Our Covid-19 Response
Upton Lake returned to school on Sept 9, 2020 with full in-person learning. We provide flexible remote learning options to meet the needs of all students who are unable to attend in person, whether for the duration or just temporarily due to illness or exposure. We have a plan for continuation of learning should we have to close our building temporarily at any time.
Our small community is blessed to be able to respond quickly, personally, and wisely. Thank you to the families who are so graciously adapting to the changes required in these times.
Our seven 2020 graduates were able to enjoy graduation inside the new EVFree sanctuary. On Saturday, July 18 at 10 am, they walked across the stage and received their hard-earned diploma in front of family and friends. The beautiful service emphasized Upton Lake's focus on Scripture, featuring our own Bible teacher and Chaplain, Zachariah Justice, as the speaker. Awards were presented by members of the faculty and administration, focusing on academic achievements as well as character and service. The valedictorian, Emma Gabor, and salutatorian, Jennifer Puhalski, shared words of wisdom and gratitude. As the Upton Lake Christian School class of 2020, 'the one with the pandemic,' goes out into the world to further their studies and/or work as unto the Lord, we pray they will continue to shine the light of Jesus into a generation in need of Him.
"To my fellow graduates, I encourage you to hold on to the many truths Upton Lake has taught us... The theology we have studied and many aspects of our faith that we have learned about needs to be shared with others... while offering grace and kindness at the same time.... I challenge each one of you as you step off this stage, that you remember you are not alone in these next steps. You not only have a family of believers but a God who unconditionally loves you and gives you all the strength you will ever need."
~ Emma Gabor, Valedictorian, ULCS '20
News from Our Blog
Fostering Family Devotionals
I could have easily titled this post, “How to Create Turmoil at Dinner.” I am not a very idealistic person, but I had this vision of my family gathered around the dinner table. Everyone satisfied and content after a home cooked meal. I clear my throat, open the Bible and every eye turns to me and my kids listen intently as I read from God’s word. We then have an age appropriate discussion applying the text to our hearts, followed by heartfelt prayers and a singing of Kumbaya. The kids politely ask to be dismissed from the table and get ready for bed in a spirit of quiet reflection. End scene.
What really happens is as soon as I reach for the Bible every child becomes one of three things – a clown with the antics (and voice) to draw a crowd in the middle of Time Square on New Year’s Eve, a condemned criminal crying out for freedom on her way to the gallows, or a sufferer of chronic fatigue syndrome that …can’t seem …to …keep…his head…off…the table…from…sheer…exhaustion. My warm family scene has turned into what I can only assume, is an average day in an institution for the criminally insane. Maybe this just reflects bad parenting, but if this scene looks anything like anything seen at your house, I believe there is hope.
Don’t own what isn’t ours to own. We are responsible to instruct our kids. Deut. 6:7 says, “Impress them (God’s ways) on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” We are called to create an environment that encourages spirituality but we cannot make them spiritually minded. We are commanded to teach, but we can’t make them learn. We are called to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and to do so openly, but we can’t force belief. As parents, we have a tendency to take too much credit for our kids failures and successes. Let’s remember we aren’t the Holy Spirit. It’s His job to open eyes and awaken souls.
Have Realistic Goals. Christian school kids have a unique scenario that many of us may not realize: they are surrounded by God talk all day long. As a parent and the Bible teacher at Upton Lake, I am grateful for the privilege of Bible class every day, chapel every week and Scripture memory tests every quarter, but let’s not forget our kids may experience it differently. So 9 out of 10 devotionals may not have the desired impact but there may be that 1 which sparks a conversation. Tons of verses will go right over their heads, but there will be that one verse which you will have opportunity to provide some clarification on (for example, after reading part of Luke 2 I was able to explain that Jesus wasn’t the constellation of Israel but the consolation of Israel and why that matters.) At the very least, it models and reveals our hearts for the Lord before our children.
Practical suggestions. The following are some suggestions I have seen and heard work. Experiment with what works for you and your family.
1. Keep it short. By the end of the day, most of our attention spans have been long exhausted. If something sparks conversation, great but there is no need to run anything into the ground. It isn’t the one 60 minute conversation that deeply impacts, it’s the 60 1 minute conversations that deeply impact. There is always tomorrow.
2. Bribery is my friend. Usually we don’t do dessert until after our devotional. If said clown, criminal and chronic fatigue sufferer can’t stay focused then his or her dessert will be waiting for them tomorrow.
3. Vary up the format. We rotate between devotional ideas. I recommend Keys for Kids. It’s an easy to use app with fresh devotionals every day. There is a suggested Scripture to read, a brief story, a key verse and a take away idea. Other days we read sections out of the Gospels and listen to the word of God, uncommented and unexpanded. Some days we use a yearly family devotional and just go off the date we happen to be on. God varied up His approach to instructing His people, we can too.
Keep at it. How many years did it take for Samson to call on the name of the Lord in humility? How many months did it take for David to repent of his sin with Bathsheba? How many steps on the road to Emmaus did it take for the disciples to understand the Messiah “had to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” God is patient with us, let’s be patient with those we love the most. Here at Upton Lake we are seeking to join you in teaching to transform lives. Most of the lasting transformative moments happen outside of the classroom. The dinner table is a good place to start.
Kindergarten Prep at Upton Lake Christian School is a place where children learn through play. We do this through:
- Sensory fun
- Letter recognition and sound
- Numbers, shapes and colors
- Writing and fine motor skills
- Building social skills
- Reading and story telling
- But most importantly, discovering the love of God through Christ!
A sight we have become all too familiar with - faces tiled on our screen. But this meeting was one of our daily Chapels with Mr. Huffman!
Dual Enrollment English at Davis College
ULCS is grateful to have successfully implemented a dual enrollment English class from Davis College. Our seniors have the option of completing their high school English while at the same time completing college English 101 and 102. Our high school English teacher, Renee Smith, is the teacher of record and collaborates with the English department at Davis College, using their curriculum.
We spoke with 2 graduates from last year's class: Chloe Yerger and Nadya Kruger. Both appreciated the college level paper writing skills they acquired. The credits also allowed them to skip ahead to classes in their major, reducing workload and giving them an edge.
"It helped me manage the fast-paced nursing program here at SUNY Plattsburgh." ~ Chloe Yerger, '19
"I was able to dive right into main credit courses for my major." ~ Nadya Kruger, '19
The Christmas Art Show and Pageant
The Upton Lake Christian School community was blessed by our annual Christmas Pageant and Art Show on Friday evening, December 7, 2018. The evening began with a time to view artwork done by students from all grades.
Mrs. Germano, our new art teacher, presented students work in drawing, painting, and sculpture. She has been an incredible asset to the art program this year and her passion to work with the students clearly shines through the joy she brings to her classroom each week.
The pageant, conducted by our music teacher, Mrs. Marrine, was a simple yet powerful reminder that the story of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem IS the reason we have such hope. The Roger Emerson and John Jacobson pageant, “On Our Way To Bethlehem”, was filled with joyful music and adorable animals all sharing of the story at the manger. All of the students from the elementary school participated, singing songs with featured solos by select students. The pageant also featured the high school worship team consisting of 7th-12th graders growing in their gifts to lead worship through song. It was a wonderful way to share in the praise of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
ACSI Leadership Conference
Six ULCS students traveled to Washington, D. C. to attend the re:Purpose, the ACSI Leadership Conference, November 24-26. Over 835 students from Christian schools around the east coast were in attendance. This group of young leaders was hand selected based on academics, community involvement and enthusiastic desire to make the world a better place.
The conference speakers addressed topics such as: spiritual well-being, putting our God-given gifts into action, being "all in for God". The students were encouraged to glorify God with their lives. Speaker and student discussions allowed for self-reflection and a chance to use what they learned to impact their school and community.
While in Washington D.C. the students toured the Smithsonian and Holocaust Museum. The general consensus from the team was that the trip was educational, impactful and a great chance to see our nation's capital.
"One perk of being a small school is that we are not only a school community but a family. This family has never failed to encourage each other in bad times, laugh with each other in the good times, and push each other to become better... Yes, this school has brought me great memories, amazing friends, academic knowledge, life lessons, and much much more, but the most important thing is how it aided me in making my faith my own."
~ Jennifer Puhalski, Salutatorian, ULCS '20