Fall 2017 School News

HCCS Celebrates Christmas with Service of Lessons and Carols


Hunter Classical Christian School’s 6th Annual Service of Lessons and Carols took place on Wednesday December 20th in the chapel at Dover Baptist Church. This century-old service originated at King’s College, Cambridge in the early 20th century and was quickly adopted by many churches and schools around the globe. The HCCS service was directed by music teacher Kim Talbee and included eight simple scripture readings by students and faculty which remind those in attendance of the story of redemption from the Old and New Testaments.  Following each reading, musical selections reinforced the lessons.  Music included a variety of seasonal hymns sung by the student body and smaller ensembles as well as a solo of “Silent Night” sung in German performed by sixth grader Lee Carter. At the conclusion of the service, all in attendance joined in a rousing rendition of “Jingle Bells,” accompanied by the bells of the proud Kindergarten students. Following the program, the school community continued celebrating the festivities of the season with a Christmas party in Heritage Hall followed by an early release. Best wishes from HCCS for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Students Deem “The Nutcracker” Ballet On Point


On Wednesday December 13th, the students, faculty, and parents of HCCS attended the matinee performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Carpenter Theatre. The students enjoyed the first act of this classic two-act ballet centering on a Christmas Eve celebration set to music by Tchaikovsky.  Outfitted in dress uniform, the students were wide-eyed watching the life-sized toy soldiers, mice, and dolls come to life as they danced across the stage! For many of the younger students, this visit to see “The Nutcracker” marked their first visit to the ballet. All in attendance were able to practice appropriate theater etiquette while they took in the grandeur of the Theatre as well as the beautiful artistry of the performance on stage.

Students Venture to boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson, Tuckahoe Plantation


On Tuesday, December 5th, the upper grade students and HCCS faculty visited Tuckahoe Plantation, a National Historic Landmark conveniently located near to school, just off River Road. Tuckahoe plantation is considered to be among the finest early 18th century plantation homes in America according to architectural historians, and also was Thomas Jefferson’s boyhood home. The exterior of the mansion was festive in Christmas décor welcoming our eager students onto the property.

The students spent the morning on a guided tour of “Plantation Street” learning the purpose of the outbuildings, stable, the herb garden and colonial kitchen.  Additionally, they visited inside the mansion for a first floor tour of the house with provenance of the paintings and artifacts from the Randolph family. The Randolph family built the plantation between 1730 and 1740 and were an influential family within the colony of Virginia as well as the fledgling nation.

Thomas Jefferson moved from Tuckahoe Plantation when he was 9 years old, the same age as some of our upper grade students. The students were able to see Thomas Jefferson’s first schoolhouse as part of the tour! After exploring the grounds, students returned to their own school house for the remainder of the school day.

Students Craft Angel Ornaments for Dover Baptist Christmas Tree


On Friday, December 1st, HCCS students made “stained glass” angel and bejeweled Christmas tree ornaments to adorn the Dover Baptist Christmas Tree and their family tree. The Parents’ League co-chairs, Samatha Reed and Donna Hodges, led this hands-on activity for the students. The angel ornaments incorporated the colors of Christmas: Blue, Silver, Gold, Purple, Red and Green. The students read the poem below and learned the symbolism of each color used in the ornament.  During this season of advent, students will be reminded of God’s plan of redemption for all mankind when they see their ornaments on the tree. Each class was proud to share their handiwork with Dover and their families!

The Colors of Christmas are bright and they’re true, they tell of God’s great love for me and for you.
Blueis the sky where the angels appeared as they sang, “Peace on Earth,” to the shepherds who feared.
Silver is for the bright Christmas star which guided the wise men from countries afar.
Gold tells of their gifts for the Baby that day who they found in a manger, asleep on the hay.
Purple is for suffering and death on a hill.
Red is the blood, which Jesus did spill.
Greenshows that Jesus arose from the dead and saved us and freed us, just as he said.

Science Students Conduct Research on Biomes and Construct Dioramas


In the month of November, Mrs. Stein’s 3rd-6th grade science students studied biomes, a community of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in.  As part of this study, students selected a biome of choice and performed a multimedia project to bring it to life.  Under the guidance of Mrs. Stein, the students researched using print media such as textbooks, reference books, and encyclopedias.  They then gathered notes, wrote rough drafts, peer-edited their drafts, created final papers and learned how to write a bibliography using the MLS method.  The project culminated in a presentation of their research and diorama to the class. The students enjoyed the process of learning all about grasslands, tundras, taigas, tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, and deserts. Come by and see the biomes on display!

HCCS Celebrates Harvest Helpers Chapel


On Wednesday, November 22nd HCCS celebrated Harvest Helpers Chapel in the historic Dover Church chapel. In this season of Thanksgiving, the students shared their blessings with others by collecting donations of money and canned goods for the Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services. After singing “We Gather Together” and hearing a message from Father Mills encouraging the students to love others by serving them, each student brought forward their offering of canned goods. Many of the students made a donation to the Clinic of $5, as well, which allowed them to enjoy the first “dress-down” day of the school year, trading in their uniform for casual clothes of their choosing.

We hope this Thanksgiving you celebrate the blessings of family, friends, and neighbors and draw near to the One who so generously blesses. Happy Thanksgiving!

Ken Mills Leads Monday Chapels and Parent Prayer Time


Every morning, HCCS students and faculty start their day with chapel. On Mondays this year, Father Ken Mills, husband of HCCS Kindergarten teacher Gigi Mills and pastor of Holy Cross Reformed Episcopal Church, has been delivering the chapel lesson to start each week. So far this year, he has focused his teaching on the Protestant Reformation and the reformer Martin Luther. As the school year continues, he will teach the students lessons from the Gospel of Mark, as well as seasonal lessons focused on Christmas and Easter. After chapel Father Mills leads a prayer-time for parents and faculty, which is often enlivened by his piano playing and vocal training. We are grateful our students receive a solid grounding in biblical history from Father Mills!

Father Mills has not always been a man of the cloth. Full time vocational ministry is his second career, a calling he took up after retirement from his first vocation.  In addition to pastoring his church in Midlothian, leading HCCS Monday chapels, and building relationships with the students and families of HCCS, Father Mills has been keeping himself busy studying for his Ordination exams. On October 25th, he passed his exams and was ordained on November 11th! Stay for chapel and prayer on an upcoming Monday and be sure to congratulate Father Mills on his Ordination.

Guest Educator Lewis Lawson Delivers Chapel Lesson on Faith in Adversity


On Wednesday, November 1st, Lewis P. Lawson, a veteran educator, visited HCCS to share his childhood experiences and teach on the importance of faith during times of adversity.   Mr. Lawson’s chapel talk detailed his early love of cowboys of the “wild west”, which led to his brothers encouraging him to saddle up and “ride” their St. Bernard dog, only to be bucked off and break his nose on the curb of the road.  As if that weren’t enough, a few years later eight-year-old Lewis, tussled with his brother when everything “went black.” He had a broken neck. Bed-ridden and immobile for 3 months while recovering (fortunately he was not paralyzed), he still remembers a fellow-patient and young girl in the hospital giving him her only toy.

After the chapel message, Mr. Lawson’s skillful story telling engrossed the 3rd-6th graders in Language Arts class as he shared the etymology of the following “sesquipedalian” words: “halcyon”, “legardemain”, “mountebank”, “cynosure”, “antediluvian”, and  “shibbolith”.  You should have heard the stories of where these words originated!  All the students were riveted and cannot wait for him to return in January!

French Students Develop a Taste for the Culture


“Avez-vous faime?” Yes, I am hungry! Each Monday during lunchtime, the fifth and sixth grade students gather for “Le déjeuner français,” or French Lunch.  During this mealtime, Madame Peete teaches French vocabulary and phrases relating to food and meals.  This year, the students have learned how to ask and respond to the questions “are you hungry?” and “what would you like to eat?”  At HCCS, students begin to study French in fifth grade after already studying Latin since third grade.

The students are developing a vocabulary to navigate the dining experience from beginning to end. They have learned the names of various shops where food may be purchased, such as la boulangerie (the bakery), as well as the corresponding names of the shopkeepers, “le boulanger” (the baker) and their wares, “le pain” (bread).

Students at HCCS will not only develop knowledge of the French language, but also an understanding and appreciation for the culture.  As the year progresses, students will continue to learn to speak in French about the items in a place setting, proper mealtime etiquette, as they expand their food vocabulary and conversational abilities. One of the most exciting aspects of French Lunch is the opportunity to cook and sample French foods! Bon appetite!

Completely Kids Richmond Features Story about Hunter Classical Christian School


The feature article of Completely Kids Richmond on Friday October 20th entitled, “One Parent’s Journey to Hunter Classical Christian School” shares the story of Carrie Michalski, mother of Kindergartner Liam, in selecting HCCS to be her son’s “home away from home.” Deciding on a school is a weighty responsibility and parents often consider many factors: academic rigor, moral development, class sizes, and cost, to name a few. Carrie writes, “We wanted somewhere that would allow individual attention for our child, and somewhere that placed importance on community and growth of character as well as academics.” We are thankful the Michalski family found their home at HCCS! Read the full article here.

Language Arts Students to Perform “The Duel” during October 26th Open House


“The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat, Side by side at the table sat, ‘Twas half past twelve, and (what do you think!), Nor one nor t’other had slept a wink!”, opens the well-known children’s poem, “The Duel”. This short, active poem by Eugene Field, an American Poet of the late 19th century, will be performed by Mrs. Bruce’s Language Arts class.

The students are making their own costumes and will perform this poem as a skit in Heritage Hall on October 26th at the HCCS Open House during refreshments. Come at 9:30am for the Open House and stay for the skit!

Students Ventured to Lloyd Family Farm for Fall Fun and Learning

Farm Field Trip 2

On a beautiful Friday morning October 13th, the HCCS community left campus for a day of fall fun at Lloyd Family Farm.  Students, parents, and younger siblings joined their teachers for a morning of wagon rides, corn maze exploration, animal petting, and pumpkin picking.

The children spent the morning soaking in the beauty of the scenery of the horse farm, including a tour of the stables and pens to see and learn about the animals up close. The baby pigs and petting the horses were the highlights of the time in the stables.  Afterwards, the students explored the corn maze – and everyone made it out to tell the tale! The younger siblings played in the sand play place before everyone partook of a picnic lunch.  A trip to the pumpkin patch to pick the perfect one rounded out the afternoon!


Reading Pals Foster Friendship and a Love of Reading Across the Grades


Fridays are exciting for many students, but at Hunter Classical Christian School, students aren’t excited to end the week, but to read with their “Reading Pals”! The refrain “I can’t wait until we have Reading Pals today!” echoes through Heritage Hall even as students arrive in the morning.Reading_pals 3

Reading Pals connect lower and upper grade students during weekly Friday afternoon read aloud sessions. At this point in the school year, lower grade students choose books and uppergrade students read those books to the lower grade students.  As the school year progresses and lower grade students further develop their reading skills, the upper grade partners serve as an audience to mentor and encourage the young readers – a very exciting prospect for our littlest readers!

Weekly ReadReading_Pals_Groupsing Pals time provides students an opportunity to share excellent children’s literature with one another and develop their reading voices.  It serves as a leadership opportunity for the upper grade students, while helping the lower grade students strengthen their listening and reading skills, all while fostering friendship across the grades.  It is no wonder that the entire Hunter Classical Christian School family loves Reading Pals time!

Kindergartners Paint the Beauty of the Season


kindergarten paint

Mrs. Mills’ Kindergartners took to the classroom of the great outdoors on Wednesday October 4th of this beautiful autumn week. The students conducted a detailed nature study, followed by al fresco painting under the tutelage of Reverend Mills. The activity synthesized several recent lessons: a nursery rhyme learned in the classroom about fall, a Scripture verse memorized for recitation, and the science of blending primary colors to make a secondary color.

At the beginning of the project, the students sang the nursery rhyme about fall and the changing color of leaves. The boys and girls went outside and were reminded that the trees and the colorful autumn leaves are God’s beautiful creation shared with mankind. The class examined the trunk and the leaves of a nearby tree. They careK_paintfully observed how the leaves were changing colors; green leaves were turning yellow, orange, and red. The children were shown red, yellow, and green paint which they would use to paint colorful trees and leaves on canvas.  The students decided they needed orange paint, as well, and they observed the mixing of red and yellow to make orange.

After donning their paint smocks, each child approached an easel where a canvas had been prepared in advance with the sky, ground, and tree trunk already in place. Then, using sponges, the children painted green, yellow, orange, and red leaves on the trees.  How thrilling to create a masterpiece outdoors to capture the beauty of the season!

Students Explore the Field Day of the Past


image1On Friday September 15th, Hunter Classical Christian School ventured out to enjoy the first field trip of the year: The Field Day of the Past, a 3-day show remembering local history and preserving historic buildings, all with the feel of an old time country fair.

The students visited several living history exhibits and tried their hands at chores of the past: grinding corn, panning for gold, working the sawmill, and branding wooden placards with an iron forge, among others. Students explored the historic permanent structures on the grounds including the local general store, an antique garage, and gas station, and also visited the petting zoo.
A picnic lunch and a rowdy pig race rounded out the afternoon! Faculty, parents, and students alike gained a better understanding of the rich history of the surrounding Goochland County, and an appreciation for those who came before us and their vision to preserve our collective history.