Author: AnnMarie Hamilton
We were up early on Day 2, thanks to the Central Time Zone! After breakfast the girls headed to the beach at a State Park. Mr. Clark led us on a hike through the park. We saw the usual suspects of Florida wildlife here—gators, cranes, pelicans, turtles… but then it got interesting! Mr. Clark turned over a rotted log and discovered a broad-headed skink! Before we knew it he had caught that skink with his bare hands and was showing it to us all. What is a skink you might wonder? Its not a typo for skunk. A skink is a reptile in the lizard family. This one was about 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. See picture below! This is rare find in these parts and we were excited to see it!
We went for a long walk around the peninsula beach and enjoyed the beautiful emerald water and white sand of this region where sea cucumbers and sand crabs abound. And at the end of our walk, it was finally time to swim!
On our way home we stopped for an extra special surprise treat—Ice Cream, curtesy of a generous, anonymous donor. Thank you! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this delicious snack after a long day on the beach!
While the girls strolled along the beach, the boys went on a 7 mile hike. Here is how the boys described the hike: Long. Hot. Your legs are sore. Painful. A bunch of steep hills. Steep. Hot. Exhausting. I’d do it again.
Mrs. O’Driscoll led our evening discussion, continuing our theme of change. Some change we can control, and some we cannot. We are image-bearers of God, with gifts to share, but we are imperfect. God loves you in the midst of change—even on your worst day. He knows all your thoughts. You are not the same person today that you were last year, and you are not the same person you will be next year.
We finished off Day 2 with a game of “Murder” (Like “Wink” or “Mafia”) and popcorn…. And a good time was had by all.
by Amy Heidmann, parent blogger
Julia Ingler started playing basketball at the age of five in Coral Springs, Florida. Upon moving to St. Cloud, Florida, she attended a basketball camp and was asked to join the Central Florida Blazers’ AAU Team. At Narcoossee Middle School, Julia played multiple sports including track, soccer, and basketball (where she was the leading scorer and MVP in consecutive seasons). Entering Harmony High School, her passion was basketball, but she also excelled at flag football. During her senior year of high school, thanks to amazing teammates and great teamwork, Julia’s flag football and basketball teams both finished second place in the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) State Championship and Julia received the MVP award. Julia received several other athletic awards throughout high school, including two-time All-District Basketball Player of the Year, Osceola County Brighthouse Basketball Player of the Year, and Osceola Gazette Basketball Co-Player of the Year.
Julia received multiple scholarship offers to play college basketball and ultimately decided to attend and play for Rollins College in Winter Park. The atmosphere and small class sizes were the best fit academically, and it also had a top-notch basketball program. While at college, Julia developed strong leadership skills as a starting guard and captain. The team made great strides and was the NCAA South Region All-Tournament Team in 2017. Throughout college, Julia continued to rack up the awards and achievements, including All Newcomer Team as a freshman and NCAA Sunshine State Conference Honor Roll, while also scoring over 1,200 points throughout her college career (which was limited by a broken foot during her senior season). Julia is also proud to hold the record for the most career three-pointers (224) in Rollins’ basketball history.
Each summer while at Rollins, Julia enjoyed being fully engaged with multiple basketball camps where she made great lifelong friends. After graduating with a degree in communications and a minor in business, Julia accepted a contract to play professional basketball in Ireland while also pursuing her master’s degree in international business management at Griffith College. Being in Dublin from August 2018–May 2019 was a wonderful international experience that sparked Julia’s vision and drive to become a coach. Shortly after returning to Florida, Julia realized that coaching and helping others was her passion and calling, just like the great coaches that had helped her succeed in the sport and imparted valuable life lessons through the game. Basketball and other team sports teach you to learn from and listen to others and also require you to be accountable to others.
Julia is beyond excited to share her passion for basketball and athletics with the students at Geneva. She firmly believes that dedication, hard work, and having an excitement for a sport can take you to some amazing places!
Coach Cash, as a lot of kids call him, joins Geneva’s coaching staff as the varsity track and field coach. He started his career in coaching while still in high school, coaching baseball and football, and adopted the role of pole vault coach for his track team when they didn’t have a coach. His mentor and coach, Ron Evans, recruited him to coach a few years later, and together they won ten state championships. Since that time, Coach Cashman has coached over 70 state champions, 11 state record holders, 7 national champions, and well over 100 All American athletes. Prior to coming to TGS, he spent five years at Lake Mary High School where his Rams set 30 school records, won 3 straight conference and district titles, and were runners up twice at regionals.
Coach Cashman is a Level I and II certified coach through USA Track and Field. He also went back to school, earning a BS in Exercise Physiology and Sport Science at UCF. He studied strength and conditioning under Frank Costello while coaching at the University of Maryland, as well as biomechanics under Roger Eckard, formerly of Arkansas State University.
A couple of key phrases that set Coach Cashman apart as a coach:
▪ “I love you enough to tell you the truth … even if it hurts a little.”
▪ “Are you better today than you were yesterday, and did you do enough to be better tomorrow?”
▪ “Let the height of your desire and the depth of your resolve be the measure of your success.”
Coach Cashman, along with his wife, Lisa, and stepson, Griffin, live in Casselberry and attend St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Oviedo.
Find out more about Geneva’s Track and Field program HERE.
Eddie Jimenez grew up in Miami, Florida, playing for Kendall Soccer Club where he won three state Florida Youth Soccer Association (FYSA) championships and the world-renowned youth international tournament The Dallas Cup in 2006. He was part of the Florida Olympic Development Program (ODP) from age twelve to fifteen, representing the state of Florida in the ODP regional and national tournaments. At fifteen, Eddie began his international career when he was invited to represent his country of Puerto Rico at the U-17 World Cup qualifiers held in Trinidad and Tobago. Upon graduation from high school, he was offered a soccer scholarship to Villanova University just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After one year at Villanova, Eddie decided he wanted to be closer to home and transferred to the University of Central Florida where he became a starter in the midfield for the Knights. As an integral part of the UCF squad, he was able to achieve great success, reaching two consecutive second round NCAA tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011.
After graduating from UCF with a degree in interpersonal communications, Eddie was offered a contract to begin his professional soccer career with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League. After about six months into his career, he was called up to the full senior Puerto Rican national team to compete in the Concacaf Gold Cup qualifiers.
After his playing career, Eddie came back to Orlando and began his coaching career at Florida Kraze Krush. He has a strong passion for developing players of all ages and really understands the work it takes to become an elite level soccer player. His philosophy on player development is simple: players who want to improve have to understand that only through hard work and dedication can one be successful in this sport. As a coach, he sees it is his job to create a performance environment where players feel challenged and are pushed to improve daily. Eddie is a strong advocate of developing a strong fundamental base of personal technique and skill so that as players mature and the game becomes faster, they are able to better adapt to any game situation thrown their way.
Eddie is excited to be a part of The Geneva School coaching team, to continue to mature as a coach, and to have the opportunity to work for a prestigious institution that shares his moral and religious values and virtues.
The class of 2020 reached out to us, asking if they could send a message of encouragement to the younger students, and this was the result:
We love our seniors!
A week or so ago, we emailed some of our wonderful teachers and asked them to reflect on the past few weeks of massive change. We asked them for some thoughts or an example of how God has sustained them by his grace for the path laid before them.
Please continue to pray for our teachers as they, along with all of us, weather this storm.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12).
Emily Fraser (Lower School Art)
“How can I elevate joy and decrease the fear that may be in some of my little students’ hearts during this time of uncertainty?” This was the question I prayed when we as teachers began to prep for virtual teaching.
For children, joy often comes in the form of laughter. Laughter and silliness are both crucial and beneficial for children (and grown-ups too!), but especially in times of uncertainty; laughter can calm a child’s heart and make them feel safe.
Knowing joy and thus laughter was the medicine needed, I considered ways in which I could, as a teacher, bring laughter into the hearts and homes of my students. Cue “Lady Blue,” the spectacle-wearing, large, blue crayon with a silly high-pitched voice in an unidentifiable accent who just might bring a few smiles, giggles, and laughter through virtual art lessons. Little did I know, being silly and light-hearted would have an impact on my own heart and bring joy to my own family as well. It has filled me up to see pictures of your children enjoying art at home, and their smiles have been a gift to my soul! I pray joy triumphs over fear in your hearts, and that your home is filled with laughter!
Scott Forrester (Upper School English and Rhetoric)
In English class, the seniors read a sermon given by CS Lewis in which he discusses the value of “Learning in Wartime,” the importance of continuing in one’s education in the midst of “unfavorable” conditions. He suggests that World War II, in the midst of which he is speaking, “creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it.” What my students and I are discovering is that he was absolutely right, that, surprising as it sounds, our current circumstances are not really new; it is just that we are more aware than before of what has always been the case. That is, that we are fallen, broken people, living in a fallen, broken world, and God’s sovereignty is both terrifying and comforting (Ecclesiastes 3:14), as indeed it should be if appropriately viewed. Being more than ever responsible for our own education, having to get along with our irritating family members, having to face our own impatience and tendency to grumble—these are lessons that have always needed to be learned. Now we know it. Now we must be about the business of enacting the virtues of temperance and prudence and faith and love that learning in “wartime” requires.
Alicia VanDerhoof (6th Grade)
This transition has not been easy because it has revealed some idols in my life—idols of security in a schedule, daily reassurance in face-to-face conversations, and successfully appearing to “have it all together.” Overnight, those securities were taken away from me, and I was forced to continue each day without them. Although still working on permanently removing these idols, I am overwhelmed by the way God has shown me that he is all I need. He has shown me that it’s his grace that allows me to finish each day, not my to-do lists. It’s by his strength, not mine, that I plan tomorrow’s lesson and keep up with emails. In learning these truths, God has whispered for me to watch him work in these uncertainties. With open eyes, I see 15 smiling faces greet me each morning to share prayer requests and start our class with devotions; I see pictures of new hobbies and books that have been picked up by each of them; and I still see each of my students’ faces when giving and receiving our usual blessing at the end of class: “The Lord be with you … and also with you.” Every day is filled with new mercies and overflowing grace that makes it such a joy to teach at The Geneva School.
Jill Lewis (First Grade)
The past few weeks have been hard … uncharted territory for all of us as we work together to do remote teaching and learning. The first week of remote learning brought late nights of creating lesson plans for my classroom parents, making instructional videos, learning new technology, and making time to daily check in personally with each of my first graders. I thought the long hours and loss of sleep would be the most difficult, but seeing the faces and hearing the voices of each of my students as I FaceTimed them was emotionally overwhelming. I miss them terribly.
But God. God knows about all of this and all the challenges each one of us is facing. I have experienced his grace and help in so many ways in the past several weeks. His grace has been sufficient. I am beyond grateful to be part of the Geneva community. Faculty have pitched in to help me navigate technology, our leaders have answered every text and email we’ve sent, they send a daily devotional just for the teachers to encourage them, parents have shared words of encouragement, and first graders have learned to Zoom! I initially planned for our remote learning Zoom lessons to last no more than 20 minutes. Guess what?!!! First graders can sit and attend and actively participate for an hour via Zoom! (The mute option has been a great assistance to keep the flow going for our lessons too.)
God has given us the creativity and stamina to do this. I’ve had this quote written in the front of my Bible since 1990. “Grace is the overflowing favor of God.” —Oswald Chambers. Our heavenly Father’s grace is sufficient for our need.
Elizabeth Smith (5th Grade)
Having to change and giving up control are two of the hardest things for people to do. Yet here we are in a world interrupted by change and totally out of our control. The ideas of change and control, although somewhat juxtapositions of one another, are so intertwined that when one is out of balance we see an effect in each. Almost no one likes a forced change, and we all, in our human nature, fall into the belief that we have control … until we realize that we don’t.
The truth that God is in control is easy when times are good. As a Christian, when things are going well, it is easy for me to say that God is in control. However, the times in my life that have been hard, I have also had to lean on this. It is not easy to stop the wheels of anxiety and worry from spinning. In these moments of troubles and undesired or unwanted change, I try to control. However, when I stop and remember that God is who he says that he is and that he is in control, it is so much sweeter to relinquish my hold on control and give it to God.
One of my favorite verses is from Matthew 6: 26–27, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” I have no more control over the things of this world than the birds of the air. God is in control.
Leonore Chamberlain (2nd Grade)
Just a few weeks ago, I did not know what this whole remote learning experience would be like, but today, I must admit, it is not as hard as I expected! I truly do miss teaching my students in the classroom and giving and getting real-life hugs, but this remote experience has a few wonderful perks. I love meeting with my students in our Zoom classes, and I also value our one-on-one Facetime sessions so very much. I do not just get to help my students individually but I also get to have so many meaningful life conversations that a regular school day might not allow for on a one-on-one level. The students and I tell jokes to each other, we share how our day was, and we show our pets or other things we have at home to each other. What a fun way to connect and build deeper relationships!
I am beyond grateful for my families, as well. Their kind and encouraging words and their unconditional love and grace towards me throughout this whole process are truly appreciated. God is so faithful to our Geneva community! He truly made this transition from teaching in the classroom to teaching remotely from home so much easier than I feared.
What a blessing to be able to see all of my students, teach them, and have fun with them, partnering with my students’ families daily, and at the same time being able to spend more time with my family at home and being able to help teach our daughter, too.
- boost your immune system
- improve your mood
- keep your circadian rhythm on track to allow for better sleep
- boost the immune system
- improve mood
- relieve stress
- improve sleep
During this time of uncertainty, we need to work extra hard to keep a positive mindset. Negative thoughts lead to negative emotions, like anxiety, fear, and depression. While there is a lot that we CAN NOT do right now, there are lots of unique opportunities and things we CAN do that we often lack time for in our busy schedules. Let’s reframe our words and mindset and not miss these special opportunities to make good use of this unusual enforced time at home. May I suggest a few:
- Spend time reading something you enjoy alone, or aloud with others
- A little yard work each day…just 15 minutes of weeding or trimming each day will create a sense of accomplishment, and will get you outside
- Declutter closets, tackle “honey do” lists, and check off home repairs
- Exercise and get outside every day
- Look for ways to serve others (a family member, a neighbor…) to keep you focused outward and not inward
- Break out the board games, card games, and puzzles
- Meditate on Scriptures that remind you that God is sovereign
- Each evening think of 5 things to be grateful for from the day
- A nourished body and soul
- Budget friendly
- Opportunities to be connected as a family around the table
- Stay connected to your family, friends, and colleagues via text, video chats, or an old-fashioned phone call. Be especially mindful of your older family and friends that may be feeling isolated
- Take the opportunity to write an old-fashioned letter
- Phone neighbors to check on them
- When you are out on necessary errands be intentional to be encouraging and show gratitude to those working hard to serve you
- Meet a friend outside in a park or trail to walk and talk
by Lou Jones,
Geneva School Nurse, RN, Health & Wellness Coach
We started our day this morning with a visit to the Boston Public Market. This was a change of plan due to rain this morning, but everyone agreed it was a great place to visit. The Boston Public Market has a diverse array of local artisans – students ate yummy crepes and donuts, sampled teas and coffees, had kumbacha, crème soda, pretzels, ramen and more! It was a great time and the students all enjoyed it.
From the Public Market, we journeyed by train to the Museum of Fine Arts. Here we divided into groups and explored the diverse artwork and artifacts of the museum. We saw Monet, Greco-Roman artifacts and coins, mummified Egyptians, Ancient Near Eastern reliefs, and much more.
After lunch at the Fine Arts Museum, we split groups to explore the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the MIT Science Workshop for the opposite groups as yesterday. At the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, students learned how the museum came about, saw an eclectic collection of artwork and a beautiful courtyard. Students enjoyed the beauty of the museum. At the MIT Science Workshop, students were challenged to build a bridge across plastic cups that would hold 200 grams at the center. They were given newspaper and tape. It was great to see them put their math and science knowledge into practice. After they experimented with the bridge, they designed cables for a suspension bridge which were 3-D printed and they determined how much weight their bridge would hold. The students really enjoyed the workshop!
We then journeyed by train and bus back to the airport for our return flight home. We have gotten dinner and are waiting to board our flight. Everyone will be happy to be home and sleep in their own beds tonight.
Our stats for the week: We totaled over 72,000 steps, 100 flights of stairs, and almost 30 miles!
by Janet Andreasen, parent blogger