Tag Archives: Christopher Dock

Christopher Dock, Penn View Boards Approve Integration – Name New Superintendent and Board

Dock logoPV logo




Unified school system on target for 2015-16 school year

The prospect of one school system providing our community with Christ-centered education for early childhood through grade 12 is now one step closer to reality. The Board of Directors of Penn View Christian School and the Board of Trustees of Christopher Dock Mennonite High School voted this week to merge the two schools, and will continue working toward the goal of implementing the new organizational structure for the 2015-16 school year.

The boards also completed another piece of that organizational structure by naming 12 board members for the new unified school system. All 12 serve as current board members of either Christopher Dock or Penn View. Warren L. Tyson, current chair of the Christopher Dock Board of Trustees, and Mark Bergey, current chair of the Penn View Board of Directors, will co-chair the board of directors for the new school system. In addition, Dr. Conrad Swartzentruber, currently the Principal at Christopher Dock, has been named Superintendent of the unified school system.

“We look forward to building on the historical strengths of each school while encouraging the development of a new school identity deeply rooted in the Anabaptist Mennonite Christian faith stream,” said Tyson. “It’s been exciting to see how the theme of God ‘doing a new thing’ (Isaiah 43:19) has unfolded since the start of the merger conversation. While each board did its own due diligence, the prevailing theme of being attentive to where God was leading us together has been important.”

“The decision to unify these schools is the result of more than six months of due diligence, but decades of collaboration and cooperation between the two schools,” added Bergey. “We are energized to be part of God’s continuing work in the education and spiritual formation of children in our community.”

Christopher Dock and Penn View Board members who will join the board of directors for the new unified school system include:

Mark Bergey, co-chair                                           Beny Krisbianto
Warren Tyson, co-chair                                        Chad Lacher
Ken Clemmer                                                            Scott Landis
John Duerksen                                                         Jim Lapp
Sharon Fransen                                                        Katie Longacre
Scott Heckler                                                             Rina Rampogu

The boards have been mindful of the school’s vital relationships with both Franconia Mennonite Conference and Eastern District Conference. Since the merging of the schools will result in a new set of bylaws that will govern both Christopher Dock and Penn View, conference leaders are working with delegates to approve those changes. That work is already underway in Franconia Conference. Future changes in the new integrated school system’s bylaws will require the approval of leaders of both Franconia Conference and Eastern District Conference.

While both boards expressed gratitude for the significance of the two votes to approve the merger, there is understanding that work remains prior to the implementation of a unified school structure this fall. The new board will work together with Dr. Swartzentruber and the staffs of both schools to give clarity to the questions that remain.

“Both Penn View and Christopher Dock bring great strengths to this new venture,” said Dr. Swartzentruber. “Beginning in early childhood and continuing through high school, this unified school system will provide a Christ-centered education, preparing students to be lifelong learners.  They will receive the academic preparation needed to succeed in a global context, and will continue to learn, grow, serve, and contribute throughout their lives.”

“The path to a merger of these excellent Christian schools has been a deliberate one,” said Franconia Conference Moderator John Goshow. “Our conference looks forward to supporting the ongoing work of the boards and staffs of both schools.”

* * *

For more information, contact:
Dr. Conrad Swartzentruber

Conference center announces move to Christopher Dock

by Sharon K. Williams, for Franconia Conference

Franconia Mennonite and Eastern District conference offices will move to the Christopher Dock Mennonite High School campus in Lansdale, Pennsylvania in January 2015, in a strategic collaboration involving four conference related ministries. The offices will be on the first floor of the Rosenberger Academic Center.

Christopher Dock principal Conrad Swartzentruber speaks to students in chapel. In addition to providing space, the move will also allow more regular interaction between students, pastors and conference staff.
Christopher Dock principal Conrad Swartzentruber speaks to students in chapel. In addition to providing space, the move will also allow more regular interaction between students, pastors and conference staff.

The conference center is currently located in a building owned by the Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania (MHEP) in Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

While MHEP and the conference offices have had an amicable partnership, MHEP had offers from other organizations that were interested in renting the whole building, which would generate additional income for MHEP.

Recently, Christopher Dock offered a viable solution.

“The reconfiguration of some classroom and office space makes this very efficient arrangement possible. But a larger significance is found in the collaboration,” said Christopher Dock principal Conrad Swartzentruber. “Dock strives to build relationships among our students, congregations, and conferences. Our hope is that this will be a lively, ongoing effort. Christopher Dock’s mission is to educate Franconia and Eastern District youth and other youth who share Anabaptist values. Our relationship to both conferences is very healthy and important to us. This new arrangement will allow us to rub shoulders with conference and congregational leaders. We look forward to sharing our campus in this way.”

Ertell Whigham, executive minister for Franconia Conference and Warren Tyson, conference minister with Eastern District Conference, affirm the move to Christopher Dock and the continued sharing of one center for both conferences. John Stoltzfus, youth minister for all three ministries, already works from an office on Christopher Dock’s campus.

“Eastern District wants to continue living into a shared vision and working relationship with Franconia, and we value this opportunity to connect with Christopher Dock, one of our conference-related ministries,” said Tyson, who also chairs the school’s board of trustees.

“The relationship between the two conferences is very beneficial, and I look forward to the possibilities of interaction between the Dock community and conference leadership,” said Whigham. “This will also encourage our pastors to visit the campus.”

Sarah Wolfgang Hefner, director of MHEP, expressed appreciation for the relationship with the conference office, saying, “I have enjoyed getting to know conference center staff over the past few years and will miss the interaction with them.”

“We are grateful for our partnerships with MHEP and all our conference related ministries,” said John Goshow, moderator of Franconia Conference. “We encourage and rejoice in creative collaboration. This particular situation is a four-way win.”

Worship event to foster connection among youth

by Sheldon C. Good

Luke Hartman
Luke Hartman will be the guest speaker at the June 1 youth worship event. Photo by Lindsey Kolb/Eastern Mennonite University.

HARLEYSVILLE, Pa. – Franconia and Eastern District Conferences are hosting junior and senior high youth this June at an event that will feature elements very similar to the biennial Mennonite Church USA youth convention, but with one key difference – it’s outside.

The worship event, cosponsored by the Mennonite Heritage Center, will be held from 12-3pm on June 1 on the lawn of 569 Yoder Road, Harleysville, a campus shared by the Mennonite Heritage Center and the Conference offices.  The rain location is Christopher Dock Mennonite High School’s auditorium (Lansdale, Pa.).

After eating lunch together at noon, potentially hundreds of youth will spread out on the lawn for free time and then worship featuring Luke Hartman, vice president of admissions at Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.), as the main speaker. Hartman’s message will focus on John 17’s call to unity in the body of Christ. He will collaborate with his good friend Peder Eide, a popular musician and worship leader in the Lutheran Church.

Additional music will be provided by Susquehanna, a band of students from Christopher Dock. Band members are John Bergstresser, Ryan Moyer, Austin Kratz, Brooks Inciardi, Simon Nam, Derek Reeser, and Ethan Neal.

John Stoltzfus, conference youth pastor and one of the event planners, anticipates that the event will invite youth to consider “what God is doing among us and who God is calling us to be together.”

He said there are several goals for the event: to provide opportunity for deepening relationships and fellowship among youth across conference churches; to give space for youth to engage in inspiring worship and experience renewal in their relationships with God and one another; and to offer a witness to the surrounding community of the church’s call to be a united people of God.

Mike Ford, associate pastor of youth at Blooming Glen (Pa.) congregation, has also been integrally involved in the event’s planning. He hopes that “youth leave challenged and encouraged spiritually, and that they also experience a healthy dose of fun and fellowship.”

The gathering is part of an ongoing commitment in Franconia Conference to help individuals and congregations connect, says Ertell Whigham, Franconia’s executive minister.  “While it’s true that it takes little or no effort for us to find opportunities to disagree, it takes a greater commitment to reach out across our diversity and connect in ways that express the kingdom of God,” he reflects.  He encourages congregations to keep this event in prayer, as youth gather to worship, play, grow, and share a meal together in Christ.

“Now that’s a very cool way to connect,” he says.

Researcher speaks on religious freedom, meets pope

Pope Francis receives a book from Thomas Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University. The pope greeted the 40 or so conference participants at the Vatican Dec. 13. — Photo by Donald Miller

Goshen, Dock grad shares research on tension Christians face in India at international conference in Rome

by Kelli YoderMennonite World Review (reposted by permission)

Halfway through a conference on Christianity and freedom, Chad Bauman and his fellow presenters were told the schedule had changed.

The next morning they crossed the street from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome and met the pope.

“In my wildest imagination I had thought, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if I’d be able to meet the pope,’ ” said Bauman, who is associate professor and chair of religion at Butler University in Indianapolis. “But there was nothing on the schedule to indicate anything like that might happen.”

The international conference, held Dec. 13-14 to discuss Christian contributions to the idea of freedom and restrictions Christians face with regard to religious liberties, had come to the attention of Vatican officials.

Conference organizer Timothy Shah said the meeting was completely unexpected, but reflected the Pope’s commitment to religious freedom.


“And [it reflected] his concern to highlight the terrible situation of persecuted Christians in many parts of the world, especially the Middle East,” Shah said.

Bauman said of all the popes in his lifetime this was the one he wanted to meet.

“There’s such energy and enthusiasm about him, and indications that he could have a massive positive impact on the world because of the positions he’s taken on social issues and the size of the Roman Catholic church,” he said. “It just topped off a really wonderful time in Rome.”

And he said it increased the energy for the rest of the conference — one he already found to be faster-moving and more lively than academic conferences at which he’s accustomed to presenting his research on religious conflict in India.

This conference, “Christianity and Freedom: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives,” was held as part of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs in Washington, D.C.

Shah, who is the associate director of the Religious Freedom Project, said an effort was made to connect journalists and policy makers to the conference.

“As a result, we designed each panel to be a brisk, concise, free-flowing conversation, rather than a series of long academic presentations,” he said.

Bauman, who grew up in Souderton, Pa., and is a graduate of Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, Goshen (Ind.) College and Princeton Theological Seminary, was one of about 40 people asked to write chapters for an upcoming volume or volumes on Christian freedom on behalf of the project.

The conference presentation came after a year of research on Christian contributions to freedom and civil society in India, as well as on their occasional experiences of harassment and violence. Bauman worked with a research partner, James Ponniah, of Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, a Catholic university in Pune, India.

Provocative evangelism

The center’s larger project will study all religions and their access to freedom.

“Christians are not the only people around the world suffering difficulties because of their faith,” Bauman said.

Christians sometimes invite the hostility of others by engaging in provocative forms of evangelism, he said. They have exploited their occasionally greater access to Western wealth and political power to gain advantages over people of other faiths.

“Christians in places like India are suffering, and that’s truly awful,” he said. “But I think we also need to investigate the reasons why they are suffering and see if there are things they, or even their Western Christian supporters, could do differently to ameliorate the situation.”

Bauman’s research describes how Christians and Hindus coexisted relatively peacefully for a thousand years in India and how tensions have emerged more recently largely as a result of European colonialism and everything which came along with it — including Christian missions, of which Mennonites were a part.

“Now Christianity is very much associated with Western power and globalization in ways that make people skeptical about it and make people fear its influence,” he said.

Bauman’s research in India originated in the state of Chhattisgarh, and his own past.

“I first got interested in that state when I was doing my dissertation research because Mennonite missionaries had worked there,” he said.

His research eventually moved to cover a different group of Christians.

“One of the reasons that I’m interested in efforts to alleviate violence clearly has to do with my education at Christopher Dock and Goshen, and the emphasis those institutions place on peace and nonviolence and especially on understanding the causes of violence,” he said.

Bauman said it’s difficult to measure the impact of an academic conference. But this one was different.

“The organizers of this conference are really good at trying to bridge the gap between journalist and academic,” he said. “I’m sure it will have more of an impact than most scholarly conferences do.”

Christopher Dock joins clothing drive to assist Syrian refugees

syrian clothing drive
Christopher Dock senior Johnathan Capp, left, and assistant principal Martin Wiens with some of the collected clothing. (The Reporter/GeoffPatton)

Adapted from an article by Jennifer Lawson, The Reporter (original article)

TOWAMENCIN — The number of Syrians who have fled the violence in their country has surpassed two million, creating a humanitarian crisis in the countries that have set up refugee camps.

Christopher Dock Mennonite High School and the Mennonite Central Committee’s Material Resource Center in Harleysville launched a short-term, intensive clothing drive last month to help the refugees, with assistance from the local community.

About a dozen bags of clothing had already been donated over the weekend before assistant principal Martin Wiens and senior Johnathan Capps announced the effort during the school’s chapel hour on September 16.

“It’s become so politicized, but people want to know, ‘What can I do to help?’ ‘What’s something tangible we can do?’” Wiens said. The students collected blankets, coats, sweaters, long pants, ankle-length skirts, long-sleeved shirts, shoes, backpacks, and toys.

This is part of a larger effort — the clothing drive was coordinated by the Material Resource Center’s headquarters in Ephrata, Pa., and other church communities across the country are also holding drives.

Dock’s involvement seemed fitting because juniors and seniors are learning about the refugee crisis in Bible class and social studies class, Wiens said, and school leadership thought it was important to get students invested in the movement to help.

“They seem pretty interested,” Capps said, adding that he heard from some classmates over the weekend who wanted to know more about the clothing drive and how they could help.

In total, the drive collected nearly 50 cubic feet of donations, which were then sent to Ephrata and processed, then sent to Lebanon, said Sharon Swartzentruber, director of the Material Resource Center in Harleysville.

“We’re trying to get everything to Lebanon before the weather turns too cold, and it takes a long time for shipments to arrive — five or six weeks,” she said.

Although the clothing drive has ended, the Material Resource Center is still collecting hygiene kits and relief kits, which are distributed in areas of crisis around the world, including the Middle East. For more information, please call the MRC at (267) 203-8074.

CD graduates are reminded to live greatness

CD grad 2013
Christopher Dock Mennonite High School Class of 2013 members share a laugh together during the school’s 58th Annual Commencement on Saturday June 8,2013. Photo by Mark C Psoras\The Reporter

by Jennifer Connor, jconnor@thereporteronline.com
Reposted by permission from The Reporter

In a commencement ceremony that emphasized the three main pillars of Christopher Dock Mennonite High School’s mission, the school graduated 84 students in the Class of 2013 Saturday night. Christopher Dock “seeks to ignite passion for learning, faith and life,” according to its website and demonstrated so in this year’s ceremony.

Senior Class President Tyler Denlinger launched the ceremony by delivering the welcome address, thanking those who have walked alongside the graduates throughout their schooling journey. Later in the ceremony, Denlinger, who also graduated summa cum laude and received the Paul R. Clemens Bible Award, received the Christopher Dock Award as the male student who demonstrates all-around campus citizenship, leadership and scholarship during high school. Marissa Joy Souder was the female recipient.

Among the 84 graduates were exchange students. Prior to the ceremony, Bogusia Stone who has hosted Dohee Kim, a student from South Korea, for the past three years excitedly anticipated the ceremony, proudly waving her “parent ticket.”

“I even have a mom ticket!” Stone said. Dohee, who received the Charles Clemmer Art award for excellence in the subject of art, will attend the Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall.

Hometown principal of graduating seniors and exchange students Camilo Hurtado and Daniel David Ramirez Zea was even in attendance, visiting all the way from the students’ home country of Columbia.

Midway through the ceremony, engaged students watched an energetic and passionate speech delivered by Andrew Huth, a documentary photographer and youth pastor at Ambler Mennonite Church. Huth was adopted at the age of nine from South Korea and emphasized how the change from having nothing to having everything influenced his life path.

Huth began his speech by turning the podium away from the audience of parents, teachers, family and friends — and instead faced it towards the students on stage.

Andrew Huth at CD grad 2013
Andrew Huth challenged students to live greatness. Photo by Lauren Pupillo

The students gave Huth their full attention as he described the development of his career, focusing on the two biggest criticisms he ever received and how they influenced him to change his focus.

The first criticism came from a local newspaper photography editor shortly after Huth decided he wanted to be a newspaper photographer. When Huth asked the editor to share his biggest critique the editor said the photography showed that Huth was afraid to engage people since many of his photos were taken from a distance or behind.

“I then began to approach my assignments by not taking any photographs until I was sitting, eating and talking with my subjects,” Huth said. “If you want the good stuff, you can’t get that at a distance.”

His second biggest criticism came from the vice president of the Associated Press and Director of Photography in an interview in Manhattan. Huth sat nervously as the vice president viewed his portfolio silently and then prompted him to give his biggest critique.

The vice president said he had many great single images but he wanted to see more and be told a story with the pictures. In that moment, Huth decided he wanted to become a documentary photographer.

His speech, entitled, “Don’t Dream of Greatness,” emphasized that one must live and breathe the greatness they aspire to possess. He encouraged students to look at their causes and those they want to help not as projects but rather as partners.

“Dreaming is such a dangerous thing – you’re so close to the real thing but it’s not quite there,” Huth said. “Everyone thinks of changing the world but never themselves. Don’t dream of greatness but do and become greatness.”

Huth’s message seemed to fit in well with the Class of 2013’s Bible verse that class vice president Elizabeth Curis shared. From Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord your God is with thee.”

My journey isn’t over: talking about teen cancer

by Lindsey Laverty, Souderton congregation

Teen Cancer Awareness Night
Teen Cancer Awareness Night included a coffee house of assorted desserts and artwork created by students. (left to right) Christopher Dock students Vanessa Miller, Abigail Anderson, and Melissa Glass.

In February, I was privileged to have my vision for a Teen Cancer Awareness Night come true.  The event was held on February 23 at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, where I am a junior, in honor of my 19 year old sister Emilee, who passed away on November 1 of dedifferentiated chordoma.

At first, my only hope for the night was that it would inspire people to talk about teen cancer, a topic people generally avoid. As I researched teen cancer further, however, I was shocked to find that teens and young adults with cancer have been ignored. Research shows that when it comes to cancer, the medical field is not quite sure what to do with this age group.

My purpose for the night blossomed into the idea that not only did people need to begin to talk about teen cancer, they needed to learn more about it. Originally, my plan was to have someone from the medical field come talk, but I realized that hearing the facts would not be as helpful as hearing the stories and experiences of teens themselves.

Thus began the process of assembling a student panel, which would act as a voice for all teens with cancer. As I got into contact with students it became clear to me that God had already hand picked them. Each of them had a different perspective, a unique story, and an inspiring message. In the end, the student panel was made up of Chad Burger, a 2012 graduate of Souderton High School who is still undergoing treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma, Kayla McClanahan, a freshman at Upper Bucks Christian School who lost her sister to brain cancer, Leah Moore, a 2010 graduate of Christopher Dock who was diagnosed with nodular melanoma and is currently cancer free, and myself.

Teen Cancer Awareness Night
(left to right) Lindsey Laverty, Kayla McClanahan, Leah Moore, Chad Burger, and interviewer Jessica Finlayson.

After the event, I had many come up to me and tell me the student panel is what impressed them most. The topics ranged from planned interview questions to audience questions. In fact, the audience was so involved that their questions took more than an hour.  Each student contributed stories, advice, and reflections that I will never forget.

Kayla confronted the belief that because it’s been a year since her sister passed away, she should get over it. “Just because my sister died doesn’t mean that it’s over,” she said.  “My journey isn’t over, it’s still every day.”

Chad encouraged people to be honest with teens that have cancer, saying, “Don’t shy away from things, talking-wise and question-wise.”

Leah expressed how many times when she tried to talk to her friends about how she was doing or what she was feeling, they often seemed uninterested and consumed in their own lives. “They seemed to just want to talk about their lives,” she shared.  “To me that was like, excuse me?” All of us agreed that feeling a sense of normalcy was what we all strived for most.

Teen Cancer Awareness Night was attended by more than 250 people and raised $5000 for cancer research. It went beyond my wildest dreams and I can confidently say it is because of God: He brought together the student panel, the creation and donation of the student artwork, and all the desserts for the coffee house. God blessed the night and, through my work on organizing it, showed me what happens when my passion meets the world’s need.

Find out more about teen cancer at teenslivingwithcancer.org.

Congregational leaders discuss Mennonite Education Plan

by Susan Gingerich, Christopher Dock Mennonite High School

Penn View Schoolwide Service Project 002
Students from Penn View Christian School collect baby kits for MAMA Project. Penn View is a participating school in congregational Mennonite Education Plans.

Franconia and Eastern District conference leadership recently joined leaders from 10 congregations to discuss Mennonite education. This annual forum focuses on the Mennonite education support plan (MEP) that congregations provide for students of Quakertown Christian School, Penn View Christian School, Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, and Philadelphia Mennonite High School.

Attendees found this forum helpful as they shared successes, challenges, and opportunities related to mutual aid, accountability, mission, accessibility, and integrity for congregational support plans for students attending the three local Mennonite schools.

Several churches have committees that plan for and oversee the guidelines and financial status of the fund. The Mennonite Education Advocacy Team (MEAT) of Souderton congregation is one such special committee that was formed to advocate for Mennonite education at all levels and for the mission of MEP at Souderton. They have been successful in enhancing respect for informed and intentional choices in both Christian education and public school education. While MEAT looks after the financial piece for the church and families, they also remind the congregation of mutual aid, accountability, and accessibility in order to give the education plan integrity.

Table group discussions affirmed the Mennonite Education Plan as a missional opportunity for congregations to tend the well-being and spiritual development of young children and youth. Church representatives reported that not all congregants see MEP as missional, and a common challenge is meeting the MEP budget in this economic environment.

MEP is an opportunity for churches to invest in young people to raise faithful and radical followers of Christ. Attendees expressed a desire to validate families who choose to support public schools also.

In addition to a time of networking, the principal of each school shared stories of students whose lives are being impacted by MEP support. The schools plan to continue this annual forum to provide encouragement and to assist with programmatic challenges. Churches not involved with MEP that are interested in learning about a support plan may contact any of the participating schools’ principals.

Christopher Dock Implements One-to-one Plan

Dock 1-to-1The board and faculty of Christopher Dock recently announced the implementation of a 1:1 technology plan (one device to one student) for the fall of 2013. Dock will equip each student with a 3rd Gen iPad with the goal of providing equitable access to web resources and apps to enhance Dock’s mission and curriculum.

This program will enhance students’ preparation for college, career, and a technology-infused world. The instructional focus for the iPads will be active, engaged learning, and concentration on the national standards for technology. These standards are:

  • creativity and innovation
  • communication and collaboration
  • research and information fluency
  • critical-thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making

The funding for this program will not affect tuition rates. While there will be ongoing costs for technology each year, Dock is seeking over $200,000  in assistance this first year in order to implement the plan for its entire student body. The plan will be sustainable through the ongoing annual budget for educational resources.

Employers, businesses, parents, community members, and congregations who are interested in assisting with this initiative are invited to contact Susan Gingerich, Director of Advancement, to make a donation or to provide funding for a class of students. Susan can be reached at sgingerich@dockhs.org or 215-362-2675.

Christopher Dock seniors step outside classroom

CD senior experience week
Christopher Dock student Jared Hunsinger at the Alderfer Auction Company with founder Sanford Alderfer, left. (The Reporter/Geoff Patton)

by Jennifer Connor, jconnor@journalregister.com
Reposted by permission from The Reporter

On a Thursday afternoon around 10 a.m., Jared Hunsinger, 17, would normally be in class at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School (Lansdale, Pa.). Instead, last Thursday, he stood observing a live auction of estate items at Alderfer Auction Co. in Hatfield, Pa.

Hunsinger got the opportunity as part of Christopher Dock’s “Senior Experiences Week,” which is a component of each senior’s Kingdom Living Class. Each student sets up his or her own opportunity to shadow someone in a vocational field or participate in a week of service.

“I want to go into business and since my dad knows the auctioneer, I thought this might be a good place to see business in action,” Hunsinger said. He spent the morning talking to customers about what they sought to buy, amazed that some came from afar — including North Carolina.

Sanford Alderfer (Salford congregation), who founded Alderfer Auction Co. in 1959, said, “Jared is just one of those kids with a lovely personality and charming smile. We’ve enjoyed having him around.”

Earlier last week Hunsinger observed a financial adviser. “To be honest it was kind of boring,” Hunsinger said with a laugh. But, that’s partly the point of “Senior Experiences Week,” to get students out in the community feeling out what they like and don’t like in the field they intend to study in college.

Students also have the option to participate in a week of service, which is the avenue Taylor Mirarchi (Plains congregation) took.

“I’m a very service oriented person and like doing more hands-on activities,” Mirarchi said.

CD senior experience week
Student Taylor Mirarchi at the Mennonite Resource Center with volunteer Donella Clemens (Perkasie congregation), left. (The Reporter/Geoff Patton)

Mirarchi spent her week volunteering at the Mennonite Resource Center in Souderton, where she volunteers regularly. She completed administrative work and also spent a lot of time in the quilting room.

“I’ve sorted quilt blocks that are used for quilts sent oversees to refugee camps,” Mirarchi said. “I’m just happy to lend a helping hand.”

On Friday, Mirarchi spent the day at the Mennonite Resource Center in Ephrata, Pa., where all Mennonite donations go to be distributed around the world.

About 85 seniors participated last week, with some venturing much further than the Lansdale area. Linked up with Souderton and Blooming Glen congregations, some students participated in volunteer work in Haiti and Mexico. Other students shadowed congressmen and women in Washington, D.C.

Then, following the week, the entire senior class left for a retreat in Lancaster, where they shared their experiences about what they saw, learned and completed.

“It’s been a really valuable experience for our seniors in the past,” Vice Principal, Martin Wiens said. “We look forward to hearing the tales from this year’s class.”