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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.

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Update: 1/2/21 We are carefully watching the state mandates related to schools and monitoring symptoms and exposure as reported by parents. School was remote from Jan 4-8 and returned to in-person on Monday, Jan 11. Parents, please notify the school nurse, Marianne Bridges, as soon as possible if your student develops symptoms or you have a change in exposure.

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How to Think Like Da Vinci with a Christian Worldview

December 09, 2020
By Guest Author: Elliot Hawk, Art teacher

How to Think Like Da Vinci With A Christian Worldview 

Greetings Everyone! Mr.Hawk here with an Art Journey To Further God’s Kingdom! I believe God has endowed us all with a reverence for his masterful handiwork and craftsmanship which is infused into his creation. Ecclesiastes 3:11 Throughout all of history there have been many great minds, thinkers and creative artisans in various disciplines that astound us with how they reflect God’s creativity and wonder. As the body of Christ I believe it is an absolute joy for us to explore and learn from these master artisans and how they wrangled order out of chaos in their own unique ways. 

In the book How to Think Like Da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb, we learn of 7 principles that Da Vinci incorporated into his artistic worldview. It’s a magnificent read and one that I cannot recommend enough for those looking for gems of wisdom more precious than rubies. Proverbs 8:11. 

Although the book itself does not focus on a Christian perspective, I believe there are many parallels to our own individual walks with Christ and how we can learn to grow and mature in our role in God's Kingdom. Here are the seven principles of How To Think Like Da Vinci, as well as my own interpretation of the concept from a Christian perspective. I pray that you may find some usefulness in the concepts I will explore below: 

1 Curiosita (Curiosity) 

Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus tells us to Ask, Seek, Knock and the door will be opened to us. This verse has always stuck with me as a reminder that our decision to actively engage in seeking answers to our questions in our faith should always be done with a childlike curiosity and an unapologetic vigor. I am amazed by the great mysteries God has placed in this universe, I am happy to continue to explore his creation with curiosity and wonder. 

2 Dimostrazione (Demonstrate) 

John 15:5-8 - Jesus speaks about being the True Vine and that abiding in the will of the father will cause us to produce good fruit. Furthermore, that by this fruit we will prove to be His disciples. You see, the lesson I have learned from this, is that we demonstrate our faith and thus further the kingdom of heaven by acting out what we know to be true. We must Love one another as Jesus commands and that requires a demonstration, not in Ego, but by the grace of God to our fellow man. 

3 Sensazione (Senses) 

In the book, How to Think Like Da Vinci, Sensazione is the use of all 5 of our senses and a call to refine them in order to further enhance our understanding of what we are drawing. For me, I made the connection to Romans 12:2 which calls us to renew our mind. All of our senses are processed and refined through our mind. Thus by testing and refining our senses we may better discern the will of God. 

4 Sfumato (Smoke or Vapor) 

In the book of Ecclesiastes we are met with a very cynical phrase that Life is Meaningless. But when we look to the Hebrew word for that, there is a metaphor that we miss here. The word meaningless is derived from the Hebrew word Hevel, which alludes to Smoke or Vapor. In this regard I make a connection between Da Vinci’s brush stroke technique called Sfumato which was also described as smoke or vapor. So like smoke, life is confusing and disorienting at times, it is murky and hard to see the long road ahead. So what do we do? We rest in the knowledge that God has a plan for us and we must simply focus on what is directly in our control and know that God has got us covered. 

5 Arte & Scienza (Art & Science) 

This is Da Vinci’s principle of whole-brain-thinking which means integrating all subjects into an Artistic project or exercise. As an Art Teacher, this one is particularly interesting to me as I love connecting Art to other subjects. I am also reminded of the first few verses of 2 Peter 1:3-5 which tells us to make every effort to supplement our faith with virtue, and our virtue with knowledge. 

6 Corporalita (Corporeal / Physical Fitness) 

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 we are met with a straightforward truth, that everyone runs in a race, but only one receives the prize. In order for us to achieve all that God has called us to achieve we must discipline ourselves not only in mind, but in body as well. Leonardo Da Vinci was known to be very agile and fit. I truly believe that we can benefit greatly from remembering to take care of our physical bodies. 

7 Connessione (Connection) 

In Ephesians 4 we are shown a call for unity within the church. We are connected as one body, the body of Christ. So we must remember that we never have to go it alone, we each can help one another and further God’s Kingdom and let his glory shine by our actions as one connected body. 

So there you have it! It may have been just a simple book review with my own interpretation of it, but for me it has been a daily walk with my Lord, Savior and best friend Jesus Christ; we nerd out together about Art History and all the beautiful handiwork that surrounds us daily. From the Classical Artists to modern Computer User Interface Design. From Branding and Advertising Graphics, all the way to Graffiti and the Architecture of the buildings it’s done on. It is an absolute pleasure for me to share this with you in a hope that you may look out to the sun set one evening, stop for a moment and appreciate God’s brush strokes masterfully displayed across the sky. Thank you all and God Bless. 

- Mr. Hawk

Links: 

HOW TO THINK LIKE DA VINCI BOOK

VIDEO PRESENTATION BY MICHAEL J. GELB

Mr. Hawk's video of the 7 key principles of "How to Think Like DaVinci" by Michael J. Gelb 

Kindergarten Prep

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 Concert - Virtual version

The Upton Lake Christian School community was blessed by our annual Christmas Concert in a virtual format. Our music teacher, Mrs. Koepp, conducted the elementary students in a variety of Christmas songs. Our new art teacher, Mr. Hawk, filmed and edited their performances. Families from near and far were able to join us for an online viewing party.

Our chaplain, Mr. Justice, reminded us of the power of God with us, Emmanuel. In a time of social distancing, we can appreciate even more that God came to be with us and live amongst us.

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