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Middle-schoolers learning more than academics

November 19, 2012

Focused on speaker Mitch Gerig during a Silent Witness meeting at NorthWood Middle School are (from left): Elli Cook (hidden), Samantha Borkholder, Summer Stillson, Luke Zurcher, and Caleb Newcomer. Photo provided

WAKARUSA — Learning in school is often focused on academic subjects. At NorthWood Middle School, a homeroom program allows students to voluntarily join clubs that teach them lessons beyond the classroom.
One such club is Silent Witness. This club began in 1992 when a group of middle school students at that time asked Mr. Brad Eby, eighth grade science teacher, if it was possible to have a Christian club. He was able to start the club that year.
At its origin, the club was named Service to Others and its focus was service projects around town; however, transportation became an issue for the middle school students. The club then changed to meeting during homeroom time and changed its name to Silent Witness.
The name, Silent Witness, was an idea of Eby's. “The idea of witnessing for Christ with our actions and not our words is very scriptural and is a very age-appropriate focus for the club.”
Speakers are chosen for most Silent Witness meetings. They range from area youth pastors to local organizations with a Christian base, to teachers. RETA, Reason Enough To Act, spoke to the group about their services to unwed mothers and how they help with unplanned pregnancies from a pro-life stance.
Although many clubs meet during homeroom, Silent Witness remains popular with the monthly meeting attendance ranging from 100 to more than 200 students. Attendance is completely optional. Students simply sign out of their homeroom classes to go to a club meeting rather than other homeroom activities like studying.
At NorthWood Middle School, the students have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills for their futures. They also have the ability to deepen their faith, their personalities, and their understanding of the world.

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