Thursday, 5 November 2009

Academy Open House...

Last night was the Academy Open House here on the ship. For those of you who don't know, the Academy is the school onboard the Africa Mercy. And last night they opened their doors for the whole crew to get a taste of what the students are learning. There were science experiments, Judo demonstrations, and many examples of writing and artwork.

With around fifty ship-kids (children of long-term crew members) onboard, the Academy plays a key role on the ship. It is staffed by teachers from many different countries, including South Africa, Scotland, America and Canada. And today I want to focus on five of those teachers.

Ben Calvert is from Scotland and is the PE Specialist in the Academy. Through the sports and games he teaches, the children improve hand-eye coordination, as well as learn motivation, ball skills and healthy competition. Ben enjoys the fact that "with so few kids, you really get to know them." It's always nice having small classes that facilitate a solid teacher-student relationship.

"The most special thing [about working on the ship] is just the fact that all the kids are from all over the world and they all come with very unique, interesting experiences." This is what Danae Johnston of Canada enjoys about teaching 2nd Grade on the Mercy Ship. It certainly is the many different nationalities that make the Academy - and indeed Mercy Ships - such a special part of God's kaleidoscope. Danae (left) and Christina, Science teacher (right).

Christina Orman of California, USA is the Junior High and High School Science Specialist onboard the Africa Mercy. Christina also sees the value in a small class, and when asked what she finds most special in working here, she stated that it is really enjoyable "working with multicultural staff and students in a small environment and being able to build relationships that inspire and influence them to draw closer to the Lord."

"Being able to talk about Jesus without having to guard my words." This is what Haley Nichols of Alabama, USA enjoys about working onboard the ship, when comparing teaching here with teaching back home. Haley is the 4th and 5th Grade teacher onboard, and also teaches 6th Grade Social Studies. For her, being able to pray with her students is also very special. Haley is at right in the photo here.

Kindergarten teacher Estelle Pretorius from Cape Town, South Africa, also sees the value in being able to speak freely about her faith. "You can relate everything back to God - in terms of their behaviour and social interaction, their values."

With such dedicated teachers and Academy staff, it is clear that the students are receiving an education which meets the highest standard and level when compared to schooling in America, Europe, South Africa or any other country, for that matter. The students - and the crew - are truly blessed to have such wonderful teachers on this Ship of Mercy.

1 comment:

Lesley-Ann said...

Thanks for sharing this, praying for you all Lesley-Ann (Ben's Mum)