A New Year
Now begins a new year, though before proceeding to what will be, we should review briefly what has been, as this past summer has not been without event. Many of us have had the opportunity to spend time getting to know our students in some fairly unconventional settings. We have learned to orienteer using a compass and map, watched students prepare camp meals together, hike fourteeners, and explore caves. There is a lot of conversation along the way. Some of it is perfunctory, some of it is more considered and erudite, all of it is revelatory in some way.
Beyond becoming better acquainted with our students, I had the great privilege of getting to know some of our newest teachers as they worked their way through Ridgeview’s rather lengthy application process. Ridgeview’s faculty remains as intellectually diverse as ever, and each of them is excited to begin working with our students after pausing briefly for the long weekend.
What my experiences with our students and our faculty have persuaded me of is something I have long held to be true, which is that despite all of the insisting that our popular culture does about the gloominess of the world at large, it remains a wonderfully interesting place. There are great books being read, great art being produced, and great music being performed. As always, one largely finds what they are prepared to find. If they are affable and prepared to seek out the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, they can usually find it. This seems to be at the very heart of what we try to do at Ridgeview; namely, to provide students with the tools to be appreciators of the world and to participate in the most fulfilling experiences.
We are not so conceited as to think that we can do this alone. We can dispense with the clichés about what it takes a village to do, but what is begun at Ridgeview must be continued at home and vice versa. A student’s experiences with truth and virtue must be bolstered wherever he goes, and he must be given to understand by those capable of guiding him that his attitude and character are truly his destiny. We can only do this together. In this, and for them, we must be a kind of close-knit society.
Many years ago, G. Lowes Dickinson famously asked, “What then, should be the aim of an educational system?” He answered this in writing that, “To surround a child with all the influences which society may judge to be healthy for body and soul, while at the same time training the understanding to become, when it is ripe, the critic and judge of those influences.”
Many may well now say that our current society is no longer a sane judge of what is healthy for body and soul, but a school of choice can cater to niche interests like truth and virtue in a way that the “educational system” no longer can. To that end, we invite every parent who has entered into this community to participate by attending the reading groups, conducting their own observations of our classes, listening to Ridgeview’s podcast, and coming to the Principal’s Coffees. Moreover, we encourage parents to volunteer for a reading group, chaperone a camping trip, sew costumes for madrigals, cheer on our student athletes, and watch them act upon the stage.
We want for you to see Ridgeview as we see it, and we think you will be more inclined to do so the more you become a part of it, and it of you.