Welcome parents, teachers and students to the 2012-2013 academic year. It is a joy and privilege to address you today at the beginning of this our thirteenth school year. We thank God for our many blessings, for this misty fall morning, for Highlands Latin School, for our two new beautifully renovated cottages at Spring Meadows, for a new school year, for the gift of life, the gift of children, and the joy of learning.
In partnership with parents, and guided by the gospel, we are committed to helping students develop their intellectual gifts to the highest standards of the classical tradition. We are committed to character and faith formation. We are committed to helping students grow in knowledge, wisdom, and in the love of Our Lord, so that they may more ably use their gifts in the service of others and for the glory of Christ and his Church.
A Highlands Latin education is built on a strong and lasting foundation: a foundation of three universal languages, Latin, mathematics, and music; a foundation of reading the classics to develop wisdom and virtue, and the foundation of a living faith.
A classical education is a pearl of great price and worthy of the highest efforts of our teachers and students because it aspires to give not only knowledge, but also wisdom. An education in wisdom combines two sources of light, the divine light that shines forth from the Holy Scriptures and our Christian faith, and a lesser light that shines forth in those great classics of Greece and Rome. The providence of God has prepared these two sources of light, which have been combined into what has been hallowed by tradition and has withstood the test of time, a classical education.
A classical Christian education presents to the young great heroes, models that illuminate the meaning and purpose of life. The divine light of Scripture tells us of Abraham who was called by God to leave his home and set forth unto a land that he had never seen. “Get thee out of thy country, from thy kindred and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee and I will make of thee a great nation.” Abraham is a great hero of the faith, a model for us all. For we all step out in faith every day to walk into a future we cannot see, to fulfill God’s plan for our lives.
And the lesser light of our classical heritage tells us of Aeneas, who was called by fate to set out from the burning walls of Troy to wander the Mediterranean and to finally establish the foundation for the great city of Rome. We learn from Aeneas the sacrifice needed to fulfill one’s destiny. For as Vergil tells us “O how great was the suffering required to found the high walls of Rome.” Aeneas was a great hero of the city of man.
Neither Abraham nor Aeneas could see the future in which their two cities would intersect, the holy city of Jerusalem and the eternal city of Rome. They could not divine God’s plan in which a savior would come forth from nation of Israel and found a new kind of city that would conquer the nation of Rome. But both were faithful to their call. Pious Aeneas and faithful Abraham teach us that God’s plan for each of our lives is part of a greater plan, a mystery that we can only see but dimly. Yes, we walk by faith, not by sight.
Students, in a few moments you will walk out into the future, to begin your new school year. Remember always to honor, respect, and obey your parents and teachers, and be kind to your classmates. Study hard, strive for excellence, develop your gifts to the best of your ability. For like Abraham God has a plan for your life, like Aeneas, you have a destiny to fulfill.