One by one: the first year of Mid City High

News | February 1, 2015

One by one, the students at Mid City High School come through the doors in the morning, greeted by name.

One by one, they walk past the definition of a Maverick, written in purple on the wall. The students chose the school mascot, the school colors, the school name for this brand new high school of the Davenport Community School District.

One by one, they go to their classes with hopes of earning a high school diploma.

Mid City High School is not an average high school. Some may call it an alternative high school, or perhaps a non-traditional school.

Its beauty, its grace, its strength lies in its complexity – a complexity demanded by the life circumstances of each of the 220 students, one by one.

“The experiences and challenges of the students are so vast and diverse that my life is enriched when I have the opportunity to sit down with them and learn about their lives,” said Jake Klipsch, who is the school’s new principal and St. Paul member.

“It is inspiring. Some of the obstacles they face seem almost insurmountable. The places our students come from and the stories they bring with them are often heart breaking. I hope we can give them the support, the guidance, and the love they need and deserve.”


The door opens and Dave Thede welcomes visitors to the bright, sunny shop at Mid City High School.

On this particular day, Mr. Thede was leading a class called Recreational Equipment, Materials, and Process. With safety goggles, closed-toe shoes, and steady hands, the students are learning how to make sinkers for fishing.

Lexie Jett is one of the students. She talks about her two-year-old daughter while she pours melted lead into molds. Nick Byars is on day three at Mid City and he smiles when he talks about how helpful the teachers are.

And Zach Keding mentions how when he had a choice for classes, this one sounded interesting.

Mr. Thede designed this class specifically for kids at Mid City. He teaches a home repair class, too, among others.

“A lot of our kids live independently, so we’re teaching them things they can do on their own to save money, to survive on their own,” Mr. Thede said.

The high school is the newest building in the Davenport Community School District, the expansion and transformation of a long-running alternative high school program called the Kimberly Center, formerly housed in a warehouse-like building. The $11 million project at the corner of Kimberly and Marquette streets was paid for with what is called the local option sales tax.

What that means is that anyone who purchased anything in Scott County anytime over the past several years supported the construction.

Most of the building was ready for students this past fall. A ribbon cutting celebrated its opening. Construction continues on a robotics classroom, a physical activity center, a music room, and a space for the school’s child care center. Approximately 10 percent of the school’s students are parents.

Class sizes are small, with no more than 15 students per class.

It’s not the school where kids go when they get kicked out of other schools, Jake said. Every kid who wants to be a Mid City student must apply and interview to get in.

“There’s not one type of kid who comes here,” he said. There are kids with anxiety issues. There are kids who have made bad choices. There are kids who are homeless or live on their own. There are kids who are transgendered – and individual bathrooms don’t leave them worrying about which one to choose.

But even with their differences, they, for the most part, share one thing in common: “Almost all of them would drop out of high school if they didn’t have this place,” Jake said.

A crew of 25 teachers and 15 support staff guide the days with a passion for serving. For example, one of the school’s secretaries chose to work at Mid City because she is a graduate of an alternative program.

The media specialist started a parenting group that meets every other week.

Every day, posts on the school’s social media recognize individual students for showing kindness, or for a goal achieved. A service learning class is partnering up with the school’s neighbors to work on projects, ranging from picking up trash along Marquette Street to teaching a technology class at the Center for Active Seniors Inc.

Teachers are given the opportunity to design classes that encourage students to ignite passions and explore potential careers.

The school’s program is supported by grants beyond state funding. One supports an afterschool program for kids who are homeless. Case workers, a juvenile court liaison, mental health counselors are supported by grant dollars too.

Samantha Pacha is one of the case workers. In her office, she runs a free “shop” where kids can come and pick up soap, conditioner, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, and other personal care items.

Stored in carefully organized bins, the donated items give students a boost of self-esteem.

She opens up a file folder that she is getting ready to give to a new student. She asks the students to write down goals, and journal about progress they’ve made. The folder also includes phone numbers to call if they need help with sexuality, abuse, mental health.

It’s a folder about their life, Samantha said. A quote inside reads: “You are given this because you are strong enough to live it.”

Some of the students at Mid City High close at their jobs in the early, early hours of the morning and need to start their school day later than most. Others need to come for just a couple of hours a day to get a handful of credits to graduate.

Some travel to other high schools for specific programs, such as the Creative Arts Academy or a Junior ROTC unit.

In December, the first graduating class of Mid City High School walked across the stage to receive their high school diploma.

For many of those 30 kids, their graduation represented another first, Jake said: They are the first person in their family to graduate from high school.

And one by one, the goal is for them to live fulfilled lives.

“Our greatest hope,” Jake said, “is that they each have the widest range of opportunities possible. If they choose to go to college, technical school, the military, or to work, we hope they are doing so by their own choice.

“We want them to be happy in what they are doing. We don’t want them to be forced into what they will be for the rest of their life.”

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,





He then says,



18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”