Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Exhortation from the Headmistress of Highlands Latin [Classical School] in Kentucky

The following address, given to the children and parents of a Classical Christian School in Kentucky, succinctly gives a "treeline" view of the classical focus and approach in cooperative education.

Highlands Latin offers a unique education built on a strong and lasting foundation: a foundation of three universal languages, Latin, mathematics, and music; a foundation of reading the classics to develop wisdom and virtue, and the foundation of a living faith.
In partnership with parents, and guided by the Gospel, we are committed to helping your children develop their academic gifts to the highest standards of the classical tradition. We are committed to character and faith formation. We are committed to helping your children grow in knowledge, wisdom, and the love of Our Lord, so that they may more ably use their gifts in the service of others, and for the glory of Christ and his Church.
A classical education has the challenging goal of giving our youth the kind of wisdom that it takes a life time to gain on one’s own. This wisdom has two sources, one human and one divine. For it was God’s providential plan that human wisdom should come to us through the Greeks and divine wisdom be revealed to us through the Hebrews. We owe so much to Greece and Rome - philosophy, literature, law, government, geometry, science – all the subjects that children still study in school today. We study and honor our classical heritage and thank God for it, just as we are grateful for all of the good gifts of life.
And as Christians, we especially give thanks for Greece because by setting the standard for human wisdom, she points the way to divine wisdom. For the Greek philosophers who used reason to establish the foundations of learning, were unable to conceive of a god that could satisfy both the human mind and the human heart. But the revelation of God in Jesus Christ satisfies both. The Reason of the Greeks and the Revelation of the Hebrews, each stands out in sharper contrast when seen together.
And as Christians, we especially give thanks for Rome because she teaches us that Christ is the Lord of History. The invincible spirit of Rome created an empire that haunts the memory of mankind. But this empire, born in blood and violence, was itself conquered by a kingdom born in love. The Romans who conquered by force and the Greeks who ruled by reason were themselves conquered and ruled by an unreasonable love. And thus the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled, the meek did inherit the earth. The foolishness of God was wiser and stronger than the wisdom of men.
Students, we hope that you have a good year. We hope that you persevere in your studies and never give up - like the Romans. We hope that you develop an unquenchable thirst for truth and wisdom - like the Greeks. And most of all we pray that you add to those natural virtues of Greece and Rome , the Christian virtues of chastity, charity, humility, faith, hope, and joy. Students, soon your school year will begin. Remember: always honor your parents, respect and obey your teachers, and be kind and helpful to your classmates.

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