The last few years have brought with them an outpouring of Americans openly confessing their secret addiction...to HGTV. This is understandable because, after all, who can resist the suspense of a house on the brink of “flipping or flopping” or America’s favorite Texas couple concurrently wielding a latte and sledgehammer as they tackle their latest “fixer upper”?
But, what is it about HGTV that holds its viewers’ strings of attention so tightly? Likely, it is at least in part an element that all the episodes have in common: the transformation of something old made into new. It’s not the creation of something out of nothing, like a new house, but rather the transformation itself that grabs us.
If Chip and Joanna Gaines said to one of their clients on Fixer Upper, “Ok, we are going to knock this whole house down and build a new one for you”, what fun would that be? Most folks don’t get the same pleasure from seeing a new house built from scratch as they do from indulging in a sledge hammer being taken to the old laminate countertop followed by the miraculous sparkle of fresh granite that soon adorns the reincarnated kitchen. We don’t want to see the whole house torn down because there is still beauty in it. There is beauty in it that cannot be recreated, beauty that needs to be preserved amidst the necessary upgrades.
As I encounter Veritas Academy every day, I can’t help but notice the beauty that is being preserved in little ways. In a time when all that matters is change itself, when schools everywhere are tearing “the whole house” down and building a completely new one, Veritas is trying to preserve the beauty of the woodwork while integrating 21st century “upgrades”. Below are several items, largely forgotten in modern education, but which are still alive and active at Veritas Academy:
As our mother tongue, Latin is a forgotten language, yet certainly not a dead one. It is relevant to students in better understanding the English language, decoding words on standardized tests, and interpreting scientific and medical terminology.
Our students are asked to respond to their teacher with “yes, ma’am/sir”. While we know this is uncommon today, we feel that it is polite and practical to respond to an authority with a quick and simple acknowledgement of what they said.
This lost art builds eye-hand coordination and is a classy way to add a beautiful, personal touch to letters, notes, and cards.
Papers and pencils and chalk, oh my
We live in a digital age in which many schools have gone exclusively to using computers and smart boards for schoolwork, even in elementary school. While we view technology as an integral part of the educational process at Veritas, we see its proper place as a tool to achieve an end, not as an end in itself. Our students learn using traditional methods like paper, pencil, and chalk while gradually integrating technology as they advance.
Chess, madrigal, tea, and Princeton
Chess club, medieval madrigal feasts, high court tea parties, and field trips to Einstein’s house in Princeton are all activities and events that highlight the fine and forgotten things of an education that students at Veritas take part in each year.
While Veritas seeks to preserve these elements, it is also making upgrades in the following areas:
Science education in a Classical Christian school is wonderfully positioned to facilitate intellectual curiosity, questioning, and holistic examination of material from a Christian worldview. This year, our Anatomy and Physiology class was approved for dual college credit through Cairn University. We also added the first Veritas Academy Science Olympiad team. We invested in heart, eye, and ear anatomy models, models for difficult-to-visualize concepts such as the chemical "mole", chemical orbitals, and the DNA double helix structure, and the use of computer models and hands-on equipment in physics class to work with acceleration, forces, and friction. We plan to add a "Science Career Day" in the next year as well as further investments in equipment and classes.
We added student ipads, Geoglobes, and media projectors to all grammar school classrooms this year as well as digital microscopy and the ability to project visualized samples for all to see in secondary science classes. We hope to continue to build our technology in thoughtful and helpful ways in the next few years.
We are grateful for your support of Veritas as we aim to preserve the beauty of the past while integrating advancements of today!