Chenaye Sutton recalls a beautiful moment in a Maranatha kindergarten classroom. The Elementary Assistant Principal was working in her office across the hall from the class when she heard beautiful music. “I was sitting at my desk working and I heard the children just start singing worship songs!” she remembers. “The kindergarteners were singing ‘I’ve Got the Joy in my Heart’!” At Maranatha’s Christ-centered kindergarten program, scenes like these are common. We strive to educate, nurture and train students for Godliness and excellence in our kindergarten classrooms.
The kindergarten teachers lean on Luke 1:80, the child learned and grew strong in spirit, Mrs. Sutton explains. “The kindergarten year is a huge milestone for children — spiritually, physically, mentally and socially,” she says. “It’s so important for these young children to have a strong foundation to grow in Christ. The Maranatha kindergarten teachers do a really great job of developing the whole child. Everything we do is about knowledge and faith, and teaching God’s wisdom is the ultimate goal.”
Academic excellence in the kindergarten classroom is rooted in faith at Maranatha. “Our kindergarten teachers work diligently to give our students a storehouse of spiritual treasure. Our children learn all the disciplines, and academics are important to us. But through it all, we’re presenting Biblical truths.”
Mrs. Sutton points to the integration of nature into the classroom as just one example of the faith focus. “When a teacher brought in caterpillars and the children got to observe from the caterpillar stage to the butterfly stage, the children were just enamored,” she says. “The children are gaining that understanding of who God is, how the world was created and who created it.”
This becomes particularly significant in teaching children how to treat each other, Mrs. Sutton shares. “At the kindergarten level, this is their whole world! So we’re helping them learn how to work together, how to play games together, how to communicate with each other and how to care for each other well.
In many kindergarten classrooms, technology is a key focus. But Maranatha teachers don’t rely purely on technology to accomplish their goals, Mrs. Sutton shares. “I love that our teachers don’t depend solely on technology, but they use it as a supplement for their learning. We vet every app, every item and every tool. The use of technology is structured so it enhances what they’re learning in the traditional sense. Technology is important, but never the priority,” she says.
“Because we have high standards and expectations both spiritually and academically, we’re constantly moving forward and trying new things for our students,” Mrs. Sutton says. Maranatha maintains a low student-to-teacher ratio in kindergarten classrooms so every student’s individual needs can be met. If a student isn’t meeting objectives, teachers step in immediately to make a plan for student success.
“As our children are learning and growing, we’re guiding them in God’s wisdom as well,” Mrs. Sutton smiles. “Our kindergarten teachers are always working to keep God as the center of the picture, bringing their classrooms to life.”Read More
Strong Christian family is at the center of everything we do. We foster Christian values in our students, raising them up to become people of integrity. Being a family means coming together and rising to the occasion — and the Maranatha family recently did just that in acquiring our new strength and conditioning equipment. It all started with just one parent noticing a need and stepping forward to make it happen.
As a longtime volunteer and coach, this parent knew of MCA’s need for new weight room equipment. Over the years, he had been able to witness the strong impact of Maranatha coaches and the drive of MCA students in their athletics. But he soon saw the limitations on PE teachers, coaches and students because of the lack of space, quality and quantity of strength and conditioning equipment.
Having prayed about the strength and conditioning equipment, this parent dove in when he became aware of an opportunity. As Immaculata High School in Leavenworth was closing its doors, the school offered Maranatha the chance to purchase its nearly-new weight equipment at a great discount. Much of the equipment was only a few years old and in great condition.
As soon as he heard about the available equipment, the parent got to work. “When he became aware of the phenomenal opportunity to update our weight room, this parent saw the need, stepped forward to communicate it to the parents and rallied the troops,” says Kelly Wilde, MCA Community Relations Coordinator. “It’s an incredible blessing to have parents who are willing to step forward and take on that volunteer leadership in different areas.” The parent sent emails, made personal asks and, ultimately, encouraged everyone to pray for this opportunity.
What happened next was a testament to the dedication of Maranatha parents. In just three weeks, parents came together and donated several thousand dollars above and beyond the price of the weight equipment! “This allows us not only to cover the purchase of the equipment, but to cover upkeep and maintenance and be good stewards of this investment,” Mrs. Wilde says.
The new equipment includes multi-station universal machines, squat racks, free weights, a leg press sled, storage racks for the weights and new industrial-strength floor mats. Students in Maranatha summer sports camps are already putting the new investment to good use, just weeks after the purchase.
“This is a great example of the greater MCA family rising to the occasion,” Mrs. Wilde says. “Parents saw a need and stepped forward, and their actions back up their words about supporting Christian education and supporting Maranatha. Their dedication helps to make Maranatha what it is with our well-rounded student body.”
This recent accomplishment echoes the dedication of all MCA parents. “The parents of Maranatha are very committed, and all our parents have a strong desire for their children to have a sound foundation of a Christian worldview at home, at church and at school,” Mrs. Wilde explains. “They know this works best when parents are deeply involved and supporting in whatever way they can. That really is what makes Maranatha a family.”Read More
Every class and activity at Maranatha pairs Biblical standards with excellence, and our Music Department is no exception. “There are so many elements of music that help students grow,” says Steve Gordon, chair of the MCA Music Department. “Music builds self-discipline, and music requires that you not only improve your own skills, but that you always listen to and listen for others.”
Music is an excellent way for students to practice being part of the Body of Christ, Mr. Gordon says. “Making music in an ensemble parallels what it looks like to be in the Body of Christ: you’re no more important than anyone else, and yet, no one can play your role for you,” he explains. “You have a unique purpose. If you can function in a music ensemble, you can function in the local church.”
Furthermore, music has far-reaching benefits academically. Students who participate in music consistently perform higher on college prep exams like the ACT, and sharpen their skills in both math and in english. “Students not only have fun making music and gaining musical skills, but they build confidence in themselves and learn the importance of being prepared, practicing and collaborating with their peers.”
Highlights from Maranatha’s Music Department
In its debut year, the Symphony of Sound allowed students across the Music Department to showcase their musical abilities and talents. All ensembles who were preparing for upcoming music contests performed during the special showcase, including junior high soloists, the high school choir, junior high band, a high school jazz ensemble, a small boys’ barbershop ensemble and an a capella vocal ensemble.
In January, junior high students competed at the Prairie View Festival. “Our choir and ensembles all received superior ratings,” says Mr. Gordon. Eight soloists, as well as the junior high choir and band, participated.
Senior high students competed in contests at the end of March and in April. At the Solo and Ensemble Content in Atchison, nine of 17 performances received the highest marks possible, with other performances earning high scores as well.
Twenty Maranatha students competed in the State Contests in April, receiving near-perfect ratings. Seven soloists and two vocal ensembles participated, both singers and instrumentalists. Eight of the nine events earned the highest marks possible, and the remaining event was just one point shy of a top score.
In addition to small ensembles, students from the Music Department traveled to the Large Ensemble contest in April. The full concert band and full concert choir participated in this significant event, with both groups receiving superior ratings as well.
Furthermore, the Junior and Senior High bands prepared this spring for their outstanding performances for the MCA community. They each held concert and award evenings in May, and their music created a festive environment during the May 20 Graduation.
These recent accomplishments simply add to the legacy of excellence within the Maranatha Music Department. Twice in the past six years, the band has been selected to play for the prestigious Music Educators Association Convention in the state of Kansas. Just three bands are selected each year. In 2018, the choir will travel to New York City for its third performance at world-renowned Carnegie Hall. The students will perform the Easter portions of Handel’s Messiah on Easter Sunday. The band also travels every four years to Washington, DC, to perform.
This year, students were able to grow musically and in their character. “Music helps our students build community and connection,” Mr. Gordon says. “When we make music together, something knits our hearts together, and we practice being part of the Body of Christ.”Read More