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5 More ULCS Graduates

Our five latest graduates celebrated their accomplishments on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Pictured above are: Hannah Gertling, Mrs. DeWitt, Ethan Karaman, Mrs. Greer, Isabella Lictro, Justin Puhalski, Mr. Justice, Alex Scheduling, Mr. Barton and Ms. Smith.

Highlights from our 2022 Graduation Speaker, Mr. Danny Ecker:

Proverbs Chapter 9 describes a decision point. In every decision we can choose God's way or the world's way - and both look attractive.

Mr. Ecker challenged the graduates (and all of us) to not wait until we arrive at that fork in the road. The world has a way of making their way look very inviting: "Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!" (Proverbs 9: 17)

As our PE teacher and coach, his illustration came from baseball, of course! A baseball player trains and practices, and then in the game he hits the ball. He doesn't have to stop and think about which way to run. It's so ingrained, he drops the bat and runs to first base. Our choice for God's way should be so ingrained in us we don't even have to stop and think.

This is what we do at Upton Lake. From Bible verse memorization, class discussions, Bible classes every year, and individual discussions with teachers to help build a strong foundation. Our prayers go with you, graduates, as you head out on the next phase of your journey!

Senior Chapels

Every spring, seniors look forward to the chance to share their thoughts with the student body in a Chapel message. For some, this is a scary moment of public speaking. For others, it's a chance to share their heart as they reflect on their years at ULCS and what God has taught them.

Some students choose to dig into a passage of Scripture. Others might present from their senior research for Bible class. However they use their time, it's memorable for them - and for their peers!

Pictured below are three of this year's seniors - known as "the guys" - after their presentations on May 3, and the two women who presented on May 17.

News from Our Blog


Summer Reading

June 15, 2021
By Guest: Renee Smith

Why Summer Reading?
Renee Smith 
ULCS high school English teacher 

The school year is drawing to a close. The days are growing warmer, and the sun is shining longer. It’s the perfect time of year to head outdoors. 

This is the signal for English teachers everywhere to assign summer reading. 

(Cue groans from students and resigned sighs from parents.)

Considering all the advances in modern education, why do educators still follow this old-fashioned practice of requiring students to read books over the summer months? 

Everyone knows that summer reading helps improve vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. 

Yet did you know that reading—specifically reading fiction—improves our brains in other ways as well? 

When we read a text book or listen to a lecture, the language parts of our brains work alone to decode meaning. However, when we read literature, more of our brain is activated. 

Reading fiction activates any parts of our brains related to the events of the story. So to some degree, we live the stories we read. This can create a long-lasting impact on our brains. 

Scientists at Emory University proved this through a study they held using college students as subjects. First, researchers instructed college students to read 30 pages of a novel. 

They then performed MRI scans on those students’ brains. The researchers discovered that for five days after that one reading session, the students’ brains showed higher activity in the temporal cortex. This is the part of the brain that controls how receptive we are to language. 

Thus, reading fiction helped the college students perform better in subject areas not related to literature. 

Other studies have shown that reading fiction improves theory of mind as well. Theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to ourselves and others. 

Theory of mind is what leads us to an understanding of the beliefs, desires, and intentions of others, especially those that are different from our own. Strengthening theory of mind can help us understand ourselves better and make us more empathetic to the humans around us. 

So why do we English teachers assign summer reading? 

Reading fiction improves brain connectivity, enhances how the brain performs in many subject areas, sharpens our ability to understand ourselves and others, and deepens our feelings of compassion.

To me that sounds like summer reading for the win!


“The Surprising Power of Reading Fiction: 9 Ways It Makes Us Happier and More Creative.” Buffer, 

“Reading Fiction Improves Brain Connectivity and Function.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 

“The Effect of Reading Fiction on the Brain: Do Books Increase Empathy?” Cognition Today, 

"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

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