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Minimester preparation kicks off with sign-ups and supply collections for the Spring trips.

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The entire grade sits at their computers, fingers poised over keyboards. They aren’t watching YouTube or doing Membean. They sit waiting, refreshing Google Chrome continuously, hoping to be the first one in. At this moment, nothing else matters. The clock strikes 6:00 p.m., and each begins typing faster than ever before. Fingers cramping, hearts racing, they rush to fill out their Minimester applications; the time stamp at the finish decreeing the fate of all. Finally, all the blanks are filled and it’s time to hit enter.

It’s 6:03 p.m. Even seconds in the time stamp can make the difference. For Seniors, their first choice is probably safe. For all others, there’s no certainty until the list goes up at the end of the week. Between now and then there is only wondering, “What if my number one choice is full?”

All the rush is worth it to secure a spot on that Minimester trip of choice. Minimester is a special week of ministering and learning that sets our school apart from other Christian schools in the community and across the nation. Students in Middle and Upper School take the week before Spring Break to participate in a mission, character building or educational opportunity locally, domestically or abroad. While March is the month synonymous to Minimester travel, September is the time students must make their commitment to a destination, and student enrollments are just around the corner.

With a variety of options, students have the chance to participate in the area where they feel most called. The expansive plains of Africa, the snow-capped mountains of Nepal, the dense rainforests of the Amazon, a gym in East Plano filled with school children or an internship that explores a potential career path all serve as the backdrop to a life-changing week for students. Minimester is known to create unexpected friendships, encourage students in their walk with Christ and even alter students’ ways of life. Head of School Dr. Larry Taylor refers to Minimester as one of the best things that we do as a school. This kind of training is essential to a Kingdom education.

Beginning Sept. 10, students will make their choice for the year ahead. Both new and returning options give students plenty to consider. An old favorite returns as the Amazon again is an option after being put on hold last year. Improvements in safety and a belief that the Lord continues to call our students to Brazil brought its return. Led by Bible teacher Mr. Marc Rose and Anatomy teacher Mrs. Amy Lumley, students will again travel the Amazon introducing Christ to those they meet along the way. Mr. Rose said, “My Father-in-law grew up in Brazil and my wife has gone on the same boat the Amazon Minimester trip travels on so when they asked me to lead the trip I was so excited. It gives me a lot of peace when I am serving others basic needs, because I know that I am honoring Christ in those moments.”

Prague in the Czech Republic has entered as a new option for students. This trip will be led by STEM Coordinator Mr. Dana Sedgass and Speech teacher Mrs. Kim Stidham. Mr. Sedgass said, “I had the opportunity to visit Prague about ten years ago, and I was awestruck by the city’s amazing history and architecture including incredibly preserved castles and cathedrals.  I also remember being made aware at the time how very few people there were Christians. I have been told that the Czech people are actually receptive to hearing more about Christianity. I feel certain that the Christians that live in the Czech Republic are praying for other Christians to visit to help share their faith with the people there.”

Haiti has also returned as an option, being led by International Student Program Coordinator Mrs. Amy Smith. She said, “I think it’s really important we return to Haiti because during this trip students are exposed to true poverty and get to work alongside amazing people who sacrifice the little they have to help others worse off than themselves.  While we, by ourselves, are not able to eradicate world poverty, students are able to make a huge impact on a family by providing them a safe home.”

Other Minimester options for Upper School Students include: Abilene, Africa, Atlanta, Cuba, Chicago, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, New York City, Paris/London, Local Culture, Local Missions, Los Angeles, Northern England, Oklahoma, South Asia, Southern Mexico, Parent-led College Visits, Parent-led Mission Trips and Internships.

Seniors Taylor Jeske, Jordi Gile, Jesse Lien and Gavin McManus traveled to Africa their Freshman year, and all plan to return for their Senior year. Oftentimes, students become deeply attached and committed to their trips. This allows them to build community with church workers, translators and the people in the area. “Africa provides me the ability to forget all of the distractions of my life and put effort into solely spreading the Gospel and aiding those who have no others to help them, and it brings me total peace,” said Gavin.

Also beginning in the fall, Lower School students will be assigned by class to pray for the different Minimester trips. Just before leaving, on World Impact Day, they will meet the team members of their trip in person. Fifth grade student Dane Ball-Knisley said, “I prayed for Senior Julia Newby last year and thought it was cool to see someone actually going on the trip we were helping with.”

The younger students also collect supplies for the trips. Senior Jazak Trovillion, who traveled last year to Northern England, said, “I am so thankful the Second grade donated the school supplies to help the kids that are less fortunate than we are.” Some trips ask for school supplies others such as the Cuba trip may request medical supplies while the Africa trip may need underwear and toothbrushes. Each year the needs vary based on the activities planned.

Senior Maddy Rinker said, “The North Campus got us to our goal of 4,000 pairs of underwear of various sizes for our Africa trip last March. When the African kids first found out we were giving them new underwear, they screamed and were so ecstatic. Parents were crying with joy, and I can’t put it into words how incredible the atmosphere of the room was at that moment.”

Minimester planning for Upper School students begins in just a little over a week with trip enrollment. Seniors enroll Sunday, Sept. 10, Juniors on Monday, Sept. 11, Sophomores on Tuesday, Sept. 12 and Freshmen on Thursday, Sept. 14. Online enrollment links will be emailed on the day of enrollment.

About the Writer
Courtney Villa, Editor in Chief

Avid pun connoisseur, Courtney Villa is Editor in Chief of LionNationOnline. She enjoys a variety of teas, soy candles and time with friends. Though she loves sleeping, she often lacks this commodity. On weekends you can find her snuggling with her dog, Biscuit, or enjoying a day on the town with her pals.

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