Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quotes from the Classroom II

The classroom is a place of challenge, learning, growth and achievement. It’s also a place of surprised gasps, amused chuckles and outright laughter. You’ll understand why when you read our favorite student quotes so far this year:

At orientation, a student was asked what his goal was for the next three years at Shepherds College. His response? “To find episode 3,855 of Sesame Street on the internet.”

First-year student staring at an overstuffed washing machine: “Ummm… the washing machine is dancing.” 

During grocery shopping, Home B students were trying to find Large Pasta Shells, but found only medium and jumbo-sized. Miss Pollard asked one of her students if they should purchase the jumbo-sized. He responded, “ARE YOU KIDDING? NOOOO!!! Those things are bigger than road kill!”

Also at the grocery store, a student was caught petting the freezer “fur” in the frozen pizza case. When asked if he thought it was a wise choice, he replied, “No. But you just don’t understand how much I appreciate the feel of it!”

When talking with a student about his dinner selections, Miss Pollard asked if he liked peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He thought for a minute, then said, “Yes, as long as you leave the peanut butter off of it.”

Mr. Kasprzak asked a first-year student, “Why do you ask so many questions?”  The student simply replied, “Oh, I just like to know what the heck is going on around here.”

In Chapel, the students were looking at a picture of the time King Nebuchadnezzar was sent out into the field. Mr. Gaschke asked, “Who do you think this is a picture of?” A second –year student called out, “Satan!” Mr. Gaschke barely had the “no” out of his mouth when a first-year student volunteered, “A dirty old mop head?” Mr. Gaschke replied, “Well no, it’s actually King Nebuchadnezzar…” The student quickly responded, “Wow! He really looks like a dried up old mop from the kitchen!”
The second-year students were watching The Nativity in their Life of Christ class. The video just revealed that Mary was pregnant when a student piped up, “Who’s her baby daddy?”

Miss Pollard was introducing stories and methods of studying the Bible in her Personal Bible Study class. She said to her students, “Looking at the historical context of a story is so important! Why do you think Jonah ran away from God and found himself in the belly of a whale?” A student shouted out, “Insurance fraud!!!”

An Ai Academy student to Mrs. Cyr at 10:00am: “Is it lunch yet? I’m tired of you.”

A second-year student to Miss Luchterhand: “You can assign me more homework if you need to in order to boost your own ego.”

Student #1 to Student #2: “Has anyone ever told you how beautiful you are?”
Student #2 with a giggle: “No.”
Student #1: “Well, you are. Despite the glasses, you’re very beautiful.”

Second year student in a classroom journal entry: Mom says if I can’t shave my face then I have no business driving a truck which, in my opinion, is not right on her part.

After shaking Mr. Kolkman’s hand, a student turned to Miss Luchterhand and said, “His hand could keep a soda cold!”

A second-year student was meeting with his Academic Advisor, Miss Pollard, when papers on her desk started avalanching…
Miss Pollard: “Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!”
Student: “I know! I saw this mess on your desk while I was waiting for you, and I thought about taking initiative and helping, but Miss Pollard, I think this is beyond my help.”

Mrs. Kolkman was talking to a student about taking inappropriate initiative:
Mrs. Kolkman: “It’s my door to my office, and I will let you know when you can open it. But you can’t open it until I give you permission.”
Student: “10 more years.”
Mrs. Kolkman: “10 more years for what?”
Student: “10 more years it’s your office.”
Mrs. Kolkman: “What happens after 10 years?”
Student, putting his hands behind his head and leaning back with a smirk: “It’s my office!”
Mrs. Kolkman: “You’re going to take my office in 10 years?”
Student, opening his planner: “Yep! It’s my office and I have paperwork to do… you can go.”

A second year student was getting tired of doing all the writing for a group project. He said, “OK. Enough of my smarty pants. I’m going to let somebody else write.”

And recently, the students in Mrs. Cyr’s Introduction to Christianity class had the staff of Shepherds College tearing up with laughter and other precious emotions:

A student reciting the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in the Godfather Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth.”

“Miss Piatt has a new relative! Pontius Piatt.”

Mrs. Cyr: “What is Jesus doing now?”
Student: “Repainting rooms.”

Mrs. Cyr: “After Jesus went to Heaven, who did God send?”
Student: “You!”

Mrs. Cyr: “What are spiritual disciplines?”
Student: “God’s angels.”

Mrs. Cyr: “What are spiritual disciplines?”
Student: “Spiritual disciplines are the ones who are like the disciples in the Bible. They give out answers – true ones that help you.”

Mrs. Cyr: “What does “faith” mean?”
Student: “To have sensitive through our hearts.”

Mrs. Cyr: “What does “salvation” mean?”
Student: “Immunity to eternal death.”

I don’t know about you, but my cheeks ache from smiling, my heart is filled with gratitude for the love and patience of the teachers God called to this school, and my mind is made up. I don’t care what their medical diagnoses may be, our students are brilliant. They can boot me out of my office any day.

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Return

What is the point of my job?

As the Director of Marketing, the whole point of my professional existence is to get people to notice Shepherds College, to highlight all the unique aspects of the college that set it apart from other programs, and ultimately, to draw students from near and far to enroll in our program, fill our dorms, classrooms and hallways, and bring meaning to the days of all the dozens of staff members who are called to teach these students how to live a life of Appropriate Independence.

So when the students leave on their long Christmas break, my work days feel a little, well... pointless. No Daniela running into my office for a hug, no Andrew to chatter away with, no Joey to ask me about my birthday, no Miranda shrieking at the camera, no Charles to wish me well, no AiA students to buy snacks from, no delicious Culinary Arts creations to sample, no growth – emotional, social, spiritual or otherwise – to marvel over and celebrate. The students leave on break and take the energy, laughter, stories and photo ops with them.


I lose motivation. I mope. I feel tired and pallid. I sort and stack and file and merge and dust. I leave on vacation and come back. The students still aren’t here. I mope some more.

But, you know, the day always comes when the students return and life is restored to campus. That day was Monday.

The students all met as one big group in the Bolthouse Center on Monday morning, their first official day back at school. New haircuts were noticed and new clothing was admired. Groups of students came together, talked with animation, then disbanded to form new groups in another part of the room. I walked among them with my camera hoping to engage them in conversation about their time away. Did Josh’s mom make him his favorite meatballs? Did Ashley get a chance to spend time with all her grandparents? Did Charles enjoy having a friend stay with him over the holidays? Did Christi visit Chicago and eat breakfast under the big tree in Water Tower Place? 

But instead of talking, I got caught up in their precious faces – excited faces, nervous faces, homesick faces – and my questions went unanswered for the time being.

After giving the students a chance to reconnect, Miss Miles called them all to be seated in front of the stage for announcements – their Monday night advisory meetings were now on Tuesdays… and a dear friend and fellow student would not be returning due to a serious illness. Concern and sadness settled over the group, and many students volunteered to pray for their friend.

Nothing relieves homesickness, eases nerves and sets the tone for a fun semester like a bunch of crazy activities, and the staff had those planned in spades.

First, the students were asked to line up and count off in fours.

Each of the four groups had to create one giant snowflake with their bodies, and a little help from the paras.

Then, each group was asked to ball up papers from the recycle bin for…

A big, snowball fight!

Guess which side won.

Miss Miles then had the students divide up by classes. Third year students were dismissed to work at the Salvation Army where they sorted toys left over from the Christmas Toy Drive.

The second year girls left to visit the Agape House where they stuffed envelopes, cleaned the center and had lunch with the Agape girls. The second year guys drove to West Allis to sort costumes at Kim’s Costume Shop.

And the first year students stayed behind to attend to serious business – moving Oreo cookies down their faces using only their facial muscles. 

All is right in the world again. I can see the point...

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