Enlightenment in the Simple Things

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Enlightenment in the Simple Things

Principal Beckwith addresses students at the Fourth Missionary assembly on April 24, 2019.

Principal Beckwith addresses students at the Fourth Missionary assembly on April 24, 2019.

AHS Photo Library

Principal Beckwith addresses students at the Fourth Missionary assembly on April 24, 2019.

AHS Photo Library

AHS Photo Library

Principal Beckwith addresses students at the Fourth Missionary assembly on April 24, 2019.

Ethan Morrill, Staff Writer

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Over the course of the year, we have been enlightened as a school by sharing what we learn with each other. One of the many forms in which enlightenment comes is the devotional. In previous years, high school students got up, one person or group at a time, reciting a short monologue or skit that summarized what the students learned throughout the year. This year, because of our large class sizes and the new Patriot Arena, we as a high school decided to switch things up a bit. Instead of individually getting up one at a time, 9th grade students created a gallery walk showcasing personal essays, and 10th and 11th created a “station experience” where audience members walked around and saw different groups at different times, thus individualizing the experience for the audience.

From left to right, sophomores Hannah Price, Aisling Zhou, Shari Franke, Abbie Cobb, Karina Miner, Shera Crossley, and Adam Yang present a skit on the French Revolution during the sophomore devotional.

Mr. Earnest, tenth grade teacher, says that in formatting their devotional, “we were trying to find a way for as many students to see it as possible, so we chose the Patriot Arena and the concept [of the way we did the devotional] came into my mind as soon as I started picturing it. It was like a test run, we would try it this year and implement it and make it more effective in the years to come. It wasn’t particularly better or worse than last year, it was just different. If we do it next year, we’d have to do it differently. There are things we’re trying to fix.” Similarly, Mr. Hymas, eleventh grade teacher, states that “my hope was that [the devotional] reflected what students had learned rather than what teachers pulled together. Last year I spent 40 hours preparing for a devotional. My thought was, why not let 40 students each spend an hour on the devotional? I wanted them to really think about what they learned, and not just recite a quote or read a part that I had prepared.”

There are plenty of pros and cons for this format of devotionals. Mr. Hunsaker, assistant principal for grades 7-12 and fine arts, says, “I loved the individual focus in the small group presentations and the individual thought patterns vs. the recited lines. I thought that the 9th grade’s ‘We Believe’ essays were very well thought out and it reflected what the students actually learned.”

Lenicka Lee, a junior, says, “I enjoyed our devotional, I thought it was a good idea. I liked how I could talk to a smaller, more intimate group of people than just an audience, but I wish that I could have reached more people than I did. I actually preferred this year’s devotional over past years.” Tony Johnson, also a junior, agrees: “[Our new devotional format is] fun, it’s kinda new, but it’s not that good of an experience because you don’t reach as many people. Like, in the previous years, we had to put in a lot more effort, but it was worth it because everyone heard what everyone had to say. Now, people are just trying to hear over everyone else and it’s not that meaningful or impactful.”

Advisory is another part of the year that we, as students, have been enlightened.

AHS Photo Library
Student Body President Lauren Willardson and Vice President Ben Braithwaite address the students at the Fourth Missionary assembly on April 24, 2019.

Normal advisory periods consist of students doing homework and talking to teachers, but every once in a while, there has been a special assembly presented by either student government or the principal that highlights a specific truth that they feel students should be aware of. During one such assembly, Greg Jensen, the founder of Cultiva in Guatemala, came to speak to us about life in Guatemala and the time he has spent to help the people be more self-sustaining. Seven out of ten children in rural Guatemala are malnourished, and Mr. Jensen has helped to lighten the load of poverty and hunger, one family at a time, by starting a sustenance farming organization. We loved him and his ideas so much that we held a Taco Tuesday fundraiser and raised $1,774.10 for the organization.

Two weeks ago, our principal, Mr. Beckwith, talked about the “Fourth Missionary.” Originally given as a talk by Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge, president of the Chile Santiago North Mission at the time, to the missionaries serving in the area, the Fourth Missionary emphasizes the kind of servants we, as missionaries, can and should be. What exactly is the Fourth Missionary? Well, the First missionary is disobedient, and is often sent home or chooses to go home; the Second missionary is also disobedient, but stays the entire mission; the Third missionary is obedient, but only because he is told to be obedient—he withholds his heart. So the Fourth Missionary is obedient, and surrenders his heart. As a result, the Fourth Missionary is transformed by his mission. “The Fourth Missionary,” Mr. Beckwith said, “is not just about the mission field. All of us, whether we serve full-time Latter-day Saint missions or not, should strive to be Fourth Missionaries.”

Enlightenment can come to us even in the simplest of ways, including when we share our learning with others.