I’ve blogged about music at Bethel many times before, and for good reason. Music is a huge part of campus life with a large portion of the student body involved in choir, wind ensemble, jazz band or orchestra. The end of the semester brings many concerts, including Masterworks, the annual mass choir performance. The choir is made up of the Concert Choir, Men’s Ensemble, Women’s Chorus and community members.
Usually the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony performs with the choir but this year the program on Sunday included James Syler’s Symphony No. 1 ‘Blue’ which uses a wind ensemble instead of a string and wind group. The wind ensemble, comprised of students, community members and professionals, also performed Maslanka’s Symphony No. 4.
As a member of the wind ensemble, I was very excited to be a part of the concert this year. We had been preparing the pieces since March. The Maslanka piece in particular was huge-both musically and in number of players. A symphony written for wind ensemble is rare, and this one in particular is spectacularly awesome and worth looking up online.
The performance in Memorial Hall was unforgettable. For one thing, there is no air conditioning in the performance hall so that made everything more exhausting. With 80-some performers in the wind ensemble and 200+ including the chorus, the sound was incredible.
Masterworks happens every year. It’s a staple in Bethel’s musical tradition, but this year was particularly spectacular.
Yesterday’s full moon was the largest and brightest of the year, due to its close proximity to the earth. This is because the moon occupies an oval (rather than round) orbit. Several friends and I decided to go up to the telescope on the Krehbiel Science Center to try and view it. While we weren’t able to see many stars due to the light pollution from the moon, we did get to see the many craters and rifts on the moon’s surface. Unfortunately, the moon was so reflective that it blinded us for several minutes! Here are a few pictures of the campus from slightly different perspectives than what we’re all used to seeing. Keep in mind that these were all taken between midnight and 1am, and that no editing was done to enhance the lighting or color effects.
The week of April 16-20 was absolutely crazy! This was the third week of my “block” which means I am responsible for the entire day totally on my own. I have done the lesson planning and am supposed to carry out the week from beginning to end. The first two weeks of my block went very well and I feel comfortable in the classroom with my students. I really have the confidence necessary for me to teach next year! Whoo-hoo! The first two weeks were pretty tiring though, and I know I need to start getting more sleep. There’s just always so much to do what with lesson planning, prep, or grading to do after school plus working on the KPTP (Kansas Professional Teaching Portfolio, required by the State Department of Education for a teaching license), and don’t even get me started on how far behind schedule I am on wedding planning and shower thank you notes. There are just not enough hours in the day!
Some of the craziness of this week included an observation by my building’s principal. I found that I wasn’t nearly as nervous to have him in the classroom as I thought I would. I really appreciated the fact that he took the time to spend half an hour watching me teach and then 15 minutes the next day to visit about what he had seen and how I can become a better and more effective teacher. He used the same form and structure for his observation as he does with his yearly review of teachers, so I feel like when it comes time for my first observation next year in my own classroom.
It’s getting to the point in the semester where seniors are starting to panic a bit over what they’ll be doing after graduation. Many of us have found jobs and/or housing for the summer, and some have found both for the fall as well. Quite a few of us will be entering voluntary service of some sort in the fall, while others are getting married or starting careers. Among my modmates, two are getting married, two have plans for further education in the fall, another has a teaching job lined up, and the rest are continuing their search for employment. I just finalized my plans to move to Oakland, California in the fall to join a Catholic Worker house that works with Latin American immigrants and homeless, so I’m feeling significantly less stress today than I was yesterday!
It’s also the point in the semester when we realize that we’re leaving Bethel. Many of us are ready and can’t wait to walk across the stage. Some, like me, are feeling nostalgic about the last four years, and aren’t quite ready to make the transition. But, ready or not, in two-and-a-half weeks, it will be here. Now we just have a multitude of papers, recitals, concerts, seminars, projects, exams, and finals to squeeze in before that day!
One of Bethel’s most active clubs, Student Alumni Association (SAA), puts on a Grandparents Day open to any grandparents of students. Students provide SAA with the addresses of grandparents and SAA sends out invitations. Grandparents come from all across the area and even from out of state to spend the day learning about what their grandchildren do.
After registering in the morning, grandparents are treated to a sampler of student performances. Then they join their grandchildren for convocation, lunch and possibly afternoon classes.
My grandparents are unusual in the fact that all four of their grandchildren go to Bethel. As an added bonus they are also Bethel grads themselves and huge fans of everything Bethel.
Grandparents day is an important way for students to connect with their grandparents and for grandparents to learn about the college.
Spring brings on many stresses with projects, concerts, seminars and finals looming on the horizon, but one week has all sorts of fun activities as well. Spring Fling week consists of various fun activities like a water fight, an Iron Chef competition, powderpuff football, a movie awards competition and last but definitely not least, Mudslam.
Mudslam is a mud volleyball tournament open to all students, faculty, staff and alumni. Teams of 8 with 6 playing at a time face off in the mud pit. With 28 teams this year, the tournament took most of the afternoon on Sunday. There is always a make-up date in case of rain or extreme cold, but we played in some pretty cold weather this year.
Since a major portion of campus participates, the emphasis is less on athletic ability and more on having fun getting very dirty. The mud proves difficult to have an actual game happen. The winners get a 50 dollar Pizza Hut gift card for winning, so there is an incentive to play well.
It’s Senior Seminar Season!! That wonderful time of the year when the campus community is invited to a variety of presentations with titles such as:
- Personality and Perspective: The Effects of Having a Sibling with a Disability
- Branding in Higher Education and Its Effective Application in Television Advertisement: A Bethel College Case Study
- A simple analysis of trends in giving
- Erasure: a process of creation through destruction
- Revision and the Writing Workshop: Editing Our Selves as Therapy
- The Effectiveness of Retrofit Wall Insulation Using a Bethel College Dormitory as an Example
- Peace or Persecution? Mennonites in the Holocaust
- The Panama Canal and the United States-Panamanian Relations It Created
- The Use of Morpholino Oligos in the Controlled Gene Expression of Prion Protein (PrP-1) in Danio rerio
- 2D Video Game Landscaping: From Generation to on-the-fly Isometrism
- Gathering ‘Round to Vision the Future: A Closer Look at Western District Conference and South Central Conference’s Reactions to the Gather ‘Round Sunday School Curriculum and the Next Denominational Curriculum
“9:00 appointments. It’s time for 9:00 appointments. Proceed to the gym if you have a 9:00 appointment. ”
I joined the crowd of professionally dressed college students rushing down the hall to the gym. The crowd was nervously straightening skits and blazers as they tried to smile at classmates while sizing up the competition moving down the hall with them. It was ACCK’s [Associated Colleges of Central Kansas which Bethel is a part of] annual Teacher Interview Day.
We were told that registration for Teacher Interview Day would open on a certain day at 5:00pm. I made sure I was home early that day, sitting in front of my computer, and logged onto the website at 5:00 sharp (registration didn’t open until 5:02 according to the clock in my kitchen and on my computer by the way). I had already looked through the list of school districts that would be at the event to see who I would be interested in meeting with. In class we were told to sign up for as many interviews as possible in order to get our names out and gain experience interviewing. I decided that 9 interviews would really be enough for me even though we could sign up for more.
Bethel’s motto of “Seek, serve, grow” is lived out by its students every day, but every spring we set out one day to focus on the middle of that motto. On Service Day, daytime classes are cancelled so that students, faculty and staff can participate in a variety of service projects.
The projects range from on-campus service to working at Newton area agencies and traditionally a group also goes out to Camp Mennoscah, a Mennonite church camp about an hour away.
The projects are organized so that students can spend anywhere from one hour to the whole day on a project. The Camp Mennoscah group lasts until late afternoon, while many on campus projects are finished by lunch. This year projects included painting an equipment shed, cleaning windows, painting other things on campus, working at the homeless shelter and women’s shelter, and many others.
While service is not required of students, the community atmosphere highly encourages it. It’s hard to not join in when all of your friends are out giving back to the community!
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and a lot has happened. Spring was right on the horizon back already at the end of February and now it’s in full swing. Spring break has come and gone and we are officially on the downhill side of the semester.
This would seem like a good thing, but it actually means that the honeymoon period of each class is over and the time for projects, term papers and cumulative tests is approaching. The library has a growing population each day, and Mojo’s Coffee Bar is gaining customers as some students are realizing the benefits of caffeine when studying for a test.
Seniors are presenting seminars after months of stress, so gradually the campus is becoming a calmer place to be for a week or two before final exams begin. The end is in sight!