September 23, 2014

CE Update: Summer—A Bit of Well-Earned Playtime

CE Update: Summer—A Bit of Well-Earned Playtime
June 6, 2013

The seniors have thrown their caps with glee, and returning students are off on summer adventures. Since both the School and College are on the semester system, our graduations now take place in May.

We enjoyed back-to-back weekends of celebratory events. At the College, outgoing president of The Mother Church Chet Manchester delivered a terrific commencement address on May 11, and Bible scholar Kristy Christian’s talk inspired the crowd at the Upper School graduation the following week.

Beginning this year, Summer Session has shifted from July to June. The first week of the two-week program begins at the College this weekend, and we are hoping for resort-like weather rather than the full heat of mid-summer. An engaged group of lifelong learners will dive into a range of classes. Perhaps you’d like to learn about the hundreds of references to birds in the Bible (and more than a dozen in Mary Baker Eddy’s writings). If so, it’s not too late to join Principia professor Tom Fuller—an avid bird watcher—in exploring the significance of these references and in short walks around campus to observe some of the species being discussed. Or you might choose to learn how to have more fun parenting or grandparenting or how to get more out of Google and Facebook. There’s still time to sign up for these or the many other classes offered during the second week of Summer Session.

Summer also means the onslaught of maintenance and construction projects across Principia. Unfortunately, a storm water pipe that runs 30 feet under major buildings on the College campus is collapsing, leading to our own “big dig.” The work is designed to be completed by the time students return for the fall semester.

To support the completion of the Middle School renovation project, School students at all levels participated in a Color Walk-a-thon fundraiser this spring. Construction started as soon as students cleared out of the halls, and middle schoolers will return to a new multipurpose room and other improvements.

During a very wet spring, the School’s new turf field got nonstop play. This summer’s project is to renovate the Mesa soccer field near the girls’ dorm. The plan includes rotating the field, adding lights, and improving the grass. The project is scheduled to be completed in time for soccer season in the fall.

In our ongoing effort to streamline and find cost savings, the School has been studying options for outsourcing dining services. Three potential vendors, including the in-house team, made presentations to a group of faculty, staff, students, and parents. After reviewing the feedback, the clear vendor of choice was Sage Dining Services, a small, regional company, which will be taking over responsibility for meal service next school year. We expect that Sage will be hiring many of the School’s food-service staff. As requested by students, faculty, and parents, locally sourced and organic options will increase, and we expect to realize significant savings from this shift. Although this was a difficult decision, we are grateful for the community input throughout this thoughtfully considered process.

Next academic year, the Upper School will once again offer its online biology course to Christian Science high school students not enrolled at Principia. In addition to taking the full course, students will have the option of choosing just one or two units to replace sections of their high school biology class from which they wish to be exempted. Please help us spread the word about this helpful option for young Christian Scientists anywhere. You can find more information here.

Before the first days of a new academic year roll around, I wish you all some well-earned vacation time. As Principia founder Mary Kimball Morgan told a parents’ meeting in May 1921, “If it has been a year of thorough work and accomplishment, a bit of playtime has been earned . . .” (Education at The Principia, p. 52).

This past year’s Principia-wide metaphysical theme—“Delight in the law of God” (Romans 7:22)—reminds us to have fun while remaining grounded in our spiritual identity. I hope your summer brings refreshment, inspiration, and pure joy.