical Center (in Annapolis) for several years now.  Nigel Park explained, “In essence, it is an opportunity for high school students to get a more in-depth look into the world of medicine and all of the possible careers that relate to it.”  Originally, the CASL program was limited to students from Anne Arundel County Public High Schools.  This year is special because they allowed two students from AACS to take part.  AACS is the very first private school to be a part of this program.
Tele-surgery is a live broadcast of a procedure taking place. It is used fairly often in the medical field and has become a tool for education.  It was especially facilitated for a form of surgery referred to as laparoscopic surgery. This type of surgery puts small incisions in the abdomen (instead of one large cut down the stomach's middle line) which allow detailed instruments and a camera to go into the body. The surgery is then done by the surgeon while he/she watches a monitor with the live feed from the camera.  This live feed can be sent to students all over the globe for learning purposes.
The surgery that AACS students watched on Tuesday morning was called a Nissen Fundoplication to treat a woman with hiatal hernia. Dr. Park wrapped the upper part of the stomach (fundus) around the lower part of the esophagus, in order to reinforce the constrictive power of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). This is done most often when, for various reason, the LES has lost its ability to open and close as it normally should and therefore makes the esophagus vulnerable to consistent acid reflux which can be quite harmful. It was fascinating to watch especially because Dr. Park talked to the students throughout the procedure.  He also asked specific questions for students from each participating school to answer.  They used a program called Zoom to watch and interact with the surgeon.
“We were very excited for this event because it is unlike anything that has ever been done at AACS” said Nigel Park.   “It will open up students' eyes to the vast world of medicine and the interesting ways through which we can learn interactively about careers relating to science and technology.”  The students who watched the surgery were very attentive and engaged through the entire procedure.  A big AACS thank you goes out to Dr. Park, Alyssa Hall, and Nigel Park for a science lesson that our students will never forget.
Here's a link to a story about this tele-surgery in the Capital Gazette.


Bottle Dolls at the Lower School in Severn

Fifth grade students at the Lower School in Severn have concluded a biography project that was fun and interesting for the whole class. They each chose a person of interest from history and were asked to do a biography. They had to take notes and create a PowerPoint presentation to show the whole class. They also had to make a bottle doll of their person. Upon the conclusion of all of their hard work, parents were invited to class to watch the presentations and join the fifth grade for a small reception afterwards.
We asked a few students about this assignment and fifth grader Zach told us "I liked the assignment because it is fun to learn about other people and share the information with others.  My favorite part was making the bottle doll." Ashlyn also liked it for the same reason. Her favorite part was making the PowerPoint with transitions and animations.  Hannah liked it because it was a fun way to learn about someone else’s life. Her favorite part was sewing the clothes for her bottle doll. Michael told us "I liked it because it allowed me to be creative and share my creativity.  My favorite part was the PowerPoint and bottle doll."  
What a wonderful and creative way to learn about important people throughout history.

School Spirit Soars at AACS

2018 Outstanding Student Achievement Awards

2018 marks the fifth annual Outstanding Student Achievement Awards event for The Capital Gazette and the Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce.  On March 7th three AACS students will receive the award along with a number of extraordinary juniors in the Anne Arundel County community. Mellissa McCollum, Jamie Perry, and Sussane Whitney are the three nominated by the AACS Upper School Leadership Team for scholastic achievement, exceptional success in visual or performing arts, and/or outstanding citizenship within the school and its surrounding community. 
Melissa McCollum is a learner who often brings a unique perspective to class discussions and is always up for a good debate.  She enjoys practicing her debating skills as one of the lawyers on the Mock Trial team and in class discussions.  Her Bible teacher described Melissa as “thoughtful, curious, and meticulous. In addition to her outstanding written work, she is a leader in the classroom through her willingness to lead class discussions, ask deep questions, and wrestle with challenging topics and ideas. She displays a passion for the subject as well as a desire to know and understand the material at a deeper level.”  Her AP Spanish teacher wrote, “Having spent five years of her childhood in Bogotá, Colombia, Melissa naturally excels in Spanish class. In addition to maintaining a strong command of the Spanish language, Melissa has brought the relational nature of the Colombian people here to AACS.  As a result, she thrives socially and academically and is a joy to teach. Melissa has been most helpful on our service and missions trips to Colombia and Nicaragua where she is naturally able to share her God-given gifts and her love for children.”  She is also an actor and a key part of our drama club.  Her drama teacher and director put it well saying, “Melissa is a consistently joyful presence on our campus. Her smile is infectious, and she is a quietly powerful leader for her peers.”  Melissa loves serving on Student Council and is a natural leader.

Jamie Perry is truly an impressive young woman who displays incredible humility.  Jamie excels in the classroom and on the stage while also serving others outside of school.  Her health teacher said, “She is respectful, willing to learn new ideas, loves to dialogue, and is very thoughtful.”  Jamie was selected for one of the lead roles in last year’s spring musical as a sophomore.  She is outstanding as an actor and a singer while remaining truly humble desiring only to use her God-given gifts well.  Her director noted, “Jamie’s gifts extend well beyond her keen intellect, unparalleled work ethic, and positive attitude. Her sense of humor brings light and life into the classroom, and her love and care for her peers is evident in her words and actions.”  Jamie is a model citizen at AACS who serves others joyfully.  She is one of those students who a teacher loves having as part of a class discussion because of her ability to think deeply on difficult topics.  According to her Bible teacher, “As a student, Jamie displays confidence, curiosity, and enthusiasm.  In class, Jamie’s hand is constantly in the air, and she is not afraid to ask hard questions or verbalize ‘unpopular’ ideas or opinions.  Jamie likes to challenge the status quo and has a deep desire to understand why things are the way that they are. She does not like easy answers and is more than willing to wrestle with hard topics in order to understand them on a deeper level.”

Susanne Whitney is someone who thrives on learning and experiences.  Her Bible teacher said, “As a student, Susanne is enthusiastic, curious, and dedicated. She often stays after class to continue discussing important topics and ideas, and she asks questions until she understands.  She desires to get as much as she can out of each learning opportunity. Susanne displays a desire not only to gather information, but to look for ways to apply it and put it into practice as well.”  According to her programming teacher, “Susanne has been one of my top programmers, always going above and beyond expectations. Her creativity shines through her work as she thinks outside-of-the-box and is able to make a set of guidelines come to life through her unique animations and short stories.”  Susanne excels outside of academics as well.  She is an outstanding member of Student Council and is a talented actor and singer.  Her drama teacher said, “Susanne demonstrates a desire to grow and improve in all that she does from the classroom to the stage. She is a willing servant, always eagerly offering to assist in any way she can.”  Susanne is certainly worthy of this recognition award.  Her mentor summed Susanne up well when she wrote, “Susanne is unabashedly enthusiastic about the things she loves-- whether theatre, literature, music, being outside, or writing in ancient runes. Though she is very talented, she doesn't seek attention for herself, and instead is quick to praise others. She is independent, thoughtful, caring, and creative.”
Click here to read the story from the Capital Gazette online.

Iron Eagles Robotics Team at 2018 State Championship

On Saturday the Upper School Robotics team, the Iron Eagles, took two teams to the 2018 State Competitionships after competing in 3 regular season competitions. There are 12 members of the Iron Eagles this year divided into teams A and B, both teams made it to the 2018 State Championships that took place on Saturday, February 24th. After morning rounds team A was fourth in their division and went on to the Semi Final round, only losing one of the six matches. Although they did not make it to the finals they still made an excellent effort. Congratulations to the whole team for doing a great job!

AACS Names Head Varsity Girls' Soccer Coach

Annapolis Area Christian School has named Amy Sproul the Head Varsity Girls' Soccer Coach for the 2018 season.  Coach Sproul takes over for Jon Burns who stepped down after the 2017 season.  Coach Sproul is a graduate of AACS (class ’09). She played both soccer and basketball throughout her years at AACS.  Coach Sproul says “I am honored to be back coaching with the girls’ soccer team at AACS.  I am excited to lead these girls both on and off the field.”

She has been a fixture in the athletic department since graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree Kinesiology.  She has served as an assistant coach in soccer, field hockey and basketball.  She was a member of the 2007 IAAM Basketball Championship team and the 2009 IAAM Soccer Championship team.  She served as an assistant basketball coach for the 2012 and 2015 IAAM Championship teams.

Jim Domoracki, Director of Athletics at AACS shared his excitement by saying “I am excited for Coach Sproul and the girls’ soccer program. She is an experienced coach with a great understanding of the school’s culture and athletic program. Coach Sproul is ready for this challenge and has a great vision for the program. Most importantly, however, is that Coach Sproul is a coach of significance who will greatly influence the lives of the young women in our program.” 

Dual College Credit Courses Now Offered

AACS is pleased to partner with Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) to provide students access to college courses while concurrently earning high school credit.  Our partnership with AACC’s Early College Access Program (ECAP) allows AACS seniors to take any one of 30 entry-level college courses during their senior year or the summer before their senior year.  This opportunity offers experience with college courses (beyond our 11 AP courses) and topics not currently offered at AACS.  See p. 47-49 of the Upper School Course Catalog for further details, including the list of available courses. 


Students benefit from dual credit courses on two levels –

  • AACC college credit is earned at half the typical tuition cost, and is secured before the student graduates from high school.  The credits also count toward the AACS high school diploma.
  • Students are exposed to a broad range topics and learning opportunities through which they can explore potential majors and career callings.

This new program is part of a larger effort to better serve our AACS Upper School students and families, connect students with the world around them and better facilitate students’ pursuit of our educational goals. 

“This is potentially a great opportunity for our students to ‘dip their toe’ in the college waters and to explore subjects that are beyond the scope of what we can offer at the Upper School" remarked Robert McCollum, Upper School Principal.

Through our existing relationship with Sevenstar, we are also offering online dual credit college courses, benefitting from Sevenstar’s association with eight Christian universities and colleges. 



AACS Mock Trial Team

The Mock Trial Team is a competitive team (open to all Upper School students) that competes in legal/courtroom style scenarios against other area high school teams. One of our distinguished AACS alumni, Mr. Robert Burton (AACS '98), who currently serves as the Associate General Counsel with Prince George's County Public Schools, is our team coach. Robert Burton received his BS in Political Science from UMBC in 2001 and graduated in 2006 from University of Maryland School of Law. Mr. Burton has served as a Mock Trial competition judge for three years and this year will be his 4th year as the AACS Mock Trial Coach.
Although our team is open to all students, our competition team consists of 6 Plaintiff /Defense attorneys and 6 Plaintiff/Defense witnesses. We also have 2-4 Bailiffs. Competition starts in early January and the regular season ends in the middle of March. We currently compete with 9 other private and public schools in Anne Arundel County. All of our trials are held at the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County in historic downtown Annapolis. We are honored to have actual judges as our Mock Trial judges and experienced attorneys. Currently our team consists of 4 freshman, 4 sophomores, 5 Juniors and 3 Seniors.
Our latest win was against Severna Park High School, the 2015 State Champions. We have one more trial in the regular season on March 6th with  North County High School. This is open to the public and you are welcome to attend.
Click here for a good overview of the program.

Girls Basketball Finish Regular Season With a Win

The AACS girls varsity basketball team defeated Notre Dame Prep 59-50 on Tuesday, February 6.  Junior Reniyah Ross led the Eagles with 17 points and also had 11 rebounds and 3 steals.  Senior Camille Sims scored 8 points.  Freshman Koi Sims also scored 8 points and also grabbed 8 rebounds.  Senior Paige Adebo added 7 points and 3 steals.  Sophomore Ani Gadson had 7 points, 4 of which being off of free throws at the end of the game to solidify the win for the Eagles.

The girls improve to 18-5 overall and will have a first round bye in playoffs.  As the 3rd seed in playoffs, they will play the winner of the 6v11 game on Tuesday, February 13 at home (time TBD). 

Read more from the Capital Gazette.

Click here for more great updates and stories on our official AACS Athletic website.

Gen Z: “Find Yourself In the Story”

Igniting the Imagination
Written by: Susan Leonard, 8th Grade Bible Teacher

The All School Assembly which features our 8th Grade Academic Showcase in April is titled “Find Yourself In the Story.” Eighth graders are learning to “imagine the world otherwise” as they work on their “Gen Z” projects: a culminating Middle School interdisciplinary project in which students learn what it means to look at the world with a biblical worldview lens, and talk about it.  Eighth graders are asked to answer the question, “What do I care about?” in the world. Then, students choose a topic, identify a problem, research and deliver a TED-Talk like, five minute speech. Topics this year include: “Are Iphones ruining family time?” and “How is social media affecting the lives of teens?” Gen Z Topics range from Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to Business, Education, Religion, The Arts, Politics and Culture. Students learn how to apply the AACS Biblical Worldview Statement; our School’s Foundation and Beliefs learned in Bible class, with an intentional focus on the response in our Worldview statement: “Therefore we respond in worship, love and obedience by seeking truth, serving others and stewarding creation."

Biblical Worldview
According to Barna who over the past year worked closely with Impact 360 Institute on a landmark study of Gen Z and published their findings in a report titled “The Culture, Beliefs and Motivations Shaping the Next Generation,” more than ⅓ of today’s teens believe it is not possible to know for sure if God is real and those who do believe are less likely than adults to say they are very convinced that is true. “Their lack of confidence is on pace with the broader culture’s all-out embrace of relativism.” George Barna, founder of Barna Group, has long maintained that “developing a biblical worldview is an essential pillar of unshakeable faith….Analysts believe that worldview discipleship is absolutely essential for lasting faith.” (View the results of the study here: Barna: Who Is Gen Z)

James K.A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, says that we need to “Re-story the world and that our task as educators is to 'corrupt the youth' precisely by making them citizens of the coming kingdom.” We do this by helping them to “imagine the world otherwise” for "Christian education has for too long been concerned with information rather than formation.” We focus on relationships at this level to transform and teach worldview for several reasons: 1) The research shows this is the first generation born between 1999 and 2015 into a digital world starved for relationships since social media is relationally flat and 2.) This age is peer driven and not all can soar in the abstract (and are limited in life experiences.) Jonathan Morrow Director of Cultural Engagement at Impact 360 Institute in partnership with Barna Group argues that for biblical worldview transformation, students need “3 R’s:” Reasons for the faith (we address these in Bible in Semester Two), Relationships, and Rhythms which are found in worldview practices such as chapel and worship - liturgies at the center of the Christian school. In sum, Gen Z is a project that focuses on biblical worldview and relational problem-solving.

As an example of how we focus on relationships is this: If a student chooses teen suicide or human trafficking as a topic to research and propose a solution, we are intentionally inviting them to engage in a relational thinking activity in small groups with students and Faculty to unmask the worldview frame. We ask them questions such as:  “How does this problem contribute to broken relationships?” and “What solution(s) might/ would see a process to restore these relationships” as we engage students to “imagine the world otherwise.” This imagining - we hope - is another portal in to connect to the person hood and reality of an invisible God who creates us for relationships with God each other and creation - while upholding the supremacy and finality of Jesus Christ as the model - the new Adam - of a Father in perfect relationship with his Son.

Information and Formation
Our Gen Z Talks began three years ago with a student volunteer Lunch Club of 10 students, one teacher and one parent volunteer (our current 8th grade Parent Mrs. Townsend McNitt!), to pilot a program that focused on imagination, applying 21st century real world skills, apologetics and rhetoric. We tied the first and second year to our AACS Educational Goals. Now we are excited to layer these goals under a larger frame of biblical worldview and God’s story from creation to restoration. This larger frame allows us to open the conversation to and with more audiences including our parents. With Diane Smith now spear-heading this Gen Z project in English class watch as she continues to build a model in the years to come that engage our parents in “vocational discipleship” - David Kinnaman’s (President of Barna Group) specific call to churches, schools and leadership to reach Generation Z based on their new research findings; to partner in conversations both at our Retreat, Career Day, and throughout the year with our students and their Gen Z topic of choice. AACS is using cutting-edge research to inform and form the next generation. 

Being a Homestay Family: One AACS Family Story

More than a decade ago, when Susanne was two years of age, my husband's colleague and friend from Columbia, South America, asked if we would homestay his four children (two at a time) over the course of two years, successively. I remember saying, “That salesman is unabashedly asking us for the moon!” and, He’s got a lot of nerve!” I wasn’t sure, but my husband said yes! So they came, two by two and they attended AACS. And guess what happened? I grew to love the children! They were delightful, fun, respectful, and yes, they became family. Isn’t that just like God? He takes us kicking and screaming, and leads us into a “God” opportunity, only to turn the tables and bless us? How humbling and faith building! So this was the beginning…  When we heard that AACS offered homestay students from China, we were immediately interested but kept praying and thinking about the possibility. Not long after, we met with the coordinator and brought Rachel Li into our home. It’s no surprise that she has become family to us. So now, instead of three girls, we have four. Life is crazy (I always wanted a passel of kids anyway)! 

So, would we say “yes” to another homestay student? Absolutely! When you welcome a homestay student into your home your family grows, your children experience immersion on their turf, you get to love someone who needs a family close by, and you fulfill the Great Commission. Yes, there will be adjustments, and yes, it is a family commitment, but AACS undergirds your efforts so you will not minister alone. In addition, there is a stipend which supports your decision, and you can choose to homestay for a year, or more. In closing, what goals do you have for your family? As a parent, I find it easy to look to the needs of my own family, but Scripture also tells us to look to the needs of others. Rachel has become a believer in Christ; talk about an eternal investment! The Bible says, “Whatever you do to the least of these, my brethren, you do unto me.” We are all the least of these. If God should call you to welcome a homestay student into your home, your ministry will be ETERNAL!  God’s blessings from the Whitney Family

Do you have questions about hosting? Would you like more information? AACS is looking for new families to join our team for the next school year!  Please contact:  Bethany Thornton, International Student Program Coordinator, at  Her phone number is 
Pictured above: Our 2017-18 International students got involved in Spirit Week! For the Parade of Nations, they wore Chinese colors to celebrate their country.

Third Annual Black History Month Art Show at AACS

Following the art show, enjoy the Black History Month Celebration beginning at 7PM!

AACS to Host STEM Day

Mrs. Smith, of the Upper School, along with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, INC are putting on a STEM Day for any students K-6.  The event is free but there is only room for 150 students.  Please follow the instructions on the attached flyer and sign up. If you have any questions you can contact Mrs. Smith at We look forward to seeing you.

AACS Hosts Faith Based Anti-Bullying Presentation

On February 21st at 7:00 PM, Annapolis Area Christian School is hosting Paul Coughlin from The Protectors, an anti-bullying organization that presents to schools and other groups all over the country. The Protectors is the only faith-based organization of its kind helping Christian schools and other faith-based organizations such as youth groups, Boy Scouts and AWANA reduce bullying through its unique and effective program. This comprehensive program provides profound character development through its “Courage Training” module that bolsters spiritual growth and strength. In fact, for several years the Baltimore Ravens have flown Paul out to address their rookies and free agents during training camp about bullying and creating a strong culture. You are invited to this community wide Parent Seminar that will begin at 7:00 PM on February 21st at the Upper School Campus in Severn. This is a free event for parents/adults and is open to the community.  Click here to learn more about The Protectors.

Worldview Talkshow at the Lower School in Annapolis

Everyone has a world view...even you! Do you see the world the way God sees the world? Do you see other people the way God sees them?  Annapolis Lower School teachers shared different common worldviews in chapel during the first of a series on Worldview. Each week they will discuss what it means to have a Christian Worldview.
Click here for a wonderful video about Worldview created by AACS Art Teacher, Allison Kim.

Eighth Graders "Imagine the World Otherwise"

Written By: Susan Leonard, 8th Grade Bible Teacher


Eighth graders are learning to “imagine the world otherwise” as they work on their “Gen Z” projects - a culminating Middle School interdisciplinary project in which students learn what it means to look at the world with a biblical worldview lens  - and talk about it.  8th graders are asked to answer the question, “What do I care about?” in the world. Then, students choose a topic, identify a problem, research and deliver a TED-Talk like 5 minute speech. Topics this year include:


“Are Iphones ruining family time?”
“How is social media affecting the lives of teens?”
Topics range from technology to business, politics, education, science, faith and the military. Students learn God’s Story from Creation to Restoration and begin to learn what God intended and intends for Creation and the effects of the Fall even as they learn key research reading, writing and speaking skills in both English and Bible classes. Projects and speeches will be presented and delivered at the All School Assembly Academic Showcase on Friday April 13th!

Middle School Students in The Walters Student Art Show

AACS Middle School students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades are participating in the 2018 AIMS Student Art Exhibition at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MD. The exhibition features student artwork from AIMS member schools in the Baltimore-Annapolis region. The show runs from January 24 - February 4, 2018. The reception is Sunday, January 28, 1- 3pm. For details click here.

Middle School Cross Country Worthy of Gold

By Middle School Faculty and Cross Country Coach Susan Leonard

On the first day of practice in hot August, we looked at a team of nearly 30 who needed to learn how to run 2 miles with only a little over 2 weeks before the first meet. We wanted each and every one to cross the finish line with dignity. We rallied the parents for popsicles & water, ice & wet rags, & quickly defined a new benchmark of success. Day 2 we said, “No one runs alone.” We told the children “If you come in first, run to the last runner and run them in.” Our idea was that if the first ran to the last, then the last would feel encouraged to run harder & stronger. Equally we told the fastest runners that by doing so the first only gets stronger. “What good is it to come in first and sit on the ground?,” we asked, as each ran in and dropped at our feet. Over time the lines began to blur over who was first, or last, as the first was last and the last first. Coaches began to lead without leading, as children taught each other to run. In an individual sport like Cross Country, we found this team philosophy to be paramount to building individual strength, but more it built and coalesced a team. Without our knowing, the Gospel had dropped from our hearts to our laps and onto our shoelaces.

The moment we realized the idea crystallized was at practice. A middle schooler, on their own volition, ran back to a surprised parent who decided to run with the team that day (we had several parents join us, and often), and said, “I’m going to run with you, because no one runs alone.” But it was at our first meet at Rockbridge Academy that the MS XC team proved themselves. This first meet was a trail run on a tough course. Most of our runners crossed the finish line with white forlorn faces, many gasping without breath, one needed to be carried to the tent as she had sprinted the whole race. Spent, our team disbanded to the Eagles tent for water, and in some cases, under shaded trees for first aid. But within minutes, one by one and on their own, our team began to run back to the course to find the last runner and run him in to the finish. As adults, we held our faces as tears streamed and as other teams stared, took pictures, and in some cases looked curious and confused.

Week by week, meet by meet, the runners became stronger, inside and out. At our Host meet at AACS Upper School we expanded our team philosophy to encourage runners from other teams. We believed as Hosts it was our biblical duty to show the community what it looks like to embody Jesus Christ. Several stood at the finish and encouraged runners from other teams, while others confused runners by jumping in the race and running side by side with them at the end shouting, “You can do it.” After this meet, we committed ourselves to not only run in our own, but to encourage all runners, on our team or not.

We placed 6th, then 5th, then tied for 4th, and finally ended the season in 3rd place. One team member exclaimed at our end-of-season team party, “If only we had a few more weeks! We’d get first!” Our biggest victory however came not only at that first meet at Rockbridge or even at the last at Indian Creek when our team came in 3rd place and shepherded in our final runner in a spade of gold at the finish, but when a stranger from another team called us to say “Thank you.” He was a father of a runner from a competitor school. He called to say “Thank you” to the team because our team ran in his daughter. He shared many personal details of her difficulties and struggles in sports and in life, and explained

how his daughter often finished in last place and in tears. This time though she finished not with tears but with a smile. He asked her why and she told him what the AACS team did for her was “awesome.” Other children she never met ran her into the finish line because “no one runs alone.”

Our Middle School Cross Country Team showed each other, this young girl, and the wider community what Grace looks like, and in doing so, became stronger athletes. The children at the end of our season picked bible verses that embodied the Spirit of their team. Here are a few: “So I run with purpose in every step.” 1 COR 9:26; “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” 1 COR 10:31; “They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31; “If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.” 2 Timothy 2:5, “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24.

Congratulations to a team worthy to wear gold, and to God be all the Glory!

AACS Alumni Visit the Upper School Campus

On January 3, 2018 over 70 young alumni from AACS graduation classes of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 returned to the Upper School campus for the annual Alumni Chapel and Luncheon.  Many alumni participated in the worship band, shared their life experiences on stage with current students during chapel, or attended simply to visit with classmates and teachers.  After enjoying lunch together, numerous alumni stayed on campus to sit in on classes, catch up with current students, and chat with AACS staff.  This annual event has become so popular that we have decided to invite even more young alumni to attend next year.  Events like these are hosted by the Alumni Association and made possible through support of the AACS Blue and Gold Club which provides resources and support for the Alumni Association events and activities with the overall goal of fostering community among our alumni. Contact for more info!

STEM Day 2018

Tuesday, January 9, 2018, was our Annual STEM Day.  The Upper School has once again hosted our K-2 students for a fun-filled day of STEM activities.  More than 100 students in grades Kindergarten through 2nd arrived around 9:00 A.M.  The day was planned and executed by the Engineering II students with the help of some other students who volunteered. 
The Lower School kids had so much fun at the annual STEM Day. Students built robots, assembled and tested model airplanes, designed and tested boats and even stepped into a giant bubble. There were many more wonderful activities that engaged kids until the final bell rang for lunch and recess. The end of the day arrived and by 2:00 the students rode the busses back to their campus. It is a day they will likely talk about for a long time.

AACS Bible Teacher is Featured in "What's Up" Magazine

It's no surprise to anyone who knows Mr. Scheidt that he would be selected as one of Annapolis' "What's Up Teachers" who was featured in the January issue. 
Click here to read the article.

Local Author Visits the Middle School

Sixth Grade students enjoyed a visit from local author Priscilla Cummings on Friday, January 5th.  She is the author of the three books that they share in class as a read aloud: Red Kayak, The Journey Back, and Cheating For The Chicken Man.
Mrs. Cummings spoke to the students for one hour about her life as a writer, the writing process, research involved to make plots believable, how she chooses the titles of her books, and much more!  Students had time at the end to ask questions of their own and reflect on parts of the stories that they have shared so far in class.  They look forward to having her back again!

Mummy Chickens at the Middle School Campus

For the next few months, 6th graders will experience the ancient Egyptian practice of mummification as part of their study of Ancient Egypt. This lengthy experiment substitutes chicken wings, baking soda and salt in place of Nitron and human bodies. Students weigh the wings throughout the mummification process to learn how much water is lost and note the physical change of the soft tissue. Seeing the mummification process helps students to grasp the religion and culture of Ancient Egypt.

Feliz Navidad!

8th grade 3D Art students created piñatas to share with the pre-K and kindergarten classes at Annapolis Lower School. Students in Mrs. Schmidt's, Mrs. McCue's and Mrs. Evans's classes enjoyed hitting and smashing open their piñatas. The traditional star-shaped piñata is part of a Christmas celebration called Las Posadas that is practiced in Mexico and other parts of the Spanish-speaking world. Feliz Navidad!

Capital Gazette Names AACS Student Teen of the Week

Our very own Andy Boggs was featured by the Capital Gazette as their Teen of the Week. 
Click here to read his story from Capital Gazette reporter Wendi Winters.

AACS Awarded $5,000 Grant for Drone Curriculum

AACS was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Associations for a Discover Drones Classroom Pack. This will be incorporated as a major unit in our Engineering 2 Course at the Upper School. In addition, several aspects of the kit can be applied to Engineering 1, as well as Foundations of Technology course.  
Mrs. Madelyn Smith, who teaches the engineering classes, selected this kit for several reasons.  First, drone technology is current and relevant. It introduces students to a new industry and potential career paths, from piloting to engineering to programming. The engaging and interactive nature of the drones is project-based, 21st century, hands-on, and exciting. The lessons naturally integrate programming, physics, flight simulation, building and configuring, and electronics. Since the kit includes an instructor’s guide, curriculum content, assessment, assembly opportunities, and flight simulation practice, it provides a blended learning opportunity that fosters student independence.  
Thank you to the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association for this generous donation.

6th Grade Expresses Their Creativity

In History class, our 6th graders are learning about Egypt and the importance of the Nile River. To show what they have learned about Egypt, the students were asked to write an Ode to the Nile. They embraced this task with gusto and produced unique and beautiful poems. Here is an example of a poem written by one student. 
Ode to the Nile
Oh, the great Nile, the queen of Egypt
Your hair makes the fertile delta
Your mouth in the mountains
Gives gallons of water and you,
Great Nile,
Grow to be 4 thousand miles long
5000 years old and will grow forevermore.
You give this empire it’s fame.
Oh, how does the great Nile
Make desert into farm,
On the Egyption plain?

AACS Students Participate In Towson's Honor Band

Pictured (left to right): Katherine Tylavsky, Zach Hartman, Noah Gilmore, Caleb Hanes, Sydney Brown, and Mr. Hall after the concert.
On Saturday, December 9th the 35th Annual Towson Honor Band was held at Towson University. Over 600 students from across Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio were nominated for the band by their directors, and of those 300 were selected to participate. AACS students Sydney Brown (12), Zach Hartman (12), Noah Gilmore (11), Caleb Hanes (10), and Katherine Tylavsky (10) all performed in the event.  The students all had a long day of music making!
After arrived at Towson at 6:30am for registration and auditions, they then had over 8 hours of rehearsals and master classes before performing a sold out concert at 7:30pm. They were led by Towson's Director of Bands and Orchestra, Dr. Christopher Cicconi, and guest composer Brian Balmages. 
Mr. Hall, AACS Upper School Band Director, said of the event: "Honor bands are such a great experience! It's a chance for some of our students to go play challenging music with really good players from other schools, so it's very fulfilling musically. It's also a great opportunity to meet people and make new friends, which I know our students did."
A free recording of the concert will be made available in a few weeks.  Anyone interested in a copy should contact Mr. Hall at

Third Grade Packs Backpacks for Buddies

The third graders from the Lower School in Annapolis participated in making food bags for Backpack Buddies this week. Backpack Buddies provides weekend food to 40 needy children in Annapolis. Words of hope and cheer were included on cards for each child with a prayer that they will know Jesus’ love for them this Christmas.

The National Honor Society Inductees of 2017

According to the NHS website, "The National Honor Society is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character."  This year’s class of NHS inductees was one of the largest on record for AACS.  These are students who have been given great gifts by the Lord and, perhaps more importantly, have stewarded those gifts well.  What a joy it was to celebrate with each one of these students and their families at the NHS induction!
This year's inductees are:
Scott Boggs, Caroline Bontempo, Reece Clark, Isabela Crooks, Olivia Dean, Molly Feeney, Bradley Fusting, Courtney Fusting, Noah Gilmore, Grace Gurganious, Alyssa Hall, Madeline Hinton, Dennie Hoffacker, Emiley Hyre, Rebekah Jenkins, Kendall Jordan, Rachel Li, Nicole Lynskey, Melissa McCollum, Campbell Miller, Abigail Resner, Megan Robinson, Angie Rodriguez, Eddie Scott, Alyssa Sotiros, Brea Spann, Sara Stallings, Michelle Wang, Susanne Whitney, and Grace Williamson.
Congratulations to these exceptional students!

AACS Senior Achieves TOP 1% of ACT and SAT Scores

Senior Evan Robertson has been at AACS since his sixth grade year. Evan has two brothers, both of whom went through AACS and are now both on the rowing team at the Naval Academy.  His father is also a Naval Academy graduate!
Evan has been a standout student at AACS since he began here in 2011. His most recent accomplishment is that both his SAT and his ACT scores were in the top 1% of the country!!!  This is certainly something to be proud of!
We asked Evan to describe one of his biggest lessons learned during his high school years at AACS.  "I would say the most significant thing I've learned is the importance of slowing down once in a while" said Evan.  "I've always been a pretty busy person, and hard work is good, but early on I never gave myself the chance to rest.  In high school, I realized I would go insane if all I did was work, so I found some things I enjoyed doing, like playing guitar, and it made all the difference in my mental state."
Evan's current top choices for college are the Naval Academy, MIT, or CalTech but he's still considering many options.  He plans to major in something related to physics, such as astrophysics or astronautical engineering.
Evan says that he got his SAT scores first.  He says that he had taken the test once before and done well, but not well enough for some of the colleges he was considering. "I remember the night before the results were to come out, I was too anxious to get much sleep. When I woke up, I remember immediately checking the SAT score site and being shocked when I saw my score." Evan says he received his ACT scores about a month later and was just as surprised.  "I feel blessed to be able to have done well, and thankful to all the people that taught me.  There's no way I'd be able to do that well on those tests on my own."
As Evan looks forward to what lies ahead, he feels that AACS has prepared him well for the culture he'll be a part of at his college of choice.  "AACS has exposed me to secular thinking and philosophy, viewed through a Christian perspective," says Evan. "I feel the logic in the philosophy of my faith will be able to stand strong against the draw of the secular worldview of whatever college I may enter."
We asked Mary Robertson, Evan's mother and an AACS Board Member, what she has appreciated most about her son's high school experience.  "I have appreciated the way Evan has been able to chart his own path, with support from his teachers," said Mary. "He has been challenged to think deeply about the world around him and how best to engage his gifts and talents. He sure has had some extraordinary teachers along the way."
Congratulations to Evan Robertson!  We are so proud of you and can't wait to see what your future holds.

5th Graders Visit the Middle School

The Middle School had some very special visitors last week. Fifth grade classes from both Lower School campuses spent the day in Middle School in anticipation of being middle schoolers next year. They were able to go to chapel, visit classrooms and more. Learning valuable lessons and meeting new friends and teachers they are sure to see next year.

History in Focus: News from 8th Grade American History

Written by Susan Leonard, Joyce MacCrory, and Diane Smith, 8th Grade Team

What is Augmented Reality or AR? Augmented Reality (AR) is a growing field of technology that is being used in education to enhance the classroom learning experience. Hold your phone over an image and the image will generate a 3D animation or video that tells a story. In other words, it makes ideas, events, people and places come to life!  In a recent article by Discovery EducationWhy Use Augmented Reality in the Classroom?”, Author Kathy Schrock says, “Adding interactivity to a classroom learning experience always enhances student engagement. To be able to view and manipulate an object being learned about can lead to deeper understanding and further exploration and questions.” (From, “August 2017: Augmented Reality in the Classroom, Kathy Schrock, Discovery Education. View the full story here: Augmented Reality in the Classroom)

Eighth grade teachers will be modeling how to use AR technology by visiting an historic site outside of the classroom, videotaping a one to two minute story about the site, and linking the video to an image called a “trigger.” Triggers are one-dimensional images and can be pinned on a bulletin board. When students hover their phones over the trigger image, the video comes to life instantly on the phone, and history comes to life!  

We want to encourage students to do the same when they travel with their families. Visiting Boston? Great! Plan a quick visit to the site of the Boston Massacre and tape a quick video to tell the story for the class! We hope to collect short videos on location from different historic sites, cities, and states to encourage historic visits and interest in history.  Also, we plan to create an American History AR timeline for display at our 8th Grade Academic Showcase on April 13. Visitors to our Academic Showcase will travel to historic sites and learn more of our nation’s history without ever leaving the middle school gym.


#GivingTuesday 2017 at AACS

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, many organizations like AACS take the time to encourage their community members to give since it is also the season of giving.  On November 28th, AACS had its best #givingtuesday ever, raising just over $5,500. Due to the generosity of so many people, multiple programs and personnel were supported through gifts of all sizes.  The Anchor Fund, faculty and staff support, and athletics all received designated gifts that will bless so many!  For more information about the philosophy of stewardship at AACS click here.

2017 Upper School Christmas Choral Concert

AACS's Upper School Choral Program will present its Christmas Concerts, Long, Long Ago, on December 7th and 9th. Performances will start at 7:30pm.

Glory Girls Run Turkey Trot

On Saturday, November 18, the AACS Glory Girls Running Club participated in the Turkey Trot 5k at Fort Meade. Glory Girls, a Fall after school club for girls in 3rd to 5th grade at the Annapolis Lower School, concluded a successful inaugural season with the Saturday race. Parent Tara Davis led the club which focused on fitness and living for Christ. Katie Hansen, Fran Beres, and Julia Carlisle joined Tara in coaching the girls.

Fun in Kindergarten While Learning Letters

To culminate a lesson on the five senses, the kindergarten class at the Lower School in Annapolis had a Chicka Chicka Boom-Boom day.  
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a book about all the letters of the alphabet climbing a coconut tree in alphabetical order.  The tree eventually bends so much that all 26 letters fall out of the tree.  It’s an all time favorite children’s book.  The kindergarten students combined their knowledge of the alphabet and the coconut and did activities using all five senses.  They tasted some new foods, smelled new smells, found different textures, and more. They explored a coconut with all five senses and did many other alphabet activities that linked to the book. 
The best part was that Mrs, Hansen and Mrs, McCue dressed up like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom trees!

Lower Schools Give Thanks & Share Love

At the Lower School in Annapolis, Thanksgiving Chapel is one of the best chapels of the year!  Each grade offers thanks and praise in Scripture and song. It is always fun to see the little ones dressed as Pilgrims and Indians including the appearance of Mr. Turkey. Hearts are filled with gratitude and praise as each class reminds us of God’s blessing to us.
Spreading Christmas joy is such a wonderful reminder of what God has called us to do, to show love to all. Students at both of the Lower School campuses thanked God for the blessings by packing shoeboxes.  Together they filled more than 170 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  These boxes will be distributed all over the world by Samaritan’s Purse and include the gospel message of the baby in the manger.


Don't Miss "The Miracle Worker"

The beautiful, true story of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, will be brought to life on Friday and Saturday, December 1 and 2, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kerr Center for the Performing Arts.  The students have been working extremely hard to make this an evening that will long be remembered.

Don't miss this opportunity to bring family and friends to what promises to be an excellent performance of this much loved story! All tickets are only $5!
If you have ever attended any of our Middle School productions, you have experienced the quality of which we speak! A perfect family outing!

AACS Soccer Teams Have Standout Seasons

Photos: Photo 1 - The Lower School team comes to support the Varsity squad during their quarterfinal playoff win.
Photo 2 - Our Young Eagles Squad
Photo 3 - 2017 Varsity Soccer Squad
Photo 4 - Celebrating the Quarterfinal Win over Gerstell
Odds are no matter what campus you step on, you'll walk past kids running hard and scoring goals on a weekly basis.  That's because AACS soccer players kept themselves quite busy this fall, not just at the high school and middle school but also at the lower school as well.      
This season marked the first year that the AACS fielded a Lower School soccer team.   The team competed regularly within the county this past fall.  Despite being a new team in a new experience, the squad quickly rose through the ranks, winning several games toward the end of the season while thoroughly enjoying themselves.  Led by Coach Jeff Halpern, the teams were able to grow their soccer skills and friendships while competing in some exciting games.  "Having a Lower School program is something we've always wished to have" said Upper School Varsity Coach Vaughn Ridings.  "I think the identity they shared through soccer certainly strengthen the community and fellowship they have with each other in this school."    
Meanwhile at the Upper School, the Varsity Soccer Team had its own reasons to be excited.  Despite a long trend of disappointing results in the past several seasons, the team reached the MIAA B Conference playoffs for the first time in five years.  In fact, the Eagles did more than that - they clinched the third seed and earned the right to host the quarterfinal match-up against Gerstell Academy, a game that ended 2-0 in favor of AACS.  Although the Eagles' playoff run ended with an away defeat to Concordia Prep, it was the first time since 2010 that the team reached the semifinals.  "It was a marked turnaround that did not come without its fair share of near misses and heartache," stated Coach Ridings, "but the fact that these guys always persevered during those years was no doubt a massive contributor to their incredible success this year.  They have paved the way for years to come."     
Indeed the future seems bright for Eagles soccer.  Although there is much to celebrate at every level from the fall, the fellowship on and off the field created lasting memories for all our soccer teams.  We are indeed excited for the years ahead!

Middle School Field Study of Chesapeake Bay

The sixth grade science students recently experienced the beauty of God’s creation and life on the Chesapeake Bay during their educational field study. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation provided a perfect hands-on experience for students on what they have been learning! Students participated in a variety of outdoor activities – like fishing, marsh mucking, water testing, canoeing, and dredging for oysters. Other highlights during the Chesapeake Bay unit included visiting the pond at the middle school- where students picked and dissected cattails. Students also had the privilege to hear Dr. Magness speak on water pollution and Mr. Moriotti speak about oysters. Mr. Moriotti’s visit included students eating live oysters! 

NASA Scientist Visits Sixth Grade

NASA scientist, Mr. DeVito, visited the Middle School last week, giving our sixth grade students a unique opportunity to explore God’s creation in an exciting new way. Students learned about the new Earth Observing Satellite called Joint Polar Satellite System – 1 (JPSS-1). The JPSS-1 will be launched this week from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The JPSS-1 spacecraft will support a broad range of environmental monitoring applications. Mr. DeVito is an AACS parent and NASA project manager for the JPSS-1. Mr. DeVito’s presentation covered topics that Ms. Howe’s science classes will be learning.

Shuttle Pictured: A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket carrying the Joint Polar Satellite System 1 weather satellite stands atop its launchpad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California 
Click here to learn more about the shuttle launch from NASA.

Read A Book From The 6th Grade Recommended List

Get inspired to read! Check out the new "6th Grade Book Recommendations" blog for some fun titles and wonderful reviews like the one below.
Iron Trial
"I would like to strongly recommend the action-packed novel The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.  The Iron Trial is a very thrilling book about a young boy named Callum Hunt. The story takes place in the Magisterium in which young mages are trained. In the beginning of the book, Callum tries to fail the test to become a mage, but to his surprise he was chosen as apprentice to one of the most powerful mages in the mage world. Callum has trouble fitting in and making friends and therefore this book is relatable to teenagers. Kirkus reviews says that this book is “A promising beginning to a complex exploration of good and evil, as well as friendship loyalty.” (Kirkus Reviews). I highly recommend this book which contains a plot filled with twist and turns."
Click here for the blog

Football Defeats St. John's To Win Championship

The AACS boys varsity football team defeated St. John's Catholic Prep 21-16 to win the MIAA C Conference Championship.  This is the third time the Eagles have defeated the Vikings this season.  The two teams have seen each other the last three years in the conference championships and AACS has come out victorious two of the three times. Click here for more on our official AACS Athletic website.

AACS Celebrates Veterans Day

Written by Misty McReady
On November 11th, 1918 at 11:00 a.m., the world celebrated as a treaty was signed ending what was to be "the war to end all wars" - World War I. One year later, on what came to be known as Armistice Day, Americans came together to remember and honor the sacrifices of the men and women who served during the war. After the Second World War, Armistice Day continued to be observed and in 1954, Congress changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day to include veterans of all United States wars. 
This week at the Lower School in Severn, students, families, faculty and staff honored the service and sacrifice of our armed forces for Veterans Day. As Christians we are called to love and pray for all war veterans. King David, who commanded armies and trusted in the Lord during times of battle, wrote these words in Psalms 3:
O LORD, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying, "God will never rescue him!" But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy mountain. I laid down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side. Arise, O LORD! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked! Victory comes from you, O LORD. May you bless your people.
Since the fall of mankind and the evil deeds that followed throughout history, God still shows us love. He chose to send his only son as a sacrifice for us. In John 3:16-17 he offers us eternal life with him.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
Thank you to all who have served and are serving in the U.S. Armed forces.  We will continue to pray for you and your families.

NASA Visits Upper School Engineering Class

Written By Madelyn Smith, AACS Technology and Engineering
At the Upper School last Friday, Mrs. Madelyn Smith’s class hosted two NASA engineers to speak to her engineering classes. The gentleman on the left of Madelyn is Dimitrios Mantziaras (Terra Mission Director) and on the right is Bob White (Flight Operations Manager).
They spent time talking about the Terra Mission and how it's purpose is to survey the land, where the Aqua and Aura Missions survey the water and air.  They discussed some of the interesting aspects and trials they have had with the Terra. It travels 17,000 mph taking pictures and the information it collects is shared feely with everyone (i.e. Google).  They also discussed the career path it takes to either work at NASA or eventually be a Missions Director.  There are only 25 NASA Mission Directors in the world.  Thank you to Dimities Mantziaras and Bob White!

AACS Has a New Upper School Lacrosse Coach

Annapolis Area Christian School has named Deanna Thorpe varsity head girls lacrosse coach for the 2018 season.  Coach Thorpe takes over for Lauren Burleigh who stepped down after the 2017 season.  Coach Burleigh led the Eagles to IAAM C Championships in 2015 and 2016.  The team moved up to the B Conference in 2017, finishing in 4th place. “It is my privilege and honor to take the baton from former AACS Girls Varsity Head Coach Lauren Burleigh.  She worked hard, on and off the field, to get the team to play a higher level of lacrosse, and it showed.  I hope to continue to move the team’s momentum forward while sharing my playing and coaching experiences with them!”  - Deanna Thorpe

Coach Thorpe served at AACS as a varsity assistant coach in 2003 and then rejoined the AACS staff in 2015 as the head middle school coach.  Coach Thorpe played her college ball at the University of Maryland and was a member of two NCAA National Championship teams (1996 and 1997) and an ACC Championship team (1997). “Coach Thorpe has played at the highest level and is a former college champion, but more importantly she is a woman of integrity.  She has a great vision for the program and I look forward to working with her to help take our lacrosse program to the next level.” - Jim Domoracki, Director of Athletics

Golden Eagle Trumpet Player Marches With Ravens Band

Written By: Zach Hartman, AACS Senior
Photo Credit: Purgioia Images
When I was in the fourth grade I went to an instrument showcase and the trumpet looked like the coolest instrument to me.  I have been playing trumpet ever since.  When it came time for my senior pictures, I wanted music to be a part of it.
Just before the start of my senior year, I met with my photographer and told her about my love of playing the trumpet as well as my family’s love of the Baltimore Ravens. She was able to get me to the opportunity to play with the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band at their pre-game concert. The band, before every home football game, goes across the street to Camden Yards and plays a concert in front of the gate of Eutaw Street for fans passing by. After some communication between my photographer and the Band President, I was told that I had to prepare in advance to play one song – “The Baltimore Fight Song” - with the band.

On the way to the event, I did not know what to think. Part of me was still trying to comprehend what was about to happen, and the other part of me was slightly intimidated. Because I was the first person to have done something like this with the Ravens Marching Band, I was slightly scared because I wanted to make a good impression. Soon after I arrived at the meeting location, I watched the band unload from their busses.  I waited, proudly wearing my AACS band uniform, and watching everyone else in their Ravens Marching Band uniform.

The first person to greet me was their drum major, followed by many other members of the band. Everyone I met was incredibly nice and accepting of me.  After all the introductions, I warmed up with the band and then marched with them to Eutaw Street, where they assembled for their concert. Though I had only prepared for one song, the band played many more songs and let me continue playing.  Since all the other band members had their sheet music attached to the bells of their horns, I played when I could, looking up to my left and right to sight read all the music from other band members. There were even points where the band dances while they play and I was also able to join them in the fun.  It was a great experience! 

After the concert was over I had the opportunity to meet the Band President. He was a very friendly person. He mentioned how he enjoyed having me play with them and he said he was impressed with my playing. I also had the opportunity to talk to a couple trumpet players. 

I have marched with the AACS marching band since I was in the 8th grade and had the opportunity to play in the Ohio State Marching Band Camp several summers ago.  That was a memorable experience as well.  What made the experience with the Ravens band different was that we played a variety of different contemporary music that people in the audience knew. They came and left as they pleased. What made this a great memory for me was the band’s welcoming attitude which really allowed me to feel comfortable and helped me to really enjoying the experience.  Even though I was wearing a completely different uniform and using a different color horn, I did not feel like an outsider but, rather, after a couple of songs, I felt like I was part of the band.
As I move forward into college, I plan on playing in some type of band in college, though I am not sure which type yet.  I plan on majoring in computer science and Spanish, with music being more of my hobby. Because of my love of music, I want to continue playing in the future.  

Thank you,

Zach Hartman
From Zach's Parents:

“Value the effort you put forward. Be determined, committed, and involved.” 

― Lorii Myers, No Excuses, The Fit Mind-Fit Body Strategy Book

This quote helps to describe Zach as a student and a leader within the AACS community.  One thing within the school that he is most passionate about is the fine arts program.  Everything from the Marching Band, Jazz Band, Symphonic Band to assisting with the audio/visual aspects of other fine art productions put on at the school, the fine arts program at AACS has been a huge part of Zach's Upper School experience.  Aside from being able to get some wonderful senior portraits, the experience with the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band was amazing.  It allowed him to play music at a higher caliber using the skills he has developed through the band programs at AACS. 

From Nick Cherone:
"Zach is one of the most genuinely helpful, trustworthy, and humble servants in the school. He is polite, personable, and respectful. He is always eager to volunteer his time and talents to support the school, and we are so blessed to have his quiet, strong leadership on campus. He’s really an all-star."
From Ethan Hall:
What can I say about Zach? I mean, he's one of my guys. He was in my mentor group for two years and I've had him in Marching, Symphonic, and Jazz Band, not to mention the plays and rentals where he's worked sound/tech. I've really been blessed to know/mentor/teach him these past few years.

AACS Student Named Commended Student by National Merit Scholarship Program

This September, AACS senior Evan Robertson was named a Commended Student in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. A Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, was presented by AACS principal Bob McCollum to this scholastically talented senior.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2018 competition by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
"The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success," commented a spokesperson for MNSC. "These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success."

The Fall Festival & Homecoming 2017 Was Amazing!

This Place is Special. It Is Nowhere Else.



By 8th Graders Dakota Caton, Paige Lovelace, Braedyn Heckert, and Sarah Oley

and Mrs. Susan Leonard, 8th Grade Bible Teacher


On Friday, September 22nd, the 8th grade gathered for the Annual off-campus Servant Leadership Retreat. Superintendent Rick Kempton opened the Retreat with a vision for the 8th grade school year. He said, “When you decide to lead, ask yourselves, "Who will you follow?” Set an example for others and be bold to confess “I will follow Jesus” in your everyday conversations with others. You are all leaders and leaders have influence,” he said. He also told them to “Ask yourself: Who am I? What’s my purpose? Who do I want to please?,” and as the day unfolds, “Listen to the Holy Spirit for things that change us.”


8th Grader Dakota Caton challenged his fellow classmates with a similar message. Below is an excerpt of Dakota’s message to the 8th grade:  

Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” We need to encourage each other to love each other, and to do good works. Not to make that bad joke, or call out in class, but to love each other unconditionally, and to look out for places where we can serve each other.
This verse reminds me in part of the game Monopoly. In this game, there are 7.5 billion players. I am one, and everyone on this earth is a player. In Monopoly, the objective of the game is to gain money, power, and resources, and to make the other players go bankrupt. But we as Christians know better. We know that when we die, all the money, power and land we have accumulated is worthless. When our game of Monopoly ends, all the paper dollar bills are worthless. I will bet them away on a dime, as they mean nothing to me.

We are supposed to focus on what is eternal, which are people. All that matters is how we treat and encourage others. Jesus modeled this perfectly. He was a carpenter and He died for all of us, the rebellious, wretched people we are. I am not saying we all need to go martyr ourselves, but the very least we can do is to try our best to love each other, and to look for opportunities to encourage one another and to do good works. We should all follow Jesus’ example and try to not focus on the things that will fade in a day, week, month, year, decade, or century, but focus on the things that are eternal; Each other.

Upper School Dean Eric Hansen and Chaplain Doug Scheidt, the Retreat Keynote Speakers, said there are four ways each student can influence, or lead, now: 1. KNOW WHO YOU ARE; 2. MODEL THE WAY; 3. THINK BEYOND YOURSELF; 4. BUILD UP/DON’T TEAR DOWN. Eric Hansen said, “Build life into people. When you build life into people, crazy things happen.”

And that’s exactly what happened next. Crazy things.

Below is the testimony of Paige Lovelace, Braedyn Heckert, and Sarah Oley who, like many of the 8th graders, experienced the power of the Holy Spirit at the 8th Grade Retreat:


At the Retreat, we were participating in a team activity and began losing our patience and in the end we took out our frustration on our other team members. We were only thinking about ourselves and not caring what our team thought. When the activities were over, we were still in a bad mood and so we sat down on the river bank to console each other. We complained about the activities and about people. Just then, we looked up and we saw a boat that said “Follow Me.” In that moment, we felt overwhelmed. We started to regret yelling at everyone during team building. We decided to open our Bibles and read wherever God led us. Paige opened her Bible to Ephesians 4. It said, “With patience, bearing with one another in love eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in bond of peace there is one body in one spirit just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Also in verse 7 it says, “But grace was given to each one of us.” Each one of us started to cry.


Next, Sarah opened her Bible to Matthew 7. It says, “Judge not that you be not judged, for with the judgement you pronounce, you will be judged, and with the measure you used it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your eye?” This verse immediately made us aware of how broken we are. God truly opened our eyes to see our sin, greed, and pride.

The brokenness was so visible we felt lower than the very dust we are made of. God truly did open our eyes. As soon as we saw how broken we were, we prayed. As we prayed we were crying out to God to forgive us. It almost felt like Jesus was sitting in our circle with us comforting us. We asked God to forgive us for being sinful and unworthy of Him.

After we prayed and read the Bible verses we were in tears. We decided to talk to our Bible teacher, Mrs. Leonard. We wanted to tell her what happened. As we were talking she told us something truly incredible. She was going to come over and comfort us, but she heard a voice inside her tell her, “Give them some time.” That extra time allowed us to see the boat on our own that said, “Follow me.”

We talked to her and Paige said that when she came here for the first time in 7th grade she didn’t feel very welcomed at the school because everyone had their friend ‘bubbles’ and didn’t invite others in. Mrs. Leonard challenged us to be friends with everyone and ‘split’ the friend groups in our grade. She asked us, “Now that He has changed you, what are you going to do about it?” We decided that we were going to break up the “friend bubbles” and create a more close-knit community by sitting with different people at lunch who aren’t our friends. We are going to pray for our classmates and let them know that we care. We want our simple acts to transfer to the whole school.”


Later in the day, AACS Alumni Brooke Wadsworth and Garrett Atkinson joined us for lunch and spoke to the 8th grade in the Cafeteria. Brooke said, “Be intentional about your time and your relationships. Choose friends and teachers who invest in you. Leadership is in everything you do. Be intentional about how to lead well. This is what sets you up for greatness. Because of AACS, I can speak to who I am, I am confident. This place is special. Knowing people are here for you. It is nowhere else.”

Mr. Hansen was right. “When you build life into people, crazy things happen.” Crazy things happen because the Author of Life sends Life in the power of the Holy Spirit and when He does, He changes us. May God continue to send His Holy Spirit on these young hearts and minds as they seek restoration in relationships and a community that embraces and uplifts all throughout this school year and beyond. To God be the Glory forever and ever!


Middle School Cross Country: All For Him

To the outside world, most Middle School Cross Country meets are “just another race.” Races are epic though in their own right aren’t they? Races are where we learn how to persevere and find what we’re made of: Students learn how to push past the voices they hear in themselves and others, voices like, “It can’t be done”, or “You’re not good enough.” On the course, those false voices fall silent to deaf ears, because there is a goal, a finish line, and when students cross it they know they are different, better, able. I believe these moments spillover into the classroom. I’ve watched it as a Faculty member: Students who believe they can’t do anything, suddenly join the Cross Country team and realize they can, and hearing “I can” makes all the difference in and to who they are and who they become.

Yesterday though was different than “just another race” from where I stood. On the walk-through before the race students came to me and said, “We want to know if we did the right thing?” They told me students from another school wanted to know what the “Him” stood for in the “All for Him” slogan on their backs. “The team asked us if the “Him” stood for God and Jesus, or just God and we said both. Is that correct?” “Yes,” I said, “Him is both.” I told them how important their jerseys are and to remember this. After the walk through, we gathered at the start line to pray. One by one students then prayed (and without my prodding) prayers like these: “I pray that the other teams see more than talent, but that they see you;” “I pray that we encourage each other;” “I pray that we encourage others not just on our team;” “I pray that we honor you first.”

I recently read that “To see the good in others and let them see themselves in the mirror of our regard is to help someone grow to become the best they can be. Greater is the one who causes others to do good than the one who does good himself. To help others become what they can be is done not by criticism or negativity but by searching out the good in others, and helping them see it, recognize it, own it and live it.”

Today we took a break to watch the movie “McFarland USA,” a true story about a Cross Country team. It is an important story for the team to watch and we watch it every year. Our goal is for them to learn that after we finish a race, it’s o.k. to grab water, but then it is up to each one of us to return to the finish line and “cause others to do good” by encouraging the very last one in as a team, despite our own needs.

What does it mean to be great? Jesus himself tells us in the Gospel of Matthew that “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We wear jerseys embroidered with “All for Him” but these are only words if we don’t encourage one another when it’s most difficult for us, and when we do this that’s when others see Him, recognize Him, and through us learn how to truly live like him and “All for Him.”


Written By: Susan Leonard , AACS Eighth Grade Bible Teacher

Lower School DISCIPLE Groups Have First Meeting

One of the primary goals at the Lower Schools is teaching kids how to be students of God's word, God's world, and each other. In order to get the best from their education, and from life, our goal is that kids become "Diligent DISCIPLES:"
  • Do your best – and learn from your mistakes.
  • Integrity – do what is right, even when no one is looking.
  • Stewardship – make good use of all God has given you.
  • Courtesy – good manners show your respect for others.
  • Ignore distractions – keep little things little.
  • Plan your time, your goals, and make things happen.
  • Learn all you can – be curious and ask good questions.
  • Encourage one another – you’re part of a team.
  • Share what you have, what you know, and who you are – you are unique.
By the end of fifth grade, students should know the principles inside and out; considering them as they make choices in behavior and attitude, and putting them into practice not only at school, but everywhere they go.
On Wednesday, the Lower School students in Annapolis met with their DISCIPLE groups for their first meeting of the year. These are mixed aged groups with 5th graders as leaders and a teacher mentor. This week groups made a Fruit of the Spirit poster and learned hand motions for the nine fruits. In chapel they are exploring the nine Fruits of the Spirit for their theme this semester. 

AACS International Program: Kicking Off Another Successful Year

Welcome back to our 10 returning Chinese students and 6 new international students! Last Friday the students joined together for an authentic Chinese meal (at least the closest we can find in this area). We welcomed our new students and new ESL teacher, Ms. Miller! Our International students are off to a great start.  Be sure to welcome them if you see them around campus!

Our International Student Program began with the 2015-16 school year.  Students come to AACS with the intention of staying through graduation.  AACS families serve as host families for these students.  As Christians we are called by God to make an impact on culture and society. We cannot do this without cross-cultural understanding and competency.  Our international students have been such a blessing to the AACS community.
This fall, I have the opportunity to travel to China to meet our international students' families and visit some Chinese high schools. I will be spending time in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou introducing prospective families to AACS and the culture of our community. In preparation for this trip, I've been gathering stories from our students and am excited to share them with our Chinese families. It's fun to think that schools all the way across the world will be learning about the mission of our school and rocking some AACS gear! I'd appreciate your prayers for traveling mercies and opportunities to speak Truth to these new friends. 

If you are interested in learning more about our host family program please email me at

Written by Bethany Thornton, 
International Student Prog. Coordinator, Student Counselor

Boys Varsity Soccer Outlook is Good

"A strong core of the team has been a part of the varsity program for three or four years and that experience will come in handy this season, as the group is hungry to succeed. Last year was filled with a number of near-misses and there is a sense this time around that the squad will take strong steps forward."


Read more from the Capital Gazette.

Catch more stories, game info and results on our official AACS Athletic website at

AACS Welcomes a New Chief Operations Officer

  We are excited to announce and welcome John Hansen as our new Chief Operations Officer.  John took Glen Cole’s position, our former CFO, with a title change to more accurately reflect the responsibilities.  John manages Accounting, Facilities, Human Resources, Information Technology, Transportation, and Summer Camp.

John began his career teaching Middle and High School at Christian schools in Africa and in New Jersey.  He then worked as an assistant pastor for five years.  Following this role, he worked as a financial analyst at Bank of America’s corporate offices, and then over the next fifteen years assumed such roles as Controller, CFO, and COO at several large nonprofits, including an evangelical church and a public charter school.  He is also a Certified Public Accountant.  John has a bachelor’s degree in business from Rowan University.
John Hansen and his wife Lisa have two daughters, both of whom have been homeschooled since Kindergarten. Their oldest daughter is now attending AACS as a sophomore.  Their younger daughter is in 4th grade and will continue to be homeschooled.  “What excites me most about being part of the AACS community is the great people I partner with” said John just two weeks into his new role.  “Their enthusiasm to see the students succeed, their passion to do their work with excellence, and their fervor to follow Jesus are both contagious and inspiring!”
John was chosen from a highly competitive selection of candidates for the position.  “John was exactly what we were praying for” said Rick Kempton.  “He has the business, school, and ministry experience we were looking for and, just as importantly, he aligned perfectly with our core values of visible faith, steadfast joy, courageous humility, and healthy discontent.  We are thrilled to have him on our team and excited for the new perspective he will bring.” Welcome to the AACS community John!

The First Day of School at AACS...See the Pictures

AACS Band Camp Skypes With Lead Singer of Christian Rock Band

Members of the AACS Marching Band were in for a special treat at band camp this past Sunday evening. After moving in and spending the day rehearsing, the students were able to Skype with David Frey, the lead singer of the contemporary Christian band Sidewalk Prophets, whose song "Live Like That" the Marching Band has arranged as part of their competitive show. 
Frey, who is currently touring, took time to speak with the students about his band, their music, and their ministry. He answered questions from students talking about topics varying from how God inspired him to pursue music, the struggles of touring on the road, and the joy of following the Lord's leading. Frey also talked about "Live Like That" and how the band was inspired to write it from Hebrews 12:1. 
Mr. Hall, the Upper School Band Director, first reached out to Sidewalk Prophets about arranging one of their songs last spring. He said, "I love this band and thought this song in particular was perfect for this year's show. They've been so excited about the prospect of a marching band performing their music, and then for Dave to Skype with us was awesome. You could tell he was tired from traveling all day, but he was still so energetic and genuine about his love for Jesus; it was a really special experience!"
The Marching Band will premier their show, "Birth of a Hero," at AACS on Sept. 16th at 2pm. 

Nicaragua Team Arrived Ready to Serve

Praise God for a safe trip to Nicaragua!  Our AACS missions team arrived safely on Saturday, June 17th.  The team is in Ticuantepe, Nicaragua, working with missionaries Robbie & Murray Lathrop, who serve there with Mission to the World.  This worldwide non-profit Christian organization has missionary teams throughout the world to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In Nicaragua their team works to share God’s grace through teaching, training, community development, and mercy ministries.   They operate a pineapple farm and ministry center, host short-term ministry teams, teach English, and manage a hospital ministry.

While there, the AACS missions team will be doing a vacation bible school, construction projects, and hospital visits. There are 25 members of the team, including chaperones Rachel Duncan, Brook Wadsworth, Glen & Susan Cole and Katie McCollum.  They are staying at the beautiful 20-acre pineapple farm owned by Mission to the World.  
You can follow their daily adventures and experiences by visiting the AACS Nicaragua Team blog.

Building Relationships in The Netherlands

Just days after school ended, an excited group of AACS students, faculty and staff, left for the annual exchange trip to the Netherlands.  In the spring, a group of students came to AACS and our students then go visit the Dutch students once school ends.

The annual tour gives students the chance to explore while still attached to the AACS community, and to forge relationships with their host families.  AACS students must step outside of their habits and engage with others who need their help and who can also offer something our students probably didn't know their lives were lacking.  Because the students are with host families, each of them have a unique experience.
Eric Nebbia, Upper School faculty, and his wife were two of the chaperones on the trip.  Eric said “I think my favorite memory from the trips is when I walk into the ancient churches we visit and realize that believers have been worshiping on this spot for centuries.”  He described it as both humbling and encouraging.  “This year, while I went up to explore a church tower” described Eric.   “My wife stayed down under a tree in the Hilvarenbeek town square, so that while she heard the church bells playing a lovely melody down below, I was twelve stories up talking to a world famous carillon player and getting a personal look at his craft and technique.”
One of the most enriching parts of this exchange program is having the Dutch students visit AACS. Hospitality has been a Christian virtue since our Lord turned water into wine, and taking a bewildered student into the homes of AACS students, caring for him, and helping him to explore our country is unexpectedly (but often) the part of the trip the students remember best. 
Brett Schulte, an AACS junior, was one of the students who participated in the Netherlands exchange program this year.  He said “The Netherlands Exchange was an amazing experience.  I enjoyed not only visiting but living the culture in another country. My favorite was touring Aachen and seeing the oldest stone church in Northern Europe, spending a day at Efleling amusement park, and visiting the Anne Frank house.  Pancakes are like pizza and the Stroopwafels were delicious!”
After ten days, the students and chaperones headed back to the United States.  They brought back some valuable life lessons as well as beautiful photos to help remember the beautiful country and new friends in The Netherlands.
Want to see more pictures from this years trip and past trips?
Check out them out on instagram #aacsdutch

The 2016-17 Featured Athletes of AACS

AACS athletes are featured each month for a variety of distinguishing characteristics as well as showing strength, courage and teamwork; making each game, match or meet be successful and rewarding. These athletes plan to win, work hard and it shows.

Click the athletes name to read more about them.

September: Abby Boyer, Sophomore (Field Hockey)
October: Eli Hall, Senior (Football)
November: Skylar Emert, Freshmen (Volleyball)
December: Brandon Joseph, Senior (Basketball)
January: Reniyah Ross, Sophomore (Basketball)
February: Anicah Hall, Junior (Swimming)
March: Amanda Wadsworth, Junior (Lacrosse)
April: Matt Sowinski, Sophomore (Baseball)
May: Marcus Abercrombie and Jeffrey Kolbeins

In the month of May, Marcus and Jeffrey completed an undefeated season at second doubles by beating the pair from Indian Creek in the MIAA Individual Tournament Second Doubles championship match, 6-2, 6-4. The dynamic duo were tested often, coming from behind in a number of matches throughout the season.  The boys finished a perfect 14-0 for the season at the second doubles position.

"Jeff and Marcus finished their season undefeated, 14-0, including winning the MIAA C individual championships at No. 2 Doubles.  The combination of Jeff's competitive spirit and Marcus's quiet determination made them an unbeatable team this season."   - Bill Bloomquist, Coach

Pictured from left to right: AACS Athletic Director Jim Domoracki, Jeffery Kolbiens and Marcus Abercrombie
Click here for more featured athletes on the official AACS Athletic Website!

Top Private School Golfers for 2017

The Capital Gazette announced the All-County Golfers for 2017, Ryan Brophy and Alex Colonna both made the cut! Alex (pictured left) was also named 1st Team All County and will be a senior in the 2017-18 season so keep your eye on him next year. Ryan (pictured right) recently graduated from AACS with the class of 2017 and was named 1st Team All County and All Metro Honorable Mention.
Other top athletes that made the Spring Anne Arundel County: All-County Team are:
Marcus Abercrombie, Junior, Tennis: 1st Team All County
Jeff Kolbiens, Junior, Tennis: 1st Team All County
Lindsay Wilson, Sophomore, Softball, 2nd Team All County
Click here to see more featured Athletes that were named All-County and All-Conference for Fall, Winter and Spring 2016-17!

AACS Class of 2017 Timothy Award Goes to Kelsie Flowers

The mission of AACS states, “We engage students in an education of excellence enabling them to impact the world through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.”  The AACS Timothy Award has been established to recognize a graduating senior whose life demonstrates a heart of devotion in their relationship with Jesus Christ, evidenced by a sincere commitment to growth in godly character and service to others.  Our school remains focused, in partnership with parents, in training students in spiritual wisdom and godly character, for it is only with hearts dedicated to the Lord that they will be able to serve Him.  We serve God when we obey Him.  In our obedience, God uses our lives to accomplish His eternal purposes.  

 As our students grow in their devotion to the Lord, they develop godly character and become truly prepared to serve God and others. Christian character is a reflection of the believer’s devotion to God as he or she is strengthened by the Holy Spirit to obey God.  

Of course, we know that growth in Christian character is a lifelong pursuit of the believer, and progress is made only by God’s grace. God exhorts and encourages the believer to strive for holiness throughout the first and second books of Timothy in the Bible.  In light of these exhortations, the Class of 2017 and the faculty were asked to nominate a student they thought demonstrated Christian character in terms of patience, gentleness, modesty, self-control, sensitivity, sincerity, a servant’s heart, submission, encouragement, kindness, and love.  The AACS Timothy Award recognizes a graduating senior who exhibits these qualities.

While there are many students in this class who were nominated and who we might recognize for the qualities described, this year’s AACS Timothy Award recipient was Kelsie Flowers.

Written by Robert J. McCollum, AACS Upper School Principal

Middle School Service Day Is A Success!

On Monday, May 15th, 6th graders had an opportunity to build community through worship, acts of service, and lots of fun! Special guest speakers included Pastor Chris Martin, youth pastor at Church at Severn Run, and Joe Lagaras, Christian skater and co-founder of Testify - a local ministry to reach out to skaters. Students planted bulbs, created a banner for 5th grade, and sent Thank You notes to their specials teachers. A favorite activity was Bubble Ball soccer and Kona Ice. It was a celebration of the transformation we have seen since the beginning of 6th grade and we continue to praise God for the work he is yet to do!
Written by Middle School Teacher Sherry Bell

2016-17 Upper School Excellence in Teaching Award

Annually the faculty of the Upper School submit nominations to recognize a colleague with the Excellence in Teaching Award.  The purpose of this award is to recognize and honor an Upper School teacher who is committed to the mission of Annapolis Area Christian School, who demonstrates excellence in the classroom, and who consistently demonstrates the love of Christ in word and deed.  It is probably no surprise that a number of teachers were nominated this year by their colleagues.

Some of our current faculty have been recognized with this award in years past and their names are displayed on a plaque outside the main office.  This list includes Chris Deterding, Chris Hagen, Ruth Hartcorn, Anne Hartman, Leia Joseph, Eric Nebbia, Don Wiley, and Chelsea Woody from our current faculty.  Reviewing that list you know that this year’s awardee is in very good company.

This year’s awardee is an exemplary instructor and colleague whose commitment to her students and the profession are exceptional.  This teacher is a fairly recent addition to the AACS faculty but she came to us with a decade of teaching experience.  She is a content area expert who loves her subject, which she conveys to students daily.

Students respond to her teaching because of the consistent communication of her love for them in word and deed, which stems from her commitment to love as Christ does.  Her corny sense of humor endears her to her students, too.  This relationship allows her to connect with students and gives her the ability to, when necessary, challenge them to work up to their potential.  She is always available to provide some extra help before or after school and also is known to dole out some good advice during those tutoring sessions.  As a number of our seniors noted at the Candlelight Fellowship Service on Saturday night, she is a gifted teacher who has a unique ability to make complicated concepts understandable to students, even those who struggle in mathematics.

This year’s awardee is a consummate professional who puts in the long hours of a teacher dedicated to her students, her colleagues, and her craft while also juggling life as a single mother.

The year’s awardee is a valued member of the Upper School faculty at Annapolis Area Christian School and someone who is most certainly worthy of recognition with the AACS Upper School’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

Please join me in honoring this year’s Teacher of the Year, Jenny Gravel.

Story by Robert J. McCollum, AACS Upper School Principal


Fun At The National Antietam Battlefield

The 5th grade classes from the Annapolis and Severn Lower School Campuses visited Antietam National Battlefield on May 9th. Park Rangers led the students in activities that included learning how soldiers used signal flags on the battlefield to communicate, as well as, a triage activity where students learned how battlefield wounds are accessed and treated.  They also learned about Clara Barton and how a field hospital works.  Later, students took a driving tour of the battlefield, visited the museum and watched a short movie about the battlefield.

Final 8th Grade Chapel & Bible Lesson

The eighth grade Bible class presented their final class projects this spring. All of the students worked hard on these projects and did a great job presenting.  One student in particular produced a project that speaks volumes about the values and educational goals these students are achieving.  
AACS Bible teacher Susan Leonard taught her students about Bloom's Taxonomy which was created in 1956 under the leadership of educational psychologist Dr. Benjamin Bloom, in order to promote higher forms of thinking in education. Wanting them to demonstrate a deep understanding and not simply recall facts, her students practiced analyzing and evaluating concepts, processes, procedures and principles.  Mrs. Leonard explained "My primary goal was for students to draw new connections among ideas (the Bible "system" from creation to restoration, or God's plan of salvation) and produce new or original work. I believe by doing this the students truly are becoming "Growing Believers" and are able to demonstrate this AACS education goal. Bible content is critical, but it is nothing if we cannot profess, defend and share it." This was the structure for their final project.
For this final project students were to find creative ways to show and tell how to see God clearly, see themselves honestly, and how others are made in the image of God. Eighth grade student Kelly Bickhart chose to write and illustrate a children's book. What's even more wonderful is that it is now published. The book arrived in time for the final 8th grade chapel where Kelly was able to share it with the whole Middle School. The back of the book boasts an exciting message to all who read it: ...Through this project, I learn how to see God clearly, myself honestly, and that others are made in the image of God. I love little kids and I love helping them learn about the world God created.  I am hoping that this children's book will help me teach little kids about the truth of Jesus and how he can change their lives.
You may purchase her book by going to and search for "Who Can be the Storm and the Sunshine" by Kelly Bickhart.

Far Away, by Upper School Instrumental Ensembles

The upper school Symphonic Band and Jazz Band directed by AACS Upper & Middle School Instrumental Program Director Ethan Hall, present one showing of Far Away on May 18th at 7:30pm
The Symphonic Band will be playing scores like In The Forest of the King, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and more.  The Jazz Band will be playing The Bear Necessities (The Jungle Book), Don't Stop Believing' and more. Illustrations were commissioned by Shade Mountain Christian School and has a heart warming story described in the AACS Far Away program. You won't want to miss this wonderful performance as these two bands offer their final concert performance of the 2017 school year. 
Purchase tickets at
Tickets are $5 for Students and $10 for Adults. AACS students get in free. 2 free tickets for each AACS Upper School household. AACS Faculty/Staff get in free.

Traditions:The Upper School Spring Choral Concerts

5th Graders Host International Students

Last week, the fifth grade class at the Lower School in Severn hosted two Chinese students for the week.  The Chinese students arrived with a chaperone to experience an American school and to work on their English language skills.

They participated in all of the activities in the classroom that our AACS students do, including specials like Art, Computer, Spanish and our Project Lead the Way unit on Robotics. The visiting students also shared with the AACS kids about their culture and school.  They said our school was much more relaxed than theirs and that they have 56 students in one class with one teacher. They enjoyed their time here a lot, and hope to come back again next year.

AACS Students Visit The SAIL Center at Anne Arundel Medical Center

The Simulation to Advance Innovation and Learning Center (SAIL), is a premier center for surgical training.  Medical students and professionals alike use this to develop and train for surgeries and medical emergencies.  Upper school students were given access to this wonderful center for a short field trip last Tuesday.   Students attended a short lecture from the leaders of SAIL, had an opportunity to observe surgery simulators, and also practice on sophisticated mannequins that can simulate medical conditions and emergency situations.  These mannequins replicate life responses, such as pulse, heart rate, breathing, and even pupil dilation. As you can see from the pictures, the class had a great experience.

Welcome to AACS Elizabeth Williams

It is a great honor to announce that we've hired Elizabeth Williams to serve as our new Annapolis Lower School Principal.  It was a very competitive and comprehensive search process, involving Board members, parents, teachers, and members of the AACS leadership team.   Elizabeth's love for Christ and children, combined with her energy, experience, and enthusiasm, made her the best choice for our school.

Elizabeth has a Master's Degree in Education, with a specialty in reading, as well as a Bachelor's in Education from Grove City College.  She has 18 years of teaching and administrative experience at the Lower School level. In addition to her extensive teaching experience, she has also served on the leadership team at her current elementary school, served as a Literacy Coach, led professional development seminars, and worked with students in need of learning intervention. 

Elizabeth and her husband Todd have three sons who will all attend AACS next year.   Two will be in the Middle School and their oldest will be a freshman at the Upper School. 

When asked about her new role with AACS Elizabeth said, “To say that I am excited might possibly be an understatement. To work within a community that integrates Christ along with academics, athletics, and arts, is a dream come true for our family.”  She said “I can't wait to get to know the faculty and families of AACS and continue the well-established partnership between school and home that seeks to promote the academic and spiritual growth of all students.” 
Nancy Pavlischek, current Annapolis Lower School Principal, will finish out this school year and retire officially on June 30, 2017. Nancy says that, although she is excited for the retirement life, she will also miss the joy of being around children every day, as well as the wisdom, friendship, and spiritual encouragement of her incredible staff. She is retiring in order to have more time to spend with her family.  Nancy has been with AACS since 1998. She will be greatly missed by students, parents, and colleagues alike.  
Elizabeth Williams officially begins at AACS on July 1, 2017.  She plans to meet with Nancy over the summer to learn from her wisdom and years of experience.  Elizabeth says she loves to “fellowship over coffee and would consider it a privilege to meet up with faculty members or families to get to know each other.”  If you get the opportunity, please extend Elizabeth and her family a warm AACS welcome. 

Circles of Learning

As Christians, we are intended to live as God’s “created analogies.” Our calling is to teach like Jesus, but sometimes we feel more like Sisyphus from Greek Mythology than the Master teacher, condemned to an eternity of rolling a boulder uphill then watching it roll back down again. AACS 8th grade Bible teacher Susan Leonard shares her passion for inclusive education with a story about relationships at the AACS Middle School Campus. Read her full article on the CLC Networks Blog.

8th Grade Academic Showcase by "GEN Z"

At AACS, our mission is to engage students in an education of excellence enabling them to impact the world through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. The 8th Grade Academic Showcase affords students an important public opportunity to learn how they can impact the world. Ron Berger, author of “An Ethic of Excellence” and “A Culture of Quality” has said, “Once a student creates work of value for an authentic audience beyond the classroom -- work that is sophisticated, accurate, important and beautiful -- that student is never the same. When you have done quality work, deeper work, you know you are always capable of doing more.”

At the Middle School, we wanted the wider community to see what we see and marvel at every day in the classroom: A distinctive of Christian education which embodies not only classical education but also the deposit of Wisdom by the Holy Spirit, taught only by the Creator and Author of life. All schools, independent and public, can teach knowledge; at AACS we see both. And so we created an event we call Showcase, a Gallery Walk, Art Showcase, and Live Program that features our own “sophisticated, accurate, important and beautiful” student work.  
This year’s 3rd Annual 8th grade Showcase live program debuted “STEM on Stage” with an air vortex demonstration of the Bernoulli effect. This is the second year students delivered our own AACS version of a “Ted Talk” we now call “GEN Z” for Generation Z, the generation after millennials known for being “more global, “entrepreneurial” and hooked on the digital world. With access to a global community that breaks through the barrier of cement classroom walls, these GEN Zers need only their curiosity and teacher shepherds who teach classical education as well as 21st century skills, skills such as communication, creativity, and collaboration. In other words, it’s not simply about access to information, but what we do with the information we access.  
This year GEN Z topics included everything from gum to games to God. Topics included: Technology and Jobs for the 21st Century; GEN Z and Technology Addiction; Cancer in Our Homes; Gum in Schools; Human Creativity; Why We Shouldn’t Wipe Out the Deadliest Animal on Earth; and Trusting God.  
The Gallery Walk included snippets of sentences from essays, tiny morsels of perspicacious prose etched on boards, easels and music stands for all to see plucked from all core academic courses including American History, English Language Arts, Bible, Math and Science and Electives such as Creative Writing, Media Literacy, Math Enrichment, Inquiring Minds (STEM), Yearbook, Music Exploration and Spanish Language and Culture. These examples of deeper learning   we intentionally aligned with our AACS Educational Goals:  Growing Believers, Responsible  Stewards,  Active  Learners,  Compassionate  Neighbors  and  Effective Communicators.  

Congratulations to our 8th graders for confidently showcasing this year’s important, accurate and beautiful work and for demonstrating for all how to impact the world for Jesus Christ.

Written by: Susan Leonard, AACS 8th Grade Bible Teacher
Click Here to view a presentation on "The Importance of Creativity"
Click Here to view a presentation on "Trusting In God"
Click Here to view the closing presentation of a call to action.

Greek Day At The Middle School

Third graders had a terrific time visiting the middle school campus and participating in a Greek Festival and Olympics Day before their Spring Break. The 6th grade students were the teachers for the morning. Activities included learning about Greek culture and government, creating kaleidoscopes, building a candy Parthenon, and creatively sharing Aesop's Fables. After a fun lunch together, the Olympics began and everyone had a great time competing and cheering!

Local Lego Robotics Team Heading to National Championship

Photo shows seven local students vie for the win during The First in Maryland Lego Team Regional Championships.
The Flying Chickens are headed to national championships this May

First Lego League robotics team, The Flying Chickens, from Annapolis, MD, edged out more than 72 other teams who had advanced from a field of 400 teams through 20 qualifiers, to win 2nd place during State Championships on February, 25, 2017 at UMBC in Catonsville, MD. This win advances the team to compete against 71 other teams at a National Championship in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at the end of May.
The Flying Chickens are comprised of seven students attending Annapolis Area Christian School in 4th-7th grades. More than 30,000 teams compete world-wide with top finishers awarded the chance to compete on a national stage. The team is seeking financial assistance to make their trip a reality.  The Flying Chickens chose their name because they were aimed at solving a real world problem – bird strikes on airplanes. Large-diameter, compressed-air cannons are used to fire a standard-size cooking chicken to test the strength of aircraft fuselage and windshields, as well as the safety of jet engines.  This test simulates the effect of an actual bird strike and why they choose this as their team name.
The First Lego League challenge this year was “Animal Allies.”   Teams had to identify ways people and animals interact and design a solution that makes the interaction better.  The Flying Chickens spent months researching bird strikes and their interest only grew after seeing the movie “Sully.”  They have spent numerous hours researching the FAA's Wildlife Hazard Management at Airports Manual for Airport Personnel and reading articles from Boeing, the United States Air Force, BBC News, and National Geographic. After researching, meeting, and touring with officials and experts from BWI and Dulles airports, the team had a much better understanding of how dangerous bird strikes can be to humans. 
The team began working on coming up with ideas about how to help stop - or reduce - the amount of bird strikes, and came up with two solutions which they presented to the airport experts. In addition to solving a real world problem, teams must learn to work together as a team. think critically and develop presentation skills - all while applying science, engineering and math concepts.  The Flying Chickens designed, built and programmed a Lego Mindstorms robot to perform autonomous missions on a playing field.   The Flying Chickens won 1st Place in robot design at their qualifier in January.

Please contact Carolynn Grammas at for more information. Visit to learn more about First in Maryland.

All AACS Parents Are Invited to The 8th Grade Showcase

All AACS Parents Are Invited to the 8th Grade Academic Showcase:
On April 7 from 9:15 – 10:00 am, the 8th grade will host an all school Assembly Academic Showcase. Showcase is a live program and a multi-media gallery walk and features displays of academic achievements from all areas of study, tied to our five (5) AACS Education Goals and 21st century skills.  Showcase is an Assembly unique to 8th grade as students embark on the transition from our Middle School to our Upper School. For Showcase, students are able to dress in business attire for this special convocation experience. Family and siblings and all AACS parents are invited AND, we encourage 5th grade parents to attend so they can see the growth and maturity that happens during the Middle School years at AACS.

The Addams Family by AACS Upper School Drama Club

Be sure to put the next AACS production on your calendar, you won't want to miss the middle school musical "Annie Jr" on Friday and Saturday, May 5th and 6th. There is so much talent here at AACS! The enthusiasm with which our students perform is always a delight! Please plan on setting aside one of those dates to see this marvelous production with your whole family! 

Grandparents & Grand-Friends Celebration at The Lower School in Severn

The Lower School in Severn celebrated their annual Grandparents Day on Friday, March 3, 2017. Grandparents and Grandfriends came from all over to be there. Thank you to all of the Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Neighbors, Church Friends, or Parents who attended or volunteered in any way to make this day special.

Grandparents Day 2017 at The Lower School In Annapolis

The Lower School in Annapolis celebrated their annual Grandparents Day on Friday, March 17, 2017. Grandparents and Grandfriends came from all over to be there. Thank you to all of the Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Neighbors, Church Friends, or Parents who attended or volunteered in any way to make this day special.

Exciting Summer Plans for Evan Robertson

Both of these summer programs have a very competitive selection process and we are excited for and proud of Evan for this achievement. 
I am really excited to have been selected to participate in both Air Force and Navy’s Summer Seminar programs this summer" said Evan shortly after hearing the news.  "I look forward to comparing both schools, particularly their Physics/Aeronautical Engineering programs."  When asked about his college plans Evan said "I get asked a lot about whether I am going to go to Navy - honestly, I am not sure where I will go. I am definitely applying to a few other schools and am planning on studying Physics or Astro/Aeronautics. Obviously Navy has a strong Physics program so we’ll see what actually works out!" 
Caleb Robertson, AACS Class of 2014, and Luke Robertson, AACS Class of 2016, are Evan's older brothers and both attend the U.S. Naval Academy.  Mrs. Mary Robertson, Evan's mom, said "I, too, get asked if Evan is going to follow his brothers to USNA.  We have tried hard to let each boy know they get to make their own choices on college, depending on where they believe God is calling them to use their skills and gifts."  Mrs. Robertson says "Evan has a pretty keen mind and definitely knows what he wants to study so we are eager to see where that will take him. We are sure grateful to amazing teachers like Jake Palumbo, Ruth Hartcorn, Chris Deterding and Eric Nebbia who have all been such extraordinary role models for our kids!"

Dr. Suess Birthday & Read Across America

March 2nd was Dr. Seuss Day and Read Across America Day!! Each grade level at the lower school in Annapolis and first and second graders at the lower school in Severn, had the chance to dress up according to a Dr. Seuss theme.
The school also participated in  “Read Across America!” To celebrate reading, students lined the hallways at 2:20 and "Read Across The School" for 15 minutes. The older classes teamed up with younger classes to make the most of their 15-minute-read! Thank you to all of the teachers and AACS Senior David Sun for sharing their pictures. It was a wonderfully fun day done the Dr. Suess way!

2017 Outstanding Student Achievers Awards by The Capital Gazette

Three exceptional AACS Juniors will be honored by the Capital Gazette Newspapers and the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce at the 2017 High School Outstanding Student Achievers Reception on March 8th. A number of honored high school juniors from around the county will gather for the ceremony to receive their Outstanding Student Achievement Awards at Anne Arundel Community College. Congratulations to Mark Wiley, Evan Robertson, and Zachary Hartman who are all three most certainly worthy of an Outstanding Student Achievement Award!
Mark Wiley consistently demonstrates excellence in academics, the arts, and citizenship.  His AP Physics teacher said, “Mark brings an attention and diligence to his work that marks him as exceptional among his peers.  He pursues his studies with an academic inquiry in order to pursue a higher understanding of challenging topics.”  According to his AP English teacher, Mark consistently “demonstrates curiosity about learning, makes thoughtful commentary, and is kind and considerate with peers.”  Mark is an accomplished vocalist who, according to our Choir Director, “sings in two of four auditioned choral ensembles, including our most competitive choir… Most impressive to me is Mark's character; his focus, detail-oriented mindset, humility, and humor.”  His Pre-AP Spanish teacher wrote, “Mark consistently works diligently to improve our school community.  Mark has served on Student Council since ninth grade and is a regular attendee at early morning and Saturday meetings.  In Spanish class, he demonstrates an interest and love for Latin culture.  He has served on mission trips to Colombia and will serve in Nicaragua in June."  The Dean of Students commented, “Mark is an outstanding young man.  He is widely respected by staff and students alike.  I think what I appreciate most about Mark is his commitment to Student Council.  He is perhaps my most committed and involved officer, someone who is virtually always the first one to meetings and the last to leave an event after cleaning up, long after others have departed."
Evan Robertson is a truly gifted student whose leadership comes from his grounding in moral and performance values and virtues.  Evan’s AP Physics teacher said, “Evan can seamlessly blend his exceptional intellect with clever humor and humble leadership in the classroom.  Evan regularly works alongside his peers, leading them through challenging material with modesty and grace.”  His AP English teacher wrote, “He is quick to make shrewd observations about some of the challenging texts.”  In addition to standing out in the classroom, Evan is a talented and dedicated guitar player who serves as part of our school’s Chapel Band with distinction.  “Evan loves to talk about his passion for music.  He leads well and continues to impress me with his ability to clearly articulate what he is thinking,” commented his mentor.  Our Dean of Students said, "It has been a joy to see Evan blossom as a leader this year…He is one of my strongest and most vocal leaders of the Student Honor Council."  Evan is also an exceptional athlete and his swimming coach observed, “Evan is a young man of character who exemplifies the value of citizenship… I have seen him grow as a leader in and out of the pool.  As he grows so does his impact.  Evan continues to be an example for others to follow as he models those values in his life.   Evan is not a leader of show but of substance.”
Zachary Hartman demonstrates excellence in academics, the arts, and citizenship.  According to Zach’s honors math teacher, “Zach is an excellent student.  He freely participates in class and is willing to think deeply.  He is one of those rare students who seems to consistently rise to a challenge and enjoy it!”  Other faculty members describe him as “engaged and intelligent” and as “a consistently positive role model to his peers.”  Zach’s AP Physics teacher wrote, “He is enthusiastic in his learning and thus models an approach every teacher would wish to see in his or her students!”  Zach is also an outstanding trumpet player in our Symphonic Band and is one of the leaders in our highly successful Marching Band.  Our Dean of Students said,  “Zach has epitomized servant leadership during his time at AACS.  A young man who is quite content to 'fly under the radar, Zach has earned tremendous respect from both students and staff for his willingness to put in tremendous work to serve others and for his humble, kind, selfless demeanor.  Zach is a member of our Student Council and also is the student head of our audio-visual team.  Perhaps most telling, whenever I need something done, especially in the audio-visual realm, I always contact Zach."  Zach also desires to serve outside of our school community and will be a key member of a short-term service trip team to Ticuantepe, Nicaragua, in June of this year.
Written By: Bob McCollum, AACS Upper School Principal 

Upper School Spring Musical: The Addams Family

The drama club is working on the spring musical production THE ADDAMS FAMILY. This new musical comedy features an original story. Wednesday Addams, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family, a man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before, keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents. March 3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th showtimes and tickets are available here.

2017 AACS Spirit Week Photo Review

Spirit week brings everyone together, making many great memories. It's all about having fun while learning. Enjoy the pictures!

Middle School Basketball Girls & Boys A Teams Win Tournament!

What a way to end the basketball season! First the girls A team dominated in the hard fought "Parents vs. Girls" game that took place after the final practice of the season on Thursday. A great time was had by all. Then the Middle School Eagles Basketball Girls and Boys A teams each wrapped up a terrific season this weekend, by sweeping the Eagles Invitational Tournament.  Each team was awarded a plaque and a "Champion" t-shirt.  The girls team, led by Coach Mike Hall, finished their season 13 and 2.  Bob Topp coached the boys A team to their final record of 14-1 for the season. This is the best winning percentage in AACS school history for boys Middle School A basketball!
The Boys B & C teams, and Girls B teams have also done well, and their seasons continue for another two weeks.  Click here for their game schedule and results on the official AACS athletic website. All for Him!

AACS Basketball Peaking at End of Season


The girls' varsity basketball team defeated St. Paul's School for Girls 73-47.  Sophomore Reniyah Ross led the team with a double-double. She scored 28 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, and also had 3 assists.  Junior Camille Sims had 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists.  Fellow junior Paige Adebo added 16 points and 3 assists.  Coach Jim Domoracki said, "It's great to see the girls put together a complete game on both ends of the floor.  It's a joy to watch them trust each other as the season has progressed."
With only one league game left, the Eagles continue to climb the rankings for a better playoff position.  The girls will play Severn on Friday, February 3 in the annual Pink Out Game.  The game will take place at 6:30 PM in the Kilby Athletic Center.Read more from the Capital Gazette.
Click here for more athletic news and game schedules on the official AACS athletic website!

100 Days Smarter!

There is nothing cuter than little ones dressed up in costume! Today marks the 100th day of school. It was a exciting time at the Lower Schools in Annapolis  and Severn celebrating 100 days of school, Kindergarten dressed as 100 year old people complete with gray hair and walking with canes. They moved slowly from place to place even in their parade around the school. 1st graders were so tired from being in school 100 days that they could not get dressed this morning and came to school in their pajamas. There was no sleeping in class but only reading and math.

AACSs' Jarrett Heckert Commits to William & Mary

Jarrett Heckert is a wonderful student and a good friend to many. On National Signing Day, Jarrett announced his commitment to attend the College of William & Mary. He has worked and trained hard to ensure the opportunity to play college sports and it has paid off.  AACS football Coach Mike Lynn told the Capital Gazette "The blessing for me as a coach was to coach Jarrett Heckert. He is probably the best young man I've ever had the chance to coach." 
Congratulations Jarrett!
Click here to read the full article from the Capital Gazette. 
Click here for more athletic news on the official AACS athletic website.

The Gift Of Right Now Media


Did you know that you can get free access to a huge, streaming, online library of over 10,000 video Bible studies, leadership videos and kids shows? To sum it up — it’s like the Netflix of Bible study videos. AACS families, faculty and staff have FREE access to thousands of video resources to help with parenting, marriage, discipleship and more.

With content for all ages and stages of life, additional family members can set up their own accounts as well. Just click this link to start watching right away.

Here's what one AACS parent had to say about Right Now Media:
"I just wanted to take a minute to thank you and whoever's idea it was to share the membership to Right Now Media with AACS families.  I am not certain how many families have taken advantage of this site, but my family has -- and we reap the benefits from it often.  The fact that I get to listen to a library of so many respected and exciting teachers of God's word for free any time continues to bless me.  The site sent a reminder that we can install their app on our smart phones.  I am prompted to write this tonight after having a 45 minute conversation with my 16 year old who has been unbelievably inspired by the apologetics teachings on the site by Ravi Zacharias.  I also spent the day practicing parenting concepts with my younger children as I have been re-inspired by a parenting seminar I have been listening to over the last couple of days.  I am sure you know what a treasure it is to see your teenager inspired and excited about things of God, and I am SO grateful for the support that AACS has offered in this area."
If you are an AACS parent, faculty or staff member, remember to take advantage of this gift.  If you would like an invitation for a free membership, please email Dana Evans at  She will get you all set up! 

Lower School in Severn Holds "Q" & "U" Wedding

Girls with twirling dresses, boys with clip on ties, and a room full of first graders ready to celebrate the wedding of the letters "Q" and "U."  After learning the spelling pattern for qu, first grade attended the wedding of "Q" and "U."  The letters were joined in alphabet matrimony as we are forever reminded that you can't write a "Q" without also writing a "U." 
Principal Graustein officiated the wedding, which was followed by a lovely reception. The wonderful and generous first grade parents sent in sweet treats to help celebrate. Q and U received many wonderful gifts, such as quilts, quarters, quest wands, quarts, liquids, and ducks that quack.  The students were happy to help "Q" and "U" keep track of their gifts, by recording each gift given to the letter.

3D In Geometry

Excitement filled the fifth grade math classes this week as the Lower School students in Annapolis designed and printed geometric figures on a 3D printer to compliment their geometry unit! AACS Parent, Dale Crowner graciously volunteered to work with students using an online program called "Tinkercad" to create a fun learning experience.

Accelerated Reading Awards Make Reading Fun

On January 18, 2017, the Accelerated Reading Awards were handed out to the Annapolis Lower School students. Students in Grades 2-5 read books independently and then take a comprehension quiz on the book. Points are collected for reading and passing quizzes. Then, once a quarter, prizes are handed out in a special assembly. This year’s theme is Wacky Road Trip, so the prizes include a crazy cow squirt toy, an animal paddle ball game, a treasure chest, and even gift certificate for kid’s meals at local restaurants. One top prize is lunch out with the principal and your picture with Lightning, the library mascot. Top winners this quarter were from 5th grade and the top class was 2nd grade.
The following week, January 23, 2017 students in 3rd – 5th grade at the Lower School in Severn were rewarded for the Accelerated Reader (AR)points they had earned in the second quarter.  Students were given individual point goals to reach, and every student who reached their goal earned the opportunity to take part in a pizza party at lunch. Each quarter, students have the opportunity to earn a party based on their AR reading goals.  In quarter 1, students had a Sundae Reading party and were able to earn scoops of ice cream and toppings for an ice cream sundae. At the end of the quarter, they get to eat what they had earned at an ice cream sundae party. In quarter 3, they will earn donuts and extra recess, and in quarter 4 they will do ice cream sundaes again. The kids really enjoy keeping track of their progress towards their personal reading goals, and of course eating their rewards.

2017 STEM Day at The Upper School Campus

This annual event is growing! Last year about fifty lower school students attended the STEM Day event held at the Upper School Campus. This year twice as many students from both the Severn and Annapolis campuses rallied together early Thursday morning ready for a day filled with excitement!

Under the guidance of Mrs. Smith, the Technology and Engineering Instructor at the Upper School, young students worked with engineering students on fun activities throughout the day. After pizza and recess they talked about all of the exciting things they had done. Upper School students helped them think about and describe what they learned during the morning. They were all given a t-Shirt to remember the fun day before heading back to their campus. It was a whirlwind of fun for everyone involved.

A High School Counselor’s Tips on Parenting Teenagers

Leia Joseph loves teenagers and has spent the last 13 years working as a music teacher and crisis counselor for teens. Her husband, John, is a pastor in Washington D.C. where they reside along with their sons, Jack and Knox (ages three and one). Leia prays that the lens she has had the opportunity to look through as a high school counselor will help her care for her boys well in this ever-changing crazy world.
Click here for the full story on the AACS Blog: 

Frisbee News: AACS Club Ultimate Wins 1st Tournament

The AACS Club Ultimate Frisbee Team won its first ever tournament on Friday January 6th, winning the inaugural AACS INDOORTATIONAL in Kilby Fieldhouse with an inspired 4-3 overtime victory over Catonsville HS in the Finals.  Ultimate Frisbee is a sport that is sweeping the country – it is a grueling, wind-sprinting 7 person team sport played like soccer on a football field with a Frisbee – (See link for some pro highlights: ) and AACS has jumped in with both feet.  While the team only formed last spring, it has been practicing consistently since then and the practice has paid off:  in Friday night’s matchups AACS was able to best Old Mill HS, Baltimore Polytechnic, Glenelg HS and Catonsville HS through defensive effort and reliance on set-plays learned on the practice field, with Tri-Captains Nigel Park, Will Bickhart and Mark Wiley leading the way.  

AACS lost game 1 against Catonsville 5-1, but rebounded by beating Baltimore Polytechnic 5-2, Old Mill 4-1 and Glenelg 4-3 to make the finals.  Facing Catonsville HS once again, AACS raced out to a 3-1 lead, only to see Catonsville score on a last second, full field throw and catch for a score to tie the game 3-3 and force overtime.  In the overtime, AACS executed its Seahawk set-piece play flawlessly to score the game-winning goal and pull out a 4-3 stunner for the title. AACS was led by Handler Mark Wiley with 6 Assists (several on beautiful long Hucks), Deep Nigel Park with 5 Goals, and Cutter Colin O’Keefe with 7 Defensive Interceptions.
AACS Club Ultimate meets/practices on Friday nights in Kilby and expects to play in 3-4 more tournaments this spring – come out and learn what some would say is America’s best new sport!

Middle School At The Movies For "Hidden Figures"

The sixth grade students attended a special showing of Hidden Figures on Thursday, January 19, at Bow Tie Cinema in Annapolis. Students were inspired by the story of three African American female mathematicians who worked for NASA and helped the United States achieve victory in the race to space of the 1960's. While the outing was scheduled primarily as a math field trip, the movie opened minds and hearts to many important themes in addition to the importance of math.
Rebekka, an AACS 6th grade student, shared her thoughts on the film, "I thought it was cool how they showed the math figures and also all the people behind the scenes [of the space program] that you really did not know were there." Students clapped and cheered throughout the movie as right overcame wrong and hearts of a past era were changed for the better. Sabrina, also an AACS 6th grade student, realized how different life was back then, saying "The movie made me think about what people had to go through. Sometimes I think my life is hard or unfair. They had to overcome a lot of stuff to get where they wanted to go." Sabrina continued "My favorite line of the movie was, 'Every time we get a chance to succeed, they move the finish line'."
The class reflected on the many lessons about grace, love, and equality. And, of course, they were inspired by the many brilliant mathematicians (the first computers) that used their gifts to pave the way for many generations of future space explorers from all walks of life. The sixth grade class give the movie 2 thumbs way up!!

Have You Heard The Buzz About 8th Grader Joel Cowart?

Congratulations to 8th grade student Joel Cowart, the winner of last weeks AACS Middle School Spelling Bee. Joel will now advance to the county round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee held in February in Annapolis. The winning student can then move to the state level or beyond. 
Congratulations as well to the following students (named below) who won their classroom round, allowing them to participate in last Fridays competition. 

6th Grade:Madison Donelson, Josh Gilmore, Naomi McBride
7th Grade: Madeline Devries, Jake Litz, Shannon O'Ferrall
8th Grade:Joel Cowart, Madison Frey, Lizzie Kosmerl, Isaac Vogelzang

Carolyn Beall Featured As One Of This Years What's Up Teachers


Carolyn Beall of Annapolis Area Christian School

Years teaching at AACS: 2

Currently teaching: 1st–2nd grade General Education, Special Education

Proudest teaching moment: “I assigned a long term project about the Olympics to a group of students, who really had a hard time academically. I had to walk them through each step and give a lot of extra support. As the due date approached, I knew they had learned some reading skills, but I was concerned about what the final products would look like. One student proudly found me the morning the project was due. She excitedly showed me her project and told me that she had used her snow days to do more research and to find objects from her home to create her projects. She could explain each of the facts that she had researched. She was even able to answer questions that her classmates asked her about her project. She beamed while I turned away and cried those happy tears.” 

Teaching philosophy: “I believe that all students should be able to be a part of a community. One of my greatest challenges and loves is to help all students see themselves as uniquely created by God. I love helping students find their strengths and use those strengths to figure out how they learn. My job as an educator is to not just teach curriculum but to teach students- to help them see themselves as life long term learners.”

Toughest challenge facing educators: “One of the toughest challenges for teachers is to determine what’s most important to focus on each day. I often have to remind myself that I chose teaching because I care about students. When I look at students individually and focus on helping them take the next step in their learning—the next step towards independence, that’s when I stop being overwhelmed.” 

Carolyn came to us in August of 2015 and has made an enormous impact on our entire school in the course of a single year. As a graduate of our school, she already understood our culture. As an experienced teacher in the area of special education, she understood how to help students who may struggle without extra support. It quickly became obvious that her perspective could benefit more than just Lower School students, and she is now our Director of Educational Support for Pre-K through grade 12. She has a servant’s heart, great wisdom, and the ability to tackle challenges with a quiet steadiness such that students, teachers, and parents know they are in great hands.” — Rick Kempton, AACS Superintendent
Article published by Arden Haley from
Click here to find this article and more from What's Up Magazine.

Girls Basketball Takes A Win Against Mount Carmel

They came out strong with a 16-9 lead in the first quarter, but it wasn't clear that they would win this one until the fourth.  With a final score of 36-35, the Eagles played a great game.
Click here to read the full story from the Capital Gazette.
Photos by: By Matthew Cole / Capital Gazette
Click here for more from AACS Athletics

The Most Important Aspect of a Right Fit School

Written By Jennifer Good
for Chesapeake Family Life Magazine

 Sarah walked into an Open House at Annapolis Area Christian School armed with her long list of questions.  This was her first stop as she began a thorough search for the perfect school for her two children.  With her list of important questions in her hand, she was feeling both anxious and excited, understanding the importance of this decision.

Private school admissions offices are well equipped to answer the long list of questions that parents such as Sarah have when searching for a right fit school.   Questions about academic offerings, athletics, college preparation, technology, and diverse learning styles are among the most common.  Although these are all very important questions, there is one all important aspect of a school that should top the list of questions.  Parents should begin their evaluation of a school with an in-depth look at school culture.

School culture or climate is like the personality of a school.  Do students respect one another?  Do they feel safe, cared for, and engaged?  Is it welcoming?   Do you see joy on the faces of teachers, students, and school leaders?  The culture of any school has very deep roots and is difficult to change, even as new families join the community and graduating seniors depart.  Yet research has shown over and over that it profoundly affects student learning, engagement, self-esteem, confidence, and achievement.  The school you choose may have all of the curricular elements you’re looking for, but a toxic school climate will make it all meaningless.

Common questions from prospective parents like Sarah on topics such as academics, technology, athletics, and learning styles are easy to answer by the admissions office.  The answers tend to fill the pages of school profiles, brochures, and websites.  It’s factual information.  School culture on the other hand, has to be observed and experienced.  A healthy school culture helps your child thrive.  At Annapolis Area Christian School, school culture is a continual top priority. Here are five aspects of school culture that you can observe and experience as you search for the perfect private school.

Relationships are a key component of a healthy and vibrant school culture.  Every student is a unique work of art from the hand of the Creator and you should see evidence of this truth as you walk the halls, look in classrooms, and watch how faculty and staff interact.  Remember that students learn best from people who love and care about them.  Does the school feel warm and welcoming?  Are students attentive and respectful in the classroom?  You should be able to observe polite and kind behavior as you experience and observe the school. 

If you’re looking for a Christian school, make sure it isn’t Christian in name alone. All Christian schools will have information on their website and marketing materials about their beliefs and faith.  Yet faith is not just what they say they believe; it should be evident in their actions, attitudes, and relationships.  What are teachers doing to continue to grow in their own faith?  How is faith modeled and nurtured for students?  Ask!  These are important aspects of a distinctively Christian school.

Do students and faculty look engaged and happy to be at school?  You should see clear evidence of joy as students learn, interact, and work in community.  Do you see gratitude and smiles?  At AACS one of our core values is “steadfast joy.”  Life brings many challenges yet we remind ourselves daily of the gospel of grace and God’s unchanging character amidst ever-changing circumstances.   There will be many times when your child will need encouragement and grace.  A joy-filled school culture should be a top priority.

Look for a school that will partner with you as you raise and educate your child.  Does the school share your family values?  Will the faculty model, teach, and encourage the character traits and beliefs that are important to you?  It is your responsibility as a parent to “train up a child in the way that he should go” (Provers 22:6), yet your effectiveness will increase when you surround your child with other adults who share your values.

Raising and educating children in today’s world can feel overwhelming at times.  If you’re looking for a private school, you’re looking for a community that will support the values, hopes, and dreams you have for your child.  School culture is by far the most important aspect of your private school search. Once you’ve found a culture that feels right, it’s then time to take out your list of questions about everything else.

Read more stories like this one on the AACS Blog found at

Christmastime At AACS

AACS Christmas 2016 from Mastermind Multimedia on Vimeo.

This video is about Christmastime at AACS, created by AACS Students. 

AACS Receives STEM Grant From AFCEA

The Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA), Central Maryland chapter, offers "Kickstarter" grants for STEM initiatives in public and private schools, grades K - 12, in the counties of Central Maryland.  
AACS submitted a proposal for the purchase and use of datalogging & analytical devices and sensors to be applied in all AACS US science courses and some technology courses.
The grant of just under $5000 was announced in early December.  AFCEA member and AACS parent (one US student and two alumni), Mark Davis, presented the award to Ruth Hartcorn, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Amy Degenford, Chair of the Science Department, Don Wiley, Academic Dean, and Bob McCollum, US Principal.

Madrigals Visit Lower School Campuses

AACS Christmas Concerts Bringing Glory To God

Photos from Annapolis Area Christian Schools Upper School Christmas Concert,  Middle School Concert, Annapolis and Severn Lower School Programs.

ESL Bible Opens Up a Whole New World

The ESL Bible class is a unique part of our International Program as AACS. At AACS we are committed to sharing the love of Jesus with our students.  This is also an important part of our international student ministry, requiring different challenges than for our domestic students.  The ESL Bible class is where it all starts.  In 2015, AACS began offering ESL (English as a Second Language) Bible course for our first year international students.  The ESL Bible class offers these first year English-language learners a safe place to ask some of their unique questions about the Bible and about the Lord Jesus Christ. 

In ESL Bible, students begin with the very basics.  They learn how to approach the Bible as both a collection of varied texts written by many authors many years ago, and a spiritual text with a divine Author who continues to speak through it to every reader.  Our ESL Bible teacher, Susan Cole says “In many ways, I think it's probably less challenging to teach the Bible to people who have never heard it before than it is to teach it to those who have been studying it their whole lives.  The stories are new and exciting and surprising for these students in a way that they aren't for kids who have grown up with them.”  Mrs. Cole says that “through their comments and questions, the international students have opened my eyes to the Bible in whole new ways as they wonder aloud why God would put up with and even bless disobedient people who don't fully trust him. I am awed by God's grace and mercy all over again as I read through Genesis with my students, knowing that all of it points to Jesus: God so loved this broken world that He would give his only son to die to pay the penalty for our sins, Jesus would rise victorious over sin and death, providing an eternal hope for us.”  She also said that their questions remind her that the Bible is full of miracles, that to believe it requires faith, that God pursues and loves people that reject him over and over again, and that there is hope. The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news!

Our Sophomore and Junior Bible teacher, Mrs. Reynolds, says “The year of ESL Bible leveled the playing field and each international student seems to be confident in their understanding of how the narrative flows.”  Mrs. Reynolds says that the most common questions she encounter sfrom our ESL students are, “Is this all real?” and “Why would God do that?” These are great questions because it gives God a chance to answer!

AACS international student Zihan commented, “I didn't know very much about Christianity before I came to United States. Studying in regular Bible was challenging for me both with language and culture.  ESL Bible is a great class that actually introduced me to the Christian world and it prepared me well for senior bible.”  Bella Choi, who is a current Junior says “ESL is a very interesting class. It gives me a brand new perspective on Christianity. Mrs. Cole is a great teacher who could lead us through discussion and reading. I have learned a lot from this class!”

The ESL Bible class functions as that entry point to learning about the story of salvation throughout the whole Bible. This class offers a missionary opportunity for students to engage in the story of Jesus and begin to ask deeper spiritual questions.  We pray that from this class, international students grow in confidence that they can understand the Bible’s message and that they recognize the voice of the one true God speaking to them personally from its pages. It is our prayer that the Word of God also becomes a lamp to their feet and a light for their path.

Written By David San, AACS Senior and International Student 

If you are interested in participating in our international ministry by being a host family to one of our students, please contact Bethany Thornton at

One-to-One Program a Big Success So Far!

This year all 9th grade students were provided with a Google Chromebook as part of a new Upper School one-to-one program.  A one-to-one program is when students are issued an electronic device in order to access the Internet, digital course materials, and digital textbooks. This is part of the effort to effectively meet the unique learning styles of today’s learners. The one-to-one program provides expanded educational opportunities and increased engagement and curiosity in the classroom.

The freshman students have had their Chromebooks for about three months now and it has changed the way they are being taught in the classroom. Now teachers can direct students to websites and online videos to learn about new ideas. Students also have access to helpful skill-building apps and websites. Mr. Swanson, the Freshman Bible teacher uses a website called Kahoot which allows his students to review before a test or quiz. He says that, “Using a website like this allows all of my students to participate in review games and answer questions as opposed to one student at the board while everyone watches”. Teachers have also appreciated some of the apps that allow them to collect instantaneous assessment information to make real-time instructional decisions. In the past, they would have to wait until they reviewed the homework or a quiz to know whether or not students understand the material. Also Mr. Swanson said that since all of the freshman class has laptops, it “frees up the computers in the library, computer lab, and mobile chromebook lab to be used by other grades who need access to a computer.”

Students seem to enjoy having the Chromebooks, including the sheer speed of electronic communication. Students have also appreciated that, in some cases, they don’t have to carry as many books because of online textbooks.  Some say that it’s less likely that they’ll lose their papers since they’re now stored online. Matt Arnold, a freshman student, says “we use the Chromebooks at least once in each class every day, and that it’s better than carrying around a bunch of textbooks.”

Since the school was unable to give everyone a computer at once, the School Board decided to start with the current 9th graders since they had been used to using Chromebooks in the AACS Middle School.  However, the one-to-one program is going to expand beyond what it is today. Upper School Principal Bob McCollum says that his  hope is that “soon we’ll be able to provide all Upper School students with a Chromebook.”
Story by Donovan Clemmons, AACS Senior

The Gift of Giving

This time of year brings people together in so many different ways.  You know Christmas is coming when you see decorations going up around town. Storefront windows have merry displays and Christmas music is being played. Of course, there is the wonderful sound of the Salvation Army bell ringing at your local stores, reminding us to think about giving to those in need.  The Toys For Tots collection boxes start appearing and you can't help but think of others and how they could use a little Christmas cheer.  

Students at Annapolis Area Christian School experience the joy of giving, as Bible and mentor groups join together to partner with the Walk The Walk Foundation to give gifts to families for Christmas. They also pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and volunteer at Lighthouse Shelter in Annapolis and more. These generous acts of giving are what bring our school and community together. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the ribbons and bows and the commercial side of the holiday season, but when you see how students, teachers, friends and families come together to give to others, it brings joy to all, especially the giver!  This is a reflection of what God has done for us. His greatest gift to us happened one day, in the town of David when Jesus, our Savior was born.  He is the Messiah, and Emmanuel. This story is told to us in the Bible in Luke 2. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)  What a gift!  What an inspiration.  It is heart warming to know that the students of AACS are working together to show love and spread joy at Christmas time.  I hope that it inspires others to give in any way through volunteering at a local shelter, giving tangibly or financially to an organization.  This is what makes the season merry and bright! Have a Merry Christmas.

Written By: Misty McReady

Walk The Walk 2016 At AACS

Middle school and upper school students were very excited this year to be participating again in the Walk The Walk program. It has become an annual tradition at AACS and is always a wonderful experience. It's a blessing to watch the students of AACS work together to spread joy and see how these acts of kindness bring smiles to those who give.  For when anyone gives with a cheerful heart, they are also sharing the wonderful gift of Gods love.  

5th Graders Visit To The Middle School

The 5th grade classes from both the Severn and Annapolis Lower School Campuses went on an exciting field trip to the Middle School Campus this week.  They arrived just in time to enjoy a student led eighth grade chapel which include wonderful worship music, funny and informative skits, original music and a poem.  After chapel 5th graders went to class with some of the 6th graders to get a feel for middle school life while. They went on tours of the campus and were able to talk to teachers and peer through windows of classrooms to see as much as possible.  When tours were over, everyone met in the library for a quick snack and Q&A time with Middle School Principal Rick Slenk.  Students covered every possible topic, just to be sure they new everything they needed to know to prepare them for next year.  Before heading back to their lower school campuses they all joined together on the front steps for a final photo.  They all had a great day!

12 Angry Men: A Different Kind of Play

This year the AACS Upper School drama department produced 12 Angry Men, under the direction of Nick Cherone, as their fall play. 12 Angry Men, written by Reginald Rose, tells the story of how 12 jurors decide the verdict of an accused murder. The 12 jurors are all unique people and their differences in demeanor and ideals often lead to heated arguments. This play is different than anything the drama department has put on before.  Two things in particular set this performance apart.    
During the performance, the audience was not seated in the standard Kerr Auditorium seats. Instead, risers were placed on the stage. These seats surrounded the set. Nick Cherone said he chose to set the stage up this way because, “The Kerr Center is such a cavernous space, and this is a play about twelve people locked in a small, hot, stuffy room. I wanted to create a sense of intensity and claustrophobia for this production. By having the audience on stage, we were able to shrink the performance space and get everyone packed in close. I want everyone at the show to feel like they’ve been locked into the room with the jurors.” Being on the stage with the actors drew the audience into the story. All those people in that small space allowed for Mr. Cherone’s desired sense of intensity in the room.             
Two different casts produced the play, labeled the Blue and Gold casts. This meant that two different actors were assigned to many of the roles. Each cast performed the play three times. “I chose to cast the show this way because I had a lot of capable performers,” said Nick Cherone, “I felt they all had something important to contribute to the production.” Two casts meant twice the number of rehearsals and a lot of repetition. Mr. Cherone said that though it was difficult rehearsing with two different sets of actors, he would consider doing it again if it was the right thing for his students.             
A lot of work goes into producing a play and 12 Angry Men was no exception. The actors rehearse for two hours many days after school during the two months before the show, and then have lengthy rehearsals the week prior to opening night.  In addition to rehearsals, the sets have to be built, props and costumes have to be collected, and blocking has to be finalized. All of this is in preparation for the performance.  However, in the words of Nick Cherone, “All of the time and effort is definitely worth it, because when we create theatre, we get to bear out the Image of God, who is the ultimate Creator!”  
Written By AACS Student: Savannah Munholland

Third Grade Native American Museum

Did all Native American Indians live in tepees?  According to Third Grade students at the recent AACS Native American Museum held at the Lower School, they lived in a variety of different kinds of homes.  Students created impressive models of Native American homes out of natural and non-natural materials to represent five different tribes.  Each model was accompanied by a written report, a weaving, and other Native American crafts created by the students.

Fifth Grade Annual Indian/Pioneer Day

On the Friday before Thanksgiving break, 5th grade had their annual Indian/Pioneer Day. Students dressed up for the day and went to several stations to learn about Indian culture. Students learned how to make butter for their cornbread, arrowheads from clay, and learned Indian Sign Language. They also made fry bread and Indian bag necklaces and much more.

AACS All-Conference and All-County Athletes

The following student-athletes were voted All-Conference:

Kaleigh Kotula, Sr., Field Hockey

Sydney White, So., Field Hockey

Sam Akinmukomi, So., Football

Eli Hall, Sr., Football

Jarrett Heckert, Sr., Football

Robert Johnson, Jr., Football

TJ Standfield, So., Football

Isiah Williams, Jr., Football

Cameron Williams, Jr., Football

Luke Eberle, Fr., Soccer

Andrew Jones, Sr., Soccer

Nick Lloyd, Jr., Soccer

Skylar Emert, Fr., Volleyball

Grace Williamson, So., Volleyball


The following students were voted to the Anne Arundel County All-County Team:

Sam Akinmukomi, So., Football - First Team All-County

Kaleigh Kotula, Sr., Field Hockey - Second Team All-County

Robert Johnson, Jr., Football - Second Team All-County

Andrew Jones, Sr., Soccer - Second Team All-County

Skylar Emert, Fr., Volleyball - Second Team All-County

Sophie Thompson, Jr., Volleyball - Second Team All-County

Grace Williamson, So., Volleyball - Second Team All-County


Congratulations to all of our student-athletes for being awarded these honors!

Click here to visit our Athletics Website for more athletic news.

Get Involved! AACS Parent Teacher Fellowship

Over the past two years we’ve made great progress in coordinating the efforts of our many parent volunteers across all four campuses. We formed a committee and gave it the name Volunteers In Partnership, or VIP. After much thought, this team is ready to launch into the next phase with some exciting plans and a NAME CHANGE.

Jennifer Brown has graciously and generously offered to be lead this new and growing volunteer organization. When asked why the name change from the original Volunteers In Partnership, or VIP, she had this to say:

In 2014, the Volunteers In Partnership (VIP) Committee was aptly named. Each and every member of the AACS community is a VIP - Very Important Person.  However, the name can also sound exclusive, which wasn’t our intention. Our intent is to connect with ALL of the AACS community, so we decided a name change was in order.  We chose Parent Teacher Fellowship because it’s familiar and it reflects the goals of our committee. These AACS PTF exists to support our students, parents, faculty and staff through volunteering, outreach, and communicationy.”

The PTF Steering Committee will continue to provide leadership and coordination for our newly founded PTF. This Steering Committee will meet at least once per month. See the VOLUNTEER page on our new website for the names of these committee members. We are still looking for a couple more members. The Steering Committee is responsible for:
  • Volunteer coordination for school-wide community events
  • Providing advice and feedback on school culture for AACS leadership consideration
  • Assisting with efforts to bless our teachers and connect our families
A major distinction between AACS and other schools is our Christ-centered culture and community. This is not something we take for granted. It takes continuous nurturing and attention and the PTF is part of this effort.

If you are looking for ways to get involved at AACS please contact one of the campus representatives listed on the VOLUNTEER page of the website or email

Summer Camp Teachers / Counselors

Annapolis Area Christian School Summer Programs is seeking outstanding people to work for the Eagles Explorations Day Program. The summer program enrolls over 1,000 campers, ages 3 to 16, and is located on AACS Upper School's 62 acre campus in Severn, Maryland. We are looking to build upon the exceptional team of educators already working in the program and hire people who are motivated to help be the best around! If you are dependable, fun, creative, work hard, have lots of energy, and love children, then I want to encourage you to contact us. AACS Summer Programs is looking for you!

Potential Positions Available:
Counselors for campers ages 3 to 16
Science Teacher
Photography/Photoshop Teacher
Drama and Improv Teacher
Video Teacher
Bible Teacher

AACS is an Equal Opportunity employer. We do not, and will not, discriminate against any qualified applicant on the basis of race, sex, age, national origin, disability or any other status protected by federal, state or local laws unless a particular status protected by federal, state, or local laws contradicts the deeply held religious convictions of Annapolis Area Christian School.

General Information:
Camp runs Monday through Friday from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm.
The first day of camp is Monday, June 19th.
The last day of camp is Friday, August 4th. .
Pre-camp training/orientation will be provided week of June 12th.
Camp themes change weekly (Splish Splash, Looney Cartooney, Olympics, Feed Our Community, Superheroes, Wild West, and Carnival). Daily activities will tie into the weekly theme.

Contact Information:
Interested Candidates should email Josiah Wolf, Director of Summer Programs at with resume attached.

Coaches Simms & Gast To Receive Award

Head Baseball Coach Jim Simms was awarded the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches Coach of the Year for District 10 (Baltimore Small School Division) and Assistant Coach Chuck Gast was named Assistant Coach of the Year. The two men will be honored at the MSABC Pre-Season All-State Banquet at the Camden Yards Warehouse on Saturday, February 4th at 6:00 PM.

Are You Ready For Parent Teacher Conferences?

Before you begin, take time to pray over a few things.  Pray for the teachers as they work with your child.  Pray specifically for your conference and that it would be a time to partner together for the success of your child. Pray for your relationship with your child's teacher(s), for wisdom concerning your child, and in thanksgiving for all the ways God has grown your child.

You have partnered with your child’s school to educate your child.  With this partnership, come expecting to hear from someone who loves your child, desires the best for your child and desires to work with you to grow your child in all areas. Come with an appreciation for this partnership and guard it for the treasure it is.

Prepare some questions ahead of time.   Think about the things that are going really well with your child and then your top 2 or 3 concerns.   Be ready to talk about those.  Also be ready to listen to what the teacher sees as strengths and weaknesses.  Remember they are there to work with you. Often kids act differently at home than at school, so don't be surprised if what you see at home isn't exactly what the teacher sees. 

Give some thought ahead of time to areas in which you would like to see your child grow. "Does Susie need to improve her reading comprehension skills?  What can we do together to help her achieve that improvement?" Your child's teachers want to know your concerns and hopes for your child. They will share their experiences and perspective with you. If you have hard questions or concerns, plan ahead of time how to raise these concerns graciously and in love. 

During your conference, look at your student’s goals from last year and the progress that’s been made.  Let the teacher (and your child) know what you’re encouraged about!  Discuss their strengths and spiritual growth. If your conference is student led, your child may have also considered ways that he or she has transformed.   Discuss openly with him or her any goals for growth in the areas of school work, spiritual walk, and relationships.

Your teachers know that you are giving up important time to meet with them. Evenings and an entire day of instructional time are sacrificed.  If your child is in high school then parents and students should look up and print their grades and details for each course for which a meeting is to be held.  If a test, paper, or other work is to be a point of discussion at the conference, then that should also be reviewed and discussed beforehand, and brought to the meeting.  

The partnership with your child’s teacher is precious ... everyone should come to the meeting well-prepared, with the same information.  Productive conversations that include the student can then proceed.  You are going to have a great Parent/Teacher conference!

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Written by Misty McRady in collaboration with 
AACS Teachers and Educational Support Staff


Golden Eagles Compete At Nationals

The Golden Eagles Marching Band concluded their 2016 season this past Saturday, finishing 10th at Nationals at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. They scored a 91.875 overall; their highest score of the season.
I'm extremely proud of each student in the band. Considering how much we've grown as a band, and as busy as we've been this season, I'm very happy with our results. We never finished lower than second all season up to this point with some really fantastic band competing against us, and to end in the Top 10, especially as an Open Class band, at Nationals is a VERY good year. Plus, how powerful was it for our school to be the positive message of "loving others well" on a national platform, this of all weeks!
The Marching Band performed at a total of six competitions and four football games this season. The also attended a "Band Day" at Stevenson University and went on tour on October to each of AACS's three feeder campuses to play for the student bodies. Their competitive show, The Hand of Friendship, received numerous commendations for being an emotional and meaningful message at every venue they performed.  
Looking ahead, the 2017 Competitive Show will be unveiled this spring at the annual All-Band Fellowship Meal. Interested in joining the Golden Eagles Marching Band or know of someone who is? There will be a mini-camp in June that you won't want to miss.  Look for more on our website this spring.
Pictured above: The band is saying goodbye to 9 seniors.
Also pictured: Drum Major Rebekah Lynner (center) receives the award at Nationals with (left to right) Carleigh Bothmer, Andrew Cogliano, Robert Campbell, and Christiana Cole.
Written by Ethan Hall, AACS Instrumental Music Director

Middle School Production "A Second Chance" This Weekend!

If you attended the Middle School productions of Beauty and the Beast or The Music Man, you know how very well done they were, and a delight to attend. In two weeks, the Middle School will perform yet another wonderful drama called, "A Second Chance" that you won't want to miss. A story of redemption and forgiveness, A Second Chance is set in the 1800's, in a small mid-western town. Centered around Miss Pellam, the one room school teacher and her many students. There are humorous moments, very tender moments, many life lessons, and a very unexpected ending. The students have been working hard to prepare this special story, and will bring a performance that will be talked about for many days. If you know any families that are considering our school for their child, this would be a perfect time to invite them. 

DATES: Friday November 18th or Saturday, November 19th 7:00p.m. 

TICKETS: Students $5.00 Adults $7.00 (available at the door and at the Middle School office) 
All performances will be at the Kerr Center for the Performing Arts at the Upper School campus.

Upper School (Grades 9-12) Mathematics Teacher

AACS is searching for a full-time Upper School mathematics teacher for grades 9 through 12 for second semester beginning on or around January 18).  In addition to formal training in mathematics, expertise and experience teaching the subject from a biblical worldview is important for this position.   Candidates should have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in mathematics or a related field.  The ideal candidate will have a teaching endorsement or certificate (e.g. ACSI certificate) in mathematics education and a minimum of 3 years of teaching experience at the high school level.  Candidates who can contribute to the school community by coaching a sport, sponsoring a club, or in other similar ways are highly valued.


Published Author Visits Middle School

Sixth grade students enjoyed a visit from local and well published author, Priscilla Cummings on Friday, November 4.  The class is enjoying three of her books in a series that are being shared as a read aloud by their Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Redmon.  In addition to learning about the influences that motivated her to become a writer, students also learned about the process of researching information for a novel, the revision process, working with an editor, the use of literary devices, story ideas and mapping, and the importance of using sensory images in writing.
Students had many questions for Ms. Cummings and much of the knowledge that she shared will be woven into classroom instruction over the coming weeks.  Her visit was a real blessing to the students and they look forward to inviting her back again!

Lower Schools Kick Off Operation Christmas Child Project


2016 "Anticip8-9"

Written by AACS Savannah Munholland

Photos by Savannah Munholland and Misty McReady

On Wednesday, November 2nd, the 8th grade travelled to the Upper School campus to experience life at the high school. They were welcomed by the drum line, cheerleaders, and senior prefects. The day began with discussion groups, led by the prefects and AACS freshman, where their questions about life at the Upper School were answered. The students then went off to sit in on a class of their choosing. The 80 eighth graders and their parents joined the Upper School students and faculty for chapel, leaving standing room only in Kerr Auditorium. From chapel, the students enjoyed Sage's lunch service. After one more class, the eighth grade students were bid farewell by Mr. Mccollum and Bell'arte Singers. They returned to the Middle School excited for their upcoming years at high school.

AACS 4th Grader is a Champion at Regional Horse Show

Posted 10/28/2016
4th Grader Sarah Entzian, loves to ride and show her pony "Pookie". This past weekend Sarah and Pookie were Champions in the small ponies, winning both over fences which also earned them the grand pony honors for the day. They also qualified to compete at the Washington International Horse Show this weekend in DC. Sarah is in her first year at AACS and says "I like it here at AACS. I like my teacher. I like the lunches -- they are very good and I also like that we get to do Social Studies."

Sarah's classmates are a great source of support and they are excited for her competition this weekend. Sarah had this to say about her recent achievement "Achieving Grand Champion for the day at last week's show makes me feel good about myself as I go into tomorrow's competition at the International Horse Show in Washington, DC (Verizon Center). All that I accomplished in last weekends show (the points earned there) gives me a HUGE advantage going into this weekend."

Great job Sarah, we wish you the best in your show this weekend.

AACS Fall Festival is TOMORROW!

Posted: 10/21/2016
Game Tents For All Ages
$200 Grand Prize given for Best Game Tent
Rock Wall & Moon Bounce
Spirit Wear in smaller sizes (perfect for lower and middle school students)
Photo Booth with props
Cake Walk
Professional face painter
Vintage Stamp Jewels booth for personalized jewelry made on the spot! (a percentage of all sales will go to AACS Fall Festival)

Pony Rides
Spirit Wear For ALL Ages

Bring the kids and cheer on the AACS Athletic Teams. Food and drinks will be sold from 11:00am to 4:00pm.

We hope to see you there!

Former Field Hockey Coach Sharon Wiley Is Honored

Posted 10/26/2016
During Homecoming weekend, current and former Field Hockey athletes gathered after a home Field Hockey game on October 22nd to honor recently retired Coach Sharon Wiley. She was recognized for her role in the AACS Athletic program and for years of service to many young athletes.

AACS Alumni Sarah Myer (Wood), class of 2005 recalls "The biggest thing that has always stuck with me about Coach Wiley was her genuine love for each of her players and her desire to help us grow deeper in our relationships with the Lord. It wasn't just about Field Hockey. Sure, her love for the game and desire for us to learn and grow in our skills was evident, but it was more than that. She'd invite us over for lunch and share sweet stories about her and Mr. Wiley (at our prodding!), listen to us complain about high school drama and offer perspective and counsel, and always share something about the Lord and his love for us. At the start of every season she established a theme for our team devotions. I remember one of the first being Proverbs 31- Women of Godly Character. That had such a lasting impact on me and years later I still think back to that devotion and all that she taught us from it. Her impact went beyond the field and beyond the few seasons I was lucky enough to spend with her as my Coach."

The plaque that adorns the new rock memorial on the Field Hockey field in front of the school reads; In light of her commitment to shaping godly young women, Annapolis Area Christian School and friends of AACS Athletics would like to honor the founder of the field hockey program and its leader for 15 years.

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord, you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24

Apologetics: Preparing to Impact the World

Apologetics: Preparing to Impact the World
Posted 10/21/2016 02:20PM

Story by Donovan Clemmons

Class of 2017

Throughout the AACS Upper School, there is a class that every student knows is coming senior year. Leading up to your senior year, you hear about how challenging the tests are and how much there is to learn. The class is Apologetics, also known as Senior Bible. Apologetics is defined as a reasoned argument or writing in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine. At AACS, we attempt to understand, justify, and defend the Christian faith.

John Calvin, a 16th century protestant theologian and one of the most important figures of the Reformation, is quoted as saying, "A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent." While we may not have John Calvin teaching our Apologetics class at AACS, we do have a great teacher in Mr. Doug Scheidt. Mr. Scheidt has been teaching at AACS for 12 years and is also our Head Chaplain. Mr. Scheidt says Apologetics is important because we are, "commanded to defend and explain the Christian faith." While God does not need us to defend him, doing so is a way for us to show our love for him.

Although Apologetics is a requirement for all AACS Upper School students, everyone takes the class senior year. This is not on accident. Mr. Scheidt believes that in order to truly delve into the subject. you must first have a foundation in theology and doctrine. Also, having Apologetics senior year sends students off well prepared for college.

When asked what his favorite thing about teaching was, Mr. Scheidt said that he loved teaching seniors since they have "one foot here and one foot in the world." He also enjoys connecting Christ and the gospel to practical life. In fact, some alumni who graduated years ago still call Mr. Scheidt to ask for advice and guidance.

Although I have only been taking Apologetics for a little under two months, the class has influenced me in ways I did not think were possible. Mr. Scheidt challenges us to think everyday on some topics that other teachers might shy away from. We discuss what it is like to be a Christian in today's culture where that is not always valued. I am glad I am taking Apologetics and I am sure it will give me a good foundation before going off to college.

Community Building and a Great Day of Golf

   Community Building and a Great Day of Golf
Posted 10/20/2016 01:33PM

Story by David Sun

AACS Class of 2017

In today's society, a sense of community brings a sense of identity and pride. It is made possible through processes such as communication, inter-group relations and networking. On Monday September 26th, the AACS annual golf tournament was held at Queenstown Harbor golf course,. It was a great day of community building with a group of individuals who are united to invest and support athletics at AACS.

When asked why the golf tournament is important for AACS, Graham Thorpe, Chief Advancement Officer, said "The annual Golf Classic allows for interaction between student-athletes and those who want to further the mission of AACS. This happens in a relaxed setting that is not otherwise available and creates a sense of investment that is an encouragement to all. "

Mr. McCollum, Upper School Principal, says "the tournament provides AACS parents, supporters, and their friends an excellent opportunity to interact with some of our students in terms of the demeanor, character, and maturity. Honestly, our students are what "sells" our school and the Golf Tournament is a great way for our community members to experience our excellent "product" - students whose lives are centered around Christ."

The word "engage" is in the AACS mission statement. Engagement is important for relationship building as well as for learning. Holding community events contributes to community-wide engagement. The golf tournament is where we celebrate what we have accomplished together and what many have invested in our student-athletes. Mr. Thorpe says "The golf tournament is different than going to a sports game. At the golf tournament, our supporters can actually spend time with students and other parents. Community building is about time together, people united for a common cause."

In addition to the community-building aspect of the golf tournament, we were able to raise $17,500 for the AACS Athletic Program! God has truly blessed our efforts and we are praising Him for giving us such a gratifying and mission-centric day. Thank you again for your continued dedication to AACS and the Athletic Program.

Next Week: STEM Family Night At Arundel Mills

Next Week: STEM Family Night At Arundel Mills
Posted 10/18/2016 11:18AM

On Wednesday October 26, 2016, the Fort Meade Alliance will host STEM Family night for elementary and middle school students who want to learn about robots, circuit boards, virtual reality, 3-D printing, radio frequencies and so much more. Interactive exhibits at this FREE event will be provided by Anne Arundel Community College, Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Lockheed Martin, the National Electronics Museum, Power Hawks Robotics, Vencore and the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Get excited about STEM! Join us at the Food Court of Arundel Mills from 6-8pm on October 26. This event is free. For more information, contact FMA Chief of Staff Donna DeMarco at

AACS Band Places In Double Header Competitions

AACS Band Places In Double Header 
Competitions Posted 10/18/2016 10:28AM

The Golden Eagles Marching Band did well at their recent competitions at Westminster High School and Reservoir High School last week. Taking 2nd place by .65 points at Westminster High and 1st at Reservoir High. The tired band returned to the Upper School Campus late that night, but thrilled with their performances and happy with how the day ended. Ethan Hall, Instrumental Music Program Director, explained "It's always hard to do a double-header; it makes for a very long and exhausting day but I'm really proud of the students and how well they did. We had some issues at Westminster with our electronics and props, but they overcame those mental setbacks and delivered a really great performance at Reservoir."
Don't miss their next big performance of their full competition show, The Hand of Friendship, at halftime of the homecoming game on Saturday, October 22nd at 1:00pm!

Click here to learn more about the Golden Eagles Marching Band.

AACS 6th Grade Retreat 2016

AACS 6th Grade Retreat 2016
Posted 10/14/2016 01:09PM



Story by Misty McReady

It was a beautiful morning for the 6th grade class as they gathered together at Camp Wabanna for the AACS 6th grade retreat on Thursday, October 13th. After praise and worship, Pastor Christian Hipsky, Outreach and Environments Pastor at Chesapeake Christian Fellowship, led morning chapel. He spoke throughout the day with

a wonderful message that revealed three important facts about God and his plan for each and everyone who was present.

Pastor Hipsky began with "God made you and you are unique." One of the best examples he used was that with all of the people in the entire world nobody has the same fingerprint. Everyone was given a unique fingerprint by God. His second point was that "God loves you." There is a difference between knowing God loves you and hearing someone tell you that God loves you. You are CHANGED when you know God loves you. It is an experience. The third point he made was that "God has a plan for you." He challenged the kids with a question. "Are you going to choose to be a part of God's plan or are you going to conform, go back to, being like everybody else?"

Later in the day the students worked hard on team building events. Some events took time to plan together and challenged them to listen to one another before putting their plan into action. Between team building and fun and games, the students broke into small groups to talk about the fruits of the spirit, from Galatians 5:22-23, and how they relate to them. It was a time for the students to bond and learn more about how God's gifts of the fruit of the spirit looks in their daily lives and that each person was blessed differently. The day ended with a challenge to choose one of their classmates and use or show love, patience, joy, self control or any of the fruits of the spirit in that relationship. The day went by quickly and the sounds of laughter and children running and playing slowly quieted down as parents came to pick up their students.



AACS Volleyball Season Shines In New League

AACS Volleyball Season Shines In New League
Posted 10/14/2016 12:12PM

AACS Girls Volleyball has been working hard as a team and it's paying off. After the 2015 season ended, the Lady Eagles moved up to the IAAM B conference. Despite switching to a more challenging league, AACS hasn't slowed down, holding a 9-3 record. They are also 6-0 in conference play, which has them tied for first place with St. Vincent Pallotti.

Click here for the full story from Press box online.

8th Graders Called to Lead

8th Graders Called to Lead
Posted 10/12/2016 03:40PM

Story by Susan Leonard

The 8th grade class recently enjoyed the annual 8th Grade Retreat. Dean of Students Eric Hansen and Chaplain Doug Scheidt were the keynote speakers at our 8th Grade Servant Leadership Retreat. They discussed what it means to be a leader in the world today. "To be great is to be Godly," they said, and asked students to list how to train ourselves to do this:

1. Be in regular prayer and devotions;

2. Develop a vision of who God is [and who we are not] and

3. Practice humility.

"It is this work, done behind the scenes, that influence what kind of leader you become" they explained. Mr. Scheidt asked "Do you have a big vision of God or small?" Mr. Hansen explained "you can influence without being a leader, you can be a leader without influence, but you can't be a good leader without influence." Both men shared how being a leader is the stuff you do under the water, or behind the scenes: prayer and devoting yourself to God's Word.

Luke Borchelt, a recent graduate and AACS "lifer," also spoke to the students. One simple and profound piece of advice he left with the students was to "Go to chapel like you go to lunch, hungry!"

The leadership training offered at this annual event is not the type of training that occurs at one Retreat and then happens during one school year. It is work that needs to be practiced throughout a student's educational years, particularly in Grades 8 and continued in Grades 9-12. Recent advances in brain imaging and mapping in the field of neuroscience prove that the work done during this time period in a person's life is what sticks and becomes ingrained in the brain's circuitry as lifelong patterns. The Lord tells us to "train up our children in the ways of the Lord..." for this reason. If we commit to Christian education this year and through your child's Senior year of high school, lifelong patterns develop that can influence what type of a leader your child becomes.

Marching Band Entertains Lower and Middle School Students

Marching Band Entertains Lower and Middle School Students
Posted 10/12/2016 03:32PM

Story by Jennifer Good

On Tuesday, October 11th, the AACS Marching Band spent the day delighting and entertaining our Lower and Middle School students. They visited both Lower School campuses and the Middle School. The beautiful weather added to the enjoyment of the day! The goal was to share what Marching Band is about, to have some fun, and to garner interest in joining the band once the students are old enough.

With Ethan Hall directing, the Marching Band played their competition show, The Hand of Friendship, and an arrangement of music from Frozen. Thanks to Christiana Cole and Carleigh Bothmer, two of our dedicated band members, along with some creative costuming, there was even a surprise visit from Anna and Elsa!

After the performance at each of the three campuses, the band members invited the younger students to come down and ask questions, bang on the drums, check out the instruments, and twirl the flags.

"The kids were so fun to play for" said Ethan Hall. "They were a very attentive audience and an absolute delight once they came out to talk with the band members. The band students are already asking when we can tour the campuses again."

The AACS Marching Band has been a huge part of our school community for over 20 years. As one of the most awarded high school bands in the state of Maryland, they play music written specially for AACS and create shows designed to share the Gospel message with audiences. For more information about the AACS Marching Band please contact Ethan Hall at

AACS Senior Commended By The National Merit Scholarship Corp.

AACS Senior Commended By The National Merit Scholarship Corp.
Posted 10/12/2016 01:05PM

Congratulations to Eric P. Hendrix, a senior at AACS, for being named a Commended Student in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. Hendrix is one of about 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation who are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.

We asked Eric how it felt to be recognized. "Surprised" he said, referring to his letter of commendation. "I couldn't believe it was my name on the paper. I had to read it again to make sure that I read it right." Eric placed among the top five percent of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2017 competition by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

"The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success," commented a spokesperson for NMSC. "These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success."

AACS Middle School Student Placed First In Regional Essay Contest

AACS Middle School Student Placed First In Regional Essay Contest
Posted 06/30/2015 02:09PM

Our own Will Matthews won 1st place for the Eastern Division Essay Contest "Why I am Proud to be an American," he was also awarded a $100 gift card.
The 8th Grade Class submitted essays in late Fall in American History 8. They were to write in 350 words or less on "Why I am Proud to be an American." Will's essay is now being reviewed at the National level, where only 18 National Awards will be given out.
The essay contest is sponsored by the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) and Matthews was invited to read his essay at the branch meeting on July 14th at the Fleet Reserve Club in Annapolis. Congratulations Will for your hard work!

Spotlight on International Student Kyle Wang

Spotlight on International Student Kyle Wang
Posted 09/30/2016 10:20AM
Story by Bethany Thornton, AACS International Student Coordinator
This is the first in a series we'll post to highlight many of our courageous international students.

"I used to be more introverted and acting has helped me open up to others" shares Kyle Wang, a 12th grade international student from China. Kyle has starred and acted in various AACS productions, as well as ones in China. Over summer break, Kyle returned to his home town of Shenzhen, China where he produced, directed, and stared in a production of The Importance of Being Ernest. The show was held at Kyle's old Chinese school, with fellow Chinese classmates. Kyle worked with the native students on their English, as well as teaching the basics of drama and theater. In China, theater productions are typically different than American ones, so Kyle worked to bridge the differences he saw. "Most Chinese are used to singing when they perform, so I worked with them on their acting" says Kyle.
Considering Kyle's excellence in academics, he hopes to major in political science or international relations in college, but desires to continue auditioning for community theater. In addition, the play raised roughly $3,000 for a charity that works with children who have hearing disabilities, "it was important for the money to go to a good cause." Kyle reflected that he likes acting, "because it builds relationships between cast members and with the audience."
Mr. Cherone, the Director of Fine Arts at AACS said that Kyle's "comedic sensibilities and timing are top-notch and he gives an impressive performance on stage." Although Kyle is not a native English speaker, he works hard to challenge himself and we are excited for his performance in AACS's production of 12 Angry Men.



AACS 13th Annual Golf Classic 2016

AACS 13th Annual Golf Classic 2016
Posted 09/30/2016 10:23AM

This past Monday was a terrific day, at a fantastic course, with a group of individuals united to invest and support Athletics at AACS. The 2016 AACS Golf Classic was a delightful success!

We would like to extend a big, heart-felt THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this year's Golf Classic not only successful but enjoyable and glorifying to our Lord God. We cannot thank the players, sponsors and those who graciously gave, enough for coming out to play, sponsoring this event, soliciting prizes, taking time off work to drive beverage carts, run contests, take pictures, sell raffle tickets and more.

Our final number is a tremendous $17,500 raised for the AACS Athletic Program! However, the eternal rewards far outnumber that total. God has truly blessed your efforts and we are praising Him for giving us such a gratifying and mission-centric day.

The AACS Advancement Team

AACS Names Danza to Lead Softball Program

AACS Names Danza to Lead Softball Program
Posted 09/27/2016 03:23PM

Josh Danza is the new varsity head softball coach for the 2017 season. Coach Danza takes over for Mark Dark who stepped down after the 2016 season. Coach Dark dedicated over a decade of service to the program

Coach Danza joined the AACS staff in 2015 as an assistant soccer coach and as a faculty member this fall. He currently coaches the AACS JV boys' soccer team and has extensive experience coaching a number of sports. Danza was a three-sport athlete at Archbishop Spalding, went on to play soccer at Stevenson University and Towson University, was a member of Puerto Rico's Men's National Team and played professional soccer, most recently with the Philadelphia Fury.Josh Danza tells us "I am honored and excited for this opportunity. I am impressed with the players I have met and hope to help them achieve their goals for success. I look forward to investing into the lives of these young ladies both on and off the field."

"Coach Danza is a man of integrity and has a great vision for our program. I look forward to working with him to help take our softball program to the next level." - Jim Domoracki, Director of Athletics

Upper School Awarded $27,000 Grant for STEM

Upper School Awarded $27,000 Grant for STEM
Posted 09/22/2016 03:53PM

Story by Donovan Clemmons

AACS Class of 2017

The AACS Upper School has been awarded a $27,000 grant from the United States Navy Strategic Systems Programs. The Upper School engineering teacher, Mrs. Smith heard about the grant offer while at a work function with her husband. When she overheard that the Strategic Systems Programs had excess funds to award, she jumped at the opportunity to improve the Upper School's technology and engineering departments. She submitted a proposal for the grant and that was all it took.

The funds will be used for the AutoCAD system, a computer gaming design system, and/or an electrical wiring system for the Engineering II classes. The funds will also be used to purchase various activities for a lower school STEM day and Mrs. Smith is letting the Engineering II class plan the event. It will be exciting to see what the students plan for the day.

Last school year during the Upper School STEM day, a group of students from the Severn Lower School took a field trip to the Upper School Campus. Under the guidance of Mrs. Smith, the Lower school students worked with engineering students on activities like building brush bug robots, completing circuits, and making soft, cold, and colorful snow. The Lower School students seemed to have a great time and this year Mrs. Smith plans to expand it to both the Severn and Annapolis campuses. Currently it is scheduled for Kindergarten through 2nd grade students but it may increase to include higher grade levels.

The money the school received would not have been possible without Mrs. Smith. Before coming to AACS, she earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tuskegee University. With this she worked for Toyota and General Motors, primarily in seat engineering. Before becoming a stay at home mom, Smith was the lead engineer for the Corvette seats. Mrs. Smith began teaching at AACS after enrolling her daughter in the school in 2013. Since she has been here, our technology and engineering programs have been gradually improving over the years and this money will only serve to make things even better. It will be exciting to see what Mrs. Smith can accomplish with the grant.

Fall Open Houses Begin!

Fall Open Houses Begin!
Posted 09/22/2016 03:34PM

We have some exciting new admissions events planned for October! The Middle School Showcase and our Upper School's Anticip8 9 event are designed both for parents and their future middle or upper school students.


During our Middle School Showcase on October 12th at 9:00 a.m., we're opening up the campus to prospective parents and their students to SHOWCASE our magnificent Middle School!! Take a tour, meet students and faculty, and see what a day is like at the AACS Middle School. Go to our Middle School Campus Visits page for details and registration.


On October 20th at 9:00 a.m., we're holding an "Anticip8 9" event (anticipate 9th grade). Although our focus will be on 9th grade, all high school grades are welcome. We'll have an academic display, a performing arts presentation, and an athletic presentation, plus lots of students, teachers, and coaches to talk to. (Please note that this is for families new to AACS. Our Anticip8 9 event for our own 8th graders is on November 2nd.) Go to our Upper School Campus Visits page for details and registration.


We also have two Lower School Open Houses scheduled for November. Check out the dates, times, and registration information at our Severn Lower School Campus Visits page, or our Annapolis Lower School Campus Visits page.

"Reading Buddies" Are a Big Hit!

"Reading Buddies" Are a Big Hit!
Posted 09/21/2016 12:24PM

It was a beautiful day to read outside! Last Friday, the entire kindergarten class met their fifth grade "Reading Buddy" and enjoyed some time outside. Mrs. Evans, Mrs Hansen's, and Mrs McCue's kindergarten classes meet with Mrs Broege's fifth grade class every other Friday afternoon. Each fifth grade student is assigned to a kindergarten student as their reading buddy for the semester. During the second semester, Mrs. Howe's fifth grade class will get their turn.

"Our purpose for Reading Buddies" says Mrs. Hansen, " is to have some cross-grade interaction and the opportunity to build relationships. Fifth graders benefit from having special responsibilities such as setting a good example to the kindergarteners. It also instills the love of reading among the all of the students."

The 5th graders read to their buddy for about 20 minutes. The kindergarten students love this time and the 5th graders enjoy the wonderful opportunity to be a teacher and leader. Later in the year the 5th grade students will be organizing a game for the kindergarten class, and there are also plans for a Christmas craft.

Students at the Severn Lower School also look forward to their Reading Buddies. The fourth grade class reads to kindergarten students and the fifth grade class reads to the first graders. "Everyone loves it" says Karl Graustein, Lower School Principal.

Our purpose for Reading Buddies is to to have some cross-grade interaction/relationships which gives the fifth graders the special responsibility of setting a good example to the kindergarteners. It also instills the love of reading among the kids.

AACS Varsity Field Hockey Wins Again!

AACS Varsity Field Hockey Wins Again!
Posted 09/14/2016 11:11AM

The Lady Eagles are on fire this season with their 5-2 win at the game on Tuesday against the Institute of Notre Dame. They started the season with a 5-3 win at STS. Peter and Paul, then a 10-0 Victory just last week against Calverton. Be sure to come out to see them at their next game at Calverton on September 21st, game starts at 4:15pm.

Click here to read about their latest win from

Click here for the upcoming game schedule for the Field Hockey team.

Annapolis Lower School Before & Aftercare Program openings

Annapolis Lower School Before & Aftercare Program openings
Posted 09/21/2016 11:15AM

The Annapolis Lower School is in search of folks who love the Lord and elementary age children for our Before & Aftercare program on school days. We are looking for:

  • Before care staff (7 am – 8:20 am school days)
  • After care staff (2:45 pm with availability to 6:00 pm)
  • Before & Aftercare substitutes (on call for above hours)

Requirements: Ability to obtain CPR & First Aid certification, at least 18 years old, some childcare experience helpful.

If these opportunities interest you and you meet the basic requirements please follow the "To Apply" instructions to let us know.

Act Your Wage!!

Act Your Wage!!
Posted 09/12/2016 01:20PM

When you hear the term "learning-based play" you may think about our youngest students. There has been an abundance of research around play and its positive effects on early childhood learning and development. Although the research tends to focus on early learning, AACS teachers know that our older students also learn effectively through games. Just ask Kristy Martin who teaches Foundations in Personal Finance at the Upper School.

Mrs. Martin uses Dave Ramsey curriculum for the Foundations in Personal Finance Course. Ramsey is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the most popular personal finance gurus in the United States. He is renowned for his Christian background and no nonsense approach to personal finance, especially when it comes to living debt free. Mrs. Martin noticed the option of using a game called Act Your Wage as part of the curriculum. The games arrived last week and on Friday the students spent their class period "playing."

Mrs. Martin said that students had a blast. "I had one student land on a particular square and say in an exasperated voice, 'My child left all the lights on and now I need to pay an extra utility bill!' Whether or not they realized it, the educational aspect of this game was boldly evident."

While students play Act Your Wage they have to manage their own emergency fund and learn how to spend, save, invest, pay off debt, and give through the income and expenses of everyday living.

Mrs. Martin said that she initially purchased the game so that students would have a fun and educational activity to do after they finished their chapter tests. However, after playing the game, she realized that it was a valuable tool and plans to use the game once per month.

"I want my students to have fun while learning" said Mrs. Martin. "Dave Ramsey's 'Act Your Wage!' board game provides a perfect combination of having fun while reinforcing some foundational concepts to Personal Finance."

Taylor Russell, AACS student, thought it was a fun way to learn financial lessons without actually going into debt! "I learned that sometimes when you pay all your debts you could go bankrupt" said Russell. Strategy is important!

Story by Jennifer Good

An International Experience Right In Their Home

An International Experience Right In Their Home
Posted 09/21/2016 10:15AM

By David Sun

AACS Class of 2017

For years now our Upper School campus has welcomed a few international students each school year. In 2014, the AACS Board of Directors made the decision to formalize the program and since then the program has grown and improved. In the third year of our international program, we now have 18 international students, a program director, and a full-time ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. The 15 AACS families who are now serving as host families have been a key reason this program has been a success.

Our Academic Dean Mr. Wiley and his family have been a host family since 2013. He says "being a host family has expanded our world vision. You learn more about a nation/region when you know someone who lives there. Not that we know all about China just from knowing four students, but we probably know four times as much as we did before."

In Matthew 28: 18-20, Jesus gave us the specific command to "go and make disciples of all nations." Mr. Kempton, AACS Superintendent says "As Christians we are called by God to make an impact on culture and society. We cannot do this without cross-cultural understanding. We must be able to look outside of ourselves and be aware of the cultural beliefs, values, and customs of any culture we hope to teach and influence. To influence, you must first understand."

AACS Associate Director of Upper School Admissions, Mary Jane Murphy, and her family opened their home to a new international student this fall. She said "I would recommend our AACS families to be involved with our international program by being a host family because it would enrich their lives, enlarge their heart (and family), and give them a greater picture of others around the world. Life is so much richer when we share it with others!!"

When asked why his family opened their home to international students, Mr. Wiley answered "When we open our homes and hearts to strangers, both we and they are blessed. Jesus came as a stranger from afar, and He calls us to practice hospitality. Also, these students are doing something incredibly brave by traveling to the other side of the world to do high school in a second language. It is a privilege to help make it a little easier for them."

The Baden family opened their home to one of our international students at the end of the last school year. They so enjoyed having their "Chinese Son" Zihan as a part of their family that they invited him back to their home for the whole school year. Mrs. Baden has enjoyed showing Zihan the sites from the beach, to Baltimore, and more.

Our international student Bella Choi, who is currently living with Mr. Wiley, says that before she arrived in the United States she could not even imagine what living here with a completely new family would be like. "But ever since I moved in with Wiley's" Bella said, "I have felt so welcomed that it is just like another family for me. They have thrown a surprise party for me, we've gone on a family road trip, and I enjoy just relaxing on the sofa with them and laughing at the TV show."

As for our international students, our vision is that they receive a great education in a Christ-centered culture, that they come to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that they grow in their faith during their time at AACS and college years, and return back to their home country to spread the Gospel. Many of the students who come to our country for education go back to their own country into positions of great influence. Going back with a greater understanding and impression of Christianity is also a success for the program and the Kingdom.

We are currently looking for families who are willing to partner with the school in this mission by providing a home for an international student and serving as their host family. If you're interested in learning more about becoming a host family for one of these students, please email Bethany Thornton at

Freshmen Blazing the Trail for Upper School Technology

Freshmen Blazing the Trail for Upper School Technology
Posted 09/01/2016 03:04PM

Story by Jennifer Good

Our 9th grade students are blazing the trail for greater technology use in Upper School classrooms. This week they all received their school issued Google Chromebook. Our goal is to provide expanded educational opportunities, increased engagement and curiosity in the classroom, and to respond more effectively to the unique learning styles of today's students.

Bob McCollum, Upper School Principal, said "Our students are what are called 'digital natives.' With the one-to-one Chromebook laptop program, we can teach them in their natural habitat, so to speak, by greatly enhancing the resources that teachers and students can access for instruction and learning."

A one-to-one program means that all students are provided with a school-owned computer assigned for their use at school and at home. This began in our Middle School three years ago with the Class of 2020, our current 9th graders. Each year another grade was added to this initiative and this year the one-to-one program begins at the Upper School.

Recent studies and our experiences with Chromebooks at the AACS Middle School have shown that students have responded with greater curiosity and engagement in their learning. "At the same time" says Mr. McCollum, "the Chromebook is just a tool for learning and, like a hammer, it is only useful for some tasks but not for all. We see this as a great opportunity to help high school students understand the power, both good and bad, of technolgy and to help them develop as Christian technologists enabling them to impact the digital world for Jesus Christ."

The Chromebooks were handed out in English class this past week. Policies and procedures about usage, access at home, printing, charging, and more were all explained in addition to the basic mechanics of the Chromebooks.

A lot of preparation went into this week's delivery of Chromebooks. AACS engaged Beyond Technology Education (BTE) to help improve our instructional technology game for the entire Upper School. BTE also provided three training sessions specifically for the teachers of freshmen, including instruction on setting up a Google classroom. Steve Deterding, Director of IT at AACS, has also been working behind the scenes all summer preparing the Chromebooks for distribution this week.

Technology has become a critical part of learning, expanding the classroom beyond traditional limits of time and space. Now that all freshmen have a school issued Chromebook, our sophomore through senior classes will have greater access to our mobile computer carts and computer lab. Technology training will also be expanded for all Upper School faculty. The plan is to add one grade to this one-to-one program each year, with the class of 2020 continuing to lead the way. It's been only a few days, but so far so good!

Girls Field Hockey Team Gets New Mouth Guards

Girls Field Hockey Team Gets New Mouth Guards
Posted 09/02/2016 11:20AM

About five years ago, Dr. Gary Goodman offered to provide the AACS Girls Field Hockey team with free fitted mouth guards. Dr. Goodman explained to recently retired Girls Varsity Field Hockey Coach Sharon Wiley that fitted mouth guards are not only more comfortable, but also safer and better for the players' mouths.

Dr. Goodman not only made these mouth guards comfortable and safe for the athletes, but also customized them to the school colors. They are also less expensive than the mouth guards you would buy in the store! The field hockey team has returned every year to get these customized fitted mouth guards. Every player enjoys getting them since they are custom molded to their individual mouth.

Junior, Mary Mitchell said, "They are very comfortable. You barely even know you have a mouth guard in your mouth. It is so easy to talk and communicate to each other with them in." Senior Leah Cotton said, "We love going there and they continue to do it for us every year". Not only are the mouth guards easier to play with, but the trip to the dentist is always a great team bonding activity.

The fitted mouth guard tradition has spread to other teams in the school. This year, the football team received these custom fitted mouth guards as well.The AACS Athletic Program is very grateful for Dr. Goodman and everyone at Goodman Dental Care for their generosity and their efficiency in making these fitted mouth guards for our teams year after year.

Story by Student Reporter Mary Mitchell

Congratulations Katie Kinsey!

On Memorial Day 2016 Katie Kinsey, a 2013 AACS Alumni, became tpart of a Division I national championship team. Katie plays for UNC's ladies' lacrosse team. She is pictured here with her proud parents Diane & Paul. Hard work and dedication pay off. Congratulations Katie!

New Upper School Field Hockey Field Project

The Upper School field hockey field is looking a little brown for now. It's getting a "New Do." The Bermuda Grass conversion job is the sprigging operation, which means they take mature Bermuda grass cuttings and replant them into the new field. Next season will be a bit greener!

New Partnership Provides Exciting STEM Opportunities at AACS

New Partnership Provides Exciting STEM Opportunities at AACS
Posted 08/19/2016 10:57AM

Story by Jennifer Good

AACS has partnered with the Simulation to Advance Innovation and Learning (SAIL) Center at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The SAIL Center is a world-class medical facility for simulation and training in new and innovative surgical techniques. It was founded and led by Dr. Adrian Park. Dr. Park and his wife Jennifer are the parents of three AACS alumni and one current Upper School student.

The SAIL Center features sophisticated life-like technology including high-fidelity mannequins that simulate real life medical situations. These models are so life-like that they react like humans when responding to virtual tests and treatments. They have simulated hearts, pulse, blood pressure, pupils that dilate, the ability to bleed and react to medications and show other human responses. Surgeons, residents, students, nurses, emergency medical technicians, military personnel, and allied health professionals can attend training at this new SAIL Center.

" target="_blank">Here's a short video with more information.

Ruth Hartcorn, Director of Curriculum and Instruction at AACS, has helped to facilitate this new partnership. "This partnership can offer AACS students opportunities for field trips, curriculum enhancement, hands-on learning, observation of simulated surgery, lecture series, and possibly summer internships and service opportunities" said Mrs. Hartcorn.

While the focus of the SAIL Center is medical care, the facility also employs high-tech digital video equipment, data analysis, and logistical planning. The potential applications for students extend far beyond the bio-medical arena. Curriculum enhancements are expected for Upper School Anatomy, AP Biology, Economics, Engineering, Statistics, 7th grade science, and more.

Ivan George, the Director of the facility, has invited our faculty to see and hear more about it first-hand. A tour will be scheduled soon after school begins.

Add Prayer to Your Back-to-School List


By Misty McReady

Is prayer on your list of things to do to get ready for back to school?

If you do a Google search you will find unlimited lists and a plethora of advice on tips for getting ready for back to school. Most lists will contain things like:

  • Get School Supplies
  • Go Shopping for School Clothes or Order Uniforms
  • Get Backpack and Lunch Box
  • Get School Calendar and Schedule

Some back-to-school lists may recommend study websites like:

Other lists may include places to visit to get the brain on track like the Baltimore Zoo, Baltimore Aquarium, The National Zoo, The National Air and Space museum, The National Museum of American History. More Adventures destinations can be found on the Smithsonian website. These are all great recommendations and I will be doing many of these things. However I'dlike to challenge families everywhere to add Prayer to the top of your list. Start now!

Too often people wait until being faced with a trial or problem before seeking a "higher power" through prayer. There really is a "higher power!" It's God, simple as that. He is there for anyone who calls on Him. What if you were to put prayer at the top of your list of things to do to get ready for back to school?

Begin by asking God to prepare your heart, as a parent or guardian, to be patient and focused as this school year begins. Pray for and with your young student, that they would be filled with confidence and joy as they head to classes. Pray for those amazing teachers, faculty and staff who will all be facing a new bunch of young minds and hearts. Pray for friendships to blossom, new relationships to be made. Pray for those young hearts, that they will be protected. Pray that your children will learn to show love and compassion towards others.

I hope you will accept this challenge and see how God blesses the start of another school year. Your prayers will set the stage for the rest of the year.



Girls LAX Team Gets Team of the Year Award

Girls LAX Team Gets Team of the Year Award
Posted 07/22/2016 11:06AM

Congratulations Lady Eagles for receiving the High School Girls' Team of the Year award from The Touchdown Club of Annapolis. For the past 25 years or so, the Touchdown Club has chosen one girls lacrosse team in Anne Arundel County to receive this award. Their outstanding 2016 season resulting in their 2nd IAAM state championship made them a clear-cut choice for this years award. The team was formally presented with the award at the Touchdown Clubs annual Lacrosse Cookout and Awards Ceremony yesterday, July 21st, at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Coach Bitzer to be Honored for Outstanding Lacrosse Service

Coach Bitzer to be Honored for Outstanding Lacrosse Service
Posted 07/19/2016 01:59PM

Congratulations to Coach Bitzer for being selected by both the Touchdown Club of Annapolis and Hero's Lacrosse as this year's recipient of the Hero's Man of the Year Award. Coach Bitzer is being recognized for his remarkable 27 year tenure as varsity boys' lacrosse coach at Annapolis Area Christian School. What really impressed the Hero's Lacrosse committee ad the Touchdown Club of Annapolis Board of Governors was Coach Bitzers intangible qualities that he displayed on and off the field throughout his coaching career, positively impacting the players and those around him. He will receive this honor at the annual Touchdown Club of Annapolis Lacrosse Cookout and Awards Ceremony being held this Thursday, July 21st.

Click here to read the story from the Capital.

Eagles Basketball Takes Win Against Severn In Summer Championship

Eagles Basketball Takes Win Against Severn In Summer Championship
Posted 07/01/2016 11:45AM

The rivalry is still hot between Severn and AACS. The Eagles came away with a 47-44 win on Thursday in the AACS Summer League championship game.

Click here to read the full story from the capital!

AACS Students Return from Missions Trip to Colombia

AACS Students Return from Missions Trip to Colombia
Posted 07/07/2016 12:28PM

By Chelsea Woody

I just want to thank you for keeping up with us this last week while in Bogotá and for your prayers. They were felt! At the start of the week, the group was reminded that we were there to serve and not to be served, and they took this message and lived it out. Although they were tired and the work was sometimes hard in a variety of ways, this group rose to the occasion and did not complain once. Here are a few ways in which they served and blessed others in our group and in the ministries we visited:

Sophie Thompson- Sophie is incredibly creative and used this gift to serve others and God this week. She designed our team tee shirts for the trip and came up fun crafts that the children loved.

Brooke Wadsworth- Brooke is an incredible servant. If she hears of a need, she is there to help without a second thought. From helping to make last-minute purchases for the trip to helping cook for our guests, she is always there with a smile on her face. She has a special way of knowing and remembering the children with whom she interacts, and loves others well.

Shannon Baden- What a heart Shannon has for connecting with people from other cultures. Each morning, she would bring our bus driver something to eat and leave a note for him if he wasn't there. She is eager to use her Spanish to relate to and love the people of Colombia.

Kaitie McCollum- Having lived in Bogotá for five years, Kaitie was invaluable to our mission. She easily led the others in service and maintained an upbeat attitude even when it was hard. Kaitie helped us prepare our hearts for the most difficult ministries, and she truly sets an example for others as a godly young woman.

Rachel Solsman- Rachel continually led the children in music excitement and a smile on her face. Her love of music was contagious, and the children with whom we worked responded to her with joy.

Stephanie Druid- Stephanie was a steady friend to all on our team. Her sweet and gentle nature was a blessing to the children we served, and we will miss the hugs she greeted us with each morning. Stephanie's trust in God is to be admired.

Melissa McCollum- The child whisperer. Melissa has a great gift of dealing with children, especially some of the more "enthusiastic" children. Her knowledge of Bogotá combined with her passion and ease in connecting with children made her an invaluable part of our team.

Jeremy Solsman- No task (or suitcase) too large for Jeremy. Lugging large suitcases back and forth to ministries and up and down narrow staircases is no small feat, and Jeremy was ready and willing to help always. He was a huge blessing to our team and the children with whom we worked responded always to his warm smile and peaceful nature.

Samuel Woody- As the youngest on the team this year and the least familiar with Spanish, Samuel bravely reached out to the children we served and the older kids on the team. He even picked up some key phrases, and when he couldn't remember the words he needed, he would amusingly say the words in English with a Spanish accent.

Cal Anderson- Cal probably moved the most of anyone on the team as he was constantly running with children. Perhaps most impressively, while visiting Bogotá's Gold museum, he saw one of the children with his hand on the fire alarm and sprinted across a large room, swooping up the would-be "alarmist" just in the nick of time.

Michael Dix- It was as if the children would just come to Michael. They were fascinated by his 6'4 stature and his gentle nature. One favorite moment of the trip was in the special needs orphanage we visited. Michael was holding a baby who was so disfigured, it was hard to look at him. With a smile on his face, Michael gazed at the baby and said, "He is so beautiful". Seeing a child through the eyes of God. Incredible.

Taylor Thiessen- Taylor loves children and has an easy way with them. He literally carried a small girl for what must have been hours as we roamed a mountain top, picnicked in a nearby park and visited two museums. He loves the Lord and is truly a joy to serve with.

Sarah Nissly- Seeing needs and attending to them is Sarah's wonderful gift to our ministry. She was a quiet servant who never once complained, and I am so thankful for her steady faithfulness throughout the week. An incredible young lady.

Pat & Ken Kuehne- What an amazing couple. Pat and Ken naturally loved each child with whom they interacted with God's love. With her encouraging words and hugs, Pat can brighten your day in an instant. Ken was like our father for the week with his easy laugh, his protection over the group and his willingness to help wherever needed. The Kuehne's set such an amazing example for each of us, and love unconditionally. We are so very thankful for them.

Finally, I would like to thank our Lord and savior Jesus Christ for allowing us this incredible opportunity to serve in His name. His presence and protection were felt at every moment.

Read their full story at

Class of 2020 Leads The Way With Chromebooks

Class of 2020 Leads The Way With Chromebooks
Posted 06/14/2016 09:10AM

By Robert McCollum, Upper School Principal

Greetings from the Upper School! As this school year winds down, we have already started to plan for your sons and daughters to transition to high school in August.

Those of you who are coming from our own 8th grade class know that we have a one-to-one Google Chromebook program at the Middle School. (For our new families, a one-to-one program means that all students are provided with a school-owned computer assigned for their use at school and at home.) The class of 2020 has been leading the way for this initiative since it began three years ago. We're excited to announce that we're adopting this one-to-one program for the in-coming ninth grade class. This greatly enhances the resources that teachers and students can access for instruction and learning. Our Middle School students have responded with greater curiosity and engagement in their learning and we expect the same for our Upper School students. Our plan is to add one grade to this one-to-one program each year, with the class of 2020 continuing to lead the way.

At the start of the school year, we'll be sharing with you specifics on policies and procedures for these new Chromebooks including topics like caring for the computers, content filtering protocols both at AACS and at home, secure storage expectations (e.g. secured lock on locker), responsibility for care, and many more. We're excited about the opportunity to include this learning tool as a part of your student's Upper School educational experience!

AACS Alumni is Drafted to MLB Team

Alumni Steve Ridings was scouted by a number of major league baseball teams before being drafted by the Seattle Mariners this spring. Ridings graduated with the class of 2012 before heading off to pitch for four years at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

Click here to read his story in the Capital Gazette.



Pictured above: Ridings with AACS Coach Simms,

Left: Ridings preps for a scout visit in the AACS field house.


Girls Varsity LAX Wins the 2015 IAAM C Conference Title

Senior attacker Cassi Peck scored the winning goal at the 2015 IAAM Championship game. Senior Cassi Peck and freshman Amanda Wadsworth scored 11 goals combined for the Eagles, which won AACS our first title. The Eagles came back later in the game against the Cubs of Catholic High School to win the IAAM C Conference title by a score of 14-13. Rachel Kawecki put 2 through and assisted with 2. Jenai Molden scored a goal and Kaleigh Kotula stopped 7 from coming across the goal line. The team peaked at the perfect time and made a statement as the number 4 seed to win the championship. Congratulations Ladies!!

Click here to read more from the Capital
Click here to read more from the IAAM League

Photo from Capital By Gerry Jackson

Eagles Tennis Team Are 2016 MIAA Champions!

This years team: Coach Bill Bloomquist, James Zhan, Robbie Fairfax, Schuyler Tose, Jack Rosaker, Nick Lloyd, Jeff Kolbeins, Assistant Coach Stacia Bontempo and John Agnew.

The team finished the season 10-2! Defeating Key School in the semifinals 3-2 and St. Peter & Paul in the finals 3-2. Seniors James Zhan (#2 singles) and Robbie Fairfax (#3 singles) were team co-captains. Junior John Agnew played #1 singles all season. Robbie finished the season with a record of 11-1. After trying several different doubles team combinations at the beginning of the season, the two doubles teams were settled on and finished the season with great records. Schuyler Tose/Jeff Kolbeins (#1 doubles) were 7-1 and Jack Rosaker/Nick Lloyd (#2 doubles) were 9-0. Way to go Eagles!


The Scores for MIAA C Conference Finals

AACS def St Peter and Paul 3-2

S1: W. Rath (SPP) def J. Agnew (AACS) 6-1, 6-1
S2: M. Morello (SPP) def J. Zhan (AACS) def 2-6, 6-2, 6-1
S3: R. Fairfax (AACS) def. B. Wass (SPP) 6-2, 6-1
D1: S. Tose/J. Kolbeins (AACS) def. A. Leister/A.Prince (SPP) 6-3,6-1
D2: J. Rosacker/N. Lloyd (AACS) def. C.Lovell/D. Christopherson (SPP) 6-1, 6-1

6th Grade Is Buzzing with Activity This Spring!

6th Grade Is Buzzing with Activity This Spring!
Posted 05/12/2016 02:55PM

Greek Olympics!

As a culmination of our study of Greece this year, students participated in a mock Greek Olympic Ceremony.

They researched the Ancient Olympic Games and presented an introduction for each of the events. Each Olympian participated and cheered on their fellow city-statesman to victory. Students actively competed in a variety of events such as the chariot races, pentathlon events, and the coveted race in armor.

Students dressed in traditional Greek togas and ended the festivities by presenting the victors with olive leaf crowns.

It was a wonderful way to wrap up their studies of Ancient Greece. When asked what made this project fun, student Ashby Irvin shared "It was fun to watch our classmates compete against one another." Nathaniel Wrobel added "The race in armor was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be but it was a lot of fun anyway."

6th Grade Greenhouse!

Students collected over 1,500 recycled 2-litre bottles in an effort to build our very own AACS greenhouse! "I enjoyed collecting the bottles" said Will Harding. This STEM activity included student built prototype-working models to test their designs for efficient energy transfer. Once the greenhouse was engineered and constructed, the students started plants from seeds and tended to their robust seedling plants. Student Mollie Fenn tells us "It was fun to get dirty while transferring the plants." Joseph Sim explains, "It was fun to do an actual project where we went beyond building the model and actually created the structure that could be used." Plants were distributed to teachers and school families.

6th Grade Retreat

Students, teachers, and families gathered together at Skycroft Retreat and Conference center in April for the 13th annual 6th grade retreat. Students were challenged to work together as a team as they tackled a three-hour confidence course. "The confidence course was challenging but so much fun" said student Sophia Blunk. Pastor Christian Hipsky from Chesapeake Christian Fellowship delivered two messages on the 6th grade theme of Transformation. Students and parents were led to seek unity as believers in an effort to offer their lives as a living sacrifice.

One of our 6th grade parents, Mr. Dave Smith, led our time of worship and praise. "The worship music was really good." said Sarah Oley. Students were able to break out into small group discussions and reflect on their 6th grade year of being "Called to Transform." Many students agreed with Sam Woody when he said "The ice cream was amazing" and Matthew McNair thought "The hike was a lot of fun."


6th grade students designed and engineered their original bridges as a STEM project in math this quarter. Groups of three to four formed companies with an architect, accountant, project director, and general contractor. Each student had a specific job, and also had to work as a team to accomplish their goal. Emma Bell explained, "I liked working with my group to glue the model together." Grady Cole added, "I enjoyed learning about the history of the bridges." The bridges will be tested for strength and judged for beauty of design, use of engineering technology, and cost efficiency. An added component of this project this year was a commercial where students created a slideshow, skit, or iMovie commercial to advertise and promote their product.

Psalm Celebration

Upon completion of our study of Psalms and literary genres of the Bible, students wrote their own personal psalms of thanksgiving and forgiveness. Students analyzed David's Psalms before writing their own and modeled their psalms after his. Parents and guests were invited to attend this celebration of praise to our God as students presented one of their original psalms. Michael Sandacz said "I liked seeing how poetry and the Bible came together." Robbi McNitt shared "It was a great way to open my heart up to God. It wasn't just a prayer, but I could write out what I was thinking. I also thought it was good for the people who are kind of shy to open up about how they feel."

Written By: Jennifer Redmon, 6th Grade Language Arts & Bible Teacher

Behold, What Manner of Love

Behold, What Manner of Love
Posted 05/09/2016 12:48PM

The renowned Upper School Choirs, under the direction of Jonathan King, present their annual spring concerts on Friday and Saturday, May 13th and 14th, at 7:30 pm.

This year's program, Behold, What Manner of Love, will explore the ways that God reveals his infinite love to us through our relationships with Him, with one another, and with his beautiful creation. You will not want to miss this moving and worshipful evening.

Tickets are available online at

"Best Available Seat" tickets are available at the door on performance nights. To choose your own seats, you must purchase tickets online using the link above.

Senior Gets Full Ride to George Washington University

Justin Williams joined AACS as a quiet 11th grader. He was new to the team and though a very good player, deferred to the seniors we had at the time. He still averaged a team leading 18 points per game his junior year. His willingness to play his role, albeit a dominant one, helped make us a contender as a team.
In Justin's senior year, he became a captain. He stepped up as a leader vocally, but most importantly by example. His efforts in the offseason and his work in the weight room and classroom were exemplary and inspiring to our younger guys. Justin is the kind of young man who makes it hard for other guys not to give their best efforts. His work in the classroom has been equally as impressive as he has been an excellent athlete. Justin has been on the honor roll every semester at AACS.
Justin scored over 1,100 points in his two years as a varsity player for AACS. The last person to score that high did so in four years. He averaged 24 points per game as a senior. He led AACS to two regular season league titles and won the MOP of the Independent School Tournament to close the season, scoring 41 points leading AACS to the title in the championship. Justin earned All-Conference, All-Anne Arundel County and All-Baltimore County.
George Washington University has been recruiting Justin for a while. He explained "they have great academics and great basketball. It is also close to home which is a bonus. Ever since they started recruiting me, I have always wanted to go there. When I made the official visit and spent time with the players and coaches on campus, I knew that was my decision." On May 1st, Justin verbally committed to attend GW in the fall of 2016. He is still deciding to study either electrical engineering or biomedical engineering.

In a recent interview, Justin reflected on his time at Annapolis Area Christian School, "My two years at AACS were a blessing. God brought me to an incredible place where I worked hard in both the classroom and as an athlete. At AACS, I was able to do very well in the classroom and formed great study habits and work ethic to prepare me for college. As far as basketball, my teammates and I had two great seasons. I would not be where I am today without Coach Scheidt. He has helped me both as a Christian and an athlete. I will always remember what we accomplished senior year, it was great!"

Eagles Exploration was Voted Best Summer Camp in West County

Eagles Exploration was Voted Best Summer Camp in West County
Posted 05/03/2016 12:01PM

What's Up Magazine readers voted our Eagles Exploration camp as the best summer camp in west county. Why are we best?

  • First and foremost is because of our wonderful group of mature and loving counselors, making up an average staff to camper ratio of 6:1, who are passionate about providing a safe and nurturing environment for campers. We have a great mix of school teachers (15), mothers (10), education majors (5), returning counselors (22), and CITs transitioning to junior counselor positions (2).
  • Second is our structured and diverse schedule which keeps campers on the go, sending them home exhausted and full of fun stories!
  • Third is the unique Christian focus we incorporate into camp, from opening each day with prayer, to our weekly character traits, the Fruit of the Spirit, so campers are able to learn practical life lessons through Scripture, songs, teachings and discussions. Ultimately, it goes back to the love our counselors have for campers, which leads to a meaningful community of growing relationships.
  • Fourth is our excellent indoor and outdoor facilities, allowing us to engage campers in fun and safe activities, from drop off to pick up, no matter what weather comes along.
  • Fifth are our themes, keeping campers on their toes, even if they have come every single week, for multiple years. The skits, theme class, and Friday field days are fun, silly, engaging, enthusiastic, and a little crazy so campers are able enter a world of laughter and excitement, not knowing what to expect next...despite always trying to figure it out.
  • Finally, it is the group of wonderful families who attend. Camp is nothing without campers, so thanks for believing in us and telling your friends so we can continue to grow!

Learn more on our Summer Camp website.

Dates: June 20 – August 5 (One week sessions)

Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm (Extended Day Available from 7:30am – 6:00pm)

Gender/Ages: Boys and Girls 3 ½ to 16

Location: AACS Upper School

Cost: $285 (AACS Student and Sibling Discounts Available)

AACS Freshman Named Youth of the Year by Capital Gazette

AACS Freshman Named Youth of the Year by Capital Gazette
Posted 04/29/2016 11:14AM

AACS Freshman Dyamond Gray won the 27th annual Ed Casey Youth of the Year Award. She was one of six achievement-oriented teens who were nominated earlier this month.
The late Ed Casey was the executive editor of The Capital from 1971 to 2001. Casey was also the co-founder of the county's Boys and Girls Clubs, now known as Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County.

Dyamond is currently working at Reid Temple on a paid internship and she credited the Boys & Girls Club for preparing her to handle that role. She recently began working weekends at Chick-fil-A at Westfield Annapolis mall.

Dyamond told the panel judges, "I am a person that wants to seek more, learn more," she continued, "I'm a positive person. You're never too old to learn or understand."

Click here to read her story from the Capital Gazette online.
Picture of Dyamond Gray at awards ceremony Thursday Night, by Capital Gazette News

AACS 2016 Upper School Choir Tour

AACS 2016 Upper School Choir Tour
Posted 04/28/2016 11:42AM

Pictured: Left, Choirs with artist Tyree Guyton at the Heidelberg Project (Detroit, MI). Right, Mr. King conducting the Bell'Arte Singers in a street performance at Niagara Falls.

The AACS Upper School Choir Tour to Detroit and Toronto was a spiritually uplifting experience. There were several eye-opening moments, specifically at the Heidelberg Project (Detroit, MI) and Niagara Falls.

At Heidelberg, we had the chance to see artwork that had been created in the midst of a broken-down neighborhood. At first glance, the art seemed to be random objects thrown together arbitrarily with no purpose at all. However, as our Heidelberg Project tour-guide led us around, the purpose for much of it was revealed. We even had the chance to meet the artist himself, Tyree Guyton. Most of his work includes "found things" that Mr. Guyton picks up off the streets of Detroit. This is to represent how many things humanity throws away, including people. I could feel God working through his art, and reminding us all of the carelessness of our society, and the hardships that so many individuals go through.

On another note, the beauty of the Falls was breathtaking. It reminded us of something that Mr. King had said regarding creation earlier that month. He said that God gave all of His creation to us. God made Niagara Falls, and He gave it to us. We couldn't help wondering how we could deserve such a thing, because we knew that we did not. But, our loving God gave it to us anyways to care for and enjoy.

The performing arts department at AACS is a very tight-knit community, and during the choir tour it was plainly seen. On the bus ride to Detroit, many of the students did not know anyone outside of their circle of friends, but on the plane ride home we all felt like family. As we rode busses, sang, and completed service projects together, there were no 'little groups' to be found; everyone was interacting and talking to each other. When we sat down for meals, we knew that we could sit anywhere and would be welcomed and engaged by my peers. The atmosphere was fun, caring, and encouraging throughout the entire tour.

Caraline Bothmer and Susanne Whitney, class of 2019

Members of Bell'Arte Singers

Click here to read about what they did each day while on tour, on their blog.

Congratulations! Perfect Score on ACT!

Congratulations! Perfect Score on ACT!
Posted 04/28/2016 04:11PM

Congratulations to Kyle Wang for receiving a perfect score on the ACT. Only one in 4,000 test takers achieve this score.

The ACT Test is one of the most common indicators of where high school students stand regarding their college preparation in relation to their peers. The test covers math, science reasoning, reading, and English. A perfect score is a 36.

Kyle Wang is one of our international students from China. He is currently a junior. He is hoping to go to a college or university in a "big city" and has already looked at University of Chicago and University of Pennsylvania. He says that he has just started his college search but he receives "lots of college material" in the mail each day!! Kyle has not decided on a major but he loves history and theatre. Last week he was inducted into the International Thespian Society.

Congratulations Kyle!

Another Football Player Commits to University

Senior Slotback and Free Safety, Josh Awoyera committed to St. Anselm College on Thursday afternoon. St. Anselm is a NCAA Division II School and is part of the Northeast-10 Conference. The St. Anselm Hawks are led by Head Coach, Joe Adam.

Josh is a 3 year varsity football player. He also currently serves as the Senior Athletic Prefect. Josh was part of the 2015 MIAA C Conference championship football team. AACS Athletic Director, Jim Domoracki said, "Josh has worked very hard and I am happy to see his hard work pay off for him to go to a school such as St. Anselm's. It is a great school. They are lucky to have a man of Josh's ability and character."

Athlete Signs Commitment to Play Football for University

Senior Wide Receiver and Cornerback, Christian Williams committed to Cincinnati Christian University on Thursday afternoon. Cincinnati Christian is part of the NAIA and plays in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC). The Cincinnati Christian Eagles will be lead by Coach David Fulcher in their 2016 inaugural season. Christian is a 4 year varsity football player and also spent the last 3 years on the varsity basketball team. Christian was part of the 2015 MIAA C Conference championship football team. AACS Athletic Director, Jim Domoracki said, "I am proud of Christian and how hard he's worked. I am excited for the opportunity he has to play at the next level and get a great college education."

2016 Annual College & Career Fair

2016 Annual College & Career Fair
Posted 04/08/2016 10:36AM

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016 from 6:00-8:00 pm meet us in the Kilby Main Gym for the AACS 2016 College Fair.
Who's going to be there?
Over 50 Colleges and Universities!
Armed Forces Recruiters!
Technical Schools!
Raffles and prizes!

Click here to visit our College & Career page.

Middle School To Host First "LEAD" Talks

Middle School To Host First "LEAD" Talks
Posted 04/06/2016 04:36PM

The Middle School will host the first ever LEAD Talks during an All School Assembly on Friday April 29 at 9:15-10:00. Volunteer students from the Class of 2020 (8th grade) will pilot a dynamic and empowering, new academic platform that ties learning to 21st century skills - a first for AACS grades pre-K -12! Students will deliver 5-minute "talks" similar to the popular onlineTed Talks, on topics of their choice, without notes while incorporating technologies. Topics include The Impact of Social Media on Teens; Freedom of Religion or Freedom from

Religion in Public Schools: When Did prayer become hate speech?; Overcoming the Odds: Recovery from Spinal Cord Fusion Surgery; How to Incorporate Student Choice and inquiry-Based Learning in Bible Education; and Sneaker Violence: Are Shoes Really Worth Dying For? (to name a few) Students begin with a question, and propose a solution. (LEAD stands for Learn, Evaluate, Ask, Decide) LEAD Talks open the classroom to 21st century skills. Learning becomes learner-centered, visibly relevant, media-driven, personalized and creative; and knowledge becomes missional: Students engage in an education of excellence to impact the world for Jesus Christ.

Written by: Susan Leanard

Say Hello To Visiting Netherlands Students!

A group of Netherlands exchange students arrived this week and will spend the next week touring some local attractions. The guest students, when they are not on local day trips, will attend school with their host students. Netherlands students get an opportunity to experience the day to day school life in the States compared to their home country. So if you see them around the Upper School Campus say hello and welcome them to our school

Get Your Tickets Now for the Spring Spectacular Auction!

Get Your Tickets Now for the Spring Spectacular Auction!
Posted 04/06/2016 04:06PM

The Spring Spectacular Dinner and Auction is coming up soon on Saturday, April 23. Get your tickets at the link below today! This is the final year for the Free Tuition Drawing, so don't miss your opportunity to win!

Official Auction Website

Spring Spectacular Childcare Addition!
Do you have a young lady (elementary school-aged) who loves Cinderella and royal balls and wants to participate in a tea and cookies event during the 2016 AACS Spring Spectacular? Then you need to come to the event and sign your daughter up for childcare that night which includes AACS senior Courtney Dixon as she and some of her classmates throw a Royal Ball as part of her senior practicum. It is included with the childcare package for Spring Spectacular and will take place from 6:30-8:30 in the auxiliary gym at the Kilby Center. Courtney's practicum is a study on verbal abuse effects on children and the girls will be watching and discussing Cinderella's story and how her stepmother and stepsisters treated her. It will include tea, cookies, princess gowns, and a terrific atmosphere for learning!

Childcare is $10 per child. RSVP to

First Annual All-Band Fun & Fellowship Night!

AACS is hosting the first annual All-Band Fellowship Meal to be held on the marching band field at the Upper School on April 21st.
This event is free and open to all current and incoming families who are involved in instrumental music at AACS. Please bring the whole family out and enjoy a fun evening of food, music, and games as we spend time enjoying our community together.

Families who plan to attend should RSVP by April 20th. Click here for all of the details and to RSVP.

3rd Graders Present "Character Reports" in Costume

After studying the comprehension skill of Character, Third Graders read biographies of famous people. They shared, many of them in costume, their famous person's appearance, actions, dialogue, thoughts, and feelings with the class. What a class of characters!

5th Graders Have Presidential Tea at Lower School In Annapolis

The 5th graders at the Annapolis Lower School held their annual Presidents' Tea on Friday, February 19. Students are each assigned a president to research and write a report on. Then they take the information they gathered and perform an oral presentation as the president or the president's wife.
What a great job they did!!

8th Grade Girls Build Each Other Up at the 2016 Lock-In

 Eighth Graders are given opportunities to live into their calling to be servant leaders at the middle school, and with a joyful spirit a group of 8th graders organized and hosted the annual Girls' Lock-in for 6th graders on Friday, Feb 12th. Their goal was to encourage the kind of healthy, godly relationships that can impact the middle school culture (and beyond) and bear witness to the reality of God's love in the world. Using Ephesians 4, students considered Pauls' exhortations to be unified and to "live a life worthy of the calling" to be new creations in Christ, building one another up in love and becoming a forgiving community where it is safe to make and face mistakes.
And after their Bible study, forty-five girls got into their pajamas and ran around the building for five hours, enjoying sisterly fellowship in the True Beauty room, expressing themselves artistically on a graffiti wall, dancing and singing, relaxing in spa-like quiet (complete with a chocolate fountain!), and playing a game of glow-in-the dark capture-the-flag. The sixth graders were sent on a scavenger hunt by their chapel group leaders and discovered a visual metaphor designed to help them remember the important lessons of the night. The girls and chaperones closed out the evening with worship and prayer, and enjoyed tired but sweet fellowship at breakfast the next morning.
Well done, Eighth graders!
" I ...urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."Ephesians 4:1-3

Upper School Spirit Week 2016 Was Done In Style!

Congrats to the SENIORS... for squeaking out a narrow Spirit Week victory last week! They beat the sophomores by 30 points, and the juniors by 150.

Senior Recognized for Creative Practicum

Ryan Lively has always had an interest in the human brain, and after spending time volunteering for a therapeutic riding center called Talisman, she had the idea for her Practicum: therapeutic animals and their positive affect on the human brain. She even used five dogs from Pets-On-Wheels in her brain study. In January Ryan brought the five friendly, furry, guests to the Upper School Campus for the unusual presentation.

Click here to read the full story from The Capitol Gazette.




AACS Aqua Eagles Compete at MIAA B & IAAM C Championships


MIAA B Championships at Calvert Hall on Wednesday, February 10


The Aqua Eagle boys had a fantastic end to their 2015-16 winter season, including setting nine personal records! Ten of our boys qualified to attend conference championships at Calvert Hall, highlights include:


Four AACS school records fell at championships, including Ryan Beylo's 50 freestyle, with a time of 23.68; Ryan Beylo's 100 freestyle, with a time of 53.07; and Luke Robertson's 200 freestyle with a time of 2:06.64. Our final relay of the meet-- the 400 freestyle relay team of Ryan Beylo, Abram Bryan, Luke Robertson and Evan Robertson shattered the school record by 16 seconds with a time of 4:02.98. They were led by Evan's incredible anchor leg where he beat his own 100 freestyle time by 6 seconds! Ryan Beylo had two 4th place MIAA B Conference finishes, one in the 50 freestyle and the other in the 100 butterfly. The Aqua Eagle boys' team beat both John Carroll and St Peter and Paul to earn a 7th place finish in the conference.


IAAM C Championships at Gilman on Thursday, February 11


Our Aqua Eagle girls had a wonderful finish to their season in spite of finishing 6th out of 6 teams in the IAAM C Championships, which were held at Gilman on Thursday, February 11. Eleven girls qualified for 23 races at championships, including:


The girls set 11 personal records as well as five school records. Ellie Thompson broke school records in the 50, 100, and 200 freestyle events and earned a 2nd place podium finish for her 100 freestyle. Sophomore Calli Hagen also broke a school record in the 100 butterfly, placing her 4th in the conference overall. The 200 freestyle relay of Ellie Thompson, Maddie Hinton, Lilly Merson and Calli Hagen bettered the previous team record by 6 seconds and also resulted in a 3rd place podium finish! In addition, Ellie Thompson won 2nd place in the 100 freestyle and 3rd place in the 200 freestyle relay. Calli Hagen's two 4th place finishes in butterfly and backstroke, races that were dominated by seniors in the conference, so the future is bright for Calli over the next two years!

Bye Bye Birdie

   Bye Bye Birdie
Posted 02/22/2016 12:42PM

The Upper School Drama Club is proud to present Bye Bye Birdie on March 4, 5, 11, and 12, at 7:00 pm.

It's 1958, and rock-and-roll heartthrob Conrad Birdie has just been drafted into the Army. Conrad is on his way to middle America to give One Last Kiss to a lucky girl from Sweet Apple, OH. You wont want to miss what happens when the teens of Sweet Apple discover that the real Conrad isn't as dreamy as they had originally imagined. On its surface, this light-hearted and hilarious musical is good-old-fashioned fun. But in the end, the teens (and some of the grown-ups) learn some important lessons: that adulthood requires maturity and responsibility, that celebrities might not be as glamorous as they appear, and that it is better to pursue the vocation you're called to than to simply try to get rich quickly. You wont want to miss this!


Lower School: Hour of Code 2016

Lower School: Hour of Code 2016
Posted 02/03/2016 03:36PM

Annapolis Lower School is participating in The Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is an introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. We love Hour of Code.

Student Life At The Upper School

Posted 01/29/2016 01:43PM
Click here to read the Student Life Newsletter including all of the highlights from the first semester!

Snow Removal Success!

Posted 01/28/2016 02:38PM

The History Behind the PINK OUT......

Posted 01/28/2016 02:09PM

In 2008, Grace Mercer, a senior at AACS decided to do her senior practicum on raising awareness on breast cancer. Recently, she had the following to say.

I started the Pink Out as the service portion of my senior practicum. I wanted to do something to honor my mother and the many other women who have battled breast cancer. My mother is in her 16th year as a survivor and still fights everyday. I also wanted to raise awareness within the community, as early detection saves lives. The Pink Out has turned into something so much bigger than I could have ever imagined. Since its start over $75,000 have been raised to help women in need with some of the financial burdens that come with battling cancer. I would like to challenge everyone reading this to encourage the women in their lives to go get their yearly mammograms and continue to do self-checks. I would also challenge you to reach out and encourage a survivor with a word or gesture of encouragement. And finally let us not forget the women who have lost their lives in the battle with breast cancer. Do something in their honor and encourage their love ones.

Grace had no expectation that her Pink Out would be anything more than a senior practicum. The AACS girls' basketball players, however, have taken it upon themselves to keep this tradition going. Each year the team partners with other schools to raise awareness and funds for research. What started out as a senior practicum turned into an event that has run annually for almost a decade. This year the 8th Annual Pink Out will be held at AACS on January 29th and 30th in the Kilby Center on the Upper School campus. Pink Out T-shirts will be available on January 26th. The cost is $10. Admission to the games is $5 for adults and $3 for students. All proceeds from t-shirt sales and admissions will go to the DeCesaris Cancer Institute. Hopefully we will see you at the Pink Out.

Friday, January 29th Schedule

4:15 MS Boys B vs Key Main Gym

4:30 MS Boys C vs Key Aux. Gym

5:30 MS Girls A vs Liberty Main Gym

5:45 MS Girls B vs Key Aux. Gym

6:45 MS Boys A vs Liberty Main Gym

Saturday, January 30th Schedule

12:00 pm JV girls Maryvale vs AACS

1:30 pm JV boys Friends vs AACS

3:30 pm Varsity girls Maryvale vs AACS

5:00 pm Varsity boys Friends vs AACS

Get Your Singing Valentines!

Get Your Singing Valentines!
Posted 01/19/2016 12:59PM

Consider hiring one of the AACS Upper School choirs to personally deliver a Singing Valentine to your loved one on

Saturday, Feb. 13 and Sunday, Feb. 14. Call Lynette Wayne at 410-519-5300 x3565 or email to book a serenade today!

Spread the word to news to our greater community, tell your friends and family that they can participate too.

Let's support our wonderful choral program and show that special someone that they are loved!

Reflections on A Midsummer Night's Dream

Reflections on A Midsummer Night's Dream
Posted 12/04/2015 02:40PM

By Amanda Fusting, Student Reporter

"Our work was done and we were proud of it," said Erica Ridge, reflecting on the closing night of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on November 14th. The seven main characters worked on this play for five months before opening night. Directors, Nick Cherone and Andrew Acevedo, casted these rolls at the end of the last school year. The rest of the cast jumped into the rehearsals in September. They worked long hours to produce what turned out to be a fabulous production.

The cast met most days after school to study the Shakespearean text, choreograph the stage directions, and develop their acting abilities. Each actor or actress was encouraged to take risks on stage. Elyse Jenkins said, "This (the role of Puck) was definitely a challenging role, as it required me to go out of my comfort zone and really explore my reaches as an actress." The goal of the rehearsals was not to just be able to recite the strange Shakespearean syntaxes come November. The directors wanted the cast members to understand and engage with the story, connect to their characters, and grow as actors and actresses.

When students with the same goal come together for five months, they become a close knit family. Elyse enjoyed interacting with the cast in and outside of the show. Drama students made many good friends and built upon what was already a close knit community. Students described the rehearsals as especially exciting as they worked through many creative ideas.

"Much of the blocking the directors had to come up with out of thin air, because Shakespeare really only writes where he wants exits and entrances," said Elyse. During their five performances the cast constantly had the audience laughing, whether Elyse was casting the wrong spell or Ashanti, Hermia, was reprimanding her suitors.

After five months, the drama department was sad to put away the fairy wings and silver moon, but it eagerly anticipates auditions for the spring musical Bye Bye Birdie this week.

Bella's Story - A Whole New World

Ey Claire, ManTing Choi was a upbeat and bright 15 year old student living a normal life in China until just a few short months ago. On August 19, 2015 she began a courageous journey. ManTing chose a new American name, Bella, and set sail for a whole new world. Bella is one of 21 international students who have traveled around the globe to experience a Christian high school experience at Annapolis Area Christian School.

When Bella stepped off the airplane she was immediately greeted by her new, lively family: the Wileys. She was tired, but excited to pursue what she considers a "personal journey". Later that day, Mrs. Wiley brought Bella to meet the AACS field hockey team. Even on her first day in America, Bella received a warm welcome from the students of AACS. Bella says, "That made me feel more comfortable on the first day of school." It is daunting and overwhelming to leave your family, your home, your country, and your continent to study in a foreign place with students and teachers who speak a different language. Bella, along with all of our international students, bravely and admirably stepped out of her comfort zone to pursue an intense, interactive, Christian education.

Bella says she decided to study in the U. S. around grade 8. She said, "I wanted to know more about America, experience it." In her experience so far, Bella has noticed some major differences between AACS and schools in China. Bella says that the teachers are much more friendly here. "In China, there is a big gap between teachers and students; it makes distance. Also it is like you have to spend more time studying the book and learning it by yourself instead of teachers teaching you" stated Bella. She quickly learned to use time management in her studies at AACS. She loves the intensity of her studies and the encouragement she receives from her environment.

International students at AACS are encouraged to participate in an after school activity. This is exciting for most of the students since extracurricular activities are not part of the normal high school experience in China. The goal is to engage our international students in the AACS community and invite them to excel in other areas that might interest them. Bella had no trouble jumping right into one of the most rigorous sports at AACS, cross country. Bella says,"My fall sport was cross country; it was tough and painful. But the team is really encouraging. I love being with my team members." Bella also attends student life events and enjoys meeting new faces. At first, she did not know how to start a conversation with an American. But once Bella became more familiar with American customs, she engaged in the social aspects of AACS.

Bella says her favorite thing about America is that "there are not many competitions between people. People will truly congratulate you if you win an award." Bella then comically stated that her second favorite thing about America is that she can use Youtube and Instagram here. She also has tried many new foods and loves raisin-cinnamon bread. She eats it almost everyday for lunch. The pizza in China is thick and hard to chew, so the cheese pizza in America definitely made Bella's list of top ten favorite American foods. Bella says she misses authentic Chinese food, but she is an excellent cook and makes it often.

Bella's story speaks of the courage it takes to study abroad and the importance for all of us to get to know these brave students. As a school, we value their bravery and sense of adventure and encourage our community to get to know some of these students. We will be highlighting a few more of their stories throughout the year.


Written by Student Reporter Amanda Fusting

6th Grade Science Conducts Field Study on The Bay

The 6th grade science students recently experienced life on the bay during their field study on Meredith Creek and Whitehall Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation provided a great experience as students walked through a wetland, went seining, and dredged for oysters. The day was divided into two parts. The first part of the day, students went on canoes to explore wetlands and find out first hand why they are considered God's natural filter. The second half of the day, students were able to go on a fishing boat and catch Striped Bass, Menhaden, and Blue Crabs. The field trip is a great way for students to see first hand the issues facing the bay and the organisms of the bays rich ecosystem.

The 6th graders are also working hard to prepare for their elective "Nature Works" second semester. Students will be using their math and engineering skills to build their very own AACS greenhouse out of recycled 2 liter bottles. Brady Fortlage and Havanna Mullaly are in a tight race with over 20 bottles each. Other students are getting very creative to collect bottles at upcoming catered events, family parties, and other get togethers. Many thanks to our 6th grade students and parents for their efforts!

**If you would like to help with this project, please drop off empty 2 liter bottles to the middle school office.**


Golden Eagles Marching Band in New York City

On Saturday, Nov. 7th, students and parents of the AACS Golden Eagles Marching Band traveled to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to watch the 2015 USBands National Championships. After spending the day watching bands perform, the students spent Sunday in New York City visiting the 9/11 Memorial and attending the off-Broadway show STOMP.
"I was so pleased with how well the trip went," said band director Mr. Hall. "We had a very fun and busy weekend that was educational, but also served as a great time to build comradery among the students. I especially enjoyed our time of worship together in the hotel Saturday night because it was just us coming together as a family. The 9/11 Memorial was deeply impactful, STOMP was a blast... I definitely plan for us to do another trip like this next year!"
Mr. Hall went on to acknowledge how instrumental the band parents were in organizing this trip. "They've been amazing!"
The Marching Band finished its competitive season on Oct. 31st after placing first in every competition they attended. The first informational meeting about the 2016 season will be in April.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

   A Midsummer Night's Dream
Posted 10/29/2015 08:35PM

The Upper School Drama Club is proud to present A Midsummer Night's Dream on November 6, 7, 13, and 14, at 7:00 pm. Shakespeare's mischievous comedy of lovers, fairies, enchantments, and rude mechanicals will transport audiences into a world of chaos, hilarity, and joy. In Ecclesiates Solomon wisely wrote, "For every thing there is a season ... A time to cry and a time to laugh." AACS's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream is a time to laugh—a time to celebrate the joy that comes with living and loving in God's miraculous world and to discover the fruitful beauty of forgiveness and reconciliation.


Sell tickets with Ticketleap

2016 National Merit Scholarship Program Commends Two Upper School Students

On Monday, October 5th, Principal McCollum announced the names of two AACS students who have been named a Commended Student in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. Congratulations to Kaitlyn McCollum and Micah Nissly. About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.

"The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success," commented a spokesperson for NMSC. "These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation."

Achieving this honor comes from many years of dedication, hard work, and focus. Congratulations!

Stacks Of Oreos...."Yummy Fun Math"

By Misty McReady

Tuesday October 13th, the 5th grade held a special event to reinforce math skills in the classroom. This team building event was a global project. It's "the best way to learn math" explains 5th grade student Sabrina MacArthur.

The O.R.E.O. Project, which stands for Our Really Exciting Online Project, is hosted by a teacher in Southern California. This is her 15th year of hosting this project. Since 1999, students from every state in the United States, almost every Canadian province, and several other countries, have participated in this project and submitted their results online to share with each other.

Each student had two chances to stack as many Oreos as they could. There are certain rules involved that were explained to the class before students began the project. When asked what did you think about this project, student Eva Starghill tells her teacher, it's "my favorite math contest."

At the end of the day, students Emma Trahar and Christian Young won the contest for their class. Christian's highest Oreo stack was 27 and Emma's was 32. As for the Global competition? After every participant records their stack counts, everyone's highest count is averaged together for ONE CLASS AVERAGE. As of October 15th, globally, the average stack is 17 Oreos high based on 337 classrooms, totaling more than 7,000 students participating. Results are still being posted so currently there are not any entries for Maryland.

To follow the results or if you would like to see more of this project, please visit

Students Engaged in Solving Real World Problems

By Jennifer Good

"Good morning students. Please break into your teams. Today each team will apply their knowledge and skills related to energy transfer in collisions to develop a vehicle restraining system."

This sounds like an assignment for a college engineering class. Yet it's actually the assignment given to a group of our 4th and 5th grade students at the Lower School campus in Annapolis. Soon they'll also be asked to design a system that is able to store energy and then convert that energy to a usable form. This is all part of a new STEM education curriculum we have launched called Project Lead The Way (PLTW).


Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization and the nation's leading provider of K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. Their curriculum is now in over 8,000 schools across the U.S. The innovative hands-on lessons introduce young minds to the wonders of STEM. Students build critical thinking skills while identifying real world problems and unique solutions.

The 24 modules provided in this new curriculum include units in physics, computer systems and programming, human anatomy & physiology, energy, engineering, robotics, environmental/animal science, genetics, earth science, forensics, and digital media.

"Students are excited to take an active part of the learning process. They enjoy collaborating and solving real-world problems" stated Bonnie Howe, Lower School Science Teacher. "PLTW has given students the opportunity to be inventive and develop critical thinking skills. My role as a teacher is more of a facilitator that encourages innovative and creative thinking in my students."

The collision restraint system that students will design is part of a module on energy. Students begin the module by investigating how mechanisms change energy by transferring direction, speed, type of movement, and force. They discover a variety of ways potential energy can be stored and released as kinetic energy. Citing evidence, students explain the relationship between the speed of an object and the energy of that object. They also predict the transfer of energy as a result of a collision between two objects. Students use iPads and VEX building kits to build a pendulum and vehicle to apply their knowledge and skills related to energy transfer in collisions. In the end they work in teams to develop their own design for a vehicle restraint system.

One of the educational goals at AACS is to develop active learners who solve complex issues with careful thought, innovation, and creativity. Project Lead The Way is one of many opportunities for our students to do just that. We are piloting PLTW in 3rd-5th grade at the Annapolis Lower School campus and plan to expand it to all Lower School grades and both Lower School campuses in the fall of 2016. Madelyn Smith, the Upper School technology and engineering teacher, will also be visiting the Lower School in Severn this January for a full STEM education day.

"PLTW is a fun way to learn science together" says Jadyn in 5th grade. Isaac, in 4th grade, says "PTLW, on a scale of 1-10, is a 1.000.000!" Fifth grader Rebekka says "PLTW establishes teamwork in a fun way."

Students are clearly enjoying and learning - a fantastic combination.

Upper School Students Serving Together For The Glory Of The Lord

Thursday, September 24, our students ditched the khaki pants and plaid skirts for clothes that could be stained with dirt, dust, paint, and service. They rolled up their sleeves to serve the communities in need near AACS. The mentor groups traveled off-campus to restore what is broken, love what is forgotten, and care for what is abused.

Principal Mr. McCollum looks forward to service day every year. He says, "Service to others in the name of Jesus Christ is one of the key tenets of what we do here at AACS. Service Day gives our students a very tangible way to be the hands and feet of Christ and gives them a wonderful opportunity to look beyond themselves."

Christ calls us to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, visit the sick, and serve Him by serving others. Therefore, every year at AACS our faculty and staff sacrifice a day of teaching to instill a greater and eternal lesson in our students, the lesson that Romans 12:1 explains for us so clearly.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."- Romans 12:1

Our worship is not completed through chapel on Wednesday; it is not finished at Church on Sunday. Worship is an eternal act that we continually pursue by offering our entire being to Christ. We can do this by singing, dancing, running, acting, serving and so on. September 24th was an opportunity for our students to sacrifice their days, their desires, and their entire bodies to worship God and serve His creation.

Service day also brings the citizens of AACS into one body of Christ. Mr. Hansen says, "In my experience, one of the most effective and powerful means of building a strong, healthy community is by working alongside others to serve one in need." There is nothing that unites people more than the act of serving the same God together.

My mentor group served at Lighthouse Church in Glen Burnie. We broke into teams to maximize the number of toys wiped, carpets vacuumed, tables sanitized, and closets organized. By lunch, my mentor group had grown closer together as brothers and sisters in Christ, and we were excited for a fun day of field games.

By humbling themselves and becoming the hands and feet of Christ, the students of AACS glorified the Lord, fulfilled a need, and bonded with others who have the same purpose

Written by Student Reporter Amanda Fusting

Sixth Graders Give The Middle School Curb Appeal

In just three hours last Friday afternoon, sixth grade students and their parents built two picnic tables for the 7th graders and four park benches for the eighth grade Prayer Garden. Following the landscaping plans from Homestead Gardens expert gardeners, we planted bushes and flowers around our building to beautify the campus.

In addition, sixth graders wrote cards of encouragement and made 64 lunches that were delivered to Lighthouse Homeless Shelter in Annapolis. Our students served with cheerful hearts and great attitudes. With our year's theme Romans 12:1-2, they truly offered this day as a living sacrifice to the Lord.

Written by Laurell Leith

Deterding Named As AACS Varsity LAX Coach

Steve Deterding has been an integral part of the AACS lacrosse program since his high school years. He was a standout player at Annapolis Area Christian School and was part of the 1998 and 1999 championship teams. Deterding then played for four years at Grove City College. For the past decade he has continued to play a key role with AACS lacrosse by serving as the junior varsity coach from 2005-2007 and the varsity assistant coach since 2008. In 2014 he was honored by being named to the AACS Hall of Fame.

"We are very blessed to have Steve take over as the head coach of the boys' lacrosse program" stated Jim Domoracki, AACS Athletic Director. "His record speaks for itself. He was a great player and is a quality coach, but more importantly, he is a man of character. I am excited for Steve and the young men in the program."

Rick Kempton, Superintendent of AACS, said "Steve will bring a passion for the sport, a clear Christ-centered focus and the desire for our lacrosse athletes to give their best and compete at the highest level in every contest."

Deterding is an alum of Annapolis Area Christian School, having attended there from kindergarten through high school graduation. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems and currently serves as the IT Director at AACS. Deterding is married with five daughters, three of whom are current students at AACS.

Learning to Lead - 8th Grade Retreat

Last week the 8th grade gathered at Camp Wabanna in Edgewater for a retreat on leadership, to discover what it means to lead and how to influence the world for Jesus Christ. The students studied world leaders, from Mao Zedong to Ghandi, Adolf Hitler and Martin Luther King Jr. They learned about biblical leaders like David, flawed, but after God's own heart. Guest speakers Eric Hansen and Doug Scheidt rallied them to think about big things like identity and legacy; Daniel Giddings asked them to look at themselves, because leadership is about who we are more than what we do.

At first the words of these speakers did not translate; so many words and stories that these 8th graders were trying to understand. However, the class gathered together at night, the Holy Spirit moved the hearts of these eighth graders. With much prayer, the eighth graders united as one body of Christ and as one empire of His grace. It was a wonderful evening and a great success.

Every school year, eighth graders are thrown into a position of leadership at the Middle School. The eighth graders often confuse leadership with power and authority, at first. Overwhelmed by the transition, the eighth graders pack their bags, roll up their sleeping bags and head off to be transformed. The students are sent to a leadership skills boot camp. The goal of the retreat is to transform students into one body that works collectively to serve the Middle School and then the world. The eighth graders abandon their worldly misconceptions of leadership for biblical, Christ-like leadership. Through speeches, activities, and prayer, this leadership 101 course is completed over a weekend.

The retreat does not produce a class of perfect kids with a perfect understanding of how to lead in every situation, but it does produce students who now have an understanding of why leadership requires a humble heart and a servant's hand. The students are called to apply this form of leadership to their daily actions.

The 8th grade retreat tradition began In 2011 to create a society of Christ-like leaders. At the start of every year, the retreat bears newborn leaders ready to impact the world for Jesus Christ.

Written By Amanda Fusting and Susan Leonard

AACS Brings Home The Chick-fil-A True Inspiration Award!

We are so honored to be one of the Chick-fil-A Foundation's 2015 True Inspiration Award Winners. 25 organizations were nominated by Chick-fil-A Owner/Operators and community foundations from across the nation for their support of youth and giving back to their communities. Annapolis Area Christian School was nominated in the Chick-fil-A Owner/Operator Choice category for our dedication to offering college preparatory academic curriculum with competitive athletic and fine arts programs for boys and girls in middle and high school. We were presented with our True Inspiration Award Friday, September 4th in Atlanta, Georgia at the fabulous Fox Theatre.

The Award statue was created by Society Awards and was designed to reflect "The Flame Within." Chick-fil-A's goal is to ignite the flame of goodwill, philanthropy and service in all who receive the award and those who are impacted by the work of Annapolis Area Christian School. Our flame and desire to help others will continue to burn for years to come. Thank you for all your efforts in helping us achieve this honor.

A big thank you to you for helping Annapolis Area Christian School get selected as one of Chick-fil-A's True Inspiration Awards Winners. We were honored for the work we do to inspire children in the community helping them to be the best versions of themselves. Since we couldn't do it alone, we wanted to share this award with you and thank you for your continued work helping Annapolis Area Christian School make a difference as we help build the next generation of leaders.

Opening Our Arms to International Students

Story by Amanda Fusting, AACS Student Reporter
Originally Posted 09/04/2015


The international program at AACS is an opportunity to unite with every nation, every tongue, and every language before the Lamb (Revelation 7:9). This year AACS wants to warmly welcome all of our new international students into a new country, a new school, and a new Christ-centered family.


Each international student has his or her own story. Bella, for example, is a new 10th grader who says, "When I was looking for a school in the U.S., one of my parent's friends highly recommended AACS to me. After I met Shang Ji and saw the pictures and programs on the website, I made my mind up that AACS will be the school that I'm going to in the U.S." Bella is currently living with the Wiley's, and says, "I think I'm lucky and very grateful to live with such a wonderful, loving family."


When our international students choose AACS, they are not just choosing a loving Christian school, but also a loving Christian community of families who are willing to host them and take care of them. These host families are such a blessing to the program.


Bella has recently joined the cross-country team, and is excited to go out for the tennis team this spring. She loves the community aspect of the school, but says, "I wish there will be more American students that know us. And I want them to know that when two cultures meet together it will be really interesting."


Bella is right! The door to this cross-cultural experience is at our fingertips. Exposure to another world of traditions, values and customs is literally inside Kilby waiting to be unlocked by the American students. If our students only seek truth within an American context, their beliefs will be confined to reflect a certain culture. To gain a complete understanding of reality, we want our students to seek truth in all contexts and in all cultures. This collision with other truths from other cultures is delightful and enlightening, as Bella pointed out.


Technology prefect and Asian Culture Club founder, Yaru says that she appreciates the way "people care about each other more personally," at AACS. She explains how much the AACS culture has developed her faith. She says, "My faith is strengthened when I see so many students, faculty, and their families loving God faithfully. I see the spirit of God on the people in our school." Yaru then called the school to action by saying, "International students are so willing to communicate with the American students, but as a foreigner and as a minority at this school, we are afraid of being rejected or isolated by the people."


We do not want any student to feel uncomfortable or unloved at AACS. The international program is not an extension of AACS, but an integrated part of AACS. We want our students to form relationships with the international students. Romans 12:10 calls us to "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor."


Our international students bring AACS a variety of new traditions, customs, and friendships. We want to equip our students with the ability to interact with other cultures, and communicate with people outside their American bubble. We believe that Christians are called to understand different cultures so that they may properly impact these cultures with the gospel.

AACS Partners With Christian Learning Center Network (CLC)

Annapolis Area Christian School has partnered with CLC Network to more fully understand individuals with disabilities and to build support systems that enable their inclusion in all aspects of school life. CLC Network is a national non-profit committed to promoting the development of people with a variety of abilities and disabilities to live as active, integrated members of their communities.

"We believe that Christian schools should be leading the effort to meet the needs of all learners, whether they struggle in school, excel academically, or anything in between," said Rick Kempton, superintendent at AACS. "Consultants from CLC Network will help us to identify the necessary resources and materials to make sure students with a variety of ability levels are included and supported at our school, as well as provide guidance and coaching to our educational support staff. We are excited to partner with the CLC Network and look forward to what we can accomplish together."

The partnership will allow Annapolis Area Christian School to more effectively welcome children with special needs into their educational community. Two teacher consultants will be assigned to the school to assist with creating individualized student plans, curriculum assistance, transition plans, behavioral intervention plans, and general academic and social inclusion within the school. The school will also have access to best-practice online professional development sessions on Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHA), Autism Spectrum Disorder, Behavior Management, Differentiated Instruction, Neurodevelopment, Bullying Prevention, Anxiety, and Depression in the Classroom, and Restorative Justice, as well as school psychologists to help understand and create strategies for struggling learners.

"My teachers came away from our initial CLC Network training on differentiation with tools that they will immediately put to use as they seek to reach all students within their classrooms," said middle school principal Rick Slenk. "CLC Network's experience in helping schools serve a broader learning community is critical for building our confidence as we welcome more diverse learners."

"We believe that inclusion for students at all levels of ability changes the school community for the better," said Elizabeth Lucas Dombrowski, CLC Network executive director. "We are thrilled to work with Rick Kempton and the entire Annapolis Area Christian School staff to implement best practices that help all students reach their potential."

Originally Posted 09/18/2015

A Farewell Message to Mr. Brown

Posted 09/03/2015

Tribute to Mr. Brown
Robert Brown, better known as Mr. Brown, has worked at AACS for nearly 5 years. While here, he has been in charge of maintaining and repairing our beautiful school. Mr. Brown is moving to the beautiful Lake Wylie in South Carolina. When asked what his fondest memory of AACS is, of course he said "The Kids"! He says he loved watching us grow physically and in our walk with Christ.

There are so many interesting things to know about Mr. Brown. Did you know he was a firefighter in his previous job? Did you know that his favorite book is one he read as a kid? It's The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway. Mr. Brown loves the color blue and almond toffee.

His final message to everyone here is to trust the Lord with all your heart. This is the message in Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

We will miss you very much, Mr. Brown. We appreciate all you have done for us. We love you, and hope you have a wonderful time in South Carolina.
Written By Megan Rosacker Middle School News Reporter

Choir Teacher Competing on the World Stage

On Wednesday, September 2nd, Upper School Choral Program Director Jonathan King will travel to London, UK to compete in the Kohn Foundation International Song Competition at Wigmore Hall, which is among the most prestigious classical music venues in the world. Mr. King, an award-winning pianist, will compete as a duo team with baritone Will Liverman, his friend and former classmate from Wheaton College (IL). The two will compete against 24 other duos from around the world. The competition takes place over three rounds and multiple days, and the prize money being awarded totals more than $50,000.

Mr. King and Mr. Liverman will perform their competition repertoire in a free recital at the Upper School's Kerr Center for the Arts on Tuesday, September 1st at 7 pm. Don't miss this chance to hear some world-class music performed by one member of AACS's elite teaching faculty!

AACS Opens Its Fourth Campus!

AACS Opens Its Fourth Campus!
Posted 07/17/2015 11:41AM

Principal Karl Graustein with teachers Nikki Allred, Nikki Gilmore and Melissa McGunnigale



On Saturday, June 27 Annapolis Area Christian School held a Grand Opening for our new Lower School campus in Severn. The joyful event included a Family Fun Festival, a ribbon cutting ceremony, tours of the facility, and a special presentation from the Anne Arundel County Police Corporal Brian Fleig with K-9 Cito.

The Family Fun Festival included carnival activities for the kids, including a bounce house, mini-golf course, face painting, balloon animals, games, and lots of prizes. Families and friends were also able to meet the teachers and staff for the new campus and tour classrooms, the chapel, the gymnasium, the playing field, and more.


Over 175 people attended the event to mark the expansion of the fourth campus for AACS. We are grateful for the event planning team and the many volunteers that made this event possible.

As AACS begins its 45th year, we are excited to expand our ministry to include a lower school for families in the Severn area. Starting this new campus is a strategic step to serve more families by providing an AACS lower school opportunity in northern Anne Arundel County and areas north.



If you would like to see the new campus click here to see our campus visit opportunities on our website.

Deja Vu - Golf Team Repeats as Conference Champions

Deja Vu - Golf Team Repeats as Conference Champions
Posted 05/15/2015 12:49PM

The Boys Varsity Golf team completed a very successful season on May 14th at Eisenhower Golf Course to secure the 2015 MIAA C-Conference Championship. The victory gave the program back-to-back titles and back-to-back undefeated runs through conference play.

The team, coached by Paul Brophy, Graham Thorpe, and Chris Mills, was led by returning All-County and All-Conference selections from 2014, Ryan Beylo and Ryan Brophy and freshman Alex Colonna. The team also had great depth this season with very strong play from returners Michael Martini and Seth Dawson and newcomers Michael Dix and Ryan Vossler. Colonna distinguished himself by becoming the first AACS freshman to make it to the Final Round of the MIAA Individuals Championships. Beylo and Brophy have a strong shot at All-Conference and All-County recognition again this season with Colonna likely joining them with that post season honor.

The players worked hard all season and peaked at the right time, rolling through playoff week with convincing wins over Mt Carmel (20 to 1) and Chapelgate (19 to 2). There was a sense of "deja vu" as the team played the very same teams in the semi finals and finals this year as they did last year.

The team, which has no one graduating, is excited to be moving up a level next year and hopes to make some noise in the B Conference.


Congratulations Team!

Class of 2019 Legacy Gift to AACS Middle Schoolers

Class of 2019 Legacy Gift to AACS Middle Schoolers
Posted 05/14/2015 12:29PM

Pictured above is the 8th Grade "Lead" Group that developed the idea and campaign for the Class of 2019 Legacy Gift to current and future Middle Schoolers. "Called to Lead" is the 8th grade year theme. Students unpacked what it meant to lead this year through the study of the Greatest Commandment, and that we learn to lead by example: how we love God and others.

The plaque says "To the Students of AACS Middle School, As You Enter These Halls Never Forget Our Lord's Greatest Commandment Matthew 22:37-39, The Class of 2019"

Homestead Gardens owned and operated by the AACS Riddle Family donated the rock, garden preparation and time. We are overwhelmed by their generosity.

2015 Sixth Grade Retreat to Skycroft

2015 Sixth Grade Retreat to Skycroft
Posted 04/17/2015 01:20PM

Last Thursday and Friday the sixth grade students participated in the 6th grade retreat at Skycroft. The goal of this retreat is to have fun with a spiritual emphasis. It was an amazing time for students, parents, and teachers.

Students have been working on a bridge building project in math class, so they took the time to visit different bridges on their way to the Skycroft Conference Center in Middletown Maryland. They started their trip by visiting covered bridges in Harpers Ferry, Savage Mill and Thurmont.

After arriving at Skycroft and getting settled, students participated in a confidence course followed by games and a special "club" time. The guest speaker for the "club" was Pastor Christian Hipsky of Chesapeake Christian Fellowship. Pastor Christian's message about "transforming our lives" resonated well with the kids. Students spent the rest of the evening doing Karaoke or playing dodge ball or basketball and enjoyed just being together. One parent shared "It was especially heart warming to see all of the children interacting so nicely together. There were no clicks, no evil eyes or mocking words, just kids being kids and enjoying each others uniqueness. Truly a Christ-filled, Christ-centered value system displayed."

After breakfast the next morning the kids met for club again with Pastor Christian, followed by some free time before heading back to Annapolis. Once they were back in school, students spent some time reflecting on the retreat. They talked specifically about how their parent's support blessed them. They then worked collaboratively to draft this letter to their parents.


Dear Lovely Parents,

Thank you for helping and supporting us. We appreciate you taking time off of work and from your schedules to come to the retreat. We are very grateful for what you have done to make the 6th Grade Retreat possible. Thank you for driving us and for stopping so we could buy lunch. Thank you for joining in the games with us and for tolerating our excitement. Thank you for encouraging us during the confidence course. We appreciate you keeping us safe and watching us in the gym. Thank you for doing your duties at the different stations so that we could enjoy our time. Thank you for leading our discussion groups and listening to us. We enjoyed your company. Thank you for reminding us to throw our dirty dishes away. Thank you for staying up with us during free time, even if you were tired. Thank you for helping us with our injuries. We thank you for sitting with us at meals and listening to our weird conversations and having good discussions with us. We enjoyed talking to you and getting to know you better. Thank you for helping us to get settled into our cabins and for calming us down at night. You helped us get our luggage together in the morning. We are grateful that you checked everything in the cabins before we left. Even if you could not come, we are thankful that you allowed us to go.


The 6th Grade Students


What a special group of young minds and hearts.


Iron Eagles Received Award While at VEX Robotics World Championship!

Iron Eagles Received Award While at VEX Robotics World Championship!
Posted 04/22/2015 01:19PM

The AACS Upper School Robotics Team, the Iron Eagles (team 341), has returned from a very successful experience at the Vex Robotics Worlds Championship, which was held this year from April 15-18 in Louisville, KY.

The event is the world's largest robotic competition including almost 700 teams from elementary school to university and attended by over 30,000 students from 29 countries.

The Iron Eagles had earned their invite to the event by claiming First Place in the Online Challenge for Future Foundation and received special acclaim when their entry was showcased during the Opening Ceremony. The team greatly enjoyed competing and also received their first place award from the judges in front of thousands of people at the Kentucky Exposition Center, where part of their video – which shows scenes at AACS – was played for the huge crowd on the Jumbotrons.

On the competition field the team ended a very respectable 34 out of 90 in the Engineering Division, which produced the World Champion Alliance. The Iron Eagles beat their ranking from the 2014 World Championship with a final score of 6 wins and 4 losses. The team showcased their backpack animated eagle mascot robot that might have been one of the most photographed robots at the event.

The Iron Eagles had an amazing time at the 2015 Vex World Championships, and is anticipating success in the upcoming robotics season!

Way to go Iron Eagles!

Written by Jeremy Kim

In the picture above Head Coach Doug Pruett holds the team's first place award.
(left to right in the back: Mimi Lyman (Coach), Ben Thompson, Chris Ridenour, Doug Pruett (Head Coach), Jeremy Kim, Kaitie McCollum. In the front: Michael Desch (Coach) and the AACS robots)

Alumni Update, Garth Thorpe '01

Originally Posted 03/13/2014

Garth Thorpe ’01 is currently the Field Coordinator for (un) adopted, a ministry of Lifeline Children’s Services, in Birmingham, Alabama where he facilitates in-country orphan care projects. He graduated from Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon in 2005 with a degree in Bible and Theology and Educational Ministries and upon graduation served as a missionary for two years in Bangladesh working with Muslim refugees translating an unwritten language into oral Bible stories. After this he worked at an outdoor alternative educational school where we lived with troubled youth year-round outside teaching life-skills and planning various backpacking and canoeing adventures.

Alumni Update, Nathaniel Elliott '06

Originally Posted 03/13/2014 12:23PM

Nathaniel Elliott ’06 took the plunge and left his full- time job at a consulting firm to go into business for himself in 2013. He wanted to build a disruptive technology that you could touch, feel, and see that created jobs for individuals that wanted to work from home. And thus he founded ahWriting, which produces handwritten cards for enterprise organizations to help them increase their sales, consumer engagement, fundraising efforts, and many other business needs. Nathaniel and his wife, Aletheia, currently live in the Bowie area. To hear more about ahWriting visit or email

Alumni Update, Megan Griffith '13

Originally Posted 03/13/2014 12:21PM

Megan Elizabeth Griffith ’13 is currently living in Los Angeles, California pursuing her dream as a singer, musician and songwriter. A multi-faceted instrumentalist and composer of the piano and guitar, Megan’s sound is described as “Katy Perry meets Adele.” Her debut single and music video, Closer to You, is set to release in Spring 2014.

Megan Elizabeth, founder of the #BeKind No Bully Zone Campaign will be introducing the campaign and performing live on Monday, March 17, 2014 in D.C. at Starbucks (1401 New York Ave. NW), hosted by Radio/TV Personality Jeannie Jones. Please visit for more information.

Upper School Choirs on Tour in Atlanta

Originally Posted 04/27/2015  

Immediately after school on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, the auditioned ensembles of the AACS Upper School Choral Program boarded a plane to Atlanta, GA. The entire experience deepened the relationships among students and chaperones and challenged each person to recognize the value and dignity of every human being. The excitement began on the plane itself when senior Luke Borchelt came on the loud speaker to ask senior Whitney Vandenheuvel to prom. (She said yes!) As the plane made its final approach, the choirs received a request to sing to the rest of the passengers, resulting in a performance of "Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal" more than five miles up in the sky!

The first full day in Atlanta began with a performance at Campbell-Stone retirement community, where the students sang for a special group of residents who were being honored at a breakfast for their volunteer service in the community. This was a small but excited audience, and God was at work as our students sang arrangements of "oldies" that brought tears of delight to more than one face. (There was even a moment when Senior Logan Belcher's bass voice made one of the residents audibly swoon!) Later in the day, the students toured the CNN studios and performed an impromptu concert in Centennial Park. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Center for Civil and Human Rights, where the students were inspired to by stories of oppression conquered and moved by stories of the oppression that still exists in our world. The day concluded with dinner at Ted's Montana Grill, where many students were brave enough to try out the house specialty: bison!

On the second day, the students visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site. They sang a concert outside of the visitor center and later were invited to sing at the gravesite of Dr. King and his wife, where their performance included an emotionally-charged rendition of one of King's favorite hymns, "Precious Lord," by the Madrigal Singers. After a visit to Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King had served as pastor, the students traveled to Georgia State University for a clinic with Dr. Deanna Joseph. She was floored by the level at which the students were performing, calling them "world class," and saying that they were "better than 99.9%" of the multitudes of high school groups she has worked with. After the clinic, the students headed to the world-famous Mary Mac's Tea Room for some incredible southern cooking and finished the day with an evening performance in the gorgeous sanctuary of Saint Brigid Catholic Church.

Saturday began with a trip to Stone Mountain. The students walked to the edge of the rock and gathered together to corporately read a portion of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, boldly proclaiming, "Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!" They spent a few hours of free time on the mountain, enjoying its many attractions. The day concluded with a performance at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, one of the oldest churches in Atlanta. After the performance, the students took a quick bus trip to Mount Vernon Baptist Church in the suburbs, where they were greeted by eager host families from the church and carted off to their respective homes for the evening.

For Sunday, the students attended Sunday School and the Sunday service at Mount Vernon Baptist Church. Then, they sang an impromptu concert for the congregation and their host families in the fellowship hall before rushing to the airport and flying home.


For even more details about the trip, please visit the Choir Tour Blog!

AACS Students Perform with MD All State Chorus

Originally Posted 03/05/2015 11:32AM

Eight Annapolis Area Christian School students had the honor of participating in the Maryland All-State Music Festival this February. These talented Upper School Chorus members were selected out of the 6,000 - 7,000 students who auditioned this past November. Auditions were rigorous and challenging with very specific elements. Students were required to sight read rhythmic and melodic music, memorize performance pieces and outperform their peers. It is an honor to be selected as part of the All-State Music Choral program. Congratulations to the selected AACS Senior Chorus members!

Brooke Bloomquist, Soprano 1, Senior Mixed Chorus.

Amanda Densmoor, Alto, Senior Womens Chorus.

Amanda Fusting, Alto, Senior Mixed Chorus.

Chris Good, Bass, Senior Mixed Chorus.

Elyse Jenkins, Alto, Senior Womens Chorus.

Micah Meadows, Bass, Senior Mixed Chorus.

Tiffany Perry, Soprano 1, Senior Mixed Chorus.

Hannah Thiessen, Alto, Senior Womens Chorus.

Click here to read about it from the Capital Gazette

Intellectual Art From Our 5th Graders

Originally Posted 10/29/2014 
After reading their novels, the 3rd-5th graders do a project called "Intellectual Art." These projects show what they learned – vocabulary, the pattern statement and visual tool for learning about an element of the novel , and setting. Creativeness is a huge part of the final group grade. The 5th graders just finished their first novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. Character was the element that they looked at closely in this book. Take a peek at their finished products. Creativity was abounding!
Way to go, fifth graders!


Taking Steps to Impact the World for Jesus Christ

Originally Posted 06/22/2015

In Matthew 28: 18-20, Jesus gave us the specific command to "go and make disciples of all nations." As written in our Mission Statement, "We engage students in an education of excellence to impact the world for Jesus Christ." Today we need not go far to experience the world. Schools, colleges, businesses, and non-profits have increasing diversity. 25% of our nation's college students are from other countries. As the best-selling author Thomas Friedman puts it, we live in an increasingly "flat world." This refers to the changing global marketplace in which geographical divisions are becoming increasingly blurred.

For years now our Upper School campus has welcomed just a few international students each school year. I'm pleased to announce that beginning with the 2015-16 school year we will have an intentional International Student Program at our Upper School campus. First let me tell you what this means, and then I'll explain why we're moving in this direction.

We'll be working with several select international student agents to help us recruit and select students who will meet our requirements. The students must speak adequate English, be emotionally equipped to handle the cultural and life change, and have above average academics. Once selected, we will match each student up with a Christian host family.

While this program will not include our Lower and Middle School, we do hope to increase our efforts at teaching all of our students about other world cultures. I'm hopeful that some of our international students at the Upper School can even be part of teaching middle and lower school students about other customs and languages.

Now let me talk briefly about why we're doing this. As Christians we are called by God to make an impact on culture and society. We cannot do this without cross-cultural understanding and competency. We must be able to look outside of ourselves and be aware of the cultural beliefs, values, and customs of any culture we hope to teach and influence. To influence, you must first understand. Impacting the world for Jesus Christ is part of our mission. It's what we do.

Everyone understands the problems of communication caused by lack of a common language, but many are unaware of the communication problems that can be caused by culture. That's because people don't usually recognize the ways in which their culture affects their own attitudes and expectations. The reality is that different assumptions based on cultural differences can be a major barrier to effective communication, even when everyone is "speaking English."

We're preparing our students for a global culture. Regardless of whether we're talking about business, non-profit, education, missions trips or more, today's students must develop the awareness, sensitivity, knowledge, and skills needed to respect different cultural values and beliefs.

As for our international students, our vision is that they receive a great education in a Christ-centered culture, that they come to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that they grow in their faith during their time at AACS and college years, and return back to their home country to spread the Gospel. Many of the students who come to our country for education go back to their own country into positions of great influence. Going back with a greater understanding and impression of Christianity is also a success for the program and the Kingdom.

So, that's why we're doing this. We're taking it slowly, making sure to do this well and in a God-honoring way that improves our culture and educational program, and better enables us to accomplish our mission.


AACS Expanding to Fourth Location

Originally Posted 10/22/2014 

Thanks to God's guidance and grace, we are pleased to announce plans to open a second lower school campus in the fall of 2015. This new campus is located in Severn, serving grades K-5, and marks our fourth location in Anne Arundel County.

Our current Annapolis Lower School is at capacity in many grades and enrollment has been growing. This is a blessing and a testament to the great job that Nancy Pavlischek, her team, and our devoted parents have been doing at that campus. Expanding to Severn means that more families will have the opportunity to experience our great program and excellent Christian education.

This new campus brings a Christ-centered educational option within a well known, comprehensive, and academically excellent Christian school to a new part of the county. Although our Upper School campus is already located in Severn, many Lower School parents in that area are looking for a more local option. We will be offering shuttle service between all campuses.  

Applications for admission are now being accepted. Please see the admissions tab at the top of our website for more information. We are also starting a mailing list for families interested in this new campus. To join the mailing list and stay up-to-date on progress, please send an email to We'll be sending a monthly newsletter from the new principal, Karl Graustein.

Our first Open House for the new campus is scheduled for December 2nd, 2014. Come by and take a look! Here's a link to all of our Open House dates.

CLICK HERE to request additional information. From the choices offered, select the "New Lower School" flyer.


Originally Posted 06/04/2014

In May of this year, we merged our School Improvement Plan and our Strategic Plan into a single document. This document will be used to guide our future actions and decisions. Below is a list of the major goals from each of these documents, with short notes to help you see the alignment between the two documents.


  1. Unify and enhance our mission focused Christ-centered culture and community.  (with 7 related Action Items)
  2. Clarify mission focused goals and related metrics for our education program. Unify our K-12 curricular / co-curricular program, integrating Biblical truth into all aspects, and align that program to identified goals. (with 11 related Action Items)
  3. Attract and retain the best Christian faculty and staff. (with 7 related Action Items)
  4. Develop and implement a multi-faceted and sustainable financial model and resource plan that enables AACS to accomplish strategic goals and meet the needs of a larger cross section of the Body of Christ. (with 8 related Action Items)


  1. Strengthen the Instructional Program (Note: This goal incorporates many of the Action Items under Goal #2 in the Strategic Plan.)
  2. Develop and Implement a K - 12 Technology Plan  (Note: This is also an Action Item under Goal #2 in the Strategic Plan.)
  3. Enhance existing educational support to better serve students and make it a cohesive K -12 program. (Note: This is also an Action Item under Goal #2 in the Strategic Plan.)
  4. Expand facilities to establish a second Lower School campus in the Severn, Maryland area.  (Note: This is also an Action Item in under Goal #4 in the Strategic Plan.)
  5. Create a comprehensive compensation and benefit plan. (Note: This is also an Action Item under Goal #3 in the Strategic Plan.


The Love of God is Magnificent!

Originally Posted 05/09/2014 

The author of 1st John wrote about love.  It is written: "Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." (1John 16-18) It does not happen often enough, that so many people are witness to such a prevalent example of God's love. This is a story of how one person was able to share God's love through the gift that He provided. 

For the past eight years, the AACS Spring Spectacular has ended with the excitement of selecting the winner in the drawing for free tuition. Those of you who attended this year know that the winner was Caroline Stone, our Director of Admission.  You may also know that Caroline's children are grown, and do not attend AACS.  So, what’s the story? We thought you'd like to know.

The day after the Spring Spectacular we talked to Caroline about the drawing.  “I started buying tickets for a tuition raffle in 2007 at my previous school.  While at AACS, I’ve also purchased a tuition drawing ticket each year, with the purpose of supporting the auction.  Each time I purchased a ticket, I had a specific family in mind that I knew I’d donate the tuition to if I won.”

When Caroline’s name was called she said that “surprise” was an understatement.  She never imagined her name would be drawn.  As in prior years, Caroline had a family in mind when she purchased the ticket.  This family has had a very difficult year and the hopes of returning to AACS for the next school year was fading away.

On the Monday following the event, Caroline presented the free tuition prize to her chosen family. She’s asked that they remain anonymous. They were overwhelmed with the blessing. Caroline too felt very blessed to have been able to help this AACS family. God works in amazing and often unexpected ways!

AACS Senior Is National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist

 Originally Posted 09/12/2014

Annapolis Area Christian School is pleased to announce that senior Andrew Henry is a 2015 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist.  About 1.4 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest- scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a Finalist, Andrew and AACS must submit a detailed scholarship application, which will include information about his academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record through-out high school, be endorsed and confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance
to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

Principal McCollum explains; it is such an honor for Andrew to be recognized in this way, it’s a big deal to be one out of 1.4 million students who entered the program. God gifted Andrew with fantastic intelligence; he has also been a good steward of those gifts and uses them well.  Andrew is consistently demonstrating godly humility.  Congratulations Andrew!


AACS Celebrates Four Recognized by National Merit Scholarship Corporation

Originally Posted 10/25/2013

Annapolis Area Christian School is pleased to announce four students for their recent commendations by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Of the 1.5 million students to test for the National Merit Program, three percent (50,000) score high enough for semifinalist consideration and are designated “Commended Students.”  We are pleased to say that AACS has three of the top three percent in the country and congratulate Bethany Laible, Caleb Robertson, Abigail Schaeffer, on their “Commended Student” status.

Of that group, only 1,600 go on to become semifinalists, and from there 800 go on to receive National Merit Scholarships.   

In addition, we are pleased to announce that of the 160, 000 Black Americans who tested in the National Achievement Program, our own Loretta Grant scored in the top three percent and earned “Outstanding Participant” status.

We are so proud of all of you, and look forward to seeing the wonderful ways the Lord will use you and your futures!

Outstanding Student Achievers

Posted 03/05/2015 11:30AM

The The Capital Gazette held their annual Outstanding Student Achievers breakfast on Wednesday morning, March 4th. Three AACS students were among the 63 honorees. Principal McCollum along with Amanda Fusting, Kaitlyn McCollum, Daryus Vaughan, and their parents were in attendance. This event was organized by the newspaper to celebrate student achievement for students in their junior year of high school. Honorees were chosen for scholastic achievement, exceptional success in visual or performing arts, and/or outstanding citizenship within the school and its surrounding community.

Principal McCollum gave us a close look into why each of these students were selected to be honored at the Capital Gazette Outstanding Student Achievers.


Amanda Fusting can certainly be counted among one of our outstanding junior students. Academically, she is among one of our best students, consistently making the Principal's Honor Roll while taking honors and AP classes, and is a member of the National Honor Society. Amanda has represented her class each year as a member of Student Council and represented our school at the HOBY leadership conference last summer. She is a valued member of our top two auditioned choirs and was selected for the all-state women's choir. Amanda was also a member of the dance ensemble in both of our last two spring musical productions. Her talents go beyond the performing arts to athletics where Amanda has been a part of our field hockey and lacrosse teams. In addition to all of that, Amanda is a regular volunteer at her church serving as a Sunday school teacher for preschoolers. She is a young lady of many talents and passions!


Kaitlyn McCollum is a truly outstanding academic achiever who also contributes to the school community in a number of ways. Kaitlyn joined our school at the start of 10th grade after spending 5th-9th grade at a school in Bogotá, Colombia, where she became fluent in Spanish and developed a heart for serving others. In her short time at AACS, she has certainly made an impact. She is an honors and AP student who has made the Principal's Honor Roll every quarter and was selected for the National Honor Society. While maintaining excellence academically, Kaitlyn has been involved with the volleyball team, Jazz Band, one of our auditioned choirs, Worship Band, and had a part in last year's spring musical, "Singin' in the Rain." This year she has joined our nationally ranked Robotics Team and is serving on the Upper School's Honor Council. She also helps to lead our school's chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Kaitlyn traveled to the Dominican Republic as part of a short-term service trip in February 2014 and is a member of another student team that will travel to Colombia, South America, to serve in June 2015. Kaitlyn is a well-rounded student of impeccable character who loves learning and she is certainly worthy of recognition!


Daryus Vaughan is an outstanding member of our school community who is highly regarded by his peers as well as the faculty and staff of the Upper School. He is a natural encourager who is fondly referred to as "Pastor Daryus" by his classmates. As an example, early in the school year he was observed demonstrating the kindheartedness that we have come to expect from Daryus. He saw a student in the lunchroom sitting by himself and asked the principal about the student. The principal explained that the student had just come to the school in the last few days and that he was not much of a talker. Undeterred, Daryus picked up his lunch and sat down with the student to engage him in conversation. Shortly thereafter another student joined them for a little bit. Daryus even got this new, very withdrawn student to smile! Daryus challenges himself academically in honors and AP classes while also being involved with Student Council and has been a member of the basketball team. He also helps to lead our school's chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Daryus is a member of a student team that will travel to Colombia, South America, to serve on a short-term mission trip in June 2015. He is a valued member of our community and a student worthy of recognition!


Congratulations Amanda, Kaitlyn, and Daryus!

Why I Am Proud To Be An American.

Originally Posted 11/21/2014

AACS 8th graders are entering an American Essay contest "Why I am Proud to be an American." Here is one of the many outstanding essays written by our 8th grade class.


Why I'm Proud to be an American

There was a spark that was brought over to our country by the settlers. A spark that was ignited by the founding fathers, and a spark that went from flickering flame to the roar of fire that brought us to our independence. America was founded on dreams, hopes, and wishes, in order to form a more perfect union. Perfect may be something that we will never attain, but we fly as close to it as we can.

The United States of America was built from the ground up. It is seen as a utopia to the people many surrounding countries. The lengths that immigrants will go to trying to make it to America, the land of dreams, are insurmountable. People are risking their lives because they can see America, shining at the end of the tunnel.

There is always a chance, always a job. Hope isn't abandoned in America, it's found. America gives people the freedom to try and try again, and to fight for what they know is true. We the people have our unalienable rights and are protected in most everything that we do. It doesn't matter who you are. I am proud to have been born here, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. My future shines in front of me here, and I know that the American Dream is possible. I've witnessed it.

It doesn't matter how our country was built, on the backs of slaves or otherwise. It matters how our country was shaped, by the voices of Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr., and the many more who knew that the wrongs that they saw weren't American. Slavery wasn't established in America, nor were racism or sexism. These were things that were inherited from other cultures. America was the one who severed them from our identity.

I am proud to be an American, because we are the land of the free and the home of the brave. Because of everything we've accomplished, I know that to be true.


By Grace Williamson

Upper School Students Visit To The Netherlands!

Originally Posted 07/10/2014

In March a group of Netherlands exchange students came to live with AACS students and their families for 10 days. They formed bonds, toured many local attractions, and went to school and chapel at AACS with their host students. This gave the Netherlands students an opportunity to see what school is like here in the U.S. compared to their home country. After the Netherland students departed everyone held onto the bright hope that in only two months they would be reunited, this time in the Netherlands. Finally, in early June, AACS teachers Nick Cherone and Anne Hartman travelled with Upper School students to meet their host families and explore one of the most wonderful countries in Europe. 

After hours of travel, the AACS group arrived safely in the Netherlands. The students were reunited with their exchange partners on the sidewalk outside of Dr. Mollercollege (the Dutch school) in Waalwijk. Each student was presented with a bright orange lei in honor of their arrival in the country. The group spent the weekend getting acquainted with their host families and, as Mr. Cherone put it “battled jet lag with some serious sleep!” The students spent their first few days touring the area, enjoying some of the festivities related to Pentecost (or Pinksterdag, as it's called in the Netherlands!), and catching up with their Dutch friends.

After a weekend with some of the most beautiful weather of the year, everyone went on a cycle tour to the historic fortress town of Heusden with Kees Van Kemenade, who has been involved with the exchange program since its inception. The AACS students did well on their borrowed bikes, and after a calm morning riding through idyllic farm fields, they arrived at Heusden.

Mr. Van Kemenade pointed out some of the distinctives of the city walls and students had a chance to climb the steps of a windmill.  The students had a bit of time to explore the quaint downtown area before gathering at the Pannekoekenbokker for the much-anticipated pancakes.  These are not what you would think of as pancakes in the States. They are thin, plate-sized, and come with all manner of toppings: from strawberries and cream to bacon and cheese to margherita pizza!  “Several of us were also delighted that the restaurant accommodated both vegan and gluten-free diets!” said Ms. Hartman.  "The students enjoyed tasting bites of each other's pancakes, and only a very few managed to clean their plates entirely!” 

The next day students began their morning by visiting some Dutch "lessons" (classes). Many of the American students were jealous of the 20-minute break between periods 2 and 3! While the Dutch students attended school the rest of the day, AACS students began a long bike tour. Their guide was Merijn Roels, a history teacher at Dr. Mollercollege. Most of the 18-kilometer (11 mile) bike trip was alongside a peaceful canal with a wooded canopy overhead. They even rode by some sunbathing sheep!

The first stop was Kamp Vught, a Dutch national historical monument and museum. Kamp Vught was the only SS-operated concentration camp west of Germany during World War II. It was primarily a transit camp, meaning that it housed Jews, gypsies, and other minorities while awaiting transport to other camps. Still, though, more than 700 people were killed at Kamp Vught. Students were able to walk the grounds and see the sleeping barracks, the cremation ovens, and the barbed wire fences.

The group rode a few more kilometers to arrive at 's-Hertogenbosch (colloquially, "Den Bosch"), which is the capital of the province of North Brabant in The Netherlands. After touring a magnificent cathedral, the architecture of which spanned from the gothic into the renaissance, the students grabbed lunch.  Some students were able to try the favorite local treat, the bossche bol, a large pastry filled with whipped cream and completely coated in dark chocolate.

Their day finished with a tough and rainy 11-mile ride back along the canal. The students were met back at the school by their Dutch hosts and dispersed: some to go shopping, some to rest.

The following day AACS students enjoyed Amsterdam. It was a beautiful sunny day there and students took plenty of photos while enjoying the sites. 

After a restful night, both the AACS and Dutch kids gathered for a day at the Efteling, a famous Dutch amusement park.  

As their time in the Netherlands was drawing to a close, students spent their final day with their host families and then gathered for a farewell party in the evening.  Ms. Hartman said, “The week had gone so quickly, and had been full of wonderful experiences.  It was fun to hear the amount of Dutch our students were using increased over the course of the week!” 

The AACS group returned safely to Dulles Airport 10 days after arriving in The Netherlands. The students have new wonderful memories to share with their own families and a lifetime experience to cherish. It is such a blessing for Annapolis Area Christian School to be a part of this exchange program. Pray that God continue to bless future AACS and foreign students and teachers with this experience. To God be the glory!

A very special thanks to Ms. Anne Hartman and Mr. Nick Cherone for sharing the wonderful details of this AACS Adventure!


Click Here for related story

3rd Graders In Medieval Times!

Originally Posted 05/29/2014

At the Lower School, 3rd graders have been learning about medieval times.  Students are busy researching catapults and creating them at home.  The catapults will be presented in the classroom on Friday. As part of this learning experience the 3rd grade classes went on a field trip to Medieval Times! What a fun way to end a history lesson of the middle ages.


Iron Eagles In Louisville For The 2015 VEX World Championship.

Posted 04/16/2015
The Upper School Robotics team, Iron Eagles (team 341), is in Louisville Kentucky for the 2015 VEX World Championship. This is their 4th year competing at the World Championship and they have one entry in Engineering.
Team 341 placed first with the mascot bot, The Iron Eagle, for the Future Foundation Sustainable Design Robot Challenge and will be accepting their award on stage while at the World Championship. The competition is streaming so you will be able to watch the Iron Eagles compete LIVE!


Click Here to see the Engineering competition live on


Click here to visit the 2015 VEX Robotics World Championship website.




Girls Varsity LAX Wins the 2016 IAAM Conference Title!


The Girls Lacrosse Team has won the IAAM Championship game! The Lady Eagles have won back-to-back championships. It was May 14th, a rainy Saturday afternoon when the team arrived at Archbishop Spalding to play their final game. The team defended their title with a 15-10 victory over St. Timothy's in the IAAM C Conference championship game.


Click here  to read the story from the Capital and see a short video!


Photo Credit Capital Gazette News

MIAA Basketball Championship Title Game Location Change

On Tuesday, February 28th, the MIAA Championship "B" Title game will be played at 7:00PM at
Stevenson University
11001 Ownings Mills Blvd
Owings Mills, MD  21117
Click Here For Map
There will be an admissions charge of $8/person.  Kids 8 and under are free.
Doors for admission will be open at 6pm. NO NOISEMAKERS. No smoking. No re-entry.
See you at the game!
Click here to see the schedule on the official AACS Athletic Website.

Outstanding Games for Championship Competitions in Boys Basketball

JV Boys played Archbishop Curley at home on Wednesday for the MIAA JV Championship game. Curley took the championship this year by only 2 points, the final score was 68-66. Although they lost in the championship game, the JV boys' team have maintained high standards by leading the MIAA B Conference for the past two years.
Varsity boys hosted St. Mary's in the MIAA B semi-final game on Thursday and won by 26 points! The Varsity boys have advanced to the championship game and will take on St. Paul's School on Tuesday, February 28 at 7:00 PM at Gilman School for the championship title.  Come out to cheer them on and spread your school spirit. 
There will be an admissions charge of $8/person. Kids 8 and under are free.
Click here to read about the Varsity win from the Capital Gazette.
Click here for more on the official AACS Athletic Website!  
Pictured left JV team AACS stock photo: right V St. Mary's game By Paul W. Gillespie of Capital Gazette