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Holy Child Offers ‘Minimester, Volume II’

Fourteen topics fill innovative program.

HC Campus Minister Jean Plummer discusses Christianity and Harry Potter.

HC Campus Minister Jean Plummer discusses Christianity and Harry Potter. Photo Contributed

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Kelly Omatada works on cross-stitching.

— Tea was served and whist was played as if Jane Austen herself were in the room. Links between Harry Potter, World War II and Christianity were explored. Students delved into personal finance, creative writing, performing arts audition techniques — and even visited the “Little Butterfly of the Caribbean” — the island of Guadeloupe.

“Minimester, Volume II” — an array of fascinating subjects and opportunities for learning exploration — took place on the Connelly School of the Holy Child campus on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Earlier in the week, juniors and seniors selected two classes to attend from 14 topics. When they arrived Wednesday morning, they received their assignments and hustled off to their classes. This is the second year that Holy Child has offered students a day to explore and learn in an innovative way.

Kathy Ely, director of communications for Holy Child explains how the school came up with the various topics: “Teachers were asked to complete a proposal form in the fall detailing a class that would provide them with an opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise on subjects that interest them and that are not traditionally taught in the regular curriculum. Topics had to be academic in nature and relatable

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Andrea Manchester practices auditioning – and is told to put her hands down at her side.

to current course offerings. Teachers have been preparing for their courses since November, but some have been preparing for years in their personal lives — and will meld those interests and skills with that of their academic disciplines. They enjoy combining their passions with their profession.”

Students commented that they love the day because it is different from their usual routine and it gives the teachers a chance to teach something they are really interested in. Teachers Kathleen Jensen and Katie Moylan presented, “A Day With the Austens. “In our regular classes, we don’t have time to delve into the fun things in Pride and Prejudice,” said Jensen. “The girls really loved learning the period dances, cross-stitching, etiquette and whist — and, of course the scones and tea.”

The most popular course was “Phantoms in the Brain.” Teacher Jen Sutton, who teaches biology-related subjects focused on how human brains process information; she discussed the parts and regions of the brain, how the brain controls our perceptions and senses, what happens if something goes wrong in the brain — and more.

Students learned about the Caribbean island of French-speaking Guadeloupe from Holy Child teacher Carol Dorlipo who explored the geography, history, climate and culture of her native country. Barry Rosenberg, who came to teaching from a career as a businessman and entrepreneur brought his real-life experience to the personal finance course and Holy Child campus minister Jean Plummer discussed links between the Harry Potter saga and World War II and Christianity.

Other topics included in the Minimester were: Creative Writing Workshop, The Herstory of the Church, Reading Strategies, Adolescent Depression Awareness Program, Female Leadership, Applications of Excel: Personal Financial Budgeting, Stolen Treasures: The Lost Art of WWII, Performing Arts Audition Workshop and Shakespeare in Action.

“It’s exciting, because I have several hours to explore a topic with students,” said Jensen. “It often ignites a spark in the student to go further and learn more. It’s a chance to teach in learn in a totally different way.”