The Author Wept

This week, Black Forest Academy mourns the loss of  a baby girl born prematurely just a month ago to one of our new staff couples. We grieve as a community, lifting her parents and younger brother up in prayer, full of sadness and gratitude that she is at last whole. While we waited for her ride to…

The Fear Jacket

  I’m troubled from the start, Friday morning. Living nine hours ahead of my friends on the West Coast, the ongoing ugliness of election season in America unfolds mostly in the morning for me. I wake up and see it spattered across social media, the messy barbs of rhetoric flying between two people I don’t…

The Patience of Questions

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue.” Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet An orange entrepreneur is telling a story to a red-suited politician. “…Somebody would call up Sean Hannity,…

Teaching & Remembering

Friday, September 9. I scrolled through my cache of YouTube speeches, looking for one to share with my students. Each Friday in Public Speaking class, we watch a speech together, then spend time afterwards critiquing and learning from the style and–to some extent–discussing the message. This was only the second Friday, though, so I had little…

More Than Passports

What is an American? What did you learn about America from the book you read this summer? By your own definition, how American are you? Write for five minutes without stopping. Be prepared to share! Honors American Literature, 5 September 2016 Familiar scratch of pen and paper, familiar slant of morning light through familiar second-floor…

Bigger Places

“There are bigger places out there than Kandern…. And thank the Lord for that.” BFA 2015 Valedictorian The morning of graduation day at Black Forest Academy, I received a message from a  former BFA student. “Did you go to Ballard high?” he had written beneath a picture of my alma mater. After confirming that yes,…

The Adventurous Class of 2016

Five students are finishing their final on this cool Monday morning, and I’ve already taken down all the posters and curtains, collected the books and graded my final coursework for the quarter. Nothing left for this teacher to do but post this year’s end-of-year letter, finishing nine hilarious months with a truly unique group of…

College Essays

Write a college entrance essay. You will design the essay yourself, based loosely around one of these two questions: What has made you who you are? What do you care most deeply about? College Essay assignment 2015 I’m in the library today, getting in the squats demanded by the pregnancy gurus as I bounce up…

Independent

I run to the Independent Living classroom from the Bible class where I’ve spent first period giving a test to sophomores. The room feels full, even though there are only the normal number of students, because everyone is running in frenzied circles trying to get ready for today’s final cooking project, the Tea Party. I am here…

Walking Towards Waterfalls

The trail turns steeply upward once we’ve left the road. We’ve been walking along a creek in Lenk, Switzerland for a while, carefully skirting the edges of the path to avoid marring the smooth grooves of the langlauf, or cross-county skiing tracks. Now, the signs take us off the wide, flat track, into deep snow…