Wednesday, June 26, 2019

2019 Graduate Speech #6 - A.M.

Hello, my name is A.M., and I have been at this school for six years.
I have some really special memories I want to share with you.
My first memory is in first grade when we hatched chicks with Mrs. Blankenstein and at fifth grade when the Metropolitan came at this exact school, it was outstanding to see him in person.
Now, I want to thank some very important people that helped me to come all this way.
First, I would like to thank my family for driving me all this way to this magnificent school and for paying to make me learn at this school.
I would like to thank Mrs. Powell for making me exercise at P.E. and creating the Christmas play and graduation night, you are the best music and P.E. teacher I can have.
Thank you magistra Downs for teaching me Latin and Latin history I really enjoyed it.
Our art teacher Mrs. Perussi gave me a huge experience of creative art, but most of all
I will never forget about the glass icons we made, I really appreciate it.
Thank you Kyria Maria for teaching me Greek, that I will keep with me my whole life and Kyria Thespina for teaching me Greek Byzantine chant that sounds awesome with the whole class.
Tow of our very important people I would like to thank are Mrs. Blankenstein for being the school principal and my first and second grade teacher, and Mrs. Makenzie, the secretary of the school and healing my scars on my leg after I fell down.
Mrs. Padma and Mrs. Rusodan always start my day by giving me a hug and when Fr. ED is not here they sub for him because they are both great teachers.
Last but the best is Fr. ED - our main teacher. Thank you for teaching me enough and giving me extra homework to get me ready for sixth grade. You are the best teacher I have had for three years and I will never forget you.
 Thank you all for coming and I hope you enjoy it.

2019 Graduate Speech #5 - A.G.

Hi, my name is A.

I have been at this school for almost 5 years.
During these 5 years, I've made lots of wonderful, exciting memories.
I still remember the time I fell and every one ran to ask if I was okay.
I also remember one day we were playing mountain ball and I kicked the ball so far, everyone congratulated me.

First, I'd like to thank my parents for bringing me to this magnificent school.
Second, I'd like to thank all my teachers for giving me a great education.
My language teachers, Magistra Downs and Kyria Thespina, for teaching me 2 great languages, Latin and Greek.
Mrs. Powell for teaching me PE and music 3 days a week.
Mrs. Farris for teaching me to be quiet in public libraries.
Mrs. Perusi, for teaching me art and art history.
Mrs. Blankenstein for running this school and helping me with problems that I couldn't fix on my own.
Mrs. Rice for helping me realize that being corrected was not so bad.
And last but not least, Fr. Ed, for teaching me so many subjects that I couldn't keep track, out of which my favorite subject is math.
And also, for helping me be a better Christian.

It will be very sad to leave my teachers and all of my fellow students.
God helped me make great friends in this school and I thank Him greatly.
Thank you everyone for coming!

2019 Graduate Speech #4 - S.I.

I would like to thank all of you: the teachers, the students, the parents, and volunteers, for helping support ASA. Here, at ASA, you are all important, whether you are an adult or a student.
Friendship, truth, kindness, and prayer are what we have here at ASA, we work hard at achieving goals high in the sky with our feet on the ground. Every day we learn something new.
We might not have a playground, but we sure have an imagination. My favorite quote is “imagination sets you free to be just who you want to be.”
Once again, I’ll thank the teachers: Fr. Ed for being by teacher the longest and he’s the funniest teacher I have ever had. Ms. Padma and Ms. Rusudan for being my first teachers, Kyria Maria and Kyria Despina, for being my Greek teachers, Mrs. Perussi for teaching me art, my favorite subject, Magistra Downs for being my latin teacher, Mrs. Faris for being our librarian, Mrs. Powell for teaching PE and Music, Mrs. Lekas for being my literature teacher, Mrs. Rice, Ms. Lubliner and Mrs. Blankenstein for all being my principals and teaching me. And last but not least, Mrs. Hunt, thank you for teaching my little brothers.
As you might know I have 2 big sisters J. and C. as well as 2 little brothers, S. and T. Me, S.I., being the middle child is hard but my family was very supportive over the years of my education here.
I am standing here, in front of this microphone to thank you and say goodbye.

2019 Graduate Speech #3 - S.G.

It all started when I walked through the Agia Sophia Academy doors at three years old to the Montessori classroom. I was immediately wrapped with love. The children all kind and sweet. Ms. Padma and Ms. Rusudan were my Montessori teachers. They taught me many things such as, reading, writing, and the talent of not crying. Thank you ladies for teaching me and starting me on my journey of learning.  
Mrs. Blankenstein was one of my two first-grade teachers. She was a great grammar and math teacher. If we had completed all of our assignments when the day was over Mrs. Blankenstein would read out of her Winnie the Pooh book. History was a favorite in first grade I had a blast learning about the ancient Egyptians and reading all about them. Thank you, Mrs. Blankenstein.  
Mrs. Rodan, was my second first grade teacher. She was always teaching us new hymns during prayers. She was a great reading and writing teacher. Thank you, Mrs. Rodent, for your lessons.
Mrs. Rice taught me in second grade as my main teacher and in third grade she was my math teacher. In second grade I remember when my class was taught about Vikings and ancient Rome. It was enjoyable when Mrs. Rice had a movie night with a movie about our history subject. In math I loved the way Mrs. Rice would explain things. Thank you, Mrs. Rice for your many lessons.
            At ASA we have many specialty classes. Greek, Latin, art, literature, library, P.E, and music. Eight wonderful women taught the classes.
 From Montessori to fourth grade I had Kyria Maria. Greek is my second language but Kyria Maria was always teaching me something new. Many thanks to Kyria Maria for your lessons and love.
Kyria Despina taught me Greek byzantine chant for fifth grade. In this class I was always exited to learn the new symbols.  Thank you Kyria Despina for helping me carry on a tradition of a thousand years.
Magistra Downs taught me Latin from second grade to fifth. She was always looking on the bright side and pushing us to work a little harder. I always loved your end of year parties. Thank you for your lessons.  
Many thanks to Mrs. Perussi who taught me art from Montessori to fifth grade and being my art inspiration. If I am sitting on a chair trying to draw a picture I think, what would Mrs. Perussi do.
Thank you, Ms. Leakus, for improving our reading skills in literature during fifth grade. I really enjoyed your book choices and reading with you.
Thank you to Ms. Farris for being our school librarian all my years. You always picked out a good book to read. I will keep rereading the books you recommended.
Mrs. Powell was my teacher from the very beginning to the end. She taught me both P.E. and Music. She was the one who taught me to play a lot of different instruments. She was the one who gave me daily exercise. Thank you, Mrs. Powell for your lessons and effort.
Fr. Matthew is this churches priest. I thank him for teaching me more about my faith and giving the best homilies during liturgies. He always says hello to any class walking by. He is always there for the children. Thank you, Fr. Matthew.
Ms. McKenzie is our school secretary. Let’s say it is an enjoyable and sunny day and I fall outside. I get hurt. Owwie! The teachers direct me to the front office and Ms. McKenzie is there to bandage me up. I am thankful that she helps around the school with this and many other tasks. She is very devoted to her job as are all the teachers and priests. Thank you, Ms. McKenzie. 
For all of Upper Elementary Fr. Ed was my teacher. When I first started third grade, I was a little anxious as I always had been to meet my teacher. Fr. Ed cracked a few jokes and that anxiety vanished. I have had the best days ever in the Upper Elementary classroom. I will always remember the science unit, magnetism and electricity. Fr. Ed would give a hint and we would have to figure it out. It is a good thing Fr. Ed won’t stop driving of fright when I get a driver’s license. Fr. Ed has well prepared me for the years to come. Thank you, Fr. Ed, for your lessons loaded with humor.
Last but not least I give a big thanks to my parents for driving forty minutes one way to get to school and paying my tuition. Thank you for making a sacrifice and taking me to this exceptional school.
This school has given me a great foundation surrounding me with my religion and having me attend the liturgies. I will always miss being able to walk down the hall and high five a priest on my way. I promise to you now in this blue hat I, S.G., will forever treasure the moments here at this school.

2019 Graduate Speech #2- L.K.

Hi, my name is L.K., I have been here for 6 years.  I remember the first day I walked into this wonderful school to shadow.  I remember having to be in the choir, that was the most terrifying part of the day.  At the end of the day I said to my mom, “Mom, I want to go to this school.” Thankfully, after the summer my mom signed me up to Agia Sophia.  Thanks! Mom for taking me to ASA.
          I have had some of the most enjoyable and educational experiences at ASA. The Spring Fine Arts night is one of these times. Some of my favorite things about the Spring Fine Arts night were practicing in class to get ideas, using a lot of team work if we wanted our skits to work out and rehearsing was always fun, exciting and challenging.  I’d really like to thank Mrs. Powell for setting up the Spring Fine Arts night. She always helped us with our teamwork and never let us give up.  I would also like to thank all of the students in the school for working together and making it so fun.  An educations thing that we learned while practicing for tonight was that Funga Alafia is a welcome song from Africa.
          At this time I would like to thank a few people who have been a big part of my life these past 6 years.  I would like to thank Mrs. Faris for volunteering at our library.  I remember always wanting to spend time with Mrs. Faris, so I would ask if I could read to her.  Thank you Mrs. Perussi for being a wonderful and kind art teacher.  I will remember when I would hug her and sit right next to her during our art lessons.  I would like to thank my language teachers, Magistra Doans and Kyria Maria for being wonderful teachers and always making sure I knew what I was doing.  On top of that, thank you Kyria Thespina and Kyria Theadora for being the best substitutes Greek teachers.  Kyria Thespina taught us the animals and Kyria Theadora taught us the byzantine chant.  I’d like to thank Mrs. Powell especially for keeping my strength up and always being the best music teacher ever.  One of my favorite teachers who taught me in kindergarten and first grade is Mrs. Blankenstein.  I was very lucky to have her as my teacher. I remember in the afternoon Mrs. Blankestein would shake our hands and say “good afternoon”.  This would make me feel so welcomed and joyous. Next I would like to thank all the Principals I have had over the years, Mrs. Rodent from kindergarten to second grade, Mrs. Rice in 3rd and 4th and Mrs. Blankenstein in the 5th.  Lastly, I would like to thank my most favorite teacher. Fr. Ed. He is the funniest teacher ever.  He taught us a lot, especially in science.  We learned how to conduct electricity from one place to another.  When it came to math, I got confused, but Fr. Ed never gave up and spent time with me to make sure I understood it.  I’m going to miss Fr. Ed the most, but I will remember all his humorous sayings and that he never let us give up.
          The most important thing to me about tonight is that everyone has a blast and I would like to congratulate all the other 5th graders and wish them good luck in their new schools.  I will miss this school very much but will never forget all my teachers and all of the students at ASA.

          Thank you.

2019 Graduate Speech #1 - T.S.

Reverend Fathers, parents, ASA teachers, and everyone present,
  My name is T. S. I’ve been in this school for 2 years, but in that short time, I’ve had an amazing experience. In my whole life, I’ve been in four states and three schools, but I can say undoubtedly that this one was the best. I just can’t believe that I’m leaving. I feel like, so little time ago, I walked nervously into the classroom. But as soon as I saw the welcoming faces of Mrs. Rice and all of my new classmates, I was immediately relaxed.
  Before I go on, I would like to thank God, for the way that he worked through others to guide me and my parents to this school.
  I would like to thank my amazing parents: my Dad, for working day in and day out for us, and my Mom, who takes care of all the boys at home, and always asked us how are day was when we sat down to the amazing snack she made.
  The next people that I will thank are my classmates. I remember when I fell once, and some of you where even on the other side of the parking lot, but you still ran over and saw if I was okay. I’ve heard that in a small Christian school like this, you always feel like family by the end of the year. Well, I do.
  Next, I would like to thank all the amazing teachers and staff: Mrs. Powell- the best music and PE teacher this side of the Mississippi, Mrs. Perusi the art teacher- who could paint a masterpiece more detailed than the Mona Lisa, Mrs. Farris, the librarian, who always knows the book you need, the Greek teachers- Kyria Despina, Prezvytera Theodora, and Kyria Maria, who knew more Greek than Plato himself, and the Latin teacher, Mahistra Downs, who knew more Latin than Julius Ceaser.
  Thank you also to 3 teachers who work very hard with the younger students- Mrs. Hunt, Mrs. Padma, and Mrs. Rusudan.  
  Another two people that are very important in the functioning of this school are Mrs. Blankenstein, and Mrs. McKenzie.
 I have had a wonderful time here and learned many life lessons. One of the most important was the spirit of brotherhood, that we were all like a big family. These lessons will help me in the years ahead greatly. Another lesson that this school has taught me is to pray. To pray, (as in the words of Kyria Despina) not only when things get hard, but when they are good too.
 Thank you also very much to all the benefactors and supporters of ASA, those who participated in events such as the Greek open, the 15th Anniversary Gala, and my Grandparents.
 There are also others who helped in various ways- substitutes, previous principals and teachers (i.e. Mrs. Rice, Mrs. Chiprout, and many others.)
But the teacher that had the most impact on my life was the one the only………………….
FR. ED!!!! Thank you, Fr. Ed, for teaching me so many life lessons that will last me a lifetime. You taught me to never give up, you taught me how to be obedient. If anybody has 3rd, 4th , or 5th Grade students, I would strongly recommend you to Fr. Ed. With all sincerity, thank you Fr. Ed.
 Thank you again everyone. And farewell.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Ascetic Lives of Mothers

This is a book review on the audiobook. I was gifted a copy of this audiobook for an honest review.

After answering the call to pick an Ancient Faith audiobook to review, I was drawn to the title of this book. I am a mother. Therefore, I probably need to read this book. But, I did not read the entire title. The Ascetic Lives of Mothers: A Prayerbook for Orthodox Moms. Imagine my surprise as I began listening to this book. It is another hectic afternoon. I have finished working for the day (part time Orthodox school principal). I am at home, earbuds in, ready to dive into an audiobook when I realize- this is about prayer. And that this book is actually a prayerbook. And, this is exactly what I needed to hear on this challenging day. When I realized what this book really was about- I paused and made the decision to spend time really listening to the prayers, quotations from our Church Fathers, direction, and advice. Normally, I will listen to an audiobook for a few hours at a time (those precious hours when the boys' are at school, my husband is in his home office working, and I am doing the mom thing). This prayerbook needed more time to digest. I listened in short bursts of time over a few weeks. I found that by listening to this book while working around the house helped to keep me focused on praying while working. The book is divided into chapters with a special focus on a specific topic, prayers for different occasions, and daily prayers. The author's voice is soothing to listen to which is especially important in audiobooks.

And, listening to the audiobook now has me wanting to purchase a copy to keep in my prayer corner as the audiobook (at least on my kindle) does not have chapter names listed. 

This book was a delight and a surprise! I look forward to re-listening to it in the future.