Tuesday, April 14, 2015

MCH students shine at TCAF competitions

Rachael, winner of Best of Show and People's Choice
for TCAF Visual Arts Festival.
There’s a lot of talent at Methodist Children’s Home and many students received recognition for their months of preparation and hard work during the recent Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship (TCAF) competitions. MCH students competed against other schools in Texas in TCAF’s Visual Arts Festival, Fine Arts Festival, and Cheer Competition.

This was the first time MCH competed in the visual and fine arts festivals and some of the students’ first time to participate in a judged event or performance. Students were judged on a scale of fair (lowest), good, excellent and superior (highest) ratings.

“I think it was such a beneficial experience for our students, because it first caused them to spend focused time and effort toward learning and perfecting a skill or performance, whether that was instrumental, vocal, acting or dance, and then gave them a chance to showcase their work and be affirmed by others for the talents that they have,” said Kimberly Bobbitt, director of recreation. “The students walked away with constructive feedback and renewed desire to keep working on and developing their skills.”

First up was the TCAF Visual Arts Festival on March 19-20 at Hill School in Fort Worth. MCH had one student, Rachael, compete in the contest. Rachael sought out the opportunity to compete in the art contest, asking about the possibility after TCAF contests last year. She entered her artwork into the Charcoal category and received first place with a superior rating. Her piece went on to also receive Best of Show as well as the People’s Choice Award, both of the top awards for the high school division.

“I think the opportunity was beneficial for Rachael because it allowed her to showcase her talents and receive affirmation of her abilities,” Bobbitt said. “She was most surprised to receive the People’s Choice award as we were the only two representatives there that day from the MCH charter school. So she received affirmation not only from judges, but also from other teachers and peers who saw her work.”

The TCAF Fine Arts Festival was held on March 23 hosted by Community Christian School at Well of Life Church in Mineral Wells. Students from MCH’s theatre, choir and drumline programs competed, receiving high marks. For choir, Alexis, Hawa and Vanessa competed in the vocal solo contest receiving ratings of excellent, excellent and superior, respectively. Vanessa, Hawa and Katelyn also competed in the vocal trio category and received an excellent rating.

For theatre, Grace and Beth both received superior ratings for the monologues while Emberlynn and Justice received an excellent rating for the duet act.

“From memorizing their lines to coming in for rehearsals outside the afterschool program time, the students showed a lot of dedication which served them well in the festival,” said Kira Rockwell, recreation coordinator and theatre instructor. “The students were elated to walk away feeling like champions, as they should, for the work they had prepared.”

In drumline, Nick and Jeffrey performed an instrumental ensemble receiving a superior rating. Kelli also performed an interpretive dance and received a superior rating.

For the TCAF Cheer competition, MCHS’s cheer squad consisting of Ema, Destiny, Paloma, Kelli, Sonja, Jaelyne and Brianna, won first place overall in the novice cheer division.

“We are so proud of our students and the commitment and dedication of our afterschool programs for using their skills and talent to compete against other great schools in Texas,” said Anthony Mead, afterschool coordinator. “Our students have truly embodied the MCH life skills by focusing and finishing what they started and building healthy relationships amongst their instructors, peers, and other schools they competed against. Our students take ownership of these programs and use them to express themselves in healthy and constructive ways. This is why we do afterschool programs, to provide an outlet for creatively expressing yourself, learning positive life skills, and having a blast doing it!”


Rachael - Visual arts

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Four MCH players named to Waco Tribune-Herald’s Super-Centex team

Jaylon was chosen for the Super Centex First Team.
(shown here with Kevin Henry, MCH athletic director)
Congratulations to Kiyana, Jaylon, Austin and Brandon who were named to the Waco Tribune-Herald’s 2015 Super Centex basketball team. The girls and boys teams were announced on March 28 and 29.

Each year, the Waco Tribune-Herald honors high school athletes who have had strong performances for their teams the season.

“Being named to the Waco Tribune-Herald Super Centex Team is great honor,” said Kevin Henry, MCH athletic director. “These players were selected out of all 19 school districts in McLennan County and all private and charter schools. All of them had great seasons for MCH and we look for great things from them in the future.” 

Methodist Children’s Home School was represented by the following:

Girls Basketball Team:
Honorable Mention – Kiyana
Kiyana is currently a junior. This season she averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs.

Boys Basketball Team:
First Team – Jaylon
Jaylon is a senior this year and averaged 27 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists per game. He also averaged 5 steals per game.

Honorable Mention – Austin
Austin is currently a junior. He had an average of 14 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists per game. He also averaged 6 steals per game.

Honorable Mention – Brandon
Brandon is a junior. This season he averaged 10 points and 9 rebounds per game.

Jaylon and Austin also played in the Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship All Star game on March 21 in Fort Worth where Jaylon was named MVP in the game. 

Jaylon will play in the Texas Shootout sponsored by the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on May 2 at Baylor University’s Ferrell Center and the Good Grades Good Hoops All Star Game on May 9 at McLennan Community College.

“Jaylon had an unbelievable year for us,” Henry said. “His leadership on and off the floor was valuable for our young team.”

Monday, April 6, 2015

MCH youth learn through FFA Judging contest

Methodist Children’s Home School provided an opportunity for the Agricultural class to participate in an open livestock judging contest. Stephen Kruse, Ag teacher, took 12 youth on Friday, March 27, to Corsicana for the competition.

During the judging contest, youth work in teams to scrutinize several animals including goats, pigs, sheep and cattle, and try to come as close as possible to what an official said about the animal. At this competition, the official was a professor from Texas A&M University. They then take a written test and speak about why they made the judgement they did. Kruse said the youth learn valuable life lessons through these competitions such as reasoning and defending their actions and speaking in front of groups.

“We have been attending this competition for the past seven years,” said Kruse. “Our youth set goals during the year and if they attain certain scores during local competitions they are eligible to compete in the area contest in Stephenville, Texas on April 8.”
This year Team 1 who consisted of Starr, Diego, Justus and Chayce, did just that and advanced to the Stephenville competition.

“I am proud of all our students especially the ones that advanced,” Kruse said.

Monday, March 30, 2015

ReCreation Weekend and Holy Hip Hop Jam 2015

Ahmad Washington, MCH Spiritual Development Minister
Youth explored their faith through events hosted by Spiritual Development staff this month. The Holy Hip Hop Jam on March 14 at Carver Park Baptist Church featured Christian artists as well as a performance by an MCH student. ReCreation Weekend, an annual event featuring a concert, group sessions and special worship service, was held March 20-22 at the Waco campus.

Spiritual Development minister Ahmad Washington organized the Holy Hip Hop Jam sponsored by Movment Up, Carver Park Baptist Church, Soul Fishing Media, Grind4God, and 254 United. Several MCH residents and staff joined members of the community to listen to Christian music from artists A.H.M.A.D.D., Minister Slugger, T. Gambine, Minister Chris Crump, Minister BC, and Capital G. Ema Rose, an upcoming artist and current MCH student, also performed her own original songs from her album “Picture Perfect” produced by Washington with one track produced by Minister Chris Crump. Her songs can currently be heard online at https://soundcloud.com/ema-morrison/sets/picture-perfect

“The purpose of the concert was to show artists who share their faith and hope in Jesus Christ through music so our kids can experience God’s music in a similar form that they are used to hearing and stroke the flames inside them,” Washington said.

Washington said the community concert served as a springboard to ReCreation Weekend. ReCreation Weekend began as a collaboration between Recreation and Spiritual Development who host a weekend of events to focus on spiritual growth and community building. During this year’s ReCreation Weekend, MCH youth gathered in the Harrell Memorial Chapel to hear a concert from Christian artists on Friday evening, followed by a day of group sessions and senior lunch on Saturday and special worship service on Sunday. This year, the weekend focused on encouraging youth to explore their identities through Christ.

This year’s concert featured performances by Greg “Puntin” Cooks and Chyrie Randolph. Cooks performed at last year’s Holy Hip Hop Jam. Between performances, Recreation staff hosted entertaining “Minute to Win It” challenges for student volunteers. On Saturday, boys and girls were separated for group sessions to discuss topics pertaining to challenges they may face led by guests Cooks, Randolph and April Neal. The guests shared their own testimonies and talked to youth about how they can walk out their faith in their current lives as young women and men. 

“Our guests talked about the temptations and setbacks they faced, and continue to face, on their faith journeys and gave practical advice on how they continue to move forward: poetry, music, scripture, mentors, etc.,” explained Kim Clark, director of spiritual development. “There were so many different personalities and theologies this year. It gave our students a real view of the Kingdom of God…a variety of thoughts, practices, cultures and talents that all glorify our creator.”

This year, a senior lunch was added to Saturday activities to offer youth a chance to gather together and discuss their upcoming transitions before graduation. The weekend concluded with a special worship service in the chapel. Clark said she hopes students learned from their experiences during ReCreation Weekend.

“I hope our students understand that God has so much more for them than they have imagined for themselves,” Clark said. “I hope they begin to claim a life of purpose and passion. I never want them to settle for less.”

Ema Rose, MCH resident, performed her original music at the Holy Hip Hop Jam. 

Greg "Puntin" Cooks

Chyrie Randolph

Monday, March 23, 2015

Core Value Award for Service - Mike Baxley

Methodist Children’s Home annually recognizes staff who exemplify one of our core values.  Staff members are nominated by their peers and are recognized at an all-staff meeting during which the awards are given.

The Core Values of MCH are:
Christian Principles

Mike Baxley, director of technology, received the Core Value Award for Service. The Core Award for Service is defined as someone who shows compassion through generosity and care. According to Baxley’s nomination, “Mike could qualify for all six Core Awards. He builds healthy relationships through communication. His responsibilities at MCH are very complex and important to our daily business. He is vital to the smooth operation of systems both behind the scenes and on the front line working directly with staff. Mike is very knowledgeable and shows compassion and a caring attitude when a stressed staff member seeks his help to fix their technology problem. He offers hope by always looking for ways to help improve and grow our communications across all programs, and goes above and beyond to make sure all systems are up and running, not only at our Waco campuses but also in our outlying MCH Family Outreach offices. He is always running here and there and is never seen with a frown on his face, but only with a look of focused and determined concentration.”

Baxley has worked for MCH for nine years. “Computers, electronics have been a passion of mine for over 25 years,” Baxley said. “I feel very fortunate to have a career doing something I truly enjoy and at the same time contributing to the mission of such a wonderful organization like MCH.”

Julie Mitchell, vice president for finance and Baxley’s supervisor had this to share: “Mike has implemented many improvements over the last several years. I am proud that Mike has received this recognition for his dedicated service to MCH.” 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Break 2015

Whether their interest is in art, sports or local attractions, MCH residents have a variety of opportunities to choose from during the week of Spring Break. Recreation staff compile a full schedule of activities for residents to enjoy during their week off from school.

“Our goals for these activities are for the students to have fun, get out of the home unit, experience something new or something they love, and have the opportunity to build trusting relationships with students and staff,” said Beth Harris, director of recreation.

This year, activities included fishing, disc golf, softball and skating as well as arts and crafts, baking and library outings. Recreation staff also organized a cook-out at Cameron Park and the Boys Ranch hosted a campfire breakfast.

“I hope that the students have fun and that the staff take advantage of these opportunities to have fun with the students,” Harris said.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Waco Family Outreach partners with Baylor students

MCH Family Outreach in Waco, located on the Methodist Children’s Home campus, recently teamed up with students from Baylor University’s School of Social Work enrolled in the Practice with Communities and Organization class this spring semester. This course allows students to learn about community based social work and how to practically fill those roles.

“As part of their semester project, the students are assisting the Waco Family Outreach staff in a local collaboration to facilitate a live simulcast, featuring Dr. Karen Purvis’s Empowered to Connect Conference,” said Brooke Davilla, director of MCH Family Outreach in Waco. “This conference is geared towards foster and adoptive families as well as community members and professionals who serve children who come from hard places.”

Davilla said the students visited the MCH campus “to learn about our history, current services and the population we serve. They were given a tour of the Perkins Heritage Home and Visitor Center and viewed a DVD about our youth. They also received items commemorating our 125th anniversary and the Development staff led the students in a big Baylor ‘Sic’em!’”

At the Waco Family Outreach office, MCH case managers facilitated a panel for the students to ask questions about their real-life experiences in the field of social work.

“The students left with a true sense of MCH’s mission to offer hope to children, youth and families,” Davilla said. “We are excited to bring the Empowered to Connect simulcast to Waco and share our passion for serving children. It is our desire that community collaborations and partnering with future social workers will spread the stories of ‘hope’ happening at MCH in Waco and all over Texas and New Mexico.”

For more information about the Empowered to Connect simulcast, click here.