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Finding Their Footing

Student leaders facilitate discussion ninth-graders.

Earlier this week the Upper School community welcomed the Class of 2024 and new students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades to a school year like no other at AACS. Exactly how does one facilitate community building and provide peer and faculty encouragement for a strong start to the year in a way that is meaningful and "pandemic-proof?"  

With the Upper School's new block schedule and some creative collaboration, ninth-grade student orientation was held over the course of two days during Bible class.  Freshmen engaged with student leaders in a few ice breakers and were introduced to grade-level deans, as well as other members of the Upper School's leadership team.

Part of the program included a deeper dive into two big questions:
1) What does it mean to be part of the AACS community? 
2) Why are you here?
The questions served as a jumping-off point, explained Hansen, "...to introduce a holistic, Gospel-centered approach to learning and community that will give them much better answers to these questions than, 'I'm here to get a diploma, to get a degree, to get a good job and to make a lot of money.'" 

AACS's student leaders stepped in to facilitate small groups to help ninth-graders get to know each other, answer questions peer-to-peer,  and offer some wisdom for starting high school. "Our student leaders were flat-out brilliant," Hansen shared. Student council member Andrew Howe '21 was able to tap into his own first-year feelings when asked, "If you could go back to freshman year and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?" He shared this: “It only takes one second of courage to do something. That moment may look like trying out for the play, asking the teacher a question, or praying for a friend. You only have to be brave for a moment, and the rest takes care of itself.” 

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 2:12