IRCS Blog Central

Subscribe To This Feed           New Post

Frankies Patriot BBQ and Memorial Day

May 22, 2017
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

Another school year is in the books. It was a good year here at IRCS. In fact, I would say it was a great year. We were able to celebrate an incredible amount of successes with our students and teachers. (The year’s successes will be another blog at another time. Now that school is out I have more time to write.) One of our annual end of the year activities with the teachers is post planning. This is where we debrief the year and begin strategizing for the next year. We always want to improve and be the best school that we can be for our students and their families. One of the traditions during this time is that on one of the days, we provide a lunch for our whole staff. Today we had our staff lunch catered by Frankies Patriot BBQ. So you may be asking, “Why is this important enough to write about?” I’m glad you asked, let me tell you.

Frankies Patriot BBQ is owned by Craig and Toni Gross. It is located at 6250 Ulmerton Road in Clearwater. Their restaurant was founded in memory of their son, Corporal Frank R. Gross who was Killed In Action on July 16, 2011 while serving his country in Afghanistan. This gets even more personal for us as Frankie was a Class of 2004 graduate here at Indian Rocks Christian School. A year later another member of the Class of 2004 was Killed In Action when Staff Sergeant Matt Sitton died in Afghanastan.

Through the years, I don’t think I ever really grasped the significance of patriotic holidays or the true meaning of Memorial Day. I was like many who viewed Memorial Day as a day off of school and later a day off of work as well as the beginning of summer. In the past few years that all changed for me when Frank and Matt died. Frank was killed after serving just one month in Afghanistan. Matt was killed one month before he was set to return from his third tour. Both were outstanding baseball players for the Golden Eagles. Frank set all of our baseball pitching records and Matt all of our hitting marks. Both went to the Dominican Republic on a baseball mission trip twice during high school. I had the privilege of handing both of them their high school diploma and giving the congratulatory hug that goes with it. Both went on to play college baseball. Both had a great sense of humor, loved life, and lived it to its fullest. Both had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and knew him as their Savior. To the families of Frank and Matt, Memorial Day has a much more significant meaning. Since the holiday began with the placing of flowers on the graves of soldiers, I thought it might be appropriate to share with you where Frank and Matt were laid to rest. When soldiers are deployed to a war zone they fill out a card of their last wishes. One of the preferences listed is where they would be buried in the event of being killed in action. Frank chose the hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery. Matt chose the serenity of the Memorial Garden, right here on the property of the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks.


On Memorial Day, the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks will be observing this holiday with a special service in our Fellowship Center. The service is scheduled to go from 10:00 - 11:00 am. We invite everyone to come out and be a part of this special time of rememberance.

To Frankies Patriot BBQ and the Gross family, the IRCS family says thank you for the great meal. The BBQ was some of the best I have ever had and it was delicious!

Craig and Toni Gross


The End is Near

May 17, 2017
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

Graduations – Two of our most noteworthy events of the year happen this week in the form of our Kindergarten and High School graduations.

Thursday evening at 7:00 will be the Kindergarten graduation. This event is always full of surprises. Come see the cutest kids ever in their little caps and gowns and hear what the class of 2029 wants to be when they grow up. You won’t be disappointed.

High School graduation will take place on Friday night beginning at 7:00. This ceremony is personal for each graduate as they finish their time at Indian Rocks. You will hear from each student that is graduating. Each of the parents will be introduced as well. Both our choir and our band will be performing special numbers prepared just for this ceremony. Our graduation is an incredible picture of what our school is attempting to accomplish through our mission and vision. If you are unable to attend graduation, or if you have friends or relatives that live too far away, it will be live-streamed and can be viewed from anywhere you have computer access. The feed can be found by going to the school’s website and clicking on the IRCS Live button.

2018 Trip Opportunities – If you are interested in the 8th Grade Washington DC trip or the Germany/Austria/Italy Summer Europe trip (open to all IRCS families) for the 2017-18 school year, there is a discount if you sign up early. Both of these trips are great opportunities to see these destinations from an educational (and fun) setting. Students that have completed 8th grade can earn credit for participation in the Summer Europe trip. The itineraries and sign-up information for both trips can be found on our school website under the “Campus Life” dropdown. Don’t miss out on a chance to save money.

Memorial Day Service – This is actually a church event, not a school event. The Memorial Day service has grown through the years and is a great way to honor those who have fallen in battle. This service will be held in the Fellowship Center at 10:00 am on Memorial Day, May 30.

Summer Camps – IRCS offers a variety of summer camp opportunities for all age groups. A brochure that details the dates, times, costs, etc. for all of our summer activities is available on the school website. Look under “News and Events” in the lower right hand corner and click on Summer Camp Schedule.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Summer Reading – As always, students will have a summer reading requirement specific to their grade level. The library will be open two days this summer for students to take tests over books they have read. Wednesday, June 14th and Wednesday, August 2nd the library will be open from 11:00 – 1:00 and 5:00 – 7:00 for your test taking enjoyment.

Next Year - Thank you for a great school year! We hope you enjoy your summer and are looking forward to the excitement of the new school year in August. School begins on Wednesday, August 9. The parent orientation night has been retooled and will be combined Pre K – 12 orientation. This will take place in the Worship Center on Monday, August 7 at 6:30 pm. The 6-12 grade New Student breakfast will be Tuesday, August 8 at 9:00 am in the choir room of the MS/HS building. This will be followed by our campus wide Open House from 11:00 – 1:00.

Have a great summer!

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month — 7 Ways Athletics Impact Students

May 15, 2017
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

When kids are involved with school sports, they experience benefits on the field and off. In fact, studies show that student-athletes will enjoy the benefits of physical fitness far beyond their school years.

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month — a time to raise awareness about the value of physical activity for all ages! At Indian Rocks Christian School (IRCS), we believe that an active lifestyle adopted in childhood can provide lifelong benefits. Getting involved with school sports is a fun way to stay healthy, but it’s about so much more than physical activity. Here are seven ways lives are changed through athletics at IRCS.


When students join a team, they receive constant mentoring from their coaches and captains. These positive role models not only influence them through sportsmanship, they can be a listening ear through successes and struggles beyond the game.


Joining an athletic team requires students to step up to the plate in more ways than one. With commitments of practices, games, and other team events, students must learn to manage their time and prioritize other responsibilities, such as homework or community service.


As part of a team, students learn to collaborate and work toward a common goal. They benefit immensely from having a unique role on the team, whether it be in leadership or a supporting role. Team members lose the “me” attitude and experience the value of unity.


When playing on a sports team, students learn to represent their school and community in a positive way. Students realize that they are a part of something bigger than themselves, and as a result, they experience the honor and responsibility of representing their community.


There are many different kinds of leadership opportunities in athletics. Older, more seasoned players have the opportunity to coach younger players. Everyone on the team develops leadership characteristics, such as listening, respect, and self-confidence.

Academic Performance

Many parents worry that joining a sports team will negatively affect their child’s grades. Studies have shown this is not the case. Athletics help students develop a mindset of determination and drive that transfers to other areas of life, including academics.

Overall Health

Sports obviously keep students active, which contributes to better physical health. But playing on a team is actually beneficial to a student socially, emotionally, and spiritually, too.  If good leadership is in place, players can develop healthy mindsets and strong focus.

Learn About Athletics at IRCS

Indian Rocks Christian School offers 45 athletic teams in 16 different sports. Athletics are central to our mission and provide opportunities for students to grow in countless ways. To learn more about life on campus, download our lookbook now.


Choosing the Right College: A Quick Guide for High School Seniors

April 17, 2017
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

Spring is an important season for high school seniors. By this time, many of our students are starting to receive college acceptance letters. Some will be offered admission to more than one of their top choices.

This is a great problem to have, but still, the decision process isn’t easy.

Along with their parents and guidance counselors, students have to consider many different factors when choosing the college that is best suited for them. This is a big commitment, and one of the most important decisions a young person will ever make. If the responsibility to choose seems a little overwhelming, simplify it by analyzing options across the following areas.


The difference between small classrooms and large lecture halls may have a huge impact on your learning experience. Consider which environment you believe would serve you best. If you benefit from personal attention from your instructor, a smaller college may be a better fit.


It may be wise to revisit all of the schools to which you were admitted to get a better feel for the community on campus. Can you picture yourself here? Do you connect with the student body? Don’t hesitate to strike up conversation with current students or professors on your campus visits. They are your best resources for learning what the culture is like.


You may be undecided on a college major, but go ahead and make a short list of programs you would consider pursuing. Look at the strength of each of these programs at the school. It is very important that their offerings align with your passions and future career goals. After all, the purpose of college is to prepare you for a lifetime of doing what you are called to do.


You probably already have a general idea of tuition at each of the schools to which you’ve applied; however, a secondary cost assessment might be wise. Consider out-of-pocket expenses, loans, and financial aid. Be aware of scholarships or merit-based discounts you may be able to apply. Running the numbers again and again before making a final commitment is always wise.


The proximity of your college to home may play a role in your overall happiness there. Can family and friends easily visit you? Will you be able to travel home for holidays and breaks without financial strain? Additionally, consider things like climate and urbanicity. If you love warm weather, a school up north may have you feeling cooped up. If you love city life, a school situated in a small college town may not provide the opportunities you’re looking for.

College Prep Matters

IRCS is a private college-prep school in Pinellas County, FL. We equip students to succeed in college and beyond through excellent academics, exciting activities, and Christian education. Our 100% graduation rate and 90-100% four-year college attendance rates are testaments to our program. With 75 percent of students enrolled in Honors, AP, or Dual-Enrollment College Classes, the culture at IRCS motivates students to prepare for the next step in higher education.

Four Ways to Ace Achievement Tests

April 10, 2017
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

Ask any student what their favorite part of springtime is, and they will undoubtedly say achievement testing. ;)

OK — maybe spring sports, outdoor activities, and a nearing summer vacation would rank higher on the list.

However, with a little planning and prep, achievement testing certainly doesn't need to be a dreaded event. Helping students see the importance of their scheduled exams and equipping them to excel can remove the negative feelings.

Help Students Understand the Why

Just the idea of a standardized test can be demoralizing for some students. “How can someone measure everything I’ve learned by one test?” they ask.

Understand that an objective achievement test is as much for measuring the success of the school as the student. Tests can provide important information about teaching methods and knowledge retention, ensuring classroom initiatives are moving in the right direction.

Don’t Take Studying Too Far

This may come as shocking advice to some students and parents, but going overboard on studying for achievement tests can be counter-productive.

Of course, it’s always wise to review material for a little while each day leading up to the exam, but cramming in the immediate days and nights before will only cause stress, a lack of sleep, and compromised performance on the exam.

Review Test-Taking Strategies

Students should brush up on test-taking tips and develop strategies to help them make the most of their testing time.

Some examples include reading the entire question carefully, using the process of elimination to answer, leaving unknowns blank and making educated guesses at the end, and reviewing all work if time allows.

Start the Day Off Well

The events leading up to the test can have a huge impact on student performance. Studies show that getting good sleep the night before makes a big difference.

Students should dress comfortably, eat a nutritious breakfast, bring glasses if needed, and organize their backpacks with pencils and other test-taking materials in easy reach. All of these things create a positive atmosphere and minimize stress.

Student Success is Our Priority

At Indian Rocks Christian School, achievement testing is just one way we work to give our students a top-notch education. Students receive personal attention in a close-knit environment, ensuring they are not only prepared for tests, but prepared for success in school and life. To learn more about our unique approach, request information today.

Get More Info About IRCS

The Link Between Student Activities and Academic Success

March 29, 2017
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

The Link Between Student Activities and Academic Success

If you’re like most parents, you are primarily concerned with your student’s success in the classroom. While it brings you joy to see them involved in things they love, you worry that extracurricular activities may become a distraction and ultimately interfere with academic progress. This is a valid concern, as children are still learning to balance multiple responsibilities while pursuing their individual passions.Today, we want to ease your mind by reiterating the positive impact that activities can have on student success.

Reinforced Lessons

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), participation in extracurricular activities promotes attendance rates, grade point averages, social skills, and college opportunities. Activities do not take away from what is learned in the classroom; they reinforce it. Students need venues to apply their skills in a real-world context, and extracurriculars provide just that.

A Well-Rounded Education

The NCES also indicates that activities make for a well-rounded education. Fine arts, athletics, clubs, and volunteer activities are not all fun and games — they are rich in content that develops invaluable skills. Learning through diverse experiences, students become strong collaborators, communicators, critical thinkers, and creative learners.

Goal Setting Focus

Activities require students to challenge themselves. Just like academic success requires perseverance, students must prepare to accomplish what they set out to do in the extracurricular setting as well. Balancing schoolwork with other commitments fosters organization. As students set out to accomplish things in their personal and academic lives, they learn that time management and self-discipline is required to reach goals.

A Spirit of Teamwork

Whether your student is interested in athletics, fine arts, or some other activity, teamwork is the common thread. When students get involved with activities, they learn the value of working together toward a common goal. This prepares them for success in college and future work environments where group projects are a part of everyday life.

Noteworthy Student Activities at Indian Rocks Christian School

Indian Rocks Christian School offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities to help our students reach success. These opportunities include:

  • 45 athletic teams in 16 sports, including football, volleyball, golf, track and field, cross country, basketball, softball, soccer, and tennis.
  • A variety of music programs, including instrumental, vocal, and theatrical groups.
  • Arts programs, including visual arts, digital arts, and performing arts
  • Ministry teams with global travel opportunities and local outreach

Learn More About Student Activities

Every extracurricular program at IRCS serves a greater purpose. We are not just providing opportunities for students to have fun; we are helping them discover their passions and develop skills that will be beneficial for years to come. Contact us to learn more about the opportunities on our campus.

Search by Keyword(s):
(separate multiples with a comma)

Recent Posts

5/22/17 - By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal
5/17/17 - By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal
5/15/17 - By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal
4/17/17 - By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal
4/10/17 - By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal
3/29/17 - By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal