Opening School is a joyous event at Highlands Latin School. Each year, our students in dress uniform are led into the doors of the school by a drummer and bagpiper. After a short prayer and hymn, Mrs Lowe gives an exhortation for the new school year. A transcript of her exhortation is below.
2013-2014 Opening School Exhortation
Welcome parents, teachers and students to the 2013-2014 academic year. It is a joy and privilege to address you today at the beginning of this our fourteenth year. We acknowledge God for His many blessings, for this crisp fall morning, for Highlands Latin School, for our new and returning teachers, 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 and 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 Christian education is a journey, a road less traveled, a long road that takes many years and much hard work. It begins with the law and the prophets who teach us about God and how to seek Him. It passes through the sunny isles of Greece where Homer and the poets teach us about our human condition. It lingers for awhile in Athens, the city of philosophers, who show us how to use reason and inspire us to seek knowledge. Here in city of man, the Greeks are our guides. They ask all of the hard questions. They explore all of the possible answers. In Athens we can have open minds, think critically, and explore every possibility, as youth are want to do.
But the road to wisdom and virtue does not end in Athens. Knowing every answer is not enough. We want to know the best answers, the right answers; for truth is the proper end of the intellect. And so we travel on in our journey to Rome, the city of seven hills, where Cicero and Vergil, teachers who built on the best of Greek wisdom, lead us further on that path to truth and virtue.
Scripture calls this age the fullness of time. It was a time full of promise, full of everything needed for the son of Man to visit earth for the road to wisdom and virtue had been prepared by three great cities, Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome. And when the Son of Man came in the fullness of time, He said to Jerusalem “I did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it.” And to Athens and Rome He said, “I did not come to condemn the world but to save it.” Jesus did not come to destroy the law or to set aside the intellectual monuments of Athens and Rome, but rather to purify and elevate them.
A classical Christian education then is a journey with a purpose, on a road that has a destination. A journey from the weakness of the law to the power of the Gospel; from the limits of human reason to the mystery of Divine love.
Students, in a few moments you will walk out to begin your new school year and continue your journey on this road less traveled. Remember always to honor, respect, and obey your parents and teachers, and be kind to your classmates. Study hard, strive for excellence, and develop your gifts to the best of your ability. As you walk this road less traveled, remember Athens and emulate her thirst for knowledge, remember Rome and emulate her fortitude and virtue, and remember Jerusalem and emulate her thirst for God.