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Mars Hill Academy gives alumni tools to thrive

January 29, 2018

Mason, OH – Fifteen years ago before Mars Hill Academy had a permanent home, mischievous students claimed the Clough Pike Church nursery as their senior lounge.

"At one point we implemented a security measure by putting cups of water on the top of the door to douse whoever entered without permission," recalled 2003 graduate Joel Musser.

This practice stopped immediately after teacher Paul Brinkerhoff fell victim.

Since those early years, Musser, who was one of two students in the school's first graduating class, earned his economics degree from Hillsdale College, launched his financial planning career, married, and became the father of four children.

"Fifteen years have flown by, and I now have an amazing family of six, and the career I've always wanted. I'm now gripped by the 10 physical pounds (okay, 15!) that fatherhood has added and also the figurative weight of shepherding my own family toward Christ and the ideals that are ever present at Mars Hill. I'm so thankful my parents had the foresight and willingness to carpool 40 minutes each way to allow MHA to add to the foundation they were laying in my life."

Musser is just one of more than 100 alumni reaping the benefits of a Mars Hill Academy education.

MHA Latin teacher Esther Cunningham (Class of 2012) walks the halls she once traversed as a student.

"I have had many nostalgic flashbacks watching my students use the same lockers, sit in the same rooms, and even learn from the same teachers I did years ago," recalled the Wheaton College theater graduate.

While at MHA, Cunningham – who also is the high school drama club teacher and acting coach for the school's three plays – discovered a love for Shakespeare and decided to explore his texts in her high school senior thesis.

"For me, the senior thesis was a wonderful opportunity to explore something I was passionate about, present it to the school body, and try to convince them that Shakespeare's words are beautiful and full of direction for the actors," she explained.

This thesis, as well as her other studies at MHA, prepared her for life beyond school.

"My education at Mars Hill taught me to think critically about the world – through Logic classes teaching us valid syllogisms, Latin and Greek classes teaching us how to examine what texts actually say, and through all the high school humanities classes requiring us to carefully read and faithfully extract the implicit assumptions hiding beneath pretty words and a captivating story," she said.
David Swanson, a member of the school's second graduating class in 2004, started at MHA in its founding year as a fifth-grader.

"The best thing I took away from Mars Hill was having exceptional, godly influences in my life," he said. "It has stayed with me all the way through my life up to now."
After being "thrown into the experimental Mars Hill Academy education," he graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in mechanical engineering and earned his Masters in aerospace engineering. The father of two and his wife recently moved from Germany to Wright Patterson Air Force Base where he manages research and development programs as an Air Force officer and engineer.

"You leave MHA with a certain level of maturity — emotional maturity, maturity in your faith, adult wisdom — that I don't think is common for a lot of students in the world today," he said. "That gave me a certain level of confidence going into college and helped me pursue challenges, want to be a problem solver, and set the bar high for myself."

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. For more information, please call 513-770-3223 or visit www.marshill.edu.


Mars Hill Academy presents The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

January 22, 2018

MASON – Four children – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie – must flee the perils of the Blitz in London during World War II to the safety of the countryside.

Traveling through an old wardrobe, they discover the fantastical land of Narnia, a world frozen in winter by a fearsome White Witch.

Come follow the Pevensies' adventures when Mars Hill Academy presents C.S. Lewis' classic The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. On their journey the children meet fantastical creatures, like Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, Mr. Tumnus, the witch's dwarf, Father Christmas, and a host of other wonderful and mysterious creatures. The most impressive of all is the majestic and courageous lion Aslan, who has come to save the children and the creatures from the spell of the White Witch.

"C.S. Lewis is a wonderful storyteller," said Andrew Waldy, the show's director. "With intense action and memorable characters, this allegorical story of love, faith, and courage culminates in the triumph of good over evil and is a true celebration of life."

Two Grammar School casts will perform February 1-10. The Blue Cast includes Isaac Chastain, Lauren Burns, Carson Lucas, Emily Frank, Lydia Cunningham, Kadin Hasse, Caleb Lang, Ella Woollard, Anna Kate Gage, Madelyn Willison, Daniel Pienaar, Daniel Frank, Grace Lewondowski, Logan Anderson, Sydney Gilbert, Nate Heidenreich, and Elianna Walls.

The Gold Cast includes Dillon DeBra, Flora Baker, Andrew Leonard, Lila Baker, Lainey Zurcher, Silas Ware, Evan Sheldon, Rebecca Tipton, Naomi Ware, Kaiya Knodel, William Davis, Brennon Ferguson, Grace Prittie, Christina Admiraal, Eli Forester, Molly Hicks, Christopher Sheldon, and Anna Tipton.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to "Discover the Difference" of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.

HOW TO GO

Performance Dates, Times:
• Thursday, February 1, 7 p.m. (Gold cast)
• Friday, February 2, 7 p.m. (Blue cast)
• Saturday, February 3, 3 p.m. (Blue cast)
• Saturday, February 3, 7 p.m. (Gold cast)
• Saturday, February 10, 3 p.m. (Gold cast)
• Saturday, February 10, 7 p.m. (Blue cast)

Location: Mars Hill Academy, 4230 Aero Drive, Mason, Ohio

Tickets: General admission tickets are $8, and premium seating tickets are $12; can be purchased at www.marshill.edu.
Mars Hill Academy - Cincinnati's only K-12 independent ...
www.marshill.edu
Mars Hill Academy, Cincinnati's only K-12 independent classical and Christian school, is located on a beautiful 13-acre campus in Mason, Ohio.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy will present The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe February 1-10. Shown are Lila Baker of Lebanon as Lucy, Silas Ware of Morrow as Aslan, Lydia Cunningham of Liberty Twp. as the White Witch, and Anna Kate Gage of Montgomery as Mr. Tumnus.


Mars Hill Academy to host “Mittens and Muffins” K-2 Open House

January 19, 2018

MASON -- Mars Hill Academy will host a special Kindergarten through Second Grade Open House for parents and their children ages 3-7 from 9:30-11 a.m., Friday, February 9.

“Mittens and Muffins” will feature mitten-themed crafts, snacks, and story time for the children. During the event, parents can visit classrooms, meet the teachers, talk with current MHA families, and learn more about the unique classical and Christian curriculum offered at MHA.

“’Mittens and Muffins’ offers a fun, relaxed introduction to Kindergarten, first, and second grades at Mars Hill Academy for both children and their parents,” said MHA Kindergarten teacher Amy Kirk. “Our classrooms offer such a unique experience for children, you really have to come see it for yourself!”

For more information about this free event and to RSVP, please call the Mars Hill Academy office at 513-770-3223 or register online at marshill.edu. The application fee will be waived for attendees who submit an application Feb. 9! MHA is located at 4230 Aero Drive in Mason.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to "Discover the Difference" of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.

Photo:  Mars Hill Academy students are getting ready for the school’s “Mittens and Muffins” Kindergarten through Second Grade Open House for parents and children ages 3-7.  Pictured are MHA students (l-r) Jenna Minick of Glendale, Gehrig Bowling of Fairfield Twp., Benjamin Thistleton of Mason, Josie Kimble of West Chester Twp., and Micah Walls of Maineville.

 


Pleasant Perseverance: MHA Freshman Anna Hayes thrives despite the odds

January 8, 2018 

Mason, OH – With doctors giving her only an 8 percent chance of survival, Anna Hayes’ life story is one of perseverance and God’s provision.

The Mars Hill Academy freshman was born prematurely at 25 weeks, weighing only 1 lb. 11 oz. She spent the first three months of her life in the Miami Valley Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Dayton.

“I wondered how we would plan for an infant funeral,” her father Justin Hayes recalled. “The doctors said if she survived, she would be blind and would never speak or walk. Every step of the way, we were told what she couldn’t do – run, ride a bike, read, swim. But Anna has pleasantly persevered.”

To the bewilderment of doctors, Anna not only has overcome the challenges of her premature birth, but she also has thrived. Mr. Hayes describes her unexpected accomplishments as an "exceptional provision of God's grace."

Anna came to MHA in Kindergarten. Although her family loved the school, they sought reassurance that the classical, Christian education provided by MHA was the right fit. Multiple assessments from various agencies over the years — even by area public school districts — repeatedly verified that there is no other academic structure more suited to meet her needs.

“They all contended the best place for her to maximize her abilities is here,” Mr. Hayes said. “Anna exhibits strong childlike faith in Jesus Christ, has a strong work ethic, loves school, and has flourished spiritually, socially, and cognitively in the MHA environment.”

Mr. Hayes said the teachers work to ensure Anna is supported and challenged academically. In fact, she has been named to the Headmaster’s List for academic achievement the past two years. Her schedule includes traditional classical classes like antiquities and protocol, as well as an independent study of missionaries and service as a front office aide two days a week.

"The staff at Mars Hill Academy has provided layer upon layer of support, encouragement, wisdom, and love for us that is overwhelming," said Mr. Hayes.

“Anna’s love for MHA and her servant’s heart is evident in her work,” said Admissions Director Patsy Hall. “She always is eager to help and is conscientious in her work. It is a true joy to have her in the front office.”

Anna’s duties range from making school hymnals and preparing mailings to updating school signs and helping the Advancement Team with printed materials for events.

“What I like best about Mars Hill is the Christian education and the teachers,” she said. “I like all my classes. I also like to come up to the office and help during my work periods if I don’t have too much school work.”

Anna, who recently earned her temporary driver’s license, enjoys reading, crafting, playing online games like Words with Friends, and exercising. She also works with the youth at her church and makes and donates hats for infants in the NICU.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati’s only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. For more information, please call 513-770-3223 or visit www.marshill.edu.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy freshman Anna Hayes works as an office aide. Born prematurely at just 25 weeks, she was given less than an 8 percent chance of survival. Today is she is a thriving teen.


Mars Hill Academy teacher is published author, has studied a dozen languages Q&A with Dr. Christopher Jero

December 14, 2017

Mason, OH – Mars Hill Academy teacher Dr. Christopher Jero is a published author. His most recent work, “Tense, Mood, and Aspect in the Biblical Hebrew Verbal System,” is part of a collection Where Shall Wisdom Be Found: A Grammatical Tribute to Professor Stephen A. Kaufman.

This book honors Dr. Kaufman, Professor Emeritus of Bible and Cognate Literature at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and co-founder of the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon project, for his contributions to the world of Semitic studies and for his influence on young scholars of Bible and ancient Near Eastern studies.

Dr. Jero also has written and lectured on the subject of interpreting biblical narrative. His desire is to serve the Church of Jesus Christ by assisting students to interpret Scripture and to recognize its clear call on the life of all people.

Dr. Jero recently was interviewed to find out more.

Q: What has been your educational journey?

A: I earned my B.M. in violin performance from the University of Northern Iowa, my M.A. in Old Testament from Columbia International University, and my Ph.D. in Hebrew and Cognate Languages from Hebrew Union College. I began teaching at MHA in the 2005-2006 school year.

This year, I teach seventh grade Old Testament, ninth grade Biblical Interpretation, ninth grade Advanced Latin, Greek I, II, and Hebrew I.

Q: Why did you decide to become a teacher?

A: I decided to be­come a teacher, because I was encouraged that God gave me a gift to com­municate clearly. God also gave me a love and passion for the Word of God. I couldn’t not impart that love of the Word of God to others without exploding.

Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching?

A: I love most being able to share a love for what is truly good and beautiful with eager students.

Q: How do you hope your classes impact the lives of your students?

A: Any class I’m teaching, I’m teaching with a view toward reading Scripture. My first passion is Scripture. I want students to learn to look at Scripture freshly, as something speaking to them, and for them to be attuned to hear the voice of God.

Q: Just how many languages do you know?

A: That’s a difficult question, because when does one really know a language? I have studied various Akkadian Dialects (Assyrian, Babylonian), Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Ugaritic, French, German, Greek, Egyptian, Latin, and, of course, English.

Q: What is a favorite teaching memory?

A: My favorite moments are when students make a connection. For example, when Miss Esther Cunningham (MHA alumna and now MHA Latin teacher) was in seventh grade working through 1 Samuel, we got to chapter 8, and it suddenly clicked what the purpose of the Hannah narrative is. She just about popped out of her seat, as her eyes got big and her hand went up. It has happened many times – when a student sees it, when a student says, “That’s cool.”

Q: What is something most people may not know about you?

A: I am a three-time winner of the Graeter’s coloring contest in the 14+ category at our local store. Each year there is a theme for a coloring page, and I have tried to mimic classic art. This year was the Mona Lisa eating an ice cream cone. The other winners were Monet and Salvador Dali inspired.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

A: I enjoy reading, listening to music (opera is a favorite), keeping my language skills active, and spending time with my wife and four children.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati’s only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. For more information, please call 513-770-3223 or visit www.marshill.edu.


Fellowship fosters Rhetoric School connections New adopt-a-grade program helps students in grades 7-12

December 4, 2017

Mason, OH – Paintball parties, pumpkin carving, prayer groups, movie nights, and zip lining – these are just a few of the ways the new "Adopt-a-Grade" program at Mars Hill Academy has fostered fellowship for Rhetoric School students in grades 7-12 this school year.

Parent Teacher Fellowship leadership members Mrs. Gwen Tipton and Mrs. Angela Anderson helped execute Rhetoric School Principal Mark Cotterman's idea of parents adopting grades 7-12, similar to room parents in elementary grades. MHA is divided into two "schools" – the Grammar School for grades K-6 and the Rhetoric School for grades 7-12.

"As my daughter entered seventh grade, I noticed a difference in class-specific fellowship opportuni­ties in the Rhetoric School compared to Grammar School," said Mrs. Tipton. "As room parents, we were in constant communication with the teacher and other parents, and the Rhetoric School works differently. We thought it would be beneficial to give Rhetoric parents a way to be involved in creating community and supporting the Rhetoric students, so we helped create the 'Adopt-a-Grade' program."

Mars Hill Academy boys in eighth grade traveled to West Virginia to go white water rafting as part of a new adopt-a-grade program designed to build connections among the school's older students.

Mars Hill Academy girls in eighth grade went ziplining to build camaraderie as part of a new adopt-a-grade program for students in grades 7-12.

At the beginning of the school year, parents signed up in each grade to adopt the girls, boys, or entire class and work as a team to support the grade.

"We don't want this program to be intimidating for parents, so we let them decide what social activities they would like to organize or host," Mrs. Anderson explained. "We've had activities as extravagant as the eighth grade boys white water rafting trip and as simple as a get together for prayer and devotions. We appreciate how each parent has brought a unique perspective to the program, and I love to see their enthusiasm for the students as they get to know them outside of the classroom."

Mrs. Amy Kirk and Mrs. Abby Taylor, mothers with students in the Rhetoric School and teacher in the Grammar School, adopted the seniors and chose a more intimate approach. For example, they share lunch with the students two at a time.

"I have treasured getting to know these students as they open up their hearts to us and to each other," said Mrs. Taylor.

As the program grows, parents hope to find more ways to foster fellowship with the Rhetoric students.

"There aren't any slipper parties or reading groups in Rhetoric School, so parents are creative with activities older students enjoy," Mrs. Tipton concluded.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. For more information, please call 513-770-3223 or visit www.marshill.edu.


Mars Hill Academy presents a modern take on classic Pinocchio

November 3, 2017

MASON -- From the moment Gepetto creates him from a stick of wood, Pinocchio dreams of being a real boy. But will the all-too-tempting delights of puppet shows and Playland be too much for Pinocchio?

Find out when Mars Hill Academy presents this new, fast-paced, story-within-a-story version of Pinocchio by Greg Banks, based on the classic story by Carlo Collodi. Pinocchio runs November 16-18 and is directed by Lyn Cunningham. Tickets are on sale at www.marshill.edu

Pinocchio will never be a real boy until he goes to school and stays out of trouble. However, he is easily sidetracked by his pursuits for money, friends, and fun. When Gepetto is swallowed by a whale, it is up to this little puppet to show his courage and prove his love for his Papa. In the end, Pinocchio learns about love, family, and what it means to be human.

"While Pinocchio is a familiar story, we are excited about the unique way in which we tell the tale," Cunningham said. "It's still the beloved story we know but with a modern twist and a few surprises that are sure to engage and entertain audiences."

Two junior high casts will perform. The red cast stars Paige Burns of Cincinnati as Pinocchio; Alex Anderson (West Chester Twp.), Colt Bennett (Maineville), Abby Bowling (Hamilton), Isaac Dowdy (Maineville), Kellen Hasse (Liberty Twp.), and Ellen Reynolds (Cincinnat)i.

The green cast includes Evan Weber of Hamilton Twp. as Pinocchio; Marianne Erickson (Mason), Lucy Hicks (Cincinnati), Abby Kirk (Cincinnati), Grace Santa (Maineville), Nicholas Sheldon (Fairfield), Rachel Tipton (Loveland), and Janie Wehmeyer (Cincinnati).

Tickets are $10 for general seating and $15 for premium seating. For more information, visit www.marshill.edu.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to discover the difference of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.


MHA students enjoy farm visits

November 1, 2017

MASON -- Mars Hill Academy kindergarten and first grade students recently enjoyed trips to the farm. 

Kindergarten students visited Hidden Valley Fruit Farm in Lebanon, and first-graders visited Shaw Farms in Milford. The students all picked their own pumpkins, enjoyed hayrides, and participated in educational tours on growing crops.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati’s only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to discover the difference of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.


Mars Hill Academy students learn about 500th anniversary of Reformation

October 31, 2017

MASON -- Mars Hill Academy students and staff recently traveled back in time to learn more about the Protestant Reformation.

On October 31, 1517, in Wittenberg, Germany, Martin Luther posted his thoughts about theological topics and practices of the church, known as the 95 theses. His simple action began the Reformation — a movement that changed Western society. 

Principal James Waldy said the 500th Anniversary Program helped students in grades 1-6 learn more about the Reformation and its historical context. They rotated through 12 different themed stations, including Reformation dance, Bible smuggling, Scottish Reformation history, printmaking, stained glass replicas, illuminated manuscripts, calligraphy, and more.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati’s only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. 


MHA Varsity Volleyball Team Wins State Championship (2017)

October 28, 2017

MASON – Mars Hill Academy's girl varsity volleyball team recently clenched their third OCSAA (Ohio Christian School Athletic Association) state title. Shown are (from left) Coach Erin Edwards, Mackenzie Ricketts of Morrow, Tessa DeBra of Loveland, Piper Ricketts of Morrow, Holly Edwards of Liberty Twp., Lizzie Pereira of Cincinnati, Sarah Cotterman of Loveland, Eloise Augustine of West Chester Twp., Brynn Gage of Cincinnati, AK Hicks of Cincinnati, and Coach Sam Ricketts.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to "Discover the Difference" of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.


Mars Hill Academy students celebrate Prairie Day

October 26, 2017

MASON -- Mars Hill Academy third-graders recently held a "Prairie Day" celebration after reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, Little House on the Prairie. Dressed in period costumes, they started the day with a field trip to a frontier cabin at Keehner Park in West Chester Twp. They spent the rest of the day immersed in the late 19th century, completing prairie-style lessons, crafts, and singing.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to discover the difference of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.


Mars Hill Academy students explore fossil park

October 12, 2017

MASON -- Science lessons came alive when Mars Hill Academy fifth grade students recently visited Trammel Fossil Park in Sharonville. Trammel Fossil Park is unique because there are very few places to dig for fossils in the Cincinnati area that are safe and accessible. Since the plot of Trammel Fossil Park has never been disturbed, there is a plethora of fossils in very good condition. 

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati’s only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to discover the difference of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube. 


Mars Hill Academy students travel to Middle Earth

October 11, 2017

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy fifth grade students recently traveled to Middle Earth. Hobbits, wizards, dwarves and elves roamed the halls at MHA for Hobbit Day, an annual event for fifth graders to enjoy a “Middle Earth” feast, games including an archery contest, and singing to celebrate J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic book, The Hobbit

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati’s only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to discover the difference of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.


Mars Hill Academy students learn about birds of prey

September 29, 2017

MASON – Science lessons literally came alive for students at Mars Hill Academy when birds of prey visited.

RAPTOR, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey, brought two feathered friends to school recently in order for third grade students to learn about the creatures, adaptations and habitat.

A sharp beak, even sharper talons, and strong wings aren't always enough to protect Ohio's birds of prey – that was one of the first lessons learned.

Each of the birds in the RAPTOR program came to the organization with some sort of injury. If it is able, the group rehabilitates the bird to be released back into the wild. However, if the bird's injuries are such that it could not survive on its own, the group uses the bird as part of their educational program to teach the public more about these majestic animals.

Students at MHA learned about the owls: a Great Horned Owl named Ollie, who has neurological deficits, and a Barred Owl named Spencer, who has impaired vision and hearing.  

Elementary science teacher Dr. Laura Lucas organized the visit to the school. She said hands-on and visual activities help provide students with a deeper understanding of their science lessons and help them make connections between the text and the world around them.

After the owl presentation, students dissected owl pellets to learn about the eating habits of birds of prey.

Pellets are the regurgitated remains of an owl's meal, including all the bones of the animals it ate. Owls usually swallow their food whole, digest the edible parts and then expel the indigestible parts through their mouth as a pellet.

"The students were amazed to see the owls up close and were fascinated to discover what was inside the pellets they dissected,” Lucas said.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to "Discover the Difference" of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.


MHA students celebrate Yom Kippur

September 28, 2017

MASON -- Mars Hill Academy students in Dr. Christopher Jero's seventh grade Old Testament class recently reenacted Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, as described in Leviticus 16 in the Bible – from donning the priestly garments of a tunic, robe, ephod, breastplate, turban, and turban plate to presenting goats (represented by red balloons) and casting lots.

"Yom Kippur represents the day God provided atonement for the sins of the Israelites," Dr. Jero explained. "Each year, two animals were brought into the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle for sacrifice. The priest would symbolically lay the sins of the people on the head of the goat to provide a covering for their sins. As Christians, we believe this important holy day points to the coming of Christ as the ultimate sacrifice and remission for sin."

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to "Discover the Difference" of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.


Mars Hill Academy Senior Amy Davis Named a SemiFinalist in the National Merit® Scholarship Program

September 15, 2017

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy senior Amy Davis of Mason was named a Semifinalist in the 2017 National Merit® Scholarship program. Davis is one of about 16,000 Semifinalists throughout the nation who will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for a National Merit Scholarship.

"Historically, over 20% of our seniors receive recognition from the National Merit® Scholarship program each year," shares Mars Hill Academy's Head of School and Rhetoric School Principal Mr. Mark Cotterman. "The success of our students attests to the effectiveness of the classical education methods. We do not teach to the test but hold true to standards of truth, goodness and beauty grounded in the Scriptures."

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to "Discover the Difference" of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.


Mars Hill Academy students become mineral detectives

September 13, 2017

MASON -- Fifth grade science students at Mars Hill Academy recently suited up to become mineral detectives, putting their earth science studies to the test.

“The purpose of the lab was to give them hands-on practice to learn the characteristics of minerals by testing them on eight unknown samples,” explained MHA science teacher Dr. Laura Lucas.

Given eight unknown mineral suspects, students were challenged to identify each mineral by name. The student detectives worked together in groups of two or three to gather evidence about the mineral suspects.  They performed a series of numerous laboratory tests, including observation, light interaction, streak, mineral hardness, cleavage, smell, ice, and solubility. Students then used the data collected to identify each mineral.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit http://www.marshill.edu to "Discover the Difference" of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.


MHA Chamber Choir Sings at 9/11 Tribute

September 11, 2017

WEST CHESTER – Mars Hill Academy’s select choir, the Chamber Singers, were honored to perform at the Flag-Raising Tribute in Remembrance of 9/11 held today at Chesterwood Retirement Village in West Chester. The ceremony featured the raising of the flag by members of the Miami University NROTC Color Guard and Color Detail.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati’s only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school.  One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning.  Learn more at www.marshill.edu.


Mars Hill Academy Welcomes New Head of School

August 25, 2017

MASON -- Mark Cotterman walked through the doors of Mars Hill Academy Tuesday, August 22 as both the father of a graduating senior and as the newHead of School.

“I was struck with a sense of the true beauty of a classical, Christian education,” he said. “Having watched two of my daughters graduate from MHA, and experiencing it again with my third daughter this year, I know each step of their classical educational journey builds toward their senior year. Through an impressive thesis project, our seniors combine all of the communications skills, knowledge and critical thinking abilities they have developed throughout the years to write, present and defend their hypotheses on a given topic. Our alumni will gladly attest to how well this prepares them for their lives beyond MHA.”

Mr. Cotterman brings his business experience and passion for education to his new role as both Head of School and principal for students in grades 7-12. He was the  assistant headmaster last year and previously served on the school board. A Loveland resident, he holds a B.S. in industrial and systems engineering from Ohio University and spent more than 25 years in the business consulting industry. He currently is working toward a Master of Arts in Christian Education from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  

“From the first day of school to the last, MHA remains committed to Christ and the teaching of the Word,” said Cotterman. “Our faculty takes such joy in fulfilling our mission of assisting parents in the covenantal training of their children through a classical, Christian education. The smiles on the students’ faces as they walk through our doors on the first day reminds me to stay focused on our mission.”

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati’s only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school.  One of only 37 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning.  Visit http://www.marshill.edu.


Mars Hill Academy Students Earn Honors on National Greek Exam

March 17, 2017

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy students recently received awards of achievement on the National Greek Exam.  Receiving Blue (Highest) awards were ninth graders Kyle Chu of Cincinnati and Etienne Pienaar of Mason. Earning Red (High) awards were ninth graders Samuel Jero of Cincinnati and Gita O’Brien of Liberty Township.  Earning Green (Merit) awards were ninth graders Joshua Kuechly of Cincinnati, Jonathan Palmer of Mason, and tenth graders Samuel Bennett of West Chester and Matthew Williams of Cincinnati.

“This is the fifth year Mars Hill Academy has participated in the National Greek Exam,” said Dr. Christopher Jero, MHA’s Greek teacher.  “Thanks to a strong Latin foundation, which is an integral part of our classical and Christian curriculum, our students have been able to learn a lot of Greek in a short time.  Our students have worked hard and deserve the recognition the NGE has awarded them.”

Greek is offered to MHA students beginning in ninth grade, following five years of Latin instruction which begins in fourth grade. 

Photo: Mars Hill Academy students earned honors for their achievement on the National Greek Exam. 

 


MHA Celebrates Student Achievement on National Latin Exam

March 9, 2017

MASON, OH – Sixteen Mars Hill Academy students received top honors on the 2017 National Latin Exam (NLE).  Fifth grade student Clay Heap of Mason achieved a Perfect Score.

Students earning the Gold Summa Cum Laude Award are sixth graders Abby Bowling of Hamilton, Marianne Erickson of Mason, Sarah Harris of Lebanon, Elise Lockett of Mason, Carrie Merhout of Liberty Township, Joshua Miller of Cincinnati, Ellen Reynolds of Cincinnati, Janie Wehmeyer of Cincinnati, and Caleb White of Liberty Township; seventh graders Megumi Fukuda of Mason, Daryn Hancock of Liberty Township, and Noelle Min of Mason; eighth grader Michaela Estruth of Mason; and ninth graders Kyle Chu of Cincinnati and Etienne Pienaar of Maineville.

Sixty-three percent of the Mars Hill Academy students in grades 5-9 who took the NLE received awards. Students at MHA begin their Latin studies in fourth grade as part of the school’s classical and Christian curriculum, with participation in the NLE beginning in fifth grade.  The NLEs were created to promote the study of Latin and to encourage the individual student.  Students do not compete with other students on a comparative basis, but are evaluated solely on their own performance on the exam.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy celebrates students who received Gold Summa Cum Laude on the National Latin Exam. 

 


Mars Hill Academy to Present "Pride and Prejudice"

March 3, 2017

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy presents “Pride and Prejudice,” the drama by Jon Jory based on Jane Austen’s classic novel. Show times are Friday, March 24, 7 pm; Saturday, March 25, 2 pm and 7 pm; Friday, March 31, 7 pm; and Saturday, April 1, 2 pm and 7 pm.  All shows are at The Fitton Center for Creative Arts, 101 S. Monument Ave., Hamilton.  Tickets are $12, available online through The Fitton Center at www.fittoncenter.org/special-events.

The beloved romantic drama centers on an 18th century English gentleman’s wife and his five unmarried daughters. The Bennets’ lives are turned upside down when Mr. Bingley, a wealthy bachelor, and his friend Mr. Darcy take up residence in a nearby mansion. Sparks fly when Elizabeth Bennet meets the proud Mr. Darcy, who disapproves of her family and social standing. Is it his pride and her prejudice…or her pride and his prejudice? Brought together by a series of events beyond their control, the couple must reconsider their first impressions.

The show features 28 Mars Hill Academy students with a double cast for certain roles.   Anna Edwards of West Chester stars as Elizabeth Bennet and Jacob Oedy of Lebanon stars as Mr. Darcy.  Andrew Cunningham of Liberty Township plays Mr. Bennet; Jolene Estruth of Mason plays Mrs. Bennet; Daniel Taylor of Liberty Township is Mr. Bingley, and Grace Bennett and Rachel Dudley, both of West Chester, share the role of Jane Bennet.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy’s “Pride and Prejudice” cast features David Taylor as Mr. Bingley, Jacob Oedy as Mr. Darcy, Rachel Dudley as Jane Bennet and Anna Edwards as Elizabeth Bennet.

 


MHA Laurel Wreath Competition Winners Celebrate the Spoken Word

March 1, 2017

MASON, OH – Sixteen Mars Hill Academy students grades 1-8 won top honors in their class competitions for MHA’s annual Laurel Wreath recitation contest.   Reciting memorized literary selections, poetry and Scripture, students are judged in the areas of expression, stage presence, and clarity of voice.  First place winners of each class receive the honor of presenting at a school assembly. 

The laurel wreath was a symbol of honor and excellence in ancient Greece.  The greenery was worn by victors in battle, champions on the athletic field, and ‘heroes of the spoken word.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy’s Laurel Wreath Recitation Competition winners:

 


J.R.R. Tolkien’s Classic "The Fellowship of the Rings" Comes to Life at MHA

February 21, 2017

MASON, OH – Sixth graders at Mars Hill Academy transformed into hobbits, wizards, dwarves and elves for “Lord of the Rings Day,” a day of feasting, archery and games to celebrate J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic book, The Fellowship of the Rings, book one of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy sixth graders Grace Dudley and Nicole Harris, dressed as elves from from The Fellowship of the Rings novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, enjoy an authentic “Middle Earth” feast.

 


MHA 4th-6th Graders Present "The Adventures of Robin Hood"

January 19, 2017

MASON, OH – Come watch Mars Hill Academy’s 4th-6th grade students bring Robin Hood’s adventures in the Sherwood Forest to life for four shows at Mars Hill Academy.  Shows are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 2-4 at 7 p.m., with a matinee show at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 4.  Tickets are $8 for general admission, $12 for premier seating, available online at marshillacademy.seatyourself.biz or call the school office at 513-770-3223.

Come see the mischievous ploys of Robin Hood’s band, the conniving villainy of the Sheriff and his malicious cronies, and the climactic battle between the champions of Good King Richard and Evil Prince John. 

The show is double cast, and will feature Andrew Leonard of Liberty Township and Johnathan Russell of West Chester as Robin Hood, Kellen Hasse of Liberty Township and Oliver Zimmerman of Mason as the Sherriff of Nottingham, Lauren Burns of Cincinnati and Eli Mullucey of Loveland as Friar Tuck, Abby Kirk of West Chester and Ellen Reynolds of Cincinnati as Little John, and Abby Bowling of Liberty Township and Marianne Erickson of Mason as Maid Marian.

Bring the whole family to experience dancing in the forest, archery at the fair, and even a bit of swordplay!

Photo: Mars Hill Academy students Kellen Hasse as the Sheriff of Nottingham; Andrew Leonard, who stars as Robin Hood; and Abby Bowling as Maid Marian.

 


Mars Hill Academy Hosts "Mittens & Muffins" K-1 Open House

January 4, 2017

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy will host a special Kindergarten and First Grade Open House for parents and their children ages 3-6 from 9:30-11 a.m., Friday, January 27.

“Mittens and Muffins” will feature mitten-themed crafts, snacks, and story time for the children. During the event, parents can visit classrooms, meet the teachers, talk with current MHA families, and learn more about the unique classical and Christian curriculum offered at MHA.

“’Mittens and Muffins’ offers a fun, relaxed introduction to Kindergarten and first grade at Mars Hill Academy for both children and their parents,” said MHA Kindergarten teacher Tara Dudley. “Our classrooms offer such a unique experience for children, you really have to come see it for yourself!”

For more information about this free event and to RSVP, please call the Mars Hill Academy office at 513-770-3223 or e-mail RSVP@marshill.edu.  MHA is located at 4230 Aero Drive in Mason.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy Kindergarten students invite you to "Mittens & Muffins"

 


Mars Hill Academy Student-Led Service Group Finds Ways to Give Back

December 16, 2016

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy’s newly-formed student service group, the Highlander Council, has taken the lead in the school’s community service projects.  Comprised of thirteen volunteer students from ninth through twelfth grades, the group seeks ways to bless their community, especially during the holiday season.  In November and December, the students ran a shoebox drive for Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child program; collected winter scarves, mittens, gloves and hats to donate to the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Warren County; and packed 350 food bags for Childhood Food Solutions to be delivered to Cincinnati-area school children who need nourishing food over the Christmas break. 

“The Highlander Council students have done a tremendous job of finding meaningful projects, coordinating logistics, and spreading the blessings of service by getting other students involved,” said MHA Headmaster Dr. James Albritton.  “We decided last year to take our community service out of the hands of administration and put it into the hands of our student leadership.  With their energy and enthusiasm, they are accomplishing even more than in past years.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy juniors Daniel Taylor of Liberty Township and Andrew Cunningham of Liberty Township helped pack 350 bags of nourishing food to be delivered to Cincinnati-area school children who may need food assistance over the Christmas Break.  MHA’s student-led service group, the Highlander Council, partnered with Childhood Food Solutions for the project.

 


MHA "Pilgrims"' and "Native American" Celebrate Thanksgiving

November 22, 2016

MASON, OH – Pilgrims and Native Americans were in abundance at Mars Hill Academy as the school celebrated the first Thanksgiving almost 400 years ago in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  

“Dressing in costume gives our students the opportunity to delve a little deeper into a historical time periods,” said MHA Headmaster Dr. James Albritton.  “We have Greek and Roman days, medieval days, Colonial celebrations and World War II commemorations.  The students get more creative with their costumes each year.”

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving at MHA looks a lot like the actual holiday, including feasts complete with turkey and trimmings.  The fourth grade class holds a Thanksgiving Seder, where candles are lit while students read and recite Thanksgiving stories and Bible verses.

The day ends with a special Thanksgiving assembly for parents and the community.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy Kindergarteners celebrated the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth nearly 400 years ago by dressing in period costumes.

 


Mars Hill Academy First Graders Celebrate Mastering US Geography

November 21, 2016

MASON, OH – Flags were waving during Mars Hill Academy’s annual first grade USA Party, a celebration of the students learning to recite all 50 states and point them out on a US map.  Activities included special USA-themed treats, games, a parade around the school, and a geography song concert for parents.

“We teach the states region by region, through song and movement,” said first grade geography teacher Mrs. Melanie Ruppersburg.  “Before they know it, they have learned the entire United States, and it’s amazing how easily they remember the locations on the map.”

MHA first grader Elena Cernucan of Mason particularly loved learning the songs for the Pacific coast states.  “As soon as I got home, I would run though the house singing the song because I loved it so much.”

Teaching geography in the early grades is part of the classical curriculum which distinguishes Mars Hill Academy from other independent schools. The classical method teaches to a child’s natural tendencies at any given age.

“At the early stages of development, children love rhyming, singing, hand motions and movement.  They love repetition, and their capacity for memorization is astounding,” said Ruppersburg.  “Because we teach geography in such a fun and engaging way, by the end of first grade they have learned not only all 50 states and their locations, but also the countries within Central America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and parts of Africa.  And they love every minute of it!”

Elena enjoys sharing her songs with her family. “When I told my dad I was learning about Africa, he wanted me to teach it to him!”

Mars Hill Academy seniors will attest to the fact that these catchy geography tunes stay with them throughout their school experience.  “When I hear the young students singing them in the halls during one of their geography parades, it all comes back to me,” said MHA senior Anna Edwards of Liberty Township. “I can still remember how much fun it was learning those songs.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy first graders Lindsay Wos of Mason and Elena Cernucan of Mason get into the patriotic spirit during their class’s USA Party.

 


Mars Hill Academy Third Graders Experience Pioneer Life

November 14, 2016

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy third graders recently celebrated the pioneer era of American history as depicted in the book, Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  In celebration of completing the book, they held a “Prairie Day" celebration which began with a trip to the “cabin in the clearing,” an 1800’s cabin located in Keehner Park, West Chester.  Dressed in period costumes, students made homemade butter, created dolls from cornhusks, and played 19th century games such as “jump the river” and “red rover.”  The day ended with an old-fashioned hoedown and sing-a-long.

“Prairie day is one of our third graders’ favorite days of the year,” shared Mars Hill’s third grade teacher Mrs. Traci DeBra. “We immerse them in the period and let their imaginations run with hands-on crafts, activities, music and authentic food.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy third graders visited an 19th century cabin in Keehner Park, West Chester, as part of their Prairie Day celebration.  Students dressed in pioneer era clothing to celebrate the popular Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books.

 


Mars Hill Academy 7th & 8th Graders Present "The Jungle Book"

November 10, 2016

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy will present “The Jungle Book” on Fridays, November 11 & 18, at 7 p.m. and Saturdays, November 12 & 19 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at MHA.

Coming of age is one of the oldest themes in literature.  Gilgamesh, Enkidu, Huckleberry Finn all share the same experience.  Another character in this pantheon is Mowgli, the young boy who, pursued by a man-eating tiger, wanders into the jungle and is rescued by a she-wolf.

MHA seventh and eighth grade thespians will explore what it means to be a man, to be virtuous, and to be a human.  This production is unique in that the small cast will play multiple characters, and the actors never leave the stage.

Tickets for the show are on sale now for $10 and $15.  They can be purchased online at http://marshill.seatyourself.biz.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy's cast of "The Jungle Book" brings Rudyard Kipling's classic tale to the stage.

 


MHA Varsity Volleyball Team Wins State Championship

November 9, 2016

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy's girl varsity volleyball team clenched their second OCSAA (Ohio Christian School Athletic Association) state title this Saturday with a five-set win over the undefeated Ohio Valley Christian Defenders.  The Lady Highlanders' last varsity state title was in 2012.  

The Highlanders sputtered at the outset dropping the first set, but quickly recovered to take sets two and three, 25-20, 25-18.  Beautiful, well-disciplined team play was on full display but things took a turn in the fourth, sending the championship match to a fifth and final set to 15 points.  The Highlanders managed to regain their composure and roared out of the gate to a 6-0 lead.  Tough serving, in-system passing and powerful finishing at the net restored the team’s confidence.  The Highlanders would not look back, winning 9 of the last 17 points to secure the state title at 15-8.

First year Head Coach Sam Ricketts attributed the winning performance to "beautiful team play" and "experience with high pressure situations."

"Our girls have learned how to respond to difficulty because they were challenged all during the regular season.  The pressure was not new to them," Ricketts commented.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy’s girls varsity volleyball won their second Ohio Christian School Athletic Association state title.

 


MHA Second Graders Perform Contraction Surgery

October 24, 2016

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy second grade students donned their surgical scrubs to perform contraction “surgery.”  Students had to make decisions whether to keep or cut out parts of word pairs such as “will not,” “we will” and “have not.”  Second grade teacher Mrs. Alicia Weber of Maineville prepped the class for the procedure, equipping them with red pens, scissors and adhesive bandages which acted as apostrophes. Students then displayed their successful “operations!”

“The students did a fantastic job with their word pairs, and the surgery was a success,” said Weber.  “After the surgery, each student then shared with the class the two pair of words they started with and the new contraction that was the result of the operation.  They had such fun doing contraction surgery, I’m sure they won’t forget this lesson anytime soon!”

PhotoMars Hill Academy second grader Colby Mizeres displays his contractions, the result of a successful “surgery” where he had to decide whether to keep or cut out parts of the word pairs “they have” and “she would.”

 


MHA Fifth Graders Bring "The Hobbit" to Life

October 18, 2016

MASON, OH – J.R.R. Tolkien's classic "The Hobbit" came to life at Mars Hill Academy this week.  Hobbits, wizards, dwarves and elves roamed the halls at MHA for “Hobbit Day,” an annual event for fifth graders to enjoy a “Middle Earth” feast, games including an archery contest, and singing to celebrate J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic book, The Hobbit.

PhotoMars Hill Academy fifth graders Piper Fischer and Lydia Cunningham enjoyed portraying elves during their class’s Hobbit Day celebration. 

 


MHA Snags Great Horned Owl

October 13, 2016

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy varsity soccer team members found a surprise in their net during a morning practice.  A great horned owl had become entangled in the netting. 

“We’re guessing the owl had been struggling a couple of days,” said MHA science teacher Mrs. Lynn Muscarella. “One of our students held out a container of water, and after some hissing, the owl drank some.  It must have been exhausted and desperate.”

Muscarella contacted RAPTOR, Inc., a Milford-based group dedicated to raptor rehabilitation who has visited the school several times with their educational programs. RAPTOR staff cut the owl out of the net and transported it to their facility where they monitored its recovery. Because owls are territorial, they brought the owl back to Mars Hill for release. Students who gathered to watch the owl were thrilled to see it healthy and ready to go back to the woods.

“What a thrill to see this amazing creature take off toward her natural habitat,” said Muscarella. “It was truly awe-inspiring!”

PhotoMars Hill Academy students celebrate as a great horned owl, caught in the school's soccer net, is set free by RAPTOR, Inc. of Milford.  


MHA Alum Spent Summer Serving in Cambodia

September 29, 2016

Printed in Today's Pulse

by Lisa Knodel

Spending the summer in rural Cambodia was more than a holiday for Becca Robinson of Mason, Ohio.  The 2013 Mars Hill Academy alumna dedicated 12 weeks interning with Jumpah, a non-government organization working to help the southeast Asian country overcome three decades of war, turmoil and genocide.
 
While the organization has an orphanage for children whose parents died from AIDS, a farm, wood shop, church and school, she researched the marketability of hand washing stations for rural Cambodian households. In between research, Robinson spent time with children from the orphanage and helped with an adult English class at the school.

“This project involved interviewing families in six villages to collect information on household demographics, economics, social capital, hygiene knowledge and hygiene practice. In order to collect this information, two translators lived and worked with us this summer and provided a lot of cultural insight. After the summer, the two other interns and I wrote a report to summarize our findings and draw marketing recommendations for the future sales of LaBobo hand washing stations in this region,” explained Robinson, an economics and community development double-major at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga.

LaBobo is a purpose-built, portable and mass-manufactured device which uses aesthetic appeal and user functionality to encourage frequent hand washing. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), lack of water and sanitation is one of the biggest issues affecting the health of children across Cambodia, who have high occurrences of intestinal, skin and respiratory illnesses. In fact, diarrheal diseases account for about 20 percent of deaths of children age five and under and an estimated 10,000 overall deaths annually.

“Having a grasp of rural Cambodian household cash flows and current hygiene practices hopefully will help organizations target their marketing information to the needs of these people,” she explained. “One interesting finding from this summer was that many families would rather pay smaller monthly payments than a one-time lump sum for their hand washing station. Thus, it may be helpful for organizations to offer payment plan methods in the financing of hand washing stations. My hope is that insights like these can be a helpful resource for people who are working to bring better sanitation and hygiene to these areas.”

Robinson said her classical Christian education at Mars Hill Academy helped prepare her for the internship, including teaching her how to think critically and work hard.

“There were several times throughout the summer when we were drudging through coding lots of interview data or trying to analyze what we had learned that day. Having a good work ethic prepared me well for college and opportunities like this summer where the work is long and difficult,” she explained. “My education at Mars Hill also prepared me to synthesize lots of different information and gather the main points. This skill was very helpful this summer as our team did a lot of research on what people had already learned about hand washing behavior in this region and how to effectively write an interview guide. Having the ability to quickly read a lot of different articles and synthesize some of the main points was extremely helpful.”

Robinson, who learned about the internship opportunity through a professor at her college, said the experience taught her valuable lessons about ministry and herself.

“I definitely enjoyed living cross-culturally and understanding how to effectively operate and get to know people in a completely different cultural context,” she explained. “My experience this summer also showed me the importance of doing community development through the local church, while building on the skills and assets of the people you are working with. Jumpah did an incredible job of intentionally and thoughtfully serving others amidst very hard and broken situations and using the participation of the local people as much as possible.”

Robinson also gained a better understanding of what it means to minsters in both word and deed and a deeper sense of her own pride and need for brokenness.

 “Good intentions are not enough in doing ministry. When you are doing development work, there will be a lot of really hard situations and judgment calls,” she said. “It is so important to have a thoughtful framework for understanding how to do poverty alleviation and development work in a way that is beneficial to both parties involved. Christians should be the most thoughtful people as they enter situations of brokenness as seek to love others as Christ does. … As I consider what to do after college, I know that I want to be among people who care about justice and sacrificially serving their neighbors.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy alumna Becca Robinson ('13), pictured on right, dedicated 12 weeks last summer to interning with Jumpah, a non-government organization working to help Cambodia overcome three decades of war, turmoil and genocide.


Mars Hill Academy Senior Named a Commended Student in the National Merit Scholarship Program

September 21, 2016

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy senior Salome Palmer of Mason was named a Commended Student in the 2016 National Merit® Scholarship program.  About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are recognized by the program for their exceptional academic promise.  Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2017 competition. 

“Historically, over 20% of our seniors receive recognition from the National Merit® Scholarship program each year,” shares Mars Hill Academy’s Headmaster and Rhetoric School Principal Dr. James Albritton. “The success of our students attests to the effectiveness of the classical education methods.  We do not teach to the test but hold true to standards of truth, goodness and beauty grounded in the Scriptures.”

Photo:  Mars Hill Academy senior Salome Palmer  was named a Commended Student in the 2016 National Merit® Scholarship program.


MHA Chamber Singers Perform at 9/11 Ceremony

September 9, 2016

WEST CHESTER, OH – Mars Hill Academy’s Chamber Singers were honored to perform at the Flag Raising Tribute in Remembrance of 9/11 held today at Chesterwood Retirement Village in West Chester.  The ceremony featured the raising of the flag by members of the Miami University NROTC Color Guard and Color Detail.

Photo: MHA Chamber Choir


MHA Boys Win State Middle School D-III Track Meet

May 26, 2016

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy’s boys track team won the Ohio Youth Runner Middle School State Division III track meet this past weekend. The Highlanders competed against 71 teams from public and private schools throughout Ohio. MHA eighth grader Abraham Beatty set a state record in the 400M as well.

“This is quite a feat for a track team with no track,” said coach Matt Beatty. “We drive over to a local church after school and practice in their parking lot, so to win the state title without regularly training on a real track is an amazing testimony to the determination of these young kids.”

This was the team’s first run at a state middle school championship. The MHA girls track team placed fifth of 62 teams at the state meet.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy's boys middle school track team earns State Division III championship. Pictured l-r: Elisha Moore, Jonathan Palmer, Abraham Beatty, Christian Yane, Samuel Jero, and Etienne Pienaar.


Mars Hill Academy Sixth Graders Honor WWII Heroes

May 19, 2016

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy sixth grade students recently held "World War II" day, a culmination of weeks of studying about this pivotal time in world history. Students gave presentations on a variety of WWII topics, dressed in period costumes, played games, and had an authentic WWII luncheon complete with SPAM, a truly American food icon. Many students wore the actual uniforms and displayed medals, including a Purple Heart, from their great-grandparents who served in the war. An MHA sixth-grade tradition, World War II Day honors those who served, and those who gave all, to our country.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy sixth grader Josiah Miller wears his great-grandfather’s military uniform, including a Purple Heart and other honors, for the school’s World War II day. Josiah did his project on "The Liberation of the Philippines", where his great-grandfather was stationed during the war.


Mars Hill Academy Students Excel on National Greek Exam

May 6, 2016

MASON, OH – Four Mars Hill Academy students received awards for their achievement on the recent National Greek Exam. Receiving High Honors was tenth grader Heather Merhout of Liberty Township. Earning Merit awards were tenth grader Drew Hicks of Cincinnati, and ninth graders Samuel Bennett of West Chester and Gita O’Brien of Liberty Township.

“This is the fourth year Mars Hill has participated in the National Greek Exam,” said Dr. Christopher Jero, MHA’s Greek teacher. “Thanks to a strong Latin foundation, which is an integral part of the Mars Hill classical and Christian curriculum, our students have been able to learn a lot of Greek in a short time. Our students have worked hard and deserve the recognition the NGE has awarded them.”

Greek is offered to MHA students beginning in ninth grade, following five years of Latin instruction which begins in fourth grade.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy students earned honors for their achievement on the National Greek Exam. Pictured l-r: Heather Merhout, earning High Honors; and Drew Hicks, Gita O’Brienp, and Samuel Bennett, earning awards of Merit.


MHA Celebrates 14 Perfect Scores on National Latin Exam

April 28, 2016

MASON, OH – Twenty-six Mars Hill Academy students received top honors on the 2016 National Latin Exam (NLE). Fourteen students achieved perfect scores, including sixth graders Noelle Min and Megumi Fukuda, both of Mason, and fifth graders Evan Weber of Maineville, Michelle Yang of Mason, Caleb White of Liberty Township, Johnathan Russell of West Chester, Carrie Merhout of Liberty Township, Marianne Erickson of Mason, Claire Robey of Cincinnati, Sarah Harris of Lebanon, Abigail Bowling of Fairfield, Janie Wehmeyer of Montgomery, Lucy Hicks of Cincinnati and Ellen Reynolds of Cincinnati.

Students earning the Gold Summa Cum Laude Award are sixth graders Alexandria Anderson of West Chester, Isaac Dowdy of Maineville, Ethan Ruppersburg of West Chester, Madison Trinkle of Liberty Township, Kaylee McChesney of Mason, Daryn Hancock of Lebanon, Manami Fukuda of Mason, Rachel Tipton of Loveland, and Marcel Pienaar of Maineville; eighth graders Kyle Chu of Cincinnati and Etienne Pienaar of Maineville; and ninth grader Drew Deister of Cincinnati.

Sixty-six percent of the Mars Hill students in grades 5-9 who took the NLE received awards. Students at Mars Hill begin their Latin studies in fourth grade as part of the school’s classical and Christian curriculum, with participation in the NLE beginning in fifth grade. The NLEs were created to promote the study of Latin and to encourage the individual student. Students do not compete with other students on a comparative basis, but are evaluated solely on their own performance on the exam.

Photo: Fourteen Mars Hill Academy students achieved perfect scores on the 2016 National Latin Exam.


MHA Laurel Wreath Competition Winners Celebrate the Spoken Word

March 16, 2016

MASON, OH – Sixteen Mars Hill Academy students in grades 1-8 won top honors in their classroom competitions for MHA’s annual Laurel Wreath recitation contest. Reciting memorized literary selections, poetry and Scripture, students are judged in the areas of expression, stage presence, and clarity of voice. First place winners of each class receive the honor of presenting at a school assembly.

The laurel wreath was a symbol of honor and excellence in ancient Greece. The greenery was worn by victors in battle, champions on the athletic field, and ‘heroes of the spoken word.’

Photo: Mars Hill Academy’s 2016 Laurel Wreath Recitation Competition winners.



"The Fellowship of the Rings" Comes to Life at Mars Hill Academy

February 22, 2016

MASON, OH – Sixth graders at Mars Hill Academy recently transformed into hobbits, wizards, dwarves and elves for “Lord of the Rings Day,” a day of feasting, archery and games to celebrate J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic book, The Fellowship of the Rings, book one of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Photo: Sixth grade twins Isaac and Micah Dowdy of Maineville work on their archery skills during “Lord of the Rings Day” at Mars Hill Academy.



MHA Senior Nathan Davis Named National Merit Scholar Finalist

February 10, 2016

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy senior Nathan Davis of Mason recently achieved “Finalist” status in the National Merit Scholarship program. Davis had been named a Semi-finalist in the fall after earning a perfect score on the Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test (PSAT).

More than 20% of Mars Hill Academy graduates have earned Commended, Semi-finalist, or Finalist status in the National Merit Scholarship Program. To become a Finalist, a Semi-finalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying PSAT.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy senior Nathan Davis of Mason was recently named a National Merit Scholarship program finalist.


MHA to Perform Heartwarming Family Musical “The Sound of Music”

February 8, 2016

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy presents the heartwarming family musical “The Sound of Music” March 3, 4 & 5 at Mason Middle School. Curtain for each performance is 7 p.m. with an additional 2 p.m. matinee scheduled on Saturday, March 5.

This show will be an exceptional musical experience. MHA music teacher Julie Smith of Mason, who has performed in shows at Kings Island as well as other local orchestras, will conduct a live orchestra of many of Cincinnati’s finest professional musicians. Her husband, Jeff Smith, who has composed and arranged music for organizations including Walt Disney, Kings Island and the Rose Parade, is the music director for the show.

“A live orchestra greatly enhances any musical because it brings so much more energy to the performance,” said Julie Smith. “It allows for more emotional expression which enriches the overall experience.”

“The Sound of Music” is an uplifting musical based on the real-life story of the Von Trapp Family singers, one of the world's best-known concert groups in the era immediately preceding World War II. Maria, a tomboyish postulant at an Austrian abbey, becomes a governess in the home of a widowed naval captain with seven children and brings a new love of life and music into the home.

Tickets for March 3 and the Saturday matinee are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Tickets for March 4 and 5 evening performances are $12 in advance, $14 at the door. Premier seating (center section, first four rows) for each performance is $20 per ticket. Tickets are available online at http://marshill.seatyourself.biz or at the door forty-five minutes before curtain. Additional information can be found at www.marshill.edu.

The production features 52 Mars Hill Academy students, with a double cast for certain roles. MHA senior Madison DeBra of Loveland and junior Claire Smith of Mason share the role of Maria, and senior Michael Oedy of Lebanon plays Captain Von Trapp. Sophomores Grace Bennett and Rachel Dudley, both of West Chester, share the role of Liesl, and sophomore Andrew Cunningham of Liberty Township plays Rolf. Max Detweiler is played by senior Evan Reese of West Chester, and Baroness Elsa Schraeder is played by MHA junior Jolene Estruth of West Chester, and senior Grace Milligan of Lebanon. The Mother Abbess is played by senior Abby Liebing of Cincinnati.

Photo: The Von Trapp family (Cast A), clockwise l-r: Abigail Bowling of Fairfield as Marta, Joshua Kuechly of Loveland as Kurt, Etienne Pienaar of Maineville as Friedrich, Michael Oedy of Lebanon as the Captain Von Trapp, Rachel Dudley of West Chester as Liesl, Madison DeBra of Loveland as Maria, Anna Dudley of West Chester as Louisa, Danielle Yang of Mason as Brigitta, and Anna Bowling of Fairfield as Gretl.


MHA Hosts First Home Game in Newly Completed Gymnasium

November 30, 2015

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy has much to be thankful for; just before Thanksgiving they held their first home basketball game in their newly completed 9,500 square foot gymnasium to a standing-room-only crowd. MHA Athletic Director Mr. Sam Ricketts is excited about the way the gym is bringing the school community together, but he notes, “This isn’t about basketball, it’s about higher things.” Mars Hill Academy’s classical and Christian curriculum focuses on developing godly character, and this has always been part of the athletic program. The new school gymnasium intensifies the temptation, struggle, and emotion in competitive athletics.

“Having our own gymnasium creates an environment where students get to live out what they have learned in the classroom,” says MHA Headmaster Dr. James Albritton. “Mars Hill Academy’s philosophy is based on the precepts of ‘truth, beauty, and goodness,’ which we believe can also be found in competitive athletics. The new gymnasium provides an opportunity to demonstrate these qualities to the community.”

Ricketts notes that amongst students, “there is new energy, a buzz. This is something that they all want to be a part of.” The gymnasium provides the opportunity for MHA athletes to demonstrate a competitive spirit that is God honoring and gathers the entire school community together. According to Ricketts, “The gymnasium fosters a spirit of community and makes the athletics program more of a total school effort.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy Headmaster Dr. James Albritton speaks to students during the school’s gymnasium dedication. The school hosted its first basketball game in the new 9,400 square foot facility last week.


MHA Students Hold Food Drive for City Gospel Mission

November 16, 2015

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy’s student Highlander Council recently organized a school-wide food drive to benefit City Gospel Mission’s Thanksgiving Exchange program for low-income families. Pictured here are seniors Grace Milligan of Lebanon, Madison DeBra of Loveland, David Taylor of Liberty Township, Michael Oedy of Lebanon, and Josh Kirk of West Chester with Mars Hill Headmaster Dr. James Albritton of Cincinnati, as they loaded up cars to deliver over 1,600 food items to City Gospel Mission in downtown Cincinnati.

Photo:  MHA Highlander Council members Grace Milligan, Madison DeBra, David Taylor, Michael Oedy, and Josh Kirk, along with MHA Headmaster Dr. James Albritton, prepare to transport donations to City Gospel Mission for the Thanksgiving Exchange program.


CSO Shares Stage with Mars Hill Academy Fourth Graders

October 20, 2015

MASON, OH –  Mars Hill Academy fourth grader and beginning cello player Flora Baker of Lebanon was thrilled to be on stage with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra last week during the Big Bad Brass Bash Young People’s Concert presented by the CSO at Music Hall.  She was one of 18 MHA fourth graders who sang and modeled hand motions for the sing-along portion of the program for about 2,000 students from around the Cincinnati area.

 “My grandfather plays in an orchestra, but this one was definitely bigger,” said Baker, who has played violin since she was six and just started the cello.  “It was really cool to be up there with them.”

 CSO’s Associate Conductor Keitaro Harada visited Baker’s class at Mars Hill Academy in Mason prior to the concert to meet the students and teach them the song, “Bonhomme, Bonhomme,” which spotlights the horn, trumpet, trombone, and tuba.

 “I had a blast collaborating with the 4B class at Mars Hill Academy,” said Harada.  “Their performance was spectacular and I was honored to share my debut with the CSO with Mars Hill Academy musicians! Bravi Tutti!”

 The students were fast learners, since the classical curriculum at MHA relies heavily on singing as part of the learning process.Students learn science, geography, Bible, grammar and even math rules through memorable songs and chants.

 “He was a lot more fun than I expected,” shared Baker.  “He helped us learn the song well so we wouldn’t be nervous when we were on the stage.”  For an aspiring young musician like Baker, sharing the stage with the CSO was truly inspirational.  “When I grow up, I would love to perform in a real orchestra like my grandfather does.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy fourth graders took the stage with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra during Associate Conductor Keitaro Harada’s debut at the Big Bad Brass Bash Young People’s Concert presented by the CSO at Music Hall. The class helped lead the sing-along portion of the program.

 


Two MHA Seniors Named National Merit Commended Students

October 6, 2015

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy seniors Lauren Godfrey of Mason and Nathan Williams of Cincinnati were recently named Commended Students in the 2016 National Merit® Scholarship program. About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are recognized by the program for their exceptional academic promise. Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2016 competition.

“Historically, about 25% of our seniors receive recognition from the National Merit® Scholarship program each year,” shares Mars Hill Academy’s Headmaster and Rhetoric School Principal Dr. James Albritton. “The success of our students attests to the effectiveness of the classical education methods we use. We do not teach to the test, but hold true to standards of truth, goodness and beauty grounded in the Scriptures.” Mars Hill Academy also had one 2016 National Merit semi-finalist, Nathan Davis of Mason.

Photo: MHA seniors Lauren Godfrey and Nathan Davis


MHA Senior Named National Merit Semifinalist

September 9, 2015

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy senior Nathan Davis of Mason has been named a semifinalist the National Merit® Scholarship program. Davis, who achieved a perfect score on his PSAT, will have the opportunity to advance to the Finalist level of the scholarship competition and possibly earn the Merit Scholar® title.

“Davis’s achievement attests to the effectiveness of a classical Christian education,” shares Mars Hill Academy’s Headmaster and Rhetoric School Principal Dr. James Albritton. “At Mars Hill Academy, we do not teach to any test, but rather hold true to classical methods while pursuing standards of truth, goodness, and beauty grounded in the Scriptures.”

Photo: MHA senior Nathan Davis


Mars Hill Alum Takes Gap Year to Serve in Thailand

August 24, 2015

Printed in Today's Pulse

by Lisa Knodel

MASON, OH – While Megan Peterson’s peers were preparing to head off to college, she packed her bags for Thailand.The West Chester Twp. resident and 2015 Mars Hill Academy graduate decided to spend a gap year interning with a crisis pregnancy center in the northeastern region of Isaan, named for the Hindu god of death.

“I decided to go to Thailand, because of my passion for learning languages and for cross-cultural ministry,” she said. “I will be working at a crisis pregnancy care home called The Light Center. The Light Center is a home for young women who are facing unplanned pregnancies and have nowhere to go. The Light Center is the first ministry of its kind in this region of Thailand.”

Thailand is reported to have one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the world, largely due to poor education and rampant prostitution. According to a February 2015 report from the Thai Public Health Ministry, about a quarter of the country’s annual births are unplanned pregnancies of adolescent mothers, and 20 percent of mothers under the age of 20 have had repeat pregnancies. Teen pregnancy increased by 43 percent between 2000 and 2011 and continues to rise.

According to literature from The Light Center, “The deep shame from an unexpected pregnancy often leads to abortions, suicide and girls being abandoned by their families, schools and community. Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, which teaches that abortion is sin and therefore is illegal; yet illegal abortion clinics thrive. In 2009, there were over 60,000 hospitalizations due to complications associated with abortions. Currently, female adolescents who have an unexpected pregnancy are seven times more likely to commit suicide than their peers.”

Peterson, who has served on two short-term trips to Thailand in 2011 and 2013, was eager to be a part of a ministry that provides a safe house for these women. “When I heard that The Light Center was going to be the first pro life ministry in Isaan, I knew that I had to be a part of it right away, and I jumped at the opportunity to be an intern there,” she said. When she returns next year, Peterson plans to attend college and earn a degree that will combine her passion for languages with her Thai experience.

View this article in Today's Pulse online at http://www.todayspulse.com/news/news/local/local-teen-takes-gap-year-to-serve-in-thailand/nnL8Q/

Photo: Mars Hill Academy alumni Megan Peterson ('15)


MHA Founder Celebrates School's 20th Anniversary

July 25, 2015

Printed in the Today's Pulse "Community Conversations" section

by Lisa Knodel

MASON, OH – Mason parents Tom and Linda Thistleton felt called to start southwest Ohio’s only K-12 private classical and Christian school more than two decades ago. This August Mars Hill Academy – located on 13 acres in Mason – will begin it’s 20th year serving 350 students from across the region – from as far south as Newport, Kentucky to as far north as Centerville, Ohio. Tom Thistleton, the school’s founder and a member of the board, talks about the school.

Q: How did the idea for MHA begin?
A: Back in the 1990’s, my wife Linda and I read a book called “Rediscovering the Lost Tools of Learning,” which motivated us to think differently about education. Instead of constantly chasing after the latest educational “reforms,” the author made the case that we should return to the proven classical education system that had historically produced great leaders and thinkers, including many of our country’s Founding Fathers. We became convinced that we should start a classical and Christian school in Cincinnati, which we did in the fall of 1996.

Q: What makes MHA unique?
A: First, we are a thoroughly Christian school. We really believe the beginning of wisdom and knowledge is the fear of the Lord. Augustine said that we should learn as much as we can about as many things as we can, because all truth leads us to God. This not only informs why, how and what we teach, but it also shapes the culture of the school. We have high expectations for our students, desiring that they work heartily as unto the Lord in everything they do, honor their teachers and love one another. We see ourselves as partners with our parents, helping and serving them with their God-directed task of training up their children in the way they should go. The MHA culture is the foundation for everything else we do and is our most distinguishing characteristic.
Second, we are decidedly anti-modern and anti-faddish. We’re building on an educational foundation that was laid over several thousand years and produced the great men and great works of Western Civilization in every field: theology, literature, drama, math, science, music, etc. Modern education is characterized by novelty. We’ve been trying to fix something that wasn’t broken and now, we’ve broken it and don’t know how to fix it. Our answer to this dilemma is simple in theory but difficult in execution – re-discover and re-apply the proven methods that produced so much that is virtuous, honorable and beautiful in the past.
Third, the way we teach is very different from what you might see in a typical school in the Cincinnati area. Using the classical method, our younger students build a foundation of knowledge through lots of teacher interaction, hands-on activities, movement, singing and chanting to help them memorize. We teach Latin beginning in fourth grade and logic beginning in seventh grade, and we emphasize critical thinking. Our older students probe, question and debate and discuss some of the most pressing issues in today’s society, striving to see everything through the lens of a Biblical worldview.

Q: What does the “classical” approach to education mean in terms of classroom instruction?
A: We focus on grammar and writing, rhetoric and public speaking. Our students read original documents, as opposed to watered-down summaries or revisions. Younger students don’t just memorize the popular stanza of a classic poem – they learn the whole poem to more fully understand the author’s meaning. Middle school students don’t just learn about the Constitution – they read it. Our seniors aren’t just writing term papers – they write a formal thesis paper, which they present and defend in front of a panel of adults and faculty. MHA teachers encourage their students to go deeper and to examine everything through the lens of Scripture.

Q: How do MHA students compare academically to other students?
A: On average, 25 percent of our graduating seniors have been named National Merit Scholars or Commended Students. Our standardized test scores are impressive.But that’s not all we’re about. Our graduates leave MHA armed with unique tools for life. Five of my own children have graduated from MHA, so I can say with certainty that our students leave our school well-prepared for college, work, service or whatever their future holds.Also as an independent school, Mars Hill Academy does not accept funding from local, state or federal governments, or religious denominations. We are one of just two schools in the city who can say that. Our independence permits us to provide a true classical and Christian educational experience that is pure in mission, vision and result.

Q: How is Mars Hill celebrating its 20th year?
A: Our 20th school year kicks off with a “homecoming” celebration of sorts on Saturday, July 25. This will be a fun time of fellowship for past and current MHA families, faculty, board members and supporters.We’ll have a special all-school convocation on the first day of school (Aug. 18), at which time we’ll also dedicate our new gymnasium.A more formal anniversary celebration will take place at our annual Blue & Gold Gala Auction on Oct. 24 at The Manor House in Mason, during which we’ll take a look back through the years at God’s provision for MHA, and look forward to a promising future. We’ll recognize this milestone in smaller ways throughout the school year as well, including a historical timeline.

Q: How has MHA changed over the past 20 years?
A: We began our first school year with 27 students and three teachers. This fall we have 350 students and 43 staff members. We started with a handful of families holding school in churches around the Cincinnati area, moving four times before building our permanent campus in Mason in 2006. Since then we’ve added another classroom wing and a gymnasium.What hasn’t changed during our 20 years is the focus on community. Yes, we’re quite a bit bigger than when we began, but we still know each other, care about each other and build each other up spiritually. We are a family. Our classes are still relatively small, and new families are always surprised at how well their teachers know each individual student and work to draw out each student’s unique gifts.

Q: What impact has MHA had during this time?
A: When I think of impacting the community or the world, I look at our alumni first. They are using their gifts in so many ways. We have alumni writing for top publications, and others impacting the world of business and finance with integrity. We have graduated incredible stay-at-home moms dedicated to raising godly children, as well as missionaries serving in dangerous countries such as South Sudan. We have several alumni in medical school and serving as nurses. Quite a few have become teachers. One alum just received his PhD in physics, and he’ll be working at CERN in Switzerland on the particle accelerator. Our students are following where the Lord leads them with a fearless and uncompromising faith, fulfilling their calling through Christ.As for our current students, I have lost count of the number of employers who seek out Mars Hill students for summer jobs. Our students are known for their ability to learn quickly, hit the ground running and work hard.Our teachers have had an amazing impact as well. Even after 20 years, I am regularly reminded how blessed we are to have such a dedicated, caring faculty. Teaching is not just a job for them, it’s a calling. We often have alumni come back to school to visit their old teachers, who have become valued friends and mentors.

Q: What does the future hold for the school?
A: We’re really excited to be adding a gymnasium to our building this fall. It will be great to finally have our sports teams play their home games at MHA. We’ll likely be adding another classroom wing in the next few years as enrollment increases. We continue to add extracurricular, service and leadership opportunities for our students. But in addition to these changes, I hope that the future of our school includes a continued enhancing of our vision: partnering with parents in the training of their children for God’s glory.

Q: What would you say to families who want to learn more?
A: I would encourage parents to get online and read Dorothy Sayer’s essay, “The Lost Tools of Learning” or better yet, check out Doug Wilson’s book, “The Case for Classical Education.”At Mars Hill, we recognize that to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. I love that my kids are studying the same subjects, such as Humanities, Latin and Greek, that St. Augustine, Martin Luther, and James Madison studied. The list of people who were classically educated and have impacted our world throughout the ages is endless. Instead of changing educational methods and philosophies with the prevailing cultural winds, we think it’s time to get back to what works.

View this article in Today's Pulse online at http://www.todayspulse.com/news/news/local-education/tom-thistleton-mars-hill-academy-founder-and-mha-b/nm4Bf/

Photo: Mars Hill Academy founder Tom Thistleton in the school library


Mars Hill Seventh Grader Wins ACSI National Spelling Bee

May 15, 2015

MASON, OH – Kyle Chu's hand shoots up in his class at Mars Hill Academy, and his teacher already knows what he's going to ask.

“If Kyle hears a word he’s unfamiliar with, he always wants to know the origin of the word,” said Chu’s Latin and Old Testament teacher, Dr. Christopher Jero.

The seventh-grader's fascination with etymology helped him clench first place at the Association of Christian Schools International’s 2015 National Spelling Bee, held May 2 in Plano, Texas.

Chu was able to spell his winning word, ‘daedal,’ because he had studied the root of the word in Dr. Jero's Latin class earlier this year. His knowledge of word origins also helped him spell some words that were not on the published lists, such as “canicular” and “periwinkle.”

Chu was one of 47 fifth through eighth grade students who qualified to participate in the ACSI national bee. Throughout the school year 14,000 elementary and junior high students from ACSI member schools participated in district and regional spelling competitions to qualify for the national event.

“When Kyle studies the spelling lists, he loves to see words he recognizes from Latin or science classes,” said his father, Neal Wilson, who has drilled Kyle in ‘north of ten thousand words’ over the years. “Enticing students to love the written and spoken word is just one way Mars Hill develops life-long learners.”

Mars Hill’s unique classical curriculum, in which students study Latin from fourth through seventh grades, has produced three ACSI national spelling bee winners. Brothers Matthew and Levi Giese, sons of Mars Hill fifth grade teacher, Mr. Tim Giese, are former ACSI champions as well.

“I love telling stories to my students about the national bees, because it gets them excited to do their best,” said Giese. “My son Matthew came in tenth place in the Scripps National Bee as well, so I know how much hard work and perseverance it takes to make it that far. Kyle has the talent and the work ethic to make it happen, and we are incredibly proud of him.”

Chu has participated in three ACSI regional bees, and two national bees. Last year, he tied for 24th in the national bee, missing the unpublished word “virucidal.”

“I never thought I’d win the national bee, but now I know anything can happen,” said Chu. “It’s not necessarily just by your own hard work, but also the providence of God.”

Besides etymology, Chu, who lives in Cincinnati, enjoys piano, running, playing basketball, and hanging out with friends.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy celebrates seventh grader Kyle Chu of Cincinnati’s first place title at the ACSI National Spelling Bee held May 2 in Plano, Texas. Kyle’s winning word was “daedal.”


MHA Fourth Grader Published in National Magazine

May 12, 2015

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy fourth grader Carrie Merhout (Liberty Township) had her short story, “Moonbeam,” published in the May issue of Stone Soup, a national magazine for young writers and artists. Stone Soup receives hundreds of submissions every week, accepting less than 1% of the work it receives for publication. Carrie’s story was submitted by Mars Hill third grade teacher, Mrs. Traci DeBra.

“From the moment Carrie stepped into my classroom, her delight for writing and desire to craft a well-written story was quite evident,” said DeBra. “Carrie's ability to paint a picture for her readers is something very special.”

DeBra remembers the first time she approached Carrie about writing a story on her own. “The sparkle in her eyes revealed the hopes and dreams of a little girl who was ready for the challenge of writing her own short story. Within one week, Carrie placed her idea onto paper, and the process had begun.”

“Moonbeam” is about a lonely farm girl surrounded by animals who dreams of having pets of her own.

“Carrie has the ability to draw her readers into the beauty and goodness of a child’s life,” noted DeBra.

Carrie’s mother, Michaux Merhout, is amazed how the classical and Christian curriculum at Mars Hill Academy has drawn out Carrie’s love for the written word. Mars Hill students are taught vocabulary and grammar, including parts of speech and proper sentence construction, beginning in first grade.

“During her third grade year, I watched her writing come alive,” Merhout commented. “Mrs. DeBra kept challenging her to use better words and more vivid expressions to flesh out her stories. Since Carrie is a voracious reader, she has a huge vocabulary to pull from. She has notebooks full of stories and wakes up early in the morning to work on them before school.”

Carrie’s favorite writing subject is animals. Her Stone Soup story features a shadowy stray cat and a collie. “I have two pet cats, and I love them because they are beautiful and mysterious,” Carrie explained.

Carrie says she is working on “ten million and two” stories. “Ideas just pop into my head and I write them down.” She hopes to be published in Stone Soup again. DeBra believes this is a real possibility.

“Carrie has a unique gift for finding the beauty in the simplicity of our everyday lives and capturing those moments thoughtfully. While this is Carrie's first piece of published writing, I am certain it will not be her last!”

Published six times a year to an international audience, Stone Soup is the leading publisher of creative writing by children ages 8 to 13.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy fourth grader Carrie Merhout (Liberty Township) had her short story, “Moonbeam,” published in the May issue of Stone Soup, a national magazine for young writers and artists. Stone Soup receives hundreds of submissions every week, accepting less than 1% of the work it receives for publication.


MHA Ninth Grader Earns Perfect Score on National Greek Exam

May 11, 2015

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy ninth grader Heather Merhout of Liberty Township earned a perfect score on the 2015 National Greek Exam. According to the American Classical League (ACL), only 3.5% of the thousands of students from the United States, Canada, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Kingdom who took the exam earned a perfect score. Heather’s is also the first perfect score in Mars Hill’s three-year history with the exam.

Over 75% of Mars Hill’s ninth and tenth grade students who took the exam received awards, far exceeding the national average of 66%. Receiving High Honors were tenth grader Salome Palmer of Mason and ninth graders Hannah Min of Mason and Ryan O’Connor of Mason. Earning Merit awards were tenth graders Andrew Richesson of Mason, Anna Edwards of Liberty Township, and ninth grader Drew Hicks of Cincinnati.

“This is the third year Mars Hill has participated in the National Greek Exam,” said Dr. Christopher Jero, MHA’s Greek teacher. “Thanks to a strong Latin foundation, which is an integral part of the Mars Hill classical and Christian curriculum, our students have been able to learn a lot of Greek in a short time. Our students have worked hard and deserve the recognition the NGE has awarded them.”

Greek is offered to MHA students beginning in ninth grade, following five years of Latin instruction which begins in fourth grade.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy students earned honors for the National Greek Exam. Earning the purple ribbon representing a perfect score, the first in the school’s history with the exam, was ninth grader Heather Merhout of Liberty Township (bottom row, 2nd from right). Earning High Honors were (bottom row) ninth graders Hannah Min of Mason, Ryan O’Connor of Mason, and tenth grader Salome Palmer of Mason. Receiving Merit Awards were (top row) tenth grader Andrew Richesson of Mason, ninth grader Drew Hicks of Cincinnati, and tenth grader Anna Edwards of Liberty Township.


MHA Celebrates Student Achievement on National Latin Exam

April 27, 2015

MASON, OH – Eighteen Mars Hill Academy students received top honors on the 2015 National Latin Exam (NLE). Students earning the Gold Summa Cum Laude Award are sixth graders Michaela Estruth of Cincinnati, Luke Gage of Cincinnati, James Gerkin of Kings Mills, Madisyn Jones of West Chester, Julia Leonard of Liberty Township, Hana Owen of Trenton, and Peter Reynolds of Cincinnati; seventh graders Kyle Chu of Cincinnati and Etienne Pienaar of Maineville; eighth graders Drew Deister of Cincinnati and Gita O’Brien of Liberty Township; and ninth grader Heather Merhout of Liberty Township.

Sixth fifth grade students achieved perfect scores: Alexandra Anderson of West Chester, Nathan Cox of Maineville, Megumi Fukuda of Mason, Noelle Min of Mason, Ethan Ruppersburg of Liberty Township, and Rachel Tipton of Loveland.

Nearly seventy-eight percent of the Mars Hill students in grades 5-9 who took the NLE received awards. Students at Mars Hill begin their Latin studies in fourth grade as part of the school’s classical and Christian curriculum, with participation in the NLE beginning in fifth grade. The NLEs were created to promote the study of Latin and to encourage the individual student. Students do not compete with other students on a comparative basis, but are evaluated solely on their own performance on the exam.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy celebrates twelve students who received Gold Summa Cum Laude on the National Latin Exam. Pictured, bottom row (l-r): Sixth graders Michaela Estruth of Cincinnati, Luke Gage of Cincinnati, James Gerkin of Kings Mills, Madisyn Jones of West Chester, Julia Leonard of Liberty Township, Hana Owen of Trenton, and Peter Reynolds of Cincinnati. Top row (l-r): seventh graders Kyle Chu of Cincinnati and Etienne Pienaar of Maineville; eighth graders Drew Deister of Cincinnati and Gita O’Brien of Liberty Township; and ninth grader Heather Merhout of Liberty Township.


MHA Fourth Grader Jake Scott Chosen for National Honor Choir

April 20, 2015

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy fourth grader Jake Scott of West Chester was chosen to perform in the Children's Honor Choir at the American Choral Directors Association’s (ACDA) 2015 National Conference in Salt Lake City this February. Jake’s audition tape was one of only 310 selected from a nationwide pool. In addition to its show at the conference, the Children’s Honor Choir had the privilege of performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

“Music is integrated throughout the curriculum at Mars Hill Academy” said Grammar School Principal James Waldy. “Song is utilized in our teaching of Bible, math, geography and history, so our students sing throughout the day. Jake was chosen for this honor based on his vocal talent, and we are pleased that he, and all of our students, have many opportunities to lift their voices in song beyond the actual music class.”

Jake began voice lessons at nine years old, according to his mother, Deb Scott. “Jake sings all the time at home, but we never thought much about it until his piano teacher convinced us he had a special gift for singing. We enrolled him in voice lessons because he enjoyed it so much, never imagining he would win any honors.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy fourth grader Jake Scott of West Chester (far right) is shown singing Latin songs with his classmates. Jake was one of only 310 chosen to perform with the American Choral Directors Association’s Children’s Honor Choir in Salt Lake City. Singing is an integral part of the entire classical and Christian curriculum at Mars Hill.


Mars Hill Academy Collects Over 700 Pairs of Shoes for Service Project

April 17, 2015

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy donated 730 pairs of new and used shoes for the Shoes for H.O.P.E. project sponsored by Missions in Motion, a local missions group headquartered in Hamilton. Missions in Motion has collected over 25,000 pairs of shoes since launching the program in 2013. Shoes are redistributed through microenterprise partners and used in developing nations for impoverished people to start, maintain and grow an enterprise to feed, clothe and house their families.

“We are thrilled with the response of our school family to our first shoe drive,” said Mars Hill Academy Headmaster Dr. James Albritton. “It was eye-opening for our students to learn that a pair of shoes can actually save a life. We were glad to find an organization who is working to put old shoes to a good use.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy’s Headmaster Dr. James Albritton, with Mr. and Mrs. Dan Shupe, founders of Missions in Motion ministries, get ready to pack up thirty bags full of new and used shoes collected by the school to benefit overseas missions.


MHA Alum Shelly Peters Named Hillsdale College’s Outstanding Senior Woman

April 13, 2015

MASON, OH – Mars Hill alum Shelly Peters (Class of ’11) of West Chester was named Outstanding Senior Woman at Hillsdale College, one of the highest honors a senior can receive. Students nominate candidates and the faculty selects the winner.

“When I received news of this incredible honor, my mother reminded me that with this honor, Christ has handed me a platform to tell others about Him, and that’s what I want to do every time I get the opportunity,” said Peters.

Peters joins her sister, Betsy Peters Howard, MHA Class of ’06, who received the award in 2010. Both sisters poured their souls into bettering the lives of those on campus and in the community.

Peters reflected on the role her Mars Hill education, and teachers, played in helping her develop the habit of daily communal sacrifices that have pointed her to the beauty of Christ’s cross. Specifically, she tries to follow the example of humble curiosity set by her Mars Hill Rhetoric teacher, Dr. Christopher Jero, who inspired her to keep striving to know God through all of the subjects she studied at Mars Hill.

While Peters points to Christ as the focus for her admiration and praise, she also points to the unconditional love of her parents.

Peters explained that the honor gave her a forum in which to thank her parents for their never-ending support.

"Because of this honor, I was asked to give a speech at the Parent's Weekend Luncheon. My parents made the trip up to Hillsdale - their eighteenth Parent's Weekend, since Betsy was a freshman - which is the tip of the iceberg of all their sacrifices.”

Peters is a Christian Studies major and a classical education minor, and plans to teach and counsel after graduation.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy alum Shelly Peters (Class of ’11) of West Chester, seen here with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hud Peters, also of West Chester, received Hillsdale College’s 2015 Outstanding Senior Woman honor, one of the highest honors a senior can receive. Her sister, Betsy Peters Howard (Mars Hill Class of ’06) of Minneapolis also received the award in 2010.


Mars Hill Academy Seventh Grader Wins ACSI Regional Spelling Bee

April 2, 2015

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy seventh grader Kyle Chu of Cincinnati is headed to the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) National Spelling Bee, held in Dallas, TX on May 2. Chu won first place overall in the Ohio Valley Regional Spelling Bee for grades 5-8 held in Circleville, Ohio on Friday, March 20. Mars Hill fifth grader Noelle Min of Mason won sixth place and will be the first alternate to the national bee. Sixth grader James Gerkin of Kings Mills also represented Mars Hill at the regional bee, coming in thirteenth.

This will be Chu’s second trip to the national bee. He came in second at last year’s regional bee.

“I love spelling, so I thank God for the opportunity to work with my teachers and friends to prepare for these competitions,” said Chu. “While we practice a lot, we realize it’s all a gift from God.”

Chu’s winning words were “acquisitive” and “profundity.” In addition to pouring through spelling word lists in his spare time, Chu enjoys math, piano, running, and basketball.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy seventh grader Kyle Chu of Cincinnati won first place in the ACSI Ohio Valley Regional Spelling Bee for grades 5-8. Pictured here with Mars Hill Grammar School Principal James Waldy, Chu will compete for the ACSI national title in Dallas this May.


Mars Hill Academy Brings Dickens Classic “Great Expectations” to the Stage

March 11, 2015

MASON -- Come watch the Mars Hill Academy high school drama cast bring one of Charles Dickens’ most fascinating novels, Great Expectations, to life. Shows take place at Mars Hill Academy, 4230 Aero Drive in Mason, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 26-28 at 7 p.m., with a matinee show at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Journey with Dickens’ timeless character, the orphan Pip, as he leaves behind a childhood of misery when an anonymous benefactor offers him a chance at life as a gentleman. Pip’s dramatic adventure, full of twists and turns, is packed with poignant lessons and interesting characters.

The show stars Jacob Oedy of Lebanon as the orphan Pip, Jolene Estruth of Mason as the wealthy, eccentric old woman Miss Havisham, and Grace Miligan of Lebanon as her beautiful ward, Estella.

"Staging a literary classic has been exciting and educational for us all!” said director Beth Kenniv of West Chester. “Charles Dickens' multifaceted characters have been a treat for our actors to dig into."

Tickets for Thursday's opening night are $8. Tickets for Friday and Saturday's shows are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. The Saturday matinee includes a post-show "Meet and Greet" with the cast and a special activity for children.

Buy your tickets online by credit card at http://marshill.seatyourself.biz or through the Mars Hill school office with cash or check (513-770-3223). We hope to exceed your greatest expectations!

Photo: The cast of Mars Hill Academy's production of Great Expectations includes (l-r:) Grace Milligan of Lebanon as the beautiful Estella, Jacob Oedy of Lebanon as the orphan Pip, and Jolene Estruth of Sharonville as the eccentric old woman, Miss Havisham.


Five Mars Hill Academy Students Place First in ACSI Math Olympics

March 2, 2015

MASON, OH – Five Mars Hill Academy students took first place in the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Ohio River Valley Region’s 2015 Math Olympics competition for grades 3-8. Sixth grader Hana Owen of Trenton, fifth grader Manami Fukuda of Mason, and fourth grader William Kwan of West Chester placed first in the math computation category. Fifth grader Noelle Min of Mason and fourth grader Joshua Miller of Forest Park placed first in the math reasoning category.

The ACSI Math Olympics is a series of timed tests in math computation and math reasoning. Up to three students in each grade qualify to take four rounds of timed-tests in either computation or reasoning. The top five scorers in each grade and category are awarded. Tests were taken at Mars Hill Academy and submitted by mail to the ACSI host school. Overall, twenty-three Mars Hill Academy students received awards.

Photo: Five Mars Hill Academy students recently took first place in the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Math Olympics competition, a series of timed tests in math computation and reasoning for grades 3-8. Seated, l-r: Fifth grader Manami Fukuda of Mason and fifth grader Noelle Min of Mason. Standing, l-r: Fourth grader Joshua Miller of Forest Park, sixth grader Hana Owen of Trenton, and fourth grader William Kwan of West Chester.


Mars Hill Academy Student Takes First Place at ACSI District Spelling Bee

January 28, 2015

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy fifth grader Noelle Min of Mason won first place overall at the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Cincinnati-area District Spelling Bee held January 24. Min will represent Mars Hill at the Ohio River Valley Regional ACSI competition along with fellow students Kyle Chu (seventh grade) of Cincinnati, who placed second, and James Gerkin (sixth grade) of Kings Mills, who placed fourth. The top four spellers of the district contest advanced to the regional competition which will be held at Ohio Christian University in Circleville, on Saturday, March 27.

“Our students excel in these competitions because of Mars Hill’s commitment to the classical model of education which incorporates constant review of spelling and grammar principles,” said James Waldy, MHA Grammar School Principal. “At this age, they find it almost effortless to memorize over 70 phonograms, which are the building blocks to the spelling and pronunciation of the English language.”

ACSI is comprised of nearly 24,000 member Christian schools in 100 nations worldwide. The ACSI annually conducts spelling bees across the nation, culminating in a national contest held in Dallas this May.

Photo: Mars Hill sixth grader James Gerkin, fifth grader Noelle Min, and seventh grader Kyle Chu secured three of the top four spots to advance to the Association of Classical Schools International Regional Spelling Bee to be held at Ohio Christian University this March. Min won first place overall in the district bee, Chu took second, and Gerkin placed fourth.


Mars Hill Academy Junior Scores Perfect 240 on PSAT

December 19, 2014

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy junior Nathan Davis of Mason scored a perfect 240 on the PSAT test. According to SAT expert, tutor and author Lynn Scully, only about 100 students of the approximately 3.5 million who take the test each year achieve a perfect score. Davis had taken the exam as a sophomore as well.

“Nathan brings to his classes a hunger for learning, taking every opportunity to gain understanding, and leading others to a deeper appreciation of each field of study,” said Mars Hill Rhetoric teacher Dr. Christopher Jero, who has taught Davis Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Bible.

Davis has also achieved the highest scores on both the National Latin Exam (earning a score of 5) and the National Greek Exam (earning a blue ribbon).

Matthew Beatty, MHA Rhetoric School Principal, notes that Davis has the ability to work toward his goals with an incredible sense of focus. “When Nathan sets his mind toward a goal, he works toward it with incredible persistence and single-mindedness.”

Davis’s advice for students taking the test reflects this sense of attentiveness to the task at hand.

“Once you learn the study techniques and take your practice tests, you’re ready,” Davis said. “When you go to take the test, it’s important to tune everything else out and just focus on the test.”

In addition to his studies and a part-time job, Davis is an avid reader, enjoys playing soccer and hockey, and sings in the Mars Hill Rhetoric School choir.

The PSAT is the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test administered by the College Board. One-hundred percent of MHA juniors taking the PSAT this year scored above the national average, and 47% scored above the 90th percentile.

Photo: MHA junior Nathan Davis


Mars Hill Academy Holds First Annual Food Drive to Benefit the Mason Food Pantry

November 25, 2014

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy collected over one thousand food, candy, and toiletry items during its first annual Thanksgiving food drive to benefit the Mason Food Pantry.

“Our students were so excited to bless citizens in Mason with this food drive,” said Dr. James Albritton, MHA Headmaster. “Every day for the past week, we have watched students come in with bags full of donations, including candy for the children who participate in the food pantry’s outreach programs.”

Mars Hill chose to collect items for the Mason Food Pantry as part the school’s culture of service. During the Christmas season, the school’s cafeteria will feature a “mitten tree,” on which students can hang gloves, scarves, hats and even coats to donate to a local charity.

“Our students view service to our community as an opportunity to show God’s love,” Albritton added. “The seniors loaded and delivered three carloads of donated items, and our younger students colored Bible verses for the pantry’s clients, in hopes they might want to hang the verses on their refrigerators as a reminder of God’s love for them.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy seniors Megan Peterson of Cincinnati, Dinda O’Brien of Liberty Township, Joe Thistleton of Mason and Caleb Hayes of Cincinnati load up over one thousand items to donate to the Mason Food Pantry during the school’s first annual Thanksgiving food drive.


Mars Hill Academy Third Graders Experience Life In Laura Ingalls Wilder's Time

November 20, 2014

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy third graders recently held a “Prairie Day” celebration after reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, Little House on the Prairie. Dressed in period costumes, they started the day with a field trip to a frontier cabin at Keehner Park in West Chester. They spent the rest of the day immersed in the late 19th century, baking bread, making homemade butter, playing games, and buying penny candy at a General Store.

“Prairie day is one of our students’ favorite days of the year,” shares Mars Hill third grade teacher Mrs. Traci DeBra. “Students imagine themselves back in the days of Laura Ingalls, and we do everything we can to make it an authentic and memorable experience.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy third graders Grant Barnsten of Mason, and Luke Chastain of Monroe, purchase penny candy from the General Store, tended by MHA junior Madison DeBra of Loveland, on “Prairie Day,” a celebration inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book Little House on the Prairie


Mars Hill Academy Jr. Varsity Performers Present "The Secret Garden"

October 23, 2014

MASON, OH – See a beloved children’s literary classic come to life as the Mars Hill Academy Junior Varsity performers present The Secret Garden Friday, Nov. 14 and Saturday, Nov. 15 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Mars Hill Academy’s St. Andrews Hall, 4230 Aero Drive in Mason. Tickets are $7 each and may be purchased at the door or through the Mars Hill Academy school office at (513) 770-3223.

The drama unfolds as Archibald Craven’s beloved wife, Lilias, dies as a result of an accident in her cherished garden at Misslethwait Manor. Mr. Craven locks the door to the garden and buries the key, and likewise shuts the door of his heart for ten years. His son Colin lives as an invalid in Mr. Craven’s mansion, both spoiled and ignored by his father. Like the neglected garden, Colin needs someone to open the door of his heart and clear away the thistles and thorns.

Enter Mary Lenox, played by Anna Dudley of West Chester (7th grade). An orphan whose British parents died in India, she sets about to find a way into the garden and to discover the secret to making both the garden and Colin thrive.

Photo: The cast of "The Secret Garden"


Mars Hill Academy Students Challenge Nature and Themselves at Annual Campout

October 21, 2014

MASON -- Mars Hill Academy seventh graders crawled through cave holes, rappelled down glacial cliffs, and learned to start a camp fire from a simple magnesium stick during the school’s annual Earth Science camping trip at John Bryan State Park, Yellow Springs this September. Grammar School principal Mr. James Waldy served up hobo stew to eighteen students, many of whom have been together at Mars Hill since Kindergarten. According to Anna Dudley of West Chester, the best part was sharing the experience with her classmates.

“This was my first campout, and I loved doing everything with my friends,” said Dudley. “I am afraid of heights so I was really nervous about rappelling, but everyone was so encouraging that I was able to do it.”

Waldy packed the weekend with lessons on astronomy, geology, and biology, but the camaraderie fostered among the students was invaluable.

“Students get to challenge themselves, and each other, pretty well when they spend two days without any real shelter or amenities, while sitting on the ground, dealing with the elements, and being perpetually dirty,” said Waldy. “Some of them have never camped out before, and it’s quite a challenging thing to back over a cliff trusting a rope to keep you from falling.”

Anna Kate Hicks of Cincinnati said her favorite part was star gazing and learning about the constellations. Josh Kuechly of Loveland found that being one of the smaller students in the class has its advantages. “I was the first to go all the way into the cave because it was really narrow,” reported Josh.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy student Anna Dudley of West Chester overcomes a fear of heights during the school's annual seventh grade campout at John Bryan State Park, Yellow Springs


Classical Education at Mars Hill Academy Featured on WCPO

Field Trip: At Mars Hill Academy, kids learn through songs and chants

October 7, 2014

Roxanna Swift, WCPO Contributor

School: Mars Hill Academy
Where: Mason, Ohio
Grades: Kindergarten through 12th

Walking through the halls of Mars Hill Academy, chanting, singing and recitation can be heard from classrooms. These are the sounds of learning at the private Christian school in Mason, where teachers use what is known as the classical education model.

Mars Hill Academy is the only classical Christian school in Greater Cincinnati. The private kindergarten through 12th-grade school serves about 345 students, drawing from all over the region, with students coming from as far north as Dayton and as far south as Covington. The school was founded 18 years ago by Tom and Linda Thistleton, who, having researched the method, felt it fit with their vision for their family and community.

The academy is one of only 30 schools in the nation fully accredited by the Association of Classical & Christian Schools.

Classical education is split into three grade groups, each with its own instructional methods and learning goals.

“It’s a transition that matches the developmental stage of the child,” said Michaux Merhout, advancement manager of outreach and public relations.

Learning in stages
The first of the three groups is grammar school, kindergarten through sixth grade. During this stage, students learn through music, chanting, movement and repetition. Whether the lesson is on geography, history, grammar or another subject, students take in the information through rhythms and motions.

“I think it’s so effective because they’re able to take in those facts and foundational information and retain them,” said Traci DeBra, who teaches third and fifth grades.

The grammar school stage “accesses every type of learning style” and engages the students’ senses, helping them transition to higher levels of thinking, she said.

“When they are young, and they like the business of rote and recitation and chants and songs, we take advantage of that,” said James Waldy, grammar school principal.

Singing and chanting taper off in fifth and sixth grades. Students continue to sing hymns, but singing and chanting are not used for learning in seventh through 12th grades. However, the foundation of facts and information from the grammar stage stays with them.

Learning Latin chants at a young age helped teach eighth-grader Drew Deister how to spell and deduce the meaning of words.

“It helps me read books faster and learn more through what I read,” he said.

The second stage focuses on logic. During this stage, geared toward seventh- and eighth-graders, students develop their critical thinking and argumentation skills.

An innovative way of teaching

“We teach them to do it from a perspective of love for your neighbor, so they‘re not just out to catch people and deconstruct them” Waldy said. “It’s more of a ‘Come, let us reason together’ approach to communicating with one another.”

Logic is followed by the rhetoric stage, which lasts from ninth through 12th grade. In that stage, students gain public speaking and persuasion skills.

“High schoolers feel very knowledgeable, so we work with that,” Merhout said. “We want them to be able to stand up and stand for what they believe.”

The ability to communicate helps builds confidence and improves the way they interact with others, DeBra said.

“Students are not only able to acquire facts and information, but they are able to articulate it,” she said.

Many students from Mars Hill Academy also become National Merit Scholars, participate in national spelling bees, and achieve perfect scores on national Latin exams.

Despite the achievements, a common misperception persists that students are only learning from the classical era.

“What they’re learning is so applicable to today’s world,” Merhout said. “We do go back to the classics, but it’s not an old-fashioned type of thing. It’s really innovative.”

Although innovative, staffers do believe “there is a tried and true way of teaching young people,” Waldy said. While many schools are geared toward teaching students to meet state testing requirements, classical education is not focused on teaching students specifically for these requirements. However, they tend to perform well on standardized tests, Merhout said.

The average SAT composite critical reading and math score for Mars Hill Academy 2014 graduates was 1,270 (with 660 for critical reading and 610 for math). The national average for college-bound students was 1,010 (with 496 for critical reading and 514 for math

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy Grammar School students recite a chant with hand motions


Astronomy Camp held at Mars Hill Academy is a Blast!

August 6, 2014

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy recently hosted over a dozen campers at Astronomy camp, led by Mars Hill Grammar School Principal and Astronomy teacher Mr. James Waldy of West Chester. Campers learned about constellations and other astronomical wonders, built and launched rockets, and visited the Answers In Genesis planetarium and the Cincinnati Observatory.

Photo: Astronomy Camp Rocket Launch Day 2014: Andrew Leonard of Liberty Township, Vikrant Chachare of Mason, Kyle Chu of Cincinnati, Matthew Oya of Cincinnati and Blake Kimble of West Chester show off the rockets they built at Astronomy camp, held at Mars Hill Academy


Mars Hill Academy Invites You to Groundbreaking For New Gymnasium

July 21, 2014

MASON, OH – Dr. James Albritton, Headmaster at Mars Hill Academy, is pleased to invite you to the groundbreaking ceremony for the school's new gymnasium on Monday, July 28, 12 p.m., at Mars Hill Academy, 4230 Aero Road, Mason. Join our Mars Hill students as they put shovels in the dirt to kick off construction of this 8,700 square foot, multi-purpose addition to our school building.

"As Mars Hill Academy continues to grow, our need for a gymnasium to house our sports teams and physical education classes has become a priority," said Dr. Albritton. "We see our athletic programs as unique opportunities for our students to develop Christ-like character as they apply Christian values to the competitive team environment. Our new gymnasium will give us the space we need to offer more athletic and non-athletic co-curriculars." Mars Hill Academy was founded in 1996 as a K-6 school with 27 students. Today, Mars Hill is situated on a 13-acre campus in Mason with nearly 350 students in grades K-12.

"I'm so excited about having our own school gymnasium where we can cheer on the Highlander athletic teams!" said Holly Edwards of Liberty Township, a rising freshman at MHA and member of the girls' volleyball team. "I love playing volleyball for Mars Hill because our coaches teach us so much more than how to compete well. As a team, we learn how important it is to respect our opponents, and give God all the glory in all circumstances."

Photo: Mars Hill Academy students are eager to break ground on their new gymasium


Mars Hill Academy Welcomes New Headmaster

July 14, 2014

MASON, OH – The Board of Directors of Mars Hill Academy is pleased to announce the appointment of James M. Albritton, Ph.D., as the school's new Headmaster.

Dr. Albritton holds a B.A. in Political Science from Vanderbilt University, an M.Div. from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Alabama. Dr. Albritton served as Assistant Headmaster at Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery, Alabama, and most recently served as Associate Professor of History at Huntingdon College, also in Montgomery.

"We are delighted to have Dr. Albritton join our growing school," said Chris Hall, president of Mars Hill's Board of Directors. "He brings a wonderful combination of leadership, integrity and humility. As an educator, his experience in the classical method is essential for Mars Hill, Cincinnati's only K-12 classical and Christian school. We welcome his wisdom and decorum as he leads the faculty and students of MHA in our pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness."

Dr. Albritton's educational background and experience demonstrate his passion for training and educating young people.

"I am excited about the opportunity to serve as Headmaster of Mars Hill Academy, a school dedicated to the classical method of education," said Dr. Albritton. "The school family takes such joy in glorifying God in every aspect of the educational experience, and I am eager to be a part of building His kingdom and preparing our children to do the same."

Dr. Albritton now lives in Loveland with his wife, Carey, and two children, who will attend Mars Hill Academy this fall.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy's new Headmaster James M. Albritton, Ph.D


Mars Hill Academy Students Excel on National Greek Exam

May 15, 2014

MASON, OH – Nearly 70% of Mars Hill Academy's ninth and tenth grade students who took the 2014 ACL/NJCL National Greek Exam received awards. According to The American Classical League (ACL), approximately 55% of students taking the exam in the United States, Canada, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Kingdom receive awards. Greek is offered to MHA students beginning in ninth grade.

Mars Hill students who received blue ribbons are: ninth grader Salome Palmer of Mason, and tenth graders Nathan Davis of Mason and Anna Jones of Cincinnati. Red ribbon winners are: ninth grader Anna Edwards of Liberty Township and tenth graders Levi Giese of West Chester, Lauren Godfrey of Maineville, and Nathan Williams of Cincinnati. Green ribbon winners are: ninth graders Hunter Arthurs of Springboro and Andrew Richesson of Cincinnati, and tenth graders Tristan Admiraal of Mason and David Taylor of Liberty Township.

"This is the second year Mars Hill has participated in the National Greek Exam," said Dr. Christopher Jero, MHA's Greek teacher. "Thanks to a strong Latin foundation, which is an integral part of the classical and Christian curriculum, our students have been able to learn a lot of Greek in a short time. Our students have worked hard and deserve the recognition the NGE has awarded them."

Photo: MHA ninth and tenth grade National Greek Exam award winners


Two MHA Students Achieve Perfect Scores on National Latin Exam

May 6, 2014

MASON, OH – Ten Mars Hill Academy students received top honors on the 2014 National Latin Exam (NLE). Two fifth grade students achieved perfect scores: Annie Lockett of Mason, and Julia Leonard of Liberty Township. Students earning the Gold Summa Cum Laude Award are sixth graders Kyle Chu of Cincinnati, Tessa DeBra of Loveland, Anna Kate Hicks of Cincinnati, and Etienne Pienaar of Maineville; seventh graders Gita O'Brien of Liberty Township and Drew Deister of Cincinnati; and eighth graders Drew Hicks of Cincinnati and Heather Merhout of Liberty Township.

Nearly seventy-three percent of the Mars Hill students in grades 5-9 who took the NLE received awards. Students at Mars Hill begin their Latin studies in fourth grade as part of the school's classical and Christian curriculum, with participation in the NLE beginning in fifth grade. The NLEs were created to promote the study of Latin and to encourage the individual student. Students do not compete with other students on a comparative basis, but are evaluated solely on their own performance on the exam.

Photo: Julia Leonard of Liberty Township and Annie Lockett of Mason achieved perfect scores on the 2014 National Latin Exam


Two Mars Hill Academy Students Advance to ACSI National Spelling Bee

April 9, 2014

MASON, OH – Two Mars Hill Academy students are headed to the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) National Spelling Bee, held in Dallas, TX on May 3. Mars Hill seventh grader Drew Deister of Cincinnati won the ACSI Ohio Valley Regional Spelling Bee for grades 5-8 in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, March 22, and sixth grader Kyle Chu of Cincinnati came in second. Mars Hill fifth grader Eileen Park placed sixth, and will serve as the alternate at the ACSI National Bee if any of the top five winners cannot compete.

MHA was also represented at the ACSI Regional Bee by ACSI District Bee winners Hannah Min of Mason (eighth grade) and Faith Min of Mason (sixth grade). The MHA team held weekly practices after school, and supported each other by studying together and taking advantage of time during the school day to drill each other from the word lists.

"I am thankful that God has given me this opportunity to go to the National Spelling Bee," said Chu. "We know it will be a huge challenge, so Drew and I are working hard together to get ready for the competition."

Deister agreed. "Working with Kyle and the other MHA district bee winners as a team really helped with regionals, and we will keep working together for nationals. So many people, especially our parents, inspired us and put in a lot of time helping us practice. At Mars Hill, we are taught to do everything to God's glory, so Kyle and I are excited to go to Dallas together and do our best to glorify the Lord."

Deister and Chu competed with 43 district bee winners for the regional title. Deister's winning word was labile, and Chu spelled laureate correctly to clinch second place in the Regional Bee.

ACSI is comprised of nearly 24,000 member Christian schools in 100 nations worldwide. The ACSI annually conducts spelling bees across the nation, culminating in a national contest held in May in Dallas, TX.

Photo: Drew Deister, seventh grade, Cincinnati and Kyle Chu, sixth grade, Cincinnati, took first and second place respectively in the ASCI Ohio River Valley Regional Spelling Bee and are headed to the ACSI National Spelling Bee May 3 in Dallas, TX


Mars Hill Academy Fourth Graders Connect with Orphans in Togo

March 24, 2014

MASON, OH -- Mars Hill Academy fourth graders recently received a surprise visit from Togolese missionary Daniel Kpowbie, who came to deliver personal letters and pictures from students in his 'Master-Care Togo' orphan program. Last year, Mars Hill third graders learned of the program, sponsored by Master Provisions of Florence, KY, during the school's Community Service Day. As a service project, they wrote personal letters to the Togolese orphans which were hand-delivered by Master Provisions President Roger Babik during his mission visit to the Togo. Because French is the native language of Togo, Kpowbie translated each letter.

"Getting my letter was like a dream come true," said MHA fourth grader Nicholas Nagarajan of Cincinnati. "I have been waiting for this letter, and now I have seen my pen pal face to face. I can't wait to write back."

Mars Hill has partnered with Master Provisions for the past two years to perform international service projects, such as sorting and boxing shoes for Honduras and the letter-writing project to Togo.

"We look for service projects where our students can see the impact they are making in both our Mason community and abroad," said Michaux Merhout, Mars Hill's Community Relations Manager. "To have Mr. Kpowbie hand-deliver the letters and say 'thank you' on behalf of the orphans showed our students the impact they have on people across the world."

When a child in Togo loses one or both parents, they are forced to give up schooling and begin working to provide for their families.

"We are thankful to our supporters who have sponsored 21 orphans in the Master Care – Togo program," said Roger Babik, president of Master Provisions. "We see their lives being changed by having their basic needs met, living with Christian families and attending school."

Kpowbie is the director of LifeWind International Ministries in Togo, and was visiting the United States to receive training and help coordinate a shipment of tools and supplies for a Togolese farming sustainability project sponsored through Master Provisions.

Photo: Mars Hill fourth grade students show their letters from Togolese orphans


Four Mars Hill Academy Students Earn Perfect Scores in ACSI Speech Meet

March 21, 2014

MASON, OH – Four Mars Hill students received perfect ratings from judges in the Association of Classical Schools International, Ohio River Valley region’s annual Speech Meet held March 8 at Xenia Christian School, Xenia, OH. Second grader Andrew Leonard of Liberty Township, first grader Grace Lewandowski of West Chester, fourth grader Mirabelle Zimmerman of Mason, and third grader Oliver Zimmerman of Mason earned perfect scores. Twelve students earned Superior, and three earned Excellent.

In the meet, students demonstrate their ability by delivering a memorized poem, speech, or Bible passage. Contestants do not compete against one another; rather, they are judged against an established set of criteria.

Photo: MHA students receiving a perfect score at the ACSI speech meet are l-r: Oliver Zimmerman, 3rd grade, of Mason; Mirabelle Zimmerman, 4th grade, of Mason; Andrew Leonard, 1st grade, of Liberty Township and Grace Lewandowski, 1st grade, of West Chester


Four Mars Hill Academy Students Place First in ACSI Math Olympics

March 6, 2014

MASON, OH – Four Mars Hill Academy students took first place in the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Ohio River Valley Region's 2014 Math Olympics competition for grades 3-8. Ken Fukuda of Mason placed first in the third grade Math Computation category, Sarah Harris of Turtle Creek Township placed first in the third grade Math Reasoning category, Manami Fukuda of Mason placed first in the fourth grade Math Computation category, and Karen Reynolds of Cincinnati placed first in the seventh grade Math Reasoning category.

The ACSI Math Olympics is a series of timed tests in math computation and math reasoning. Up to three students in each grade qualify to take four rounds of timed-tests in either computation or reasoning. The top five scorers in each grade and category are awarded. Tests were taken at Mars Hill Academy and submitted by mail to the ACSI host school. Overall, twenty-two Mars Hill Academy students received awards.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy ACSI Math Olympics winners in the Computation catagory


Mars Hill Academy Senior Named Merit Scholar Finalist

February 13, 2014

MASON, OH –Mars Hill Academy senior Jenna Jacques of West Chester recently achieved "Finalist" status in the National Merit Scholar program. Jacques had been named a Semi-finalist in the fall due to her qualifying scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test.

More than 20% of Mars Hill graduates (including the class of 2014) have earned Commended, Semi-finalist, or Finalist status. To become a Finalist, a Semi-finalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying PSAT.

Photo: Jenna Jacques, Mars Hill Academy senior, named National Merit Scholar


Mars Hill Academy High School Students Travel to Washington, D.C.

February 12, 2014

MASON -- Mars Hill Academy's ninth through twelfth grade students loaded up a bus and headed to our nation's Capitol during the January deep freeze to visit Capitol Hill, tour the Supreme Court building, hear from a variety of nationally recognized speakers, and participate in the March for Life.

The snow shut down most of the tourist attractions during their visit, but Congressman Dr. Brad Wenstrup (OH – 2nd District) escorted the students on a private tour of the Capitol building. Because the building was virtually empty, students began to sing, their voices rising to the dome of the rotunda, and through the Statuary Hall (video here).

"How many students can say they have sung songs of praise in the Capitol building?" commented Mars Hill sophomore Grace Milligan.

Other activities included a tour of the Supreme Court building, participating in the March for Life reception hosted by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH – 2nd District) and Rep. Steve Chabot (OH – 1st District), and hearing from Congressman Jim Jordan (OH – 4th District) along with other speakers at the Hillsdale College Kirby Center.

"One thing that will always stick with me was a quote from one of our speakers, 'It's always the right time to do the right thing'," said Kyle Oedy, Mars Hill senior.

Many students were inspired by speakers who encouraged them to become involved in causes for which they are passionate. Freshman Salome Palmer said, "At Mars Hill Academy, we are being educated and prepared for more than just college and our vocation. We are being prepared to go into our world and make a difference, and the time to begin is now."

Photo: Mars Hill Academy high school students stand in front of the Supreme Court building during a recent trip to Washington, D.C.


Tenth Annual Laurel Wreath Competition Celebrates the Spoken Word

January 30, 2014

MASON -- The Laurel Wreath Competition is Mars Hill Academy’s annual oration event for students in grades 1-8. Reciting memorized pieces of literature, poetry and scripture, students compete in the areas of expression, stage presence, and clarity of voice. First place winners of each class receive the honor of presenting at a school assembly.

The laurel wreath was a symbol honor and excellence in Ancient Greece. The greenery was worn by victors in battle, champions on the athletic field, and ‘heroes of the spoken word.’

Photo: First grader Kaiya Knodel receives congratulatory flowers after her recitation of the poem “Wynken, Blynken and Nod” by Eugene Field for Mars Hill Academy’s “Laurel Wreath” Winners Assembly.


Mars Hill Academy Students Win ACSI District Spelling Bee

January 23, 2014

MASON, OH – Four Mars Hill Academy students will advance to the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Regional Fifth through Eighth Grade Spelling Bee after placing first, second, third and fourth overall in the District Spelling Bee held Saturday, January 18 at Cincinnati Christian School in Fairfield. With a fifth Mars Hill student placing as the alternate, Mars Hill secured all five top spots in the district bee. The regional competition will be held at Ohio Christian University in Circleville, on Saturday, March 22.

Students placing first through fourth in their classroom competitions competed in the overall competition to advance to the regional bee. Mars Hill seventh grader Drew Deister of Cincinnati won first place overall. Eighth grader Hannah Min of Mason placed second; sixth grader Kyle Chu of Cincinnati placed third; sixth grader Faith Min of Mason placed fourth; and fifth grader Eileen Park of Maineville placed fifth, earning the spot of alternate.

“Our students excel in these competitions because of Mars Hill’s commitment to the classical model of education which incorporates constant review of principles and details,” said James Waldy, MHA Grammar School Principal. “At this age, they find it almost effortless to memorize over 70 phonograms, which are the building blocks to the spelling and pronunciation of the English language.”

At the ACSI district spelling bee, awards go to the top four spellers in each grade. Mars Hill Academy students earned 17 of 28 possible awards, placing first in each of the second through eighth grade class competitions.

The first place class finishers were eighth grader Ryan O’Connor of Mason; seventh grader Drew Deister of Cincinnati; sixth grader Kyle Chu of Cincinnati; fifth grader Eileen Park of Maineville; fourth grader Noelle Min of Mason; third grader William Kwan of West Chester, and second grader Vikrant Chachare of Mason.

ACSI is comprised of nearly 24,000 member Christian schools in 100 nations worldwide. The ACSI annually conducts spelling bees across the nation, culminating in a national contest held on May 3 in Dallas, TX.

Photo: Four MHA Winners of ACSI District Bee Plus Alternate, l-r: Eileen Park (5th grade) of Maineville; Hannah Min (8th grade) of Mason; Drew Deister (7th grade) of Cincinnati; Kyle Chu (6th grade) of Cincinnati; Faith Min (6th grade) of Mason


Mars Hill Academy Students Spread Joy at Local Assisted Living Communities

December 17, 2013

MASON -- Residents of two area assisted living communities enjoyed special music and Christmas cheer from Mars Hill Academy Grammar School students last week.

Mars Hill sixth graders provided holiday joy to residents of Twin Lakes Assisted Living in Montgomery. Students escorted residents to the activity hall and entertained them with traditional carols; violin, piano and recorder performances; and a reading of the Christmas story from the Bible. MHA sixth grader Mance Ranne of Cincinnati also performed a song from the upcoming Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s show “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” in which he stars as Amahl.

“Music is such a part of who we are at Mars Hill,” said Mr. Joe Persing, sixth grade teacher at Mars Hill. “We sing several songs and hymns during a typical school day, and our students enjoy performing for others, especially to senior citizens who may not have an opportunity to see a Christmas concert.”

Mars Hill second graders paraded through the halls of Brookwood Retirement Community in Sharonville, singing Christmas carols and reciting a Christmas poem, Bethlehem Town.

“To hear the residents singing along with these traditional carols they grew up singing brings as much joy to our students and we bring to them,” said Mrs. Alicia Weber, second grade teacher at Mars Hill.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy Second Graders Christmas caroling at Brookwood Retirement Community


Mars Hill Academy Serves Joyous Christmas Entertainment at Annual Renaissance Madrigal Feast

November 13, 2013

MASON, OH – Travel back in time and enjoy a 16th century Christian holiday banquet as the Mars Hill Academy Madrigal singers host their annual Madrigal Feast on Friday, December 6 or Saturday, December 7 at 7 p.m. Held at the beautiful and historic Covenant-First Presbyterian Church in downtown Cincinnati, the feast features sumptuous food, Renaissance-period choral performances by costumed singers, jesters to entertain, and lively fun for the entire family.

Seating is limited and reservations are required. Tickets are $25 each and may be purchased through Mars Hill Academy at (513) 770-3223 or by visiting www.marshill.edu.

Photo: 2013 Mars Hill Academy Madrigal Singers


Mars Hill Academy Jr. High Performers Present "Leave It to PSmith"

November 4, 2013

MASON, OH – Mars Hill Academy Junior High thespians will make their stage debut with Leave it to Psmith, a British “whodunnit” comedy with enough twists, turns and misadventure to entertain the entire family. The show runs Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9 from 7-9 p.m. at Mars Hill Academy’s St. Andrews Hall, 4230 Aero Drive in Mason.

“Our junior high performers are having a great time preparing for this show,” shares Peter Cunningham, MHA teacher and Leave it to Psmith director. “The show has all the hallmarks of Wodehouse’s impeccable humor, and the students are enjoying performing British humor at its finest.”

The twists begin with Freddie Threepwood and Phyllis Jackson, young lovers who can’t get married until Freddie comes up with 5,000 British pounds. Enter debonair young Englishman Psmith, who has decided to support himself by doing anything that he is hired to do. Freddie hires Psmith to hatch a plot to leverage the famous Doleworthy Diamonds. Enter Eve, Lord Middlewick, McTodd, Ms. Peavey and Cootes – two of whom are trying to steal the diamonds at the same time – and you have an evening of sidesplitting fun!

Tickets are $5 each, with a family maximum of $20 per night. Tickets may be purchased through the Mars Hill Academy school office at (513) 770-3223. Visit the “Special Events” section of the MHA website for more information (www.marshill.edu).

Photo: The Mars Hill Academy Jr. High cast of "Leave It to PSmith"


Mars Hill Academy Students Benefit Eight Local Organizations on Service Day

October 1, 2013

MASON, OH – Eight local organizations will benefit this Friday, October 4, as students at Mars Hill Academy in Mason set aside the school-day routine to get out and serve the greater Cincinnati community.

"One hundred and sixty-five students in grades 4-12 will go off campus Friday to serve, and the rest will stay behind to perform service work here at Mars Hill,” said Roger Wismer, MHA Headmaster. “Serving one another sacrificially is ingrained in our school’s culture, so we look forward to this special day where we take that love of service out into the community.”

Mars Hill boys in grades ten through twelve will paint and perform home repairs in Hamilton to assist the Butler County SELF (Supports to Encourage Low-Income Families) program. MHA boys in grades six through nine will serve at the Salvation Army’s Camp Swoneky in Oregonia clearing brush to create more usable space.

Mars Hill girls in grades six through eight will assist teachers at the Lebanon and South Lebanon Early Learning Centers. They will clean and sanitize toys, as well as read and interact with the children.

Mars Hill fourth and fifth graders will head to Matthew 25 Ministries in Blue Ash to assemble personal care kits for disaster relief efforts. Third graders will stay at Mars Hill to serve Master Provisions ministry by collecting, sorting and boxing gently used shoes for mission trips overseas. They will also create pictures with blessings in Spanish for the children served by the Master Provisions mission team in Honduras.

Mars Hill second grade students will be visited by a service dog from the Circle Tail Partners with Paws for People With Disabilities organization based out of Pleasant Plain. They will collect pop can tops, and sort newspapers to donate to the group. The students will experience a hands-on demonstration of what it is like to navigate the school environment in a wheelchair, given by a parent of a Mars Hill student who has cerebral palsy.

Grammar School students, with help from the ninth through twelfth grade girls, will make blessing boxes, tissue paper flowers, and Bible verse booklets for shut-ins through the Adopt-A-Friend ministry based out of Miamisburg.

Photo: Mars Hill Academy eighth grader Drew Hicks helps clear brush at Camp Swoneky


Two Mars Hill Academy Seniors Recognized by National Merit Scholarship Program

September 21, 2013

MASON, OH – Two Mars Hill Academy seniors have been recognized for their achievement in the National Merit Scholarship program. Jenna Jacques of West Chester earned Semi-finalist status, and Kyle Oedy of Lebanon has earned Commended Student status. Historically, over of 25% of Mars Hill seniors have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program.

“This is confirmation of the effectiveness of a classical Christian education,” shares Mars Hill’s Rhetoric School Principal Matthew Beatty. “At Mars Hill Academy, we do not teach to any test, but rather hold true to classical methods while pursuing standards of truth, goodness, and beauty grounded in the Scriptures.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy seniors Kyle Oedy and Jenna Jacques