Helpful Tips for Cyber Safety and Your Children

Today’s post is by guest author and CPLS Guidance Counselor, Melissa Gossard.

Anyone ever feel the challenges with keeping up with the latest app, video game or website that our children are begging us to use? Have you asked questions like “Is it safe?”,  “Is it developmentally appropriate?”,  or “Is it necessary?”  Have you ever had a discouraging moment with technology and felt like running away to an electronics-free island to raise your kids?

The struggle is real, indeed.  However, one of the popularteenappsmany opportunities we have in the CPLS school/home partnership is to help each other in this “raising a child in the way he/she should go” adventure we are on.  You, the parents, share valuable feedback with the school that helps us connect with your child best and likewise, we, the school, try to share with you areas of success and areas of need for continued growth.  Neither of us do it with perfection and it isn’t always the easiest dance but  it is a dance worth dancing.

Instead of exhausting both home and school with discussing every cyber issue at once, it can be healthier to engage in periodic discussions to keep us aware.  It is my prayer this blog simply prompts a discussion in your home about cyber safety with your children.  We all know our lives are influenced and, in some ways, even dependent on technology and the internet.   Our children are growing up in a day and age where technology has become a standard form of connection and communication.  We would all probably agree, it has its benefits and risks.  I know CPLS families have varying stances of the amount and type of technology they want their child(ren) to have exposure to, so the purpose of this blog is simply for awareness as we work to guide our children through each developmental stage of life.   There are a few popular apps to be aware of if your children have access to apps via a tablet or smartphone.  A specific app that I want to discuss is called Afterschool.


  • This app is specifically designed for messaging between teens only to help teens have a “safe” place without parental involvement.  The app encourages confessions and compliments.  There have been some additional filters added for “sexual, drug, and profane content”, however, there is a 17+ access to allow for sexual content.
  • Apps such as Afterschool, Kik, Yik Yak have been linked to bomb threats, sexting, and/or cyber bullying.
  • Many of the apps, like Afterschool, advertise anonymity from parents which sends up red flags to potentially push parents out of helping their children navigate the difficulties of adolescence.  It can send the message to our young people they should be seeking counsel from cyber space peers instead of their parents.  9445558_g
  • Many young people using this app think what they post and share is anonymous.  Their identity is hidden from others (red flag because of lack of accountability) but Afterschool can and will share their personal information with the police.
  • There is a crisis text line that reportedly provides round the clock help for a child in crisis if a message posts of at risk behavior like self-harm and suicide.


  • Remind children to seek Truth over how we connect and communicate with others.  Remind them there is NO complete anonymity on the internet and anything they personally share with someone via the internet can be shared and potentially used against them.
  • Remind them that when we are living in the dark or in secret, the enemy likes it and God’s light, Truth and  love are harder to find.

Luke 8:17 “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”

1 John 1:6-7  “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

  • Remind them authentic and safe friendships keep only good secrets (I know what you are getting for your birthday or who you have a crush on), not secrets  that include a need for an adult’s care and guidance.
  • There is not a substitute for trusted parental advice and they should not look to the 467x267-momdaughterreadingonhammock-tsinternet to hear from someone they have never met and could be totally different than whom they claim to be.
  • Remind them engaging in a secrecy app is risky with the potential to harm them emotionally and physically.  It has happened to innocent young people many times already.
  • Encourage young people to remain honest about anything that appears wrong, scary or strange with adults they trust.
  • Keep talking to your children so they know they can indeed come to you with problems and concerns.  Avoid allowing them to isolate with their devices for extended periods of time.
  • If you allow your children to use social media and apps similar to the ones mentioned above, consider app safety plans and don’t be afraid to check in on their activity.
  • Remind children that young people’s brains are not fully developed until they reach their mid-20’s.  Adolescence is often a time of struggle with impulsivity so, at times, their judgment in the moment isn’t always what they wished it would be even 10 minutes after the decision was made.  This very fact is a reason for them to be cautious when engaging in internet friendships and interactions.
  • Teach and guide your child to the appropriate response if they are sent content that looks sketchy and/or inappropriate and make it a family rule for them to ask for permission to participate.
  • Connect with other trusted parents and the school if you encounter a negative cyber experience that could be useful in making others aware to protect and help our children.

Again, this blog is not for alarm but rather awareness.  I value discussions that help us partner together in attempts to guiding our children towards healthy relationships with parents, peers, teachers and the Lord.   The most important effort is to remind our children the safest people (next to the Lord) for them to confide in are YOU, their parents.  It is also a good idea to have them list other trusted adults they can confide in if you aren’t available or there is some kind of conflict going on between you and your child.  No matter the age of your children, they need us. The cyber world offers connections with others in both good and bad ways.  Let it not take the place of us connecting with our children.

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Little Lions Learning Center Takes Top Honors

In an effort to create more Christ-centered environments for even the youngest learners, the Little Lions Learning Center was created in 2015 on the campus of Cair Paravel Latin School.

Offering structured academic and social learning curriculum for children ages 3-6, our Little Lions Learning Center has helped bridge the gap between early learning preparation and the classical, Christian curricular experience that helps those entering Kindergarten at CPLS.imagejpeg_0

Under the experienced leadership of Director Teresa Scott, and teachers Emily Linton and Kara Hass, CPLS is proud to announce that the Little Lions Learning Center was recognized on Thursday, September 22 at the annual Best of Topeka competition, run by the Topeka Capital-Journal and hosted by Prairie Band Casino.

Best of Topeka recognizes outstanding businesses and individuals in the following categories: Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Housing & Hospitality, Professional, Retail, Recreational and Service. Residents vote in print and online April 24 to May 23 for their favorites, with more than 335,000 votes cast this year. This is The Topeka Capital-Journal’s 26th year to celebrate Best of Topeka.
little-lionsCPLS is proud that the Little Lions Learning Center placed in the top 3 of all daycares in the city of Topeka, but even more proud that they received 1st Runner-Up at the evening’s ceremony.

Cair Paravel is proud of the work we are doing with children in Topeka and receiving this special award affirms what God is doing within our community to help reach children and families through quality education and Christ’s love. We look forward to serving more children as the Little Lions program continues for many years to come.

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Learning “Rocks” at CPLS Geology Camp

Today’s blog post is authored by 8th grade teacher and geology camp leader William Barron

One of the great things about Cair Paravel Latin School is the almost obsessive desire to get students out of the four walls of the classroom so that they can enjoy what God created and the benefits of community in a setting other than at a desk and in a chair.  Regardless of the grade level, our students participate in field trips throughout the year designed to pique their imagination, broaden their understanding of what they are learning in the classroom, and help them appreciate Creation.  As they get older, we take them camping for days at a time so they are pushed out of their comfort zones and away from the distractions of this busy electronic world we live in.  I think the capstone for these encounters with the outside happens when we close out the year by spreading out across the nation traveling to Missouri and the heartland, Texas, Colorado, California, Washington D.C., Williamsburg, and New York. A few weeks ago eleven students and two adults, while not leaving our great state of Kansas, extended the classroom experience past the traditional school year into summer for even more hands-on learning.

Geology Camp 2016 was a three day adventure in western Kansas filled with heat, hiking, and hunting for nature’s treasures.   We visited places that simply cannot be enjoyed the same way by reading about them but instead must be encountered outdoors in God’s presence.

In our nearly 900 miles of travel we:

  • Viewed and climbed on rocks shaped like mushrooms.
  • Collected iron concretions that looked like explosions frozen in time.
  • Made a triple bunk bed hammock system in the cottonwoods.
  • Hunted for fossils as the sun set finding lots of petrified wood instead.
  • Woke up early in the cool of the morning and found shark teeth and vertebrae of animals long since dead.
  • Climbed all over one of the 8 wonders of Kansas.
  • Played in the water at Scott Lake and nearly got sick on the merry-go-round!
  • Brought back beautiful crystals of calcite and selenite.
  • And did mention fun in the car rides?

Geology Camp may not be for every student but it is good.  We prepared to go out where it is hot and play where there is no air conditioning.  We went to bed sweating but feeling good about the day.  We never went hungry except the hunger for what next adventure awaited us.  Cair Paravel reminds me of this in many ways.

We have adventure every day in our school.  We hunger to learn and put to practice what we do in the classroom.  I am constantly reminded of this as parents approach me to tell me about their child who got excited on a trip because they knew what they were looking at in the rocks or argued with a television program’s bad logic.  Geology camp may not be for every student but it is a great picture of what we do here at Cair Paravel, where every day we collect, climb, make, hunt, play and have fun in this process that is called becoming fully human.  I love the fact that God has called us into an adventure.

I encourage you to take a tour of Cair Paravel, where the hunt is on every day to cultivate classically trained, lifelong learners, committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, who will enrich their community and God’s kingdom!

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CPLS Lady Lions Soccer Team takes MCAA Championship and Tournament

Girls' Soccer Team Photo.JPGCongratulations to our CPLS Lady Lions as they were able to cap off, yet another, tremendous 2016 Varsity girls’ soccer season by winning the MCAA League tournament, taking down Cornerstone 8-3 for the title.

The undefeated MCAA League champions were the team to beat as they attempted to win their third straight championship (2 MCAA and 1 KCAA) on May 14th.

After the game, a number of CPLS players received special recognition:Girls' Soccer Christ Like Award.JPG
Junior Sami Mooneyham and senior Hannah Borchers received the Christ Like Award.  Freshmen Hannah Woolery and Lizzie Rollenhagen and sophomores Ashley Carlson and Alair Love received First Team All League awards. Additionally, Hannah W. was named MVP of the league.

This year’s team had an amazing season outscoring their league opponents 79-6.  This could very well be the best season in CPLS girls’ soccer history!  With the loss of only one senior, next year could prove to be even better!Girls' Soccer All League.JPG

The coaches and girls would like to thank all the fans that came out to cheer them on this season.

Congratulations girls!!!  You are the best!!

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Cair Paravel’s High School Named in Ingram’s Greater Kansas City Book of Leads & Lists

Cair Paravel Latin School has been named in Ingram’s Greater Kansas City Book of Leads & Lists.

Ingram’s is Kansas City’s premier business publication and has been for the past 40 years. With more than 105,000 influential and affluent monthly readers and 25,000 additional readers of Ingram’s Quarterly Reports and reprint sections, Ingram’s has earned the respect of top executives in the Kansas City area, as well as one of the highest readership profiles of any business magazine, business journal or daily newspaper in North America. Aside from regular reporting, Ingram’s features prestigious monthly specials highlighting some of Kansas City’s top business people, including 40 Under Forty, 20 in Their Twenties, Corporate Report 100 and Industry Outlook.DSCN2815

In the 2016 Book of Leads & Lists, Ingrams reviewed over 50 private high schools in the Kansas City region (including Lawrence and Topeka). Cair Paravel Latin School ranked #8 in the list of the Top 25 based on ACT scores and academic data.  In terms of value, all other private high schools listed above ours range from $8,400 to $22,000, further highlighting the value of a CPLS educational experience versus others in the area.  There are two other area schools on the list including Hayden High School at #22 and Veritas Christian School in Lawrence at #25.

We are proud of our school’s accomplishments and look forward to leading the way in academic excellence, strong fine arts and athletics and steady spiritual growth for our students each year.

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Student Spotlight- Lily Greene

Sometimes when it rains, it pours.  And sometimes when CPLS teacher Doug Woolery enters the essays from students enrolled in his “Excellence in Writing” course into the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen Contest, they win first, second, third, and fourth place in the Kansas District Competition.  This is the second year in a row that students at CPLS have been recognized as submitting the top four winning essays.  Mr. Woolery is most proud of the collective effort all of his students dedicate to these patriotic essays.  “They take the topic of the Patriot’s Pen essays very seriously and it’s a pleasure each year to submit their work to the VFW for consideration.”

Lily Patriots Pen State

Lily received the State Award during the Kansas VFW’s special recognition dinner in January.

And sometimes when it pours, it just keeps on pouring as it did this year for one of Doug’s 8th grade students, Lily Greene.  Her essay moved on from the District Competition and placed first in the Kansas Regional Competition before going on to place first in the State Competition.  Lily’s essay, entitled “What Freedom Means to Me” was one of 125,000 essays submitted nationwide.  Her essay is now nestled in a folder with 49 other state winners on a desk somewhere in Washington, D.C. waiting to be considered for the national award.

DSCN2553.JPGRepresentatives from the local chapter of the VFW conducted a ceremony on Monday, February 8th to recognize Lily and the other local winners who are all students at CPLS, Courtney Cleverdon (8th), Gabby Davis (8th) and Mercedes Collie (7th).  After the awards ceremony, Lily Greene said “I really wrestled with the subject matter of this essay.  The word ‘freedom’ is thrown around a lot, but it took time to break it down and consider what freedom truly means to me.  I’m honored that others have read my essay and liked what I had to say”.

You can read Lily’s prize winning essay here.

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Student Spotlight: Lily and Lucy Henderson

It’s 5:45 in the morning and while most elementary-aged students are still tucked warmly in their beds, Lily and Lucy Henderson are already up, pulling on their jeans and work boots, and heading out into the cold for a quick walk to the barn where their eight horses are waiting to be fed.


Photo courtesy of Avid Visual Imagery Rodeo Photography

Their mom, Julie, says that the sisters started riding horses before they
could even walk and have been caring for their family horses for years.  Lucy is a third grader at Cair Paravel and says her horses are more like brothers and sisters than pets.  “They are my family,” she said.


Last year the Henderson family decided to explore the world of competition rodeo through the Christian Youth Rodeo Association which serves riders from ages 3 to 18.  Lily and Lucy had never even been on a full run with their horses before they started participating in rodeo.  Mrs. Henderson remembers being nervous watching the girls participate in their first Grand Entry which is designed to showcase the skill and speed of the cowboys and cowgirls.  “I worried that the girls could get hurt, but they had already caught the ‘rodeo addiction bug’ and we were on our way to becoming a rodeo family.”

The sisters are both quick to point out that rodeo is definitely a sport and is particularly challenging because each individual event requires them to focus on different sets of skills. Lily, who is in the fifth grade at Cair Paravel, was once asked by a friend why she rides every day and Lily replied “If I want to get better, this is what it takes.”  She says her best events are Barrels and Poles which she


Photo courtesy of Avid Visual Imagery Rodeo Photography

does with her favorite horse, Sailor.  She likes it because she and Sailor are given lots of space to run and they are able to go really fast.

For the Henderson family, incorporating their faith into any venture is important, which is why they chose to participate in the Christian Youth Rodeo Association whose mission is “to teach valuable skills and keep Christ in our lives and hearts. We compete and make relationships that last longer than all the trophies, buckles, points, and money that we will ever win.   With God as our guide! ” 

Last fall, Lucy and Lily participated in their year-end finals where several lilymembers of the CPLS family were cheering in the grandstands.  They had persevered through cold mornings and hot evenings, spent hours cleaning muddy boots and hooves, and endured countless cuts and bruises.  Their hard work and dedication was rewarded as the girls were chosen to be the Christian Youth Rodeo Princess and Little Miss.  They also both earned 2nd place in their age divisions for the All-Around Cowgirl.

Congratulations Lucy and Lily.  We are so proud of your effort and dedication!



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