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“A Compelling Case for Classical Education”

In last week’s Regents NOW I shared with you the exciting news of the major study conducted by the University of Notre Dame that looked at the life outcomes of adults aged 24-42 who were educated in one of 6 school types: public, private secular preparatory schools, Catholic schools, evangelical protestant Christian schools, religious homeschools, and classical Christian schools. The study is called “Good Soil: A Comparative Study of ACCS Alumni Life Outcomes.” I truly hope you’ve already been spending time reading the results of the study.

You’ll recall that the study examined 7 profiles, including college and career, life outlook, Christian commitment, Christian lifestyle, traditional and conservative, independence of mind, and influence. The study indexed these profiles in order to measure graduates of classical Christian schools against those coming from other types of schools.

Consider these summary comments from ACCS. 

This study showed that ACCS alumni were more grateful, more trusting, and lived with purpose. And, they viewed suffering in the context of God’s plan for their lives. They had more and closer friends. Spiritually, 90% were above the median on church attendance, they read their Bible more, and they talked with their friends about religion.

Are these what you want for your children?

Also:

ACCS alumni have the most conservative views about Scripture (with the possible exception of young-earth creation), more conservative views about government (with the possible exception that they trust government more than other conservative groups), and more traditional views of the church. Through cross-referencing different questions, we see they have a greater capacity for independent thinking. Their strongest difference is in their willingness and ability to engage our culture as evidenced through their leadership positions held, greater connection with influential people, and their desire and obligation to engage on social issues. Their academic preparation exceeds even private preparatory schools, and far more ACCS alumni earn high grades and a degree in college.

Again, does this describe what you want for your children?

In summary:

The most significant finding here is just how big the differences are between ACCS alumni and the next highest groups in every profile. Typically, these differences are an order of magnitude above the differences between others in the study.

What are your goals for your children? What is your vision for them as adults? Is it for them to lead lives of virtue, display mature character, love learning, and serve the Triune God? Is it for them to be salt and light in a decaying culture? Is it for them to know how to think well and to do so in accordance with God’s Word so that they live well?

This study shows that the best way to achieve this vision is by completing the course and launching into the world with the riches of a classical Christian education shaping their worldview and their character.

In conclusion, “For parents who realize that school is about more than just college admissions, the life outcomes and spiritual outcomes combine with the best college preparation to make a compelling case for classical education.”

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A Truly Beautiful Education

Just as the Bible teaches us that Christ is good, so the Bible also teaches us that He is beautiful. He is so beautiful, in fact, that the Bible tells us to worship Him “in the beauty of His holiness.” And we long for the day when we will worship Him in the new creation, which the Psalmist describes as a place where we behold “the beauty of the Lord.”

Because Christ is the Lord of Beauty, He is the objective standard of beauty. Beauty reflects His character, and thus is not something that is hopelessly subjective. Beauty is not “in the eye of the beholder” if we are the “beholder,” since this would make us the measure of beauty instead of Christ. Something is beautiful only if it reflects His beauty.

But what does this view of beauty have to do with the education we give our children? Simply, put, everything. It certainly impacts visual arts, choir, orchestra, and all the arts, but it also impacts much, much more.

Think of the story we tell our children when we give them a non-Christian education. Far from telling our children the beauty of creation and our redemption in Christ, non-Christian schools tell our children a rather ugly story—that matter, with time and chance, coalesced into protein soup out of which evolved upright bonebags who return to the ooze when they die. Or that anything goes between consenting adults. Or that life is a mere choice. Sheer ugliness.

As God’s people, we alone have been given the only truly beautiful story to hold before our children because beauty itself is wrapped up in the Lord of Beauty. He created us beautifully. He placed us in a garden filled with beauty. We fell into ugliness by sinning against Him. But as our Lord of Beauty, He redeemed us by effacing the ugliness of our sin and “beautifying us with salvation” so that, one day, we will “behold the beauty of the Lord” forever.

To give your Christian children a truly beautiful education means giving them an education centered in Christ, the Lord of Beauty. At Regents, we don’t just talk about beauty. We actually worship Christ as the Lord of Beauty. And we strive to see His beauty all around us in creation and redemption. We also strive to teach our students how to live beautifully before the Lord. 

Thank you, parents, for joining us in this beautiful journey of educating our children for Jesus Christ, our Beautiful Savior.

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Juniors and Seniors Tour SFA Research Lab

A group of science-minded juniors and seniors spent Wednesday morning visiting the research lab of Dr. Shiyou Li, Director of the National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops, a collaborative effort with the SFA Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. The students learned about Dr. Li’s three decades of research at SFA, where he and his research team have studied the chemical compounds of more than 1,300 species of native and invasive plants and have isolated more than 2,000 compounds, 186 which had never been discovered prior to their research. 

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Li has not only discovered an alternative source for the primary chemical compound found in some chemotheraphy drugs, but he has also discovered a “cheaper” source of shikimic acid, a key chemical used in the production of Tamiflu (a common medicine prescribed by doctors for patients battling the flu). Additionally, Dr. Li might be best recognized for his work over the past two decades with endocides and their role in managing invasive insect and plant species, most notably giant salvinia, the pesty plant that’s taken over many local lakes, ponds and creeks.

Thank you, Dr. Li, for spending time with our students and for showing them a glimpse of the exciting work you’ve been doing.

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Spelling Bee Champ!

Fifth grader Dennis Choi edged out runner-up Jean Choi (yes, his older sister!) in the 14th round of the individual spelling bee to be named the Regents Academy Spelling Champion last week. Dennis correctly spelled “foppery” for his winning word. He will represent Regents Academy in the Scripps area spelling bee sponsored by the Lufkin Kiwanis Club on Saturday, February 1, 2020. The winner of this area competition will win a BIG trophy, a nice lunch at Crown Colony, and will go on to compete in the Houston regional bee in March.

Second through 7th grade teams will also represent Regents Academy at the Kiwanis area bee on February 1st, but this competition is just for fun. The winners of the K-5th grade and 6th-8th grade divisions will win trophies and a free lunch at Crown Colony, but they won’t have any more competitions after this.

We are thankful to the ladies who served as judges for this year’s spelling bee. Mrs. Pat Vanover, Mrs. Anna Polk, and Dr. Carmen Mackey spent their Tuesday morning helping to ensure that the bee ran smoothly. Thank you for your service!

Again, congratulations to Dennis Choi for winning our school spelling bee, and hurray for his sister Jean for winning runner-up! We are proud of both of you!

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9th Grade Pilgrims Voyage to Lake Naconiche

The 9th grade Omnibus class and their teacher, Mrs. Lauren Lawrence, have been reading Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford, the record of the experiences of the early Pilgrims and of the founding of Plymouth Colony.

The class took a trip to Lake Naconiche, where they re-enacted the colonists’ journey and learned firsthand what it was like to be a Pilgrim.

Here is a brief recap of the day’s events, from Mrs. Lawrence.

Bradford (Katelyn) journaled the day’s events, starting with our expedition of “sailing” to America via the Golden Eagle, aka the Mayflower (or Regents’ school bus). Before setting off on the windy sea, our elder Brewster (Susannah) gave a sentimental speech about why we decided to depart all we have ever known for a different land. Then we fell under Captain Standish’s (Elijah’s) command, as captain of the Golden Eagle, who guided us on the rough and windy seas and eventually lead us to find beaver. We then partook in a feast where Squanto (Gabe) served us all our Thanksgiving meal and then taught us about the local flora and fauna. Robinson (Quint) gave an endearing sermon that sparked genuine conversation amongst us all. However, because of the fall of man, there can never be a sinless and perfect colony and thus the pilgrims had a crook among them, Weston (Haylee), who swindled the colonists throughout their exploration.

And only one student fell in the lake! (We’ll leave it to you to guess who it was…)

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TMEA All-Region Orchestra

TMEA (Texas Music Educator’s Association) All-Region Orchestra is an event that takes place every year across the state of Texas.  Our region, Region 4/21, encompasses more than 20 counties and includes the school districts of Tyler and Longview. Each year students learn music and audition in October.   If selected at this audition, students go on to perform in December. The clinic and concert is a two-day event, all day Friday and Saturday, when these students get together for the first time and rehearse the music with an expert, guest conductor.  Then, Saturday evening, the students perform the music for family, friends, teachers, or whoever wants to come.

Regents Academy is proud to announce that all seven of our students who auditioned were selected and will be performing with the All-Region Orchestra on December 7th in Longview!

Pictured above: Mason Baker (10th grade), double bass; Cate Baker (8th grade), viola; Shelby Rotramel (11th grade), violin; Gracie Lyn Harman (6th grade), violin; Haylee Harman (9th grade), violin; Hayley McBroom (11th grade), violin; Ashlynn McBroom (11th grade), violin

We are very proud of our hardworking and talented musicians!

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Stupendous Soccer Seniors

What a joy it was to honor the five Regents Academy seniors who lead the Regents Academy high school soccer team. During halftime of their final regularly scheduled home game of the season on September 27, Coach Rick Bertke presented the seniors with game balls and honored them with words of praise.

These five excellent young men have played soccer all four years of high school and helped lead the team to a TAPPS state championship in the 2018 season. The team is currently undefeated and vying for another state championship in 2019.

Pictured above are Coach Rick Bertke with seniors Zane Anderson, Knox Fairley, James Vermillion, Conner Young, and Ethan Fairley.

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Wise Words from Gandalf

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterful tale The Hobbit, the wizard Gandalf accompanies the story’s unlikely hero, Bilbo Baggins, and his dwarf friends on their adventure across the Misty Mountains. As they prepare to enter the forbidding forest of Mirkwood, Gandalf announces that he must leave his friends. Danger awaits them ahead, he assures them, but they will be safe as long as they follow a simple rule: “Stay on the path!”

It strikes me that this is good counsel for us all, parents. We need to stay on the path of classical Christian education to the end. There are plenty of detours and dangers ahead. Our own children will probably want to veer off the path at some point (yes, you should expect your child at some point to see greener grass elsewhere). But in the adventure of raising children toward Christian maturity, our children need the right path, and so do we.

Classical education is predicated on a final destination, an ending point, a vision for where the education is going. The vision for a graduate of a classical Christian school includes love for learning, virtue and mature character, sound reason and sound faith, service to others, a masterful command of language, well-rounded competence, and literacy with broad exposure to books. Don’t you want those traits to describe your children when they are 17 or 18 and are preparing to enter the larger world?

The Trivium – grammar, logic, and rhetoric – are the road map to arriving at this vision for a graduate. In other words, making the educational journey through the years of grammar school, logic school, and rhetoric school is a voyage toward a final ideal, a great vision for our children to become mature, thinking Christians who know how to learn and who are prepared for a lifetime of faithful service and vocation.

But if we get on the classical path for only a short time, though our children will certainly benefit, they will never gain the long-term, life-shaping benefit of completing the journey. I want my children to make it all the way to the final destination that the classical map shows me, not end up in the middle of the wilderness with the path nowhere to be found.

All of this is to encourage you, parents, to consider the long-term vision of classical Christian education in the lives of your children. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric are more than just buzz words. They are distinct stages in your children’s voyage toward a lofty vision of preparedness for all that will come next for them. The journey is arduous and can be expensive, for sure. The struggles of today are real, and the work is hard. But the undertaking is well worth the effort and expense. And though the voyage seems long, in fact travelling from kindergarten to graduation really just takes the blink of an eye. Ask a parent of a graduate how long it seems since their children were being dropped off for kindergarten!

What is your vision for your children? How high are your goals? What kind of person do you want them to be? Is classical education just a stopping off point on the path to a different destination? Today is the day to plan for your vision for your children to become a reality. 

Regents Academy’s classical Christian education and Christ-centered culture is the best path I know for your children. Let me encourage you to stay on the path, to persist to the end, and then (to mix my metaphors) to anticipate reaping the good fruit of grammar, logic, and rhetoric in the appointed season. 

Remember the words of Gandalf at the entrance to the dark paths of Mirkwood: “Stay on the path!”

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