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Some Basic Principles

Consider these wise words from the Circe Institute on the purpose of classical education and its relation to God’s grace:

Purpose: The purpose of Classical Education is to cultivate virtue and wisdom. The classical Christian does not ask, “What can I do with this learning?” but “What will this learning do to me?” The ultimate end of Classical Christian education is to enable the student (disciple) to better know, glorify, and enjoy God. Since we are able to know things with which we have a common nature, the more we are like God the better we can know Him. A student gives glory to God when he is like Him. Our enjoyment of God is derived from our ability to see Him and to see His handiwork.

Grace: In a Christian school, learning is not an end in itself.  Instead, the classical Christian teacher asks God to use his teaching, dispositions, and actions as an instrument in His hand to cultivate the students’ souls toward holiness.  In this sense, learning can be a means of grace.

What a beautiful picture of education. What a powerful tool to shape our children for Christ.

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Are You #Blessed?

Our community of families has been and is being blessed by our great God. Blessings, all around and abundant. Recently I enjoyed reading an article about blessings by freelance writer and blogger Vaneetha Rendall Risner. The article, which appeared at Desiring God, was a timely reminder for me, and I hope it helps you think more clearly and biblically about God’s blessings in your life. Are you #Blessed?

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What Does It Really Mean to Be #Blessed?

Feeling blessed is in vogue.

A quick look at Facebook and Twitter shows how many people today feel #blessed. In our social-media world, saying you’re blessed can be a way of boasting while trying to sound humble.

College scholarship? #Blessed. Unexpected raise? #Blessed. Wonderful family? #Blessed.

As Christians we use that term too, of course. We pray God will bless our family. We attribute our undeserved gifts to “God’s blessings.” We talk about ministries being blessed. But what does it really mean? How should we understand the blessing of God?

The Good Life

For believers, is the blessed life synonymous with the successful life? Is it the Christian version of the good life? A loving marriage, obedient children, a vibrant ministry, a healthy body, a successful career, trusted friends, financial abundance — if these are the characteristics of a blessed life, then having all of them should translate into an extraordinarily blessed life.

But does it? If someone had all those things, would they be extraordinarily blessed?

Rather than turning to God, they might feel self-sufficient and proud. Perhaps a bit smug and self-righteous. After all, their hard work would be yielding good fruit.

Moreover, they wouldn’t need to cry out to God for deliverance; everything would already be perfect. They wouldn’t need to trust God; they could trust in themselves. They wouldn’t need God to fill them; they would already be satisfied.

God’s Richest Blessings

My desire for God is greatly fueled by my need. And it is in the areas of loss where I feel my need most intensely. Unmet desires keep me on my knees. Deepen my prayer life. Make me ransack the Bible for God’s promises.

Earthly blessings are temporary; they can all be taken away. Job’s blessings all disappeared in one fateful day. I, too, had a comfortable life that was stripped away within a span of weeks. My marriage dissolved. My children rebelled. My health spiraled downward. My family fell apart. My dreams were shattered.

And yet, in the midst of those painful events, I experienced God’s richest blessings. A stronger faith than I had experienced before. A deeper love than I had ever known. A more intimate walk than I could explain. My trials grounded my faith in ways that prosperity and abundance never could.

While my trials were not blessings in themselves, they were channels for them. As Laura Story asks in her song “Blessings,” “What if your blessings come through rain drops? What if trials of this life — the rain, the storms, the hardest nights — are your mercies in disguise?”

This revolutionary idea of blessing is also firmly established in Scripture.

The Common Thread

One translation of the New Testament (ESV) has 112 references with the words bless, blessing, or blessed, none of which connects blessing to material prosperity. Consider these passages:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit. . . . Blessed are those who mourn. . . . Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake . . . Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:3–4, 10–11)

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28)

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven. (Romans 4:7; quoting Psalm 32:1)

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial. (James 1:12)

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. . . . Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:13, 19:9)

There is no hint of material prosperity or perfect circumstances in any New Testament reference. On the contrary, blessing is typically connected with either poverty and trial or the spiritual benefits of being joined by faith to Jesus.

According to the Key-Word Study Bible, “The Greek word translated blessed in these passages is makarioi which means to be fully satisfied. It refers to those receiving God’s favor, regardless of the circumstances” (emphasis added).

What is blessing, then? Scripture shows that blessing is anything God gives that makes us fully satisfied in him. Anything that draws us closer to Jesus. Anything that helps us relinquish the temporal and hold on more tightly to the eternal. And often it is the struggles and trials, the aching disappointments and the unfulfilled longings that best enable us to do that.

Truly Blessed

Pain and loss transform us. While they sometimes unravel us, they can also push us to a deeper life with God than we ever thought possible. They make us rest in God alone. Not what we can do or achieve for him. And not what he can do or achieve for us.

In pain and loss, we long for Presence. We long to know that God is for us and with us and in us. Great families, financial wealth, and good health are all wonderful gifts we can thank God for, but they are not his greatest blessings. They may make us delight, not in God, but in his gifts.

God’s greatest blessing always rests in God himself. When we have that, we are truly #blessed.

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Pursuing Accreditation

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Cor 10:12). It is indeed unwise to compare yourself to yourself and then commend yourself. But consider the converse of Paul’s words: it is wise to seek to compare yourself using an objective standard outside of you; then you can allow someone else to commend you rather than simply congratulating yourself. “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Prov 27:2).

This principle of objective evaluation is the reason for school accreditation. Accreditation is a process by which schools are examined by an independent organization who evaluates the school’s philosophy, leadership, faculty, academics, and culture to confirm that the school has integrity and is truly excellent. Once a school is accredited, then it can point to the accreditation process as a confirmation that it is doing an excellent job at educating its students and serving its constituency.

Regents Academy already holds accreditation through the Texas Alliance of Accredited Private School (TAAPS). But now we are seeking to be accredited by the Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS). This is the gold standard of accreditation and a goal that our school has desired to attain for many years. 

In short, this is a big moment for our school. Our administration and teachers have worked very hard to prepare for the ACCS accreditation visit, and now we will spend two days undergoing a thorough examination that seeks to insure that our school is meeting a high standard of excellence in classical Christian education.

On Monday and Tuesday three gentlemen, all fellow classical Christian educators, will be on campus observing classes and interviewing staff, students, and board members. We have intentionally planned these days to have as regular and uneventful a schedule as possible. Please join us in encouraging your children to make these days smooth and helpful (and hopefully less stressful for teachers!) by being well-rested, in uniform, and ready to learn and obey. In fact, these are good goals for every day!

Thank you, parents, for allowing us to serve your family in this highest of callings – the call to provide a Christ-centered education for our children. Thank you for praying for us, too – we certainly covet your prayers. With the Lord’s help, we will attain this worthy goal of ACCS accreditation.

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Texas Outdoor Writer’s Association Winners

Congratulations to our Regents Academy students, who won ALL of the awards in this year’s Texas Outdoor Writer’s Association (TOWA) youth essay contest! 

Once again, the students were asked to write about a favorite outdoor experience. They were judged from other entries in their division from around the state. In the middle school (6th-8th grade) division, eighth graders swept the division with Katelynn Anderson winning first place (and a new laptop computer!), Ella Li placing second, and Joseph Pratt placing third. In the high school (9th-12th grades) division, tenth graders dominated with Lilly Hook winning first place (and a new laptop computer) and Leah Vermillion placing second. A third place winner in this division was not announced by TOWA this year. 

Hearty congratulations and many thanks to Mrs. Sherry Wiggins for overseeing her eighth grade students’ entries and for keeping all the students on track with the contest deadline.

Pictured, from left, are Katelyn Anderson, Ella Li, Joseph Pratt, Headmaster David Bryant, Leah Vermillion, and Lilly Hook.

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VFW Contest Winners

Congratulations to Regents Academy Logic School students for sweeping this year’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Patriot’s Pen essay contest for the second year in a row. (They must have one AMAZING writing teacher! Thank you, Mrs. Wiggins!

VFW Post #3893 Commander Don Kirkley presented plaques and checks to this year’s Patriots Pen essay winners, who reminded us “Why I Honor the American Flag.” Winning first place for her essay was eighth grader Ella Li. Placing second was seventh grader Cate Baker, and third place was won by eighth grader Holden Kelly.

Commander Kirkley also presented a second place plaque to tenth grader Caroline Alders whose entry in this year’s Voice of Democracy audio essay contest addressed “Why My Vote Matters.”

Pictured (from left) are Mr. David Bryant (headmaster), Ella Li, Cate Baker, Holden Kelly, VFW Commander Don Kirkley, and Caroline Alders.

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Touring SFA School of Nursing

Three Regents Academy seniors recently spent their morning touring the SFA School of Nursing and visiting with clinical instructor Mrs. Michelle Klein. Possible future nursing school candidates Hannah Alexander, Elise Landrum, and Luke Riley toured the classroom and lab facilities, where they were introduced to live professors and sophisticated mannequins. Pictured around one of the mannequins (valued at close to $100K) lying in a hospital bed are, from left, Elise, Luke, Hannah and Mrs. Klein.

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Spelling Bee Winners

Congratulations to our 5th grade and our 8th grade spelling teams! Both teams won First Place at this year’s Lufkin-Nacogdoches Kiwanis Club eight-county District Spelling Bee this past weekend. And many thanks to 8th grader, Holden Kelly, who shared third place honors after misspelling “farouche” (who knew that word??) in the grueling sixth round of the individual bee. He represented our school very well. Our 5th grade team, led by Meena Shanmugam with teammates Jericho Maness and Armaan Rajani, placed first in the K-5th grade division. Our 8th grade team, led by Noah Satir with teammates Ella Li and Joseph Pratt, placed first in the 6th-8th grade division. Hearty congratulations to ALL of our spellers!

Pictured are the winning teams and their coach, Mrs. Nicole Alders, at the Lufkin Kiwanis Club awards luncheon held recently at Crown Colony Country Club.

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What is your vision for your children?

Who is a good fit to be a Regents family? 

Without a doubt, there are many ways to answer that question, but certainly one good answer is this: a Regents family is a family who has a distinctively biblical and Christian vision for their children. These families want something more than just a safe environment with Christian teachers and a good college prep curriculum that produces high test scores and college entrances. Rather, a Regents family merely begins with these things. They parent with eternity in view. They see the long term and know that in the blink of an eye, their children will be young adults about to go out into the world. They envision their children bearing the fruit of a long, worthy journey through a classical Christian education that influences their souls and minds for Christ, shapes their worldview, molds virtue, and inspires a lifelong love for learning. 

In short, what is your vision for your children? The school publishes its vision for its graduates. Take a moment and consider this vision as worthy aims for you as parents. When we partner together, humbly and prayerfully, committed to Christ and His church, God can work mightily in the lives of our children over the years they are under our mutual care.

We envision that a graduate of the academic program at Regents Academy will embody the following traits:

  • Virtue and mature character: This includes heart-obedience rather than mere rule-following, good manners, honorable relationships, self-control, and Christian leadership. If nothing else, students should live in accordance with Coram Deo—living as though they were in the presence of God at all times.
  • Sound reason and sound faith: We expect students to realize a unified Christian worldview with Scripture as the measure of all Truth. We expect them to exhibit the wisdom to recognize complex issues and to follow the consequences of ideas.         
  • Service to others: We expect our graduates to “love their neighbor” by serving others in their community.  Graduates need to develop an awareness of the many types of needs that others around them have and learn to be like Christ in their willingness to minister to others.        
  • A masterful command of language: Because language enables us to know things that are not directly experienced, nothing is more important within Christian education. Without a strong command of language, even Scripture is rendered mute. As people of “the Word,” Christians should be masters of language. Students master vocabulary, grammar, usage, and translation through our study of Latin, English, and Spanish.  
  • Well-rounded competence: Educated people are not specialists who know little outside of their field of specialty. Educated people have competence in a variety of areas including fine arts, drama, music, physical activity, history, logic, science, and arithmetic. Throughout our program, skills essential for an educated person are introduced and developed.        
  • Literacy with broad exposure to books: Educated people are well-read and able to discuss and relate to central works of literature, science, art, architecture, and music. 
  • An established aesthetic: Further, educated people have good taste, formed as they are exposed to great aesthetic masterpieces, particularly at a young age.
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What Really Matters

Here are some wise words from author and professor Peter Kreeft, author of Before I Go: Letters to Our Children about What Really Matters.

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One of the stupidest songs I ever heard on TV was the theme song of a kids’ show of the seventies, “The Electric Company.” It said: “The most important person in the whole wide world is – you!” Implied message: be a self-centered little spoiled brat. You’re number one, everyone else is number two.

Here is an alternative philosophy:

  1. The most important person is God. This is necessarily true as 2 + 2 = 4. It is true whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not. So you’d better learn to know it and like it and believe it.
  2. The second most important person in the world is the person you marry. Nobody else comes even close. That’s what marriage is. If you don’t know that, you’re not really married.
  3. Next come your kids.
  4. Then comes yourself. Take care of yourself before taking care of anyone else except your kids, your spouse, and your God. Because if you don’t inflate your own oxygen mask first, you won’t be able to help others inflate theirs.
  5. Then comes your friends. Never betray a friend.
  6. Then comes everyone else you know, your “neighbors.”
  7. Then comes the rest of the world.
  8. Then comes things, any and all things: money, the things money can buy – houses, cars, vacations. Stuff. (Remember George Carlin’s routine about “stuff.”) Always, people before things. Use things and love people, not vice versa.
  9. Finally, abstractions: ideas, causes, organizations, political parties, etc. they are means to the rest as ends. By the way, the Church is not an “organization,” it’s a family. I never saw “organized religion,” only disorganized religion, like Noah’s ark.
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Celebrating 100 Days of Kindergarten with Heartbeat

Each year the Kindergarten class celebrates their 100th day of school by collecting supplies for Heartbeat Pregnancy Center in Nacogdoches. This year the kindergarteners, with the help of the Regents students and families, collected more than 100 newborn hats, bibs, diapers, onesies and other baby items to donate to our friends at Heartbeat.

Great job, kindergarten class!

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