Monthly Archives: January 2011

Why study Latin?

Are you one of those who wonders why we teach Latin at Regents Academy? Well, recently while an omnibus class was being taught in my room, I heard a student ask the teacher how collaborate and conspire are similar in meaning. Since I was in the room, I was asked about the roots of these words. I reminded the students that the col- and con- prefixes come from the Latin word cum- with, together with. All the students were very familiar with this Latin word. I told them that for conspire they did not know the other part which comes from spirare- to breathe. Therefore, conspire means to breathe together. Immediately a hand went up and a student said he recognized that the second part of collaborate comes from laborare- to work, therefore collaborate means work together. This is just one of the valuable tools Latin is giving our students.

Share this:

Succinct? Yes

Some of the most well known documents and speeches in history were extraordinarily brief. The Ten Commandments are composed of only 301 words. The Mayflower Compact was but 298 words. The Declaration of Independence was a little more than 1,330 words.

On November 19, 1863, minister and politician Edward Everett spoke for two hours at a battlefield in southern Pennsylvania, but few remember his 13,500-word speech. It is Abraham Lincoln’s two-minute, 266-word address that has become one of the most famous political orations ever delivered. The ancient Greeks used to say that the goal of oratory is to give a sea of matter in a drop of language. Solomon reminds us that “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 11:25).

Big ideas have great power when expressed succinctly.

Christian classical education understands this principle and seeks to harness the power of these big ideas, dressed in the lovely garb of succinct oratory, by equipping students to think clearly, speak well, and communicate with grace and forcefulness. Classical education propels children on a journey toward wisdom and eloquence. Through the grammar and logic years, students are taught knowledge and the logical relationships inherent in that knowledge. Then in the rhetoric years, students are taught how to speak and write so that a sea of content can indeed be communicated in a drop of language. Christians, of all people, grasp this truth because we worship the One who Himself is the Word.

Regents Academy aspires to teach students to read, write, and reason, and to do so within the classical tradition, guided by the light of Scripture, the greatest books of the western tradition, and an effective phonics-based reading approach. As students graduate, we aim for them to have a masterful command of language so that when they speak, they choose the right words and speak well.

Amidst the changing cultural and educational fashions of the day, classical education stands steady and alone as the most developmentally appropriate approach to learning and the best suited to training Christian leaders who have something so say and know how to make their words count. And that makes Regents Academy a simple and powerful education solution for the days in which we live.

Share this:

VFW Contest Winners Announced

Each year Regents student participate in the county-wide Veterans of Foreign Wars Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy contests.

Congratulations to the winners of the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen essay contest: 1st place, Anne Elisabeth Alders, and 3rd place, Rachel Hill.

Congratulations also to Mitchell Henry, who won 1st place in the Voice of Democracy audio CD contest.

Pictured below are, left to right, Akilesh Bapu, Aaron Bertke, Will Hill, Caleb Henry, Mitchell Henry, VFW representative Mr. Don Kirkley, Anne Elisabeth Alders, Kyla Alders, Rachel Hill, and a random bystander.

Share this:

Newman on the Liberal Arts

Why do we educate our children? Is it so that they will be prepared for the perfect college? Is it so that they will make lots of money? Is it so that they will get a certain job?

Educators from the past would have thought these purposes, while not irrelevant, at least short-sighted. John Henry Newman, Oxford Educator, Anglican Clergyman and finally Cardinal in the Catholic Church provides clarity on the real purpose of a classical education. It is a compelling vision.

According to Newman in his book The Idea of a University, training in the liberal arts was

the great ordinary means to a great but ordinary end; it aims at raising the intellectual tone of society, at cultivating the public mind, at purifying the national taste, at supplying true principles to popular enthusiasm and fixed aims to popular aspiration, at giving enlargement and sobriety to the ideas of the age, at facilitating the exercise of political power, and refining the intercourse of private life.

It is the education which gives a man a clear conscious view of his opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them. It teaches him to see things as they are, to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought, to detect what is sophistical [plausible but misleading], and to discard what is irrelevant.

It prepares him to fill any post with credit, and to master any subject with facility.  It shows him how to accommodate himself to others, how to throw himself into their state of mind, how to bring before them his own, how to influence them, how to come to an understanding with them, how to bear with them.

He is at home in any society, he has common ground with any class, he knows when to speak and when to be silent; he is able to converse, he is able to listen; he can ask a question pertinently, and gain a lesson seasonably, when he has nothing to impart himself; he is ever ready, yet never in the way; he is a pleasant companion, and a comrade you can depend upon; he knows when to be serious and when to trifle, and he has a sure tact which enables him to trifle with gracefulness and to be serious with effect.

He has the repose of a mind which lives in itself, while it lives in the world, and which has resources for its happiness at home when it cannot go abroad.

He has a gift which serves him in public, and supports him in retirement without which good fortune is but vulgar, and with which failure and disappointment have a charm.

His lofty vision is well worth meditating on and pursuing.

Share this:

The Eagle Award for Community Leadership: Mr. and Mrs. Ed and Gwen Cole

Earlier in January Regents Academy welcomed Mr. and Mrs. Ed and Gwen Cole onto campus to receive the school’s inaugural Eagle Award for Christian Leadership.

The award recognizes excellent leadership in the Nacogdoches community and places before the students inspiring examples of service and integrity. Regents board member David Alders interviewed Mr. Cole before the school’s logic and rhetoric school students and several teachers and board members. As Mr. Cole shared details about his growing-up years and his career in the oil business, the students heard about the value of saving, the power of integrity, and God’s blessing on honest work.

Mr. and Mrs. Cole’s names are inscribed on a plaque in the school’s foyer that commemorates their recognition. The Coles have been generous supporters of Regents Academy, and the whole school family extends our gratitude and admiration. This is an award well deserved.

Share this:

“If a man does his best, what else is there?”

Friday in our morning assembly I told the students that they were the best students in Nacogdoches. I meant it.

Regents Academy students are courteous, energetic, imaginative, and personable. There are so many good things I can say about our students. They compete in sports, they play instruments, they are involved in the community and in their churches in innumerable ways, they love their families, and they have big dreams. I love spending the day with them and working to lift them up.

But sitting in the principal’s chair the trait that most comes to mind when I think about Regents students is diligence. Our students work hard. Their teachers expect much from them, and it is wonderful to see them responding by giving their best. I have often told the students that when it is time to work, work hard; when it is time to play, play hard. They do both with gusto. General George S. Patton put it well when he asked the simple question, “If a man does his best, what else is there?” God calls us to live life wholeheartedly, not halfheartedly and dispiritedly. So whatever God calls us to, He wants us to do it with all our heart and soul, to His glory.

The greatest reward for working hard is the contentment that comes from knowing that we have done our best. Not every student can make an A every time – and in fact, grades are not the real goal anyway. The goal is to meet our God-given potential, whatever grade that results in. But it is also good to recognize those who excel, and we are happy to do so with our honor rolls.

I congratulate our students, and I congratulate our Regents parents as well. Keep up the hard work!

Share this:

S-p-e-l-l-i-n-g B-e-e C-h-a-m-p-s

The Regents Academy spelling bee was Thursday, January 13. It is my pleasure to announce that the school Spelling Bee Champ is 6th grader Haafiz Hashim, and the Runner-Up is 4th grader Sheetal Bapu.

Here is a full list of the school spelling bee winners:

Class winners (determined from the class bees):

Top 3rd Grade speller:                    Zane Anderson

Top 4th Grade speller:                     Sheetal Bapu

Top 5th Grade speller:                     Lindley Bryant

Top 6th grade speller:                      Haafiz Hashim

Top 7th grade speller:                      Kyla Alders

Top 8th grade speller:                      Akilesh Bapu

Winning teams (determined by class competition except *volunteer team)

3rd Grade Team:                               Caroline Alders, Sydney Bryant, Emma DeKerlegand

4th Grade Team:                                Rowan Arrant, Sheetal Bapu, Jess Hill

5th Grade Team:                                Isaiah Bertke, Lindley Bryant, Jake Hill

6th Grade Team:                                Sarah Grace Alders, Madison Freeland, Emma Terrell

7th Grade Team:                                Anne Elisabeth Alders, Caleb Henry, Megan Widmer

*8th Grade Team:                              Akilesh Bapu, Graham Culpepper, Jonathan Sowell

Our top spellers will compete in Lufkin on February 5.

Share this:

Are students Latin?

The word student is a Latin word. It is 3rd person, plural, present. It comes from the Latin word studeo, studere, studui- to pursue, be diligent in, strive after. Therefore, it can be translated- they strive after, they pursue, they are diligent in.

Share this:

Congrats, DAR Contest Winners!

Several Regents Academy elementary students were announced as winners in this year’s Junior American Citizens contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. This year’s topic, “Preserving America’s Past” inspired students to write original poems and short stories keeping with the theme. Ashlyn Grogan, first grader, and  Sheetal Bapu, fourth grader, both wrote original stories. Fourth grader Savana Spillers and sixth grader Haafiz Hashim wrote original poems.

The students are pictured below with their parents. Congratulations for these honors!

Share this:

“The Teacher Is the Primary Text”

Some months ago I shared a quote in Regents NOW that expresses an important precept for classical education. David Hicks, author of Norms and Nobility, wrote that “The most important thing, therefore, about a classical, Christian education is that faculty members exhibit in themselves the virtues and values that we want to see in our students.  Thus, in the classroom the teacher is the primary text.” This is to say that the teacher is the center of the classroom and that the curriculum is only as good as the teachers who teach it.

Teachers at Regents Academy meet four qualifications: first, they love the Lord Jesus and are committed to His Lordship in their own lives; second, they love families and want to help children and parents grow in faithfulness to God; third, they have the God-given ability to teach; and fourth, they have the appropriate credentials to be in the classroom. But woven into all of this there is a certain disposition – a demeanor or a spirit – that is fitting for the mission of a classical Christian school.

What is the disposition of a classical Christian teacher?

A classical Christian teacher has a spirit of inquiry. She is interested not in punching a clock to earn a paycheck or in “teaching subjects” but in gaining and sharing knolwedge. She is curious about the world, and she herself loves to learn. As the French philosopher Montaigne wrote, “Learning must not only lodge with us; we must marry her.” Classical Christian teachers are married to learning.

A classical Christian teacher is incarnational. That is to say, she incarnates the knowledge, skills, and attitudes she wants to see realized in her students. Our Lord taught us that “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). A classical Christian teacher embraces this principle and seeks to embody that which she would instill in her students.

A classical Christian teacher understands that there is a connection between knowing and doing. The goal is not simply knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Mere knowledge, as St. Paul reminds us, puffs up; only love edifies. Over seven hundred years ago, Bernard of Clairvaux taught that love is the greatest motivation for education. “There are many,” he writes, “who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge: that is curiosity. There are others who desire to know in order that they may themselves be known: that is vanity. Others seek knowledge in order to sell it: that is dishonorable. But there are some who seek knowledge in order to edify others: that is love.”

Finally, a classical Christian teacher is bold when it comes to the truth. A Christian worldview takes all comers – name an “ism,” and a Christian worldview, bolstered with the truth of the Scriptures and emboldened by the Lordship of Christ, stares it down and asserts the truth to its face. A classical Christian teacher is able humbly to follow the truth wherever it leads and stand on God’s Word.

The teachers at Regents Academy are cut from this cloth. They are not a perfect group, but they are energized to strive toward fleshing out this vision for teaching. Please pray for them daily as they endeavor to bring a classical Christian disposition to your children’s classrooms.

Share this: