How would you prefer to spend your money? Option A: 1 week in sunny Mexico, finishing with a weekend in one of the nicest hotels in the West Coast or Option B: 1 overpriced night dancing in a gym?
Chicago Hope Academy fosters a spirit of learning that reaches beyond the walls of a classroom. Part of this initiative is “The Hope Club.” In this program, local business and cultural leaders meet with our senior economics students. This meeting of the minds is vital in the development of a student, for it bridges the gap between abstract concepts learned in the classroom and the real life of local men and women.
Every month, Chicago Hope Academy recognizes a student of each gender who fosters a spirit of community, servant leadership, and kindness. These students are referred to as the Unsung Heroes of Hope. There is a short ceremony at the beginning of Chapel in which these students are honored. Chapel is possibly the most important part of our week as a Christian high school. It is touching to see the support that the student body has for one another, as each honoree is truly celebrated by their peers. We also use this time to recognize the employee of the month. This individual is chosen by a school-wide vote.
It has been a fascinating Fall for us here at Chicago Hope Academy. On Sunday night, our Facilities Manager received a call from the Secret Service. The President of the United States, some Cabinet members, and friends wanted to play basketball in Chicago Hope’s gymnasium on election day. Out of utmost respect for the office, our manager, a former MarineObama Corps Sergeant, approved their request.
It is difficult to maintain a spirit of thankfulness in a consumer-driven world. Chicago Hope is blessed by its status as an Independent Christian high school in that we can practice and teach an attitude of gratitude and giving back. Thanksgiving is an important time of the year to focus on these character traits. At Hope, we celebrate this season by taking a half-day, having chapel, and eating a potluck together before breaking for the holiday.
Hope has been blessed with an amazing new athletic facility, formerly known as ATTACK athletics. We spent Monday morning working the land adjacent to the facility. It was a great way for our staff and students to feel connected to, and invested in, this new location and its progress. The morning was shockingly cold after such a balmy weekend, but we all bundled up and got to work. About half the students and staff picked up rocks on the field site, so that it would be easier to even out the surface for a new playing field. The other half laid sod on the hill to the side of the field.
A magnificent experiment has been undertaken in Kalamazoo, Michigan. A group of anonymous donors have made a promise to “pay the tuition at Michigan’s public colleges, universities and community colleges for every student who graduated from the district’s high schools.”
Spirit week is always a joyful time at Hope. Smiles are a little bigger, laughter a little quicker, high fives a bit more frequent. Part of this is the excitement surrounding the fun “class competitions” that we hold in the gym, where anything from dodgeball tournaments to eating contests can take place. Equally important to our students is the chance to dress up according to a different theme each day. This year we are having a Jersey Day, Wacky Day, Nerd Day, Twin Day, and Hope Spirit Day.