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.
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!”
Upper School Regents students enjoyed a day together at the SFA ropes course at the House Kick-Off on September 13. Here are a few more pictures to enjoy!
Our vision for the House System is to give students opportunities to lead and shape the culture at Regents. Our hope is that through weekly service projects, friendly competitions, House worship, and through connecting the Grammar and Upper schools, a pervading love for one another and the Lord will deepen.
I want to share a passage with you from Dorothy Sayers’s seminal lecture “The Lost Tools of Learning.” Delivered at Oxford in 1947, her lecture has been reprinted as an essay that has had enormous influence on thinking Christians interested in giving their children an excellent education. But don’t think of her lecture as a dry narration of Medieval history or a nerdy recital of educational techno-speak.
Mrs. Sayers’ lecture was more akin to a prophetic paradigm-buster. One paradigm she tackles is that of teaching subjects. She attacks the modern, progressive assumption that education must be compartmentalized into vacuum-sealed subjects that are taught independently and that leave students unprepared to think and to learn on their own. Her words are quite incisive and thought-provoking:
For we let our young men and women go out unarmed, in a day when armor was never so necessary. By teaching them all to read, we have left them at the mercy of the printed word. By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects. We who were scandalized in 1940 when men were sent to fight armored tanks with rifles, are not scandalized when young men and women are sent into the world to fight massed propaganda with a smattering of “subjects”; and when whole classes and whole nations become hypnotized by the arts of the spell binder, we have the impudence to be astonished. We dole out lip-service to the importance of education–lip- service and, just occasionally, a little grant of money; we postpone the school-leaving age, and plan to build bigger and better schools; the teachers slave conscientiously in and out of school hours; and yet, as I believe, all this devoted effort is largely frustrated, because we have lost the tools of learning, and in their absence can only make a botched and piecemeal job of it.
Is Mrs. Sayers right? Do we leave our children unprotected in battle when we deprive them of the ability to think and learn? How much better is it to teach students the tools of learning?
Regents Academy teaches subjects. But then again, what we are really doing is teaching many ways to understand the same grand Subject – Christ, who is the Source of all knowledge and the One in whom all truth coheres. As students understand Christ’s creation through science, the power of the printed word (given by Him who is the Word) through literature and writing, the structure of language through grammar and Latin, the story of Christ’s world through history, and the nature of mathematics, students are learning how to think Christianly. And on top of that, history is connected to literature, which is connected to grammar, which is connected to logic, which is connected to math, which is connected to history, and on and on it goes.
Classical education seeks to harness the power of these interconnections and this grand center point in Christ’s Word and unite them under a philosophy of education that teaches students how to learn so that they can be well-equipped to face an often-hostile world with a comprehensive Christian worldview. To do otherwise is to send our children into the world with rifles to face tanks.
Mrs. Sayers referred to being “scandalized in 1940 when men were sent to fight armored tanks with rifles, [but not being] scandalized when young men and women are sent into the world to fight massed propaganda with a smattering of ‘subjects.'”
I’m generally pro-gun, but when it comes to sending our children into the battle of ideas, I’m not. Instead, let’s teach our children to drive tanks and shoot big cannons. Let’s teach them to think. Let’s train them to be confident in the authority of God’s Word. Let’s prepare them for victory on the battlefield of adulthood.
More than 30,000 students from 1,200 school have taken the Classical Learning Test (CLT) since 2016. The CLT has now ranked the top schools’ performance on the test. These rankings, according to the CLT blog, are “an attempt to directly measure education quality. Given the CLT’s level of rigor, high performance on the CLT serves as a strong indicator of excellence in a secondary school.”
Regents Academy ranks #19! We are the only Texas school on the list.
Regents Academy is pleased to welcome Mr. Caleb Homer to its faculty for the 2019-20 school year. Mr. Homer will teach Grammar School Physical Education classes. Coming from a background in business, Mr. Homer hails from Center and was the Director of Operations and Staff at Camp Huawni in Timpson for several years. Classical Christian education aims to help children grow not only intellectually but also physically and socially, and Mr. Homer will lead our Grammar School students to do just that.
Mr. Homer and his wife Lauren have two children, Stephen (2 years) and Abigail (5 months), and attend Fredonia Hill Baptist Church. Welcome, Mr. Homer!
Regents Academy is glad to welcome Dr. Rick Hurst to its faculty for the 2019-20 school year. Dr. Hurst will teach the juniors in the Christendom 2 Omnibus course. Certainly no stranger to the Regents community, Dr. Hurst’s daughter Mary Austin teaches 6th grade and his two granddaughters, Lucy and Emma, are students.
Born in Southern California and raised in a small town in the panhandle of Texas, Dr. Hurst is an oral surgeon who has practiced in Nacogdoches and Lufkin since 1980. Dr. Hurst and his wife Christie have 4 children and 10 grandchildren, and they attend Grace Bible Church.
A gifted teacher who loves to learn, Dr. Hurst’s love for the Lord and his Christian leadership will be a wonderful addition to our school community. Welcome, Dr. Hurst!