The Grade: Session 2 Recap

Schedule next Mentoring Session Soon!

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Dear Grade participants and parents,

We have successfully finished two sessions of The Grade! If you were unable to attend, please read the recap of your session below. Also, we provide these recaps for parents to know what is going on at The Grade and discuss some of the topics with your sons.

We are now due for the second mentoring session. Please contact your mentor to schedule a 1/2 hour mentoring appointment in the next few weeks. Remember, the standing mentoring appointments happen at Swift this Saturday from 3 - 6pm and at Western Academy next Saturday from 11am - 2pm, however you may schedule another time with your mentor if those days don't work.

If you have friends who are interested in The Grade, unfortunately the program is now completely full. Our mentoring staff is at capacity and we will no longer be able to accept anyone into the program this year, however, if someone is interested in coming to a general session to see if they would like to join The Grade next year, please email me and we can work it out. Also, ALL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS are invite to Swift every Tuesday night to study and have pizza dinner from 6 - 9pm. Please see the details below.

Thank you!


Alex Hoff

Director, The Grade

Tuesday Study Nights @ Swift

We would like to extend an invitation to all high school students to come to our Tuesday Study Night. It is a quiet environment where serious study takes place, as well as a time to socialize with friends during a pizza dinner (please bring $5 for dinner!) The schedule is as follows:

6pm - Doors open (students can come at any time but should text me if they are coming late so I can be sure to include them in the dinner count when I order, 713-836-8705

6 - 7:30pm - Quiet Study

7:30 - 8pm - Dinner (pizza, Chinese, Whataburger, etc. - $5)

8 - 8:30pm - Confessions available

8 - 9pm - Quiet Study

Mentoring Schedules

3rd Saturday (9/21)

Swift House

2301 Swift Blvd.

3PM - 6PM

30 minute time slots

Email or call your mentor to set a time

4th Saturday (9/28)

Western Academy

1511 Butlercrest St.

11AM - 2PM

30 minute time slots

Email or call your mentor to set a time

By appointment:

Email or call your mentor to set a time

Payment Info

If you have not paid for the seminar, you can mail a check in to us at:

Chaucer Drive Study Center

Attn: The Grade

5505 Chaucer Drive

Houston, TX 77005

Please make the check payable to Chaucer Drive Study Center.

Recap: Big Picture Seminar (Freshmen)

Honing Your Study Techniques: Aiming High For College

The freshman completed a study skills questionnaire and Mr. Green covered the best practices for improving study habits which are a crucial aspect of success in high school. The path to a quality university involves sweat and sacrifice, but it is well worth the effort.

Among other things, Mr. Green pointed to four key qualities of a good student: concentration, diligence, hard work, and self control. He also showed an amusing video of the ever lurking enemy of many a would be "good student"...PROCRASTINATION. With excellent tips on how to overcome procrastination and hone your study techniques, Mr. Green has equipped the freshmen with the study knowledge they need, now they must equip themselves with the virtue.

The breakout session was a team-building activity called Lego Mania. The freshmen were divided into four teams of six and had to come up with a strategy of how to replicate a lego structure in an adjoining room. They could only send representatives to view the structure five times, and they were marked down for any Lego out of place in their final structures. No team was able to replicate the model perfectly, but the team who distributed the work most evenly eventually came out the winner (not the team who finished first!)

Recap: The Professional Seminar (Sophomores & Juniors)

Keeping Data Safe: IT Security

John Varkey, the Chief Information Officer for Direct Energy, spoke to the sophomores and juniors about data security and information technology. John graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in computer science and later went on to get his MBA from Rice University. He spoke about the growing need for professional competency in data management and technology, encouraging anyone interested to explore opportunities in the field. Mr Varkey also discussed the challenges associated with the field of information technology and data management. The internet facilitates immoral actions like fraud, theft, hackers as much as it facilitates morally upright progress.

This month was the first session of a three-month series on Resumes and Interviewing, which will culminate in a round of mock interviews during the November seminar. The sophomores and juniors both received a brief talk explaining the importance of a resume and its role in the job application process. All the students then began working on their resumes. They are expected to finish a first draft of their resumes by this month's mentoring session, and then at the November session, there will be mock interviews held at Robert Morris Elementary school, across the street from Swift House. It is critical that the students begin work on their resumes now, and come to the mentoring session with a first draft - we encourage dads to help out in advising their sons with this.

The virtue talk for this month was about prudence, which can be defined succinctly as "right reason in action". Students were encouraged to be not only men of right reason, but also men of action.

Recap: Filling the Gaps (Seniors)

Is The New Testament Reliable?

Led by Victor Saenz, the seniors addressed the question: is the New Testament reliable as a historical document? The class first looked at an important presupposition of certain modern Biblical interpreters: that miracles do not happen. Importantly, this presupposition is philosophical, not historical. Yet it is used in discrediting the New Testament as a reliable historical document: "since we know miracles don't happen, the New Testament cannot be historically reliable."

The seniors were invited to set aside this presupposition and look at how the New Testament fares with respect to key features of a historical document: the intention of the writer, the quality and quantity of the witnesses, the completeness and quality of the written record, et al. In looking at such features--setting aside philosophical presuppositions--the New Testament passes muster quite clearly.

Seminar Coordinators

If you have general questions about The Grade, feel free to email or call me at any time.

Alex Hoff

CELL: 713.836.8705 |

If you have questions about a specific seminar, these are the seminar coordinators:

Big Picture Seminar (Freshmen)

Joe Kolf

CELL: 314.402.3491 |

Professional Seminar (Sophomores and Juniors)

Dan Murphy

CELL: 917.224.7851 |

Filling the Gaps (Seniors)

Victor Saenz

CELL: 574.904.3258 |