The faculty meeting was electric Wednesday after the final bell rang. Mr. Preston stood near the front of the Chapel as teachers sipped coffee and broke treats into bite sizes. “Last week the eight graders gave a presentation on the character of God…They addressed the issue if God is fair.” Mr. Preston smiled as he spoke of a visitor who was monitoring a student in his classroom. His eighth graders tackled a deep theological issue and the visitor was shocked.
Mr. Preston outlined his class. The group is reading origin accounts from around the world. Next week they start in on Gilgamesh. Next month they’ll work through Exodus and will read Hammurabi’s Code. First they addressed the character of God found. Students shared their findings, documenting how unfair God is. Their reasoning is because God sacrificed His perfect Son to pay the penalty of the wrong doing of others. It’s a unique perspective in a world that seeks justice. The visitor seemed shocked that these students were addressing harsh realities in virtue and ethics.
Mr. Garvin stood next. He outlined the nearly fifteen books his class will work through. He spoke to the way the students are approaching the workload and discussion. Mr. Garvin likes to talk about habits, and for his students they’re building habits in thinking deeply and reading good books. TV watching is likely falling down the list of priorities for students in these classes. Their minds are being captivated by good stories.
The theme of good stories and honor is what Michele Foss spoke to next. She outlined the nearly forty books her class will engage in the course of the year. She was busy this summer in her prep work, gearing up for the in depth classes she teaches as part of HIllcrest’s classical approach.
Mrs. Foss’ students just finished a section on martyrs. The section on church history is bleeding into their reading of Confessions by Augustine that starts next week. To close the church history portion the students took turns standing and defending their right to life in the face of persecution. They spoke to faith in God and modeled the testimonies of those they studied over the previous four weeks. It’s a test that many hope never to face, but these students have studied and seem prepared to give a reasoned answer.
Marcos Holzner rose following Mrs. Foss. His Latin class is looking into the logic of language. They are spending time reading and deciphering the structure of the Latin language. As a Bible translator, Marcos studies language at the highest level, communicating an infallible document in languages that don’t have the Scriptures. His work in language study is transferring to students an understanding of form, function, and purpose that will last beyond standardized tests and college applications.
In closing Mr. Isaac spoke to his class on logic. He explains the structure of the class and his joy in seeing the students start to gain a scaffold for forming ideas. One of their projects in the first quarter was to explain transgenderism using the principles of logic. The class identified a host of issues that seem to fly under the radar of their modern society. Hillcrest is giving these students an education in form and function, equipping them with tools of communication and organization, that is worth much more than a diploma.
When Mr. Isaac finished closed out the meeting he reiterated the hope, that teachers would feel briefed on some of the things God is doing at the school. In dismissing the teachers a few started to applaud. It was an apt response to hearing inspiring things happening in classes that are equipping students for lives of eternal significance.