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A Dream Come True

February 08, 2017
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

It was old and tired. When it was young and new there were many good years, but now it sagged in places. The lines blurred into new wrinkles and ruts. Its once clear complexion was now pock marked and faded. A face-lift was considered but it was too late for that. The asphalt track had come to the end of its storied life.

It had seen a lot through the years. There were two individual state champions, Nathan Holden twice in the 3200 and Bobbi Labrandt in the pole vault. There have also been many other state qualifiers that won medals for placing in the top eight. There was Diane Weaver’s broken jaw. Numerous homecoming parades circled it that included convertibles, firetrucks, tow trucks, busses, 4 wheelers, motorcycles and boats. For several years it was the home to the Race for Education fundraiser. It was even responsible for a couple of broken arms on football players whose cleats slipped when running on it.

Yesterday, IRCS was able to host a middle school track meet for the first time in three years. It has been four years since we have hosted a varsity track meet. After a total renovation of the track, we were able to welcome 15 middle school teams to the Eagle’s Nest. The event was well run and enjoyed by all who attended.

We will be hosting a varsity meet on Thursday of this week that will include 11 teams. This is a special meet called the Lipham Relays. This event was named in memory of Coach Lance Lipham who coached here and many years at Keswick Christian School. We will also be hosting the Class 1A Region 2 track meet that is the qualifier for the State track meet to be held at the IMG Academy in Bradenton in May.

For our track athletes, this is truly a dream come true. Feel free to come out and see it for yourself.


An Amazing Weekend

January 30, 2017
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

This past weekend the Fine Arts Department of Indian Rocks Christian School staged three performances of Singin’ In The Rain. The reviews have been fabulous. Once again our students have pooled their talents to provide a synergy that allowed them to perform a difficult musical at an incredibly high level.

It is one thing to have students that excel at acting, or singing, or even dancing; but to accomplish all three of these so well in one production is extraordinary. I tell people all the time how talented our students are and this weekend it once again showed to be true.

It is so hard to start the “thank you parade” without leaving someone out but I am going to make the attempt.

Thank you students for all of the hours and hours of hard work you put into rehearsals. Your dedication truly showed in the magnificent outcome. 

Thank you seniors for stepping up and providing the leadership to help make this an incredible success. Your abilities and experience helped to train the younger students in what success looks like.

Thank you rookie actors for trying out. This production had a number of students that were in their very first “big” production. You displayed awesome talent that will make our fine arts program shine for years to come.

Thank you chorus members. You don’t get a lot of recognition but what you did added so much to the musical. It couldn’t have been the same without you.

Thank you backstage and technical people. Your unselfishness to be willing to work behind the scenes allowed those on the stage to do their best.

Thank you to all the volunteers that built sets, painted, procured props, cleaned up, and did everything else necessary for success.

Last year at the conclusion of The Sound of Music, Mrs. June-Marie Rhine told us that she was going to need to step away from directing. As the head of the yearbook the deadlines and the workload fall at the same time period making it incredibly difficult to manage both. Or concern was that it would be very difficult to find someone that will continue the excellence that had been established. Class of 2015 grad, Carly Faller, served as June’s director last year. She was willing to step into the head position of Executive Director. So, you ask, wasn’t it a little scary to put the reins of a huge production into the hands of a 19 year old just two years removed from being in the musical? Normally I would say I was terrified except for the fact that Carly had proven herself through the years as an IRCS student and a coach. She has displayed exceptional ability, great organizational skills and a strong work ethic. She was also surrounded by well-seasoned help and a lot of experience. If you saw the show, you know that she did an outstanding job! Thank you, Carly! And thank you to the leadership team that helped her. Your skills all worked together for an end product that was phenomenal. 


History is Made

January 25, 2017
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

Every once in a while something will come down the pike that hasn’t ever happened before. You would think that after all of the years we would get to a point where there would be no surprises. Fat chance. The biggest question is whether it will be a good surprise or a bad surprise. We get both. This past week we were able to experience an IRCS first, and it was a good surprise.

This year IRCS will celebrate its 23rd graduating class. The school started in 1984 with a pre-school, kindergarten and first grade. They then added a grade each year until its first graduating class came through in 1995. When our 62 seniors of the class of 2017 don caps and gowns on May 19, IRCS will have had 1,154 students walk the aisle to receive our diploma. For the first time in our history, we have a three-way tie for the Valedictorian honor. We have had a two-way tie before for both the Valedictorian and the Salutatorian spots, but never a three-way tie for either.

Congratulations to Kristi Byun, Joshua Guzman, and Shannon Jones (in alphabetical order) for achieving and sharing this incredible honor each with a 4.459 grade point average (GPA). Our handbook states that a student must attend IRCS for at least their junior and senior year to qualify for this award, but these students go way beyond that. Shannon and Kristi have transcript entries from Kindergarten and Joshua’s begins with first grade. We would need to go back that far to find a difference in the grades for these three. (Fortunately the honor is only based on their 26 credits required for graduation.) I think it is safe to say that these three are definitely our product.

So you may be wondering how this whole thing works, I’m glad you asked. Our high school grading scale is a 4.0 system. An “A” in a class gets 4 points for their average, a “B” 3 points, a “C” 2 points, etc. Additionally, it awards higher grade points for more challenging classes. Thus, if a student takes an Advanced Placement (AP) class, they are awarded 5.0 points for an “A”. They also get one full extra point (or 5.0) per semester for Dual Credit (DC) classes taken in the areas of English, Math, or Science. All three of these students took the exact same number of 5.0 level classes. Honors classes in our grading scale are awarded 4.5 for an “A” or an extra .5 point per class per semester. Again, all three had the exact same number of Honors level classes. And of course, they all three got “A’s” in everything. What are the chances? The classes for each student are then hand figured to come up with final average. That is when we discovered the tie.

This year our senior class had seven students that were all within hundredths of a point of each other. So in a very close race, our Salutatorian honor goes to Lukas Miranda. Lukas currently has a 4.438. All four of these students have earned the honor of speaking at our graduation ceremony this May. You will want to be sure to put that on your calendar as it is always an incredible time of celebrating and honoring the graduates. It takes place May 19, at 7:00 pm in the Worship Center. Hope to see you there.


The Importance of Giving Back: IRCS Ministry Mester

December 21, 2016
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

The holidays are here!

Gift giving is a meaningful tradition that celebrates the birth of Jesus and reminds us of the presents given to him by the Wise Men. While it can be a Christ-honoring component of Christmas, it is easy to get wrapped up in material things over the holiday season. Children and teens are especially subject to product marketing, desiring the hottest items in stores and focusing heavily on what they will receive when Christmas morning comes around.

A Culture of Selflessness

At IRCS, we are proud to say that our students go against the grain in this regard. They are others-oriented and mission-minded during every season. We always notice this most throughout the month of December. During a time that can quickly become "all about me," our students focus on serving others and finding ways to impact the world for Christ.

Making Christmas Brighter for Those in Need

This year, students participated in four special Christmas giving opportunities. The Honor Societies led the middle and high school in our annual Christmas Community Outreach, and the third graders and K2 Preschool class also participated in special projects. Thanks to the generous hearts of IRCS students and families, our four projects included:

Providing Angel Boxes for teens in long-term foster care. This ministry is now in its 18th year at IRCS. Teens receive a Bible, encouraging notes, gift cards, school supplies, flash drive, toothbrush, toothpaste, and snack items.

Filling Christmas Stockings for elementary school students who have little food over school breaks and are part of the Pack-a-Sack food program. Now in its third year at IRCS, this outreach project puts a new book, encouraging notes, gift cards, school supplies, toothpaste and toothbrush, snack items, and a bookfair voucher in each stocking.

Blessing Bags for people without a home were created by IRCS third graders. These bags included toiletries, socks, and a Bible.

The K2 Preschool class collected diapers, wipes blankets, and toys for New Life Solutions, a ministry to assist Moms who face an unplanned pregnancy.

Ministry Mester

Many of our high school students are already gearing up for Ministry Mester — our annual mission trip program that sends teens out into the world to meet tangible and spiritual needs. IRCS students have brought the good news to 22 different countries and 11 states. In the spring of 2016, they visited states across the southeast, as well as Chicago and New York. We also sent teams to Honduras, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.

This year, we’re gearing up to send even more teams to local cities, other states, and countries around the world. Projects range from working with children in schools to building homes in underserved communities. While the nature of our students’ work varies, the goal is always the same: bringing the hope of Jesus to a place where it didn’t exist before.

Words From a Student Missionary

“The goal of every mission trip is to go and be a blessing to the people of the area you are visiting, but I can promise you that in some way or another you always come back being the one who was blessed. One of the many blessings that is inevitable about mission trips, is that you will make new friends, and get to share memories with those friends that will surely never be forgotten.” - Conner, IRCS Class of ‘16

Learn More About IRCS

If you are looking to develop strong character traits in your student, IRCS can partner with you. We have an academically excellent K-12 program while providing opportunities for students to develop their faith. When graduates leave our campus, they have established a lifestyle of service that will glorify God for years to come. Request more information today.

The Last Piece of the Puzzle

December 20, 2016
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

When I came to interview at Indian Rocks Christian School in February of 2001, one of the first things that Superintendent Joel Woodcock did was give me a tour of the facility. Almost everything about our physical plant was impressive, until we went outside to the sports complex. At that time it was a big dirt field. The first parent I met was the late Dean McMillan. He was out digging in a sprinkler system in the area that is now the softball field. There was an old set of bleachers facing the football field which did have lights and a black asphalt track around it but that was the extent of what we had at the time.

We had a baseball and softball field the next spring but no dugouts. Those came a few years later. Another needed renovation was the addition of the weight room. Our old weight room had used mismatched equipment and was stuck in the back corner of the building. A generous donation allowed us to convert what used to be our lunch room into a college class weight room. The next big project was to get new bleachers for the football field. The old ones had bolts that stuck up through the seat. If you weren’t paying attention, you could sit on one (not to comfortable). They also had no handicap accessibility. The new bleachers came with a press box (a huge improvement over the wooden platform that was there), a concession stand, and restrooms. Yes, we used to have to walk all the way up to the building to use the restrooms. This gave new meaning to the term “plan ahead”. Last year was one of great improvement as lights were added to the baseball and softball fields as well as permanent bleacher seating for each field. This opened up the world of night games for our students and families as well as being able to host District tournaments for these two teams.

Fast forward to today. I just walked our new rubberized track and it is all completed except for the lines. When I ran track in small town Iowa in the 1970’s, we ran on cinder tracks. I fell once running the high hurdles, it wasn’t a pretty sight. IRCS students now will be able to train and compete on a state-of-the-art surface. It will offer increased shock absorption, allow for faster times, and provide increased traction even in inclement weather. It will also allow us to host District and Regional track meets as well some home meets of our own (5 this next season). 

This is really the last piece of the puzzle for our athletic complex. My wife travels a lot to train teachers. When it is possible, I go along with her as the spouse. I have had the opportunity to see many Christian schools across the country. I would say (and this has been confirmed by folk from the Association of Christian Schools International) that our facility is in the top 10% in the country for Christian schools. It is truly amazing to see how God has blessed Indian Rocks Christian School through the years.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

Buckling Down Before Break: 6 Study Tips to Help You Do Well on Exams

December 12, 2016
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

‘Tis the season for fun festivities! Between Christmas parties, cookie baking, and gift exchanges, there’s a lot to distract your student from the other important events of December — final exams. With the holiday hustle and bustle, your family’s schedule may be looking more full than ever; however, carving out time for exam prep is critical to your student’s success. Consider these tips for buckling down before winter break to ensure exam grades reflect the hard work your child has put in all semester.

Twelve Days of Test Prep

Get creative and tie in the holiday themes. Consider setting study milestones and giving your child a small reward for the twelve days leading up to exams. They will be extra motivated, not only by the gifts, but by knowing their parents are engaged in the test preparation process.

Take Advantage of Time

Let’s face it — we’re always on the go. When you add holiday gatherings on top of regular commitments like school, activities, and doctor’s appointments, life gets a little crazy. Make the most of time stealers such as commutes and waiting rooms by encouraging your child to squeeze in some studying.

Talk With Teachers

If you’d like to learn more about how you can help your child prepare for an exam in a certain subject, just ask! Communication with teachers can make a huge difference. They may be able to provide a study guide or offer pointers for exam prep at home.

Find Balance

Final exam prep is an important area of focus for your family, but don’t neglect to take part in fun activities. Your child needs downtime where he or she can de-stress and unwind before a big week in the classroom.

Host a Study Group

Students may feel less motivated to study when they feel like they’re in it alone. Remind them that their peers are going through the same thing by hosting a study group in your home. Hot cocoa and snacks are sure to keep the positive energy rolling.

Rest and Recharge

Unfortunately the season of lights is also the season of sniffles. The last thing you need is a sick child on exam week. Make reasonable bedtimes a priority, even if studying has to get cut short; sleep is directly tied to immune function. Your child will likely get more benefits from adequate rest than an late-night cram session.

Learn More About IRCS

Indian Rocks Christian School, located in Pinellas County, FL, partners with parents to make the educational process fun and meaningful. If you are looking for a K-12 private school that puts families first, request more information today.

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