Rain - from steady gentle drops to frequent torrential downpours - cold weather, discovering fire fly larvae shining in the black stillness of a night hike, burning muscles from challenging hiking terrain, learning which leaves make a soothing hot tea, discovering the hiding places of salamanders and identifying their type, observing minute micro-invertebrates under powerful microscopes, learning how rock formations and forestation tell the story of a mountain, standing under the cold waterfall, smores and singing silly songs around the campfire, then capping off the chilly night with worship songs as students continued to say, "Just one more, please." These and much more were the experiences of the seventh graders at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont last week.
Even through the miserable weather conditions and physical challenges, students demonstrated strong character as they embraced each challenge without complaining, pushed themselves out of their personal comfort, and offered encouragement and a helping hand to fellow classmates.
These are character traits that we are often blessed to observe in many Cornerstone students on a day-to-day basis as they attend classes, participate in athletics, extra-curricular activities, and express their individual and group talents through visual and performing arts.
We are aware that these character traits do not just happen; but rather, they are cultivated over time through what students are taught at home, at church and, we hope, reinforced during their school day experiences.
A very insightful activity that kicked off the seventh graders' recent Tremont visit was the initial welcome activity in which students participated. The Tremont staff led the students in an "I Am From" activity, which resulted in a composite poem representative of the group.
The student responses provided a glimpse into what each of them valued as important markers in their life and things for which they were thankful. The poem created by members of the Panthers and Beavers student groups is shared here:
I am from….
a home where the tea is always sweet
the sails and sailboat from the dock on the lake
the big field of cotton
libraries so quiet in their prestige
the orange clay pitcher’s mound in the middle of the infield
a big back yard to play all around
the beach where there are sand castles and the smell of fresh air
the trees and the rocks and the forest
a story spun from the wondrous books I cherish
a bonfire with my family on a peaceful Friday night
gray squad and cheers
mats under my feet and chalk on my hands
whale sized sharks and gilded domes
backyard pick up football
the hot sun boiling the skin
As unpredictable as the sea, I drift off…
If you are a parent of a seventh grade student, you may recognize your child's line in the above poem.
As we enter November, our minds naturally turn to Thanksgiving. Why not gather your family and compose your own "I am from…" poem as a reminder of your family's heritage and God's provision and blessings of which you are thankful.
We, at Cornerstone, are thankful for you and the partnership we share with your family.