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Dominion Blog

A Charge: Your Peculiar Education

Posted by Anna Wishard on Oct 20, 2023 11:14:27 AM

When I was asked to deliver a charge to the student body, two things came to my mind: a book I read this summer and a documentary I saw a few years back. In my view, these two things come together in a way that I think is worth your consideration.

The book is called Classical Me, Classical Thee by Rebekah Merkle and has a tagline that says ‘Squander not thine Education.’  Squander is an interesting word. It means to waste something in a reckless or foolish manner. Tuck that away for later. This book is a wonderful little read about the peculiar nature and blessing of a classical education. And you are receiving a peculiar education at Dominion, meaning it is unusual, it is uncommon, and it is curious.

So what is uncommon about your Dominion education? Learning Latin, reading the great books of the Western Canon, Rhetoric, Logic, memorization work, dressing like Hobbits and Egyptians, and for the upper school, a seven-minute catechism at the beginning of many of your humanities classes.  And what about reading all kinds of stories with an eye toward evaluating and discerning truth?  Peculiar, unusual, and curious, indeed!  

The benefits and richness of your education will likely not become apparent until you enter college or beyond when, perhaps, you are sitting around a dinner table with friends and you draw a conclusion or propose an analogy that leaves people wondering where you developed such an amazing mind.  You will surprise yourself one day. Trust me. It will happen.  

There are, of course, many forms of education, but classical education is unique in its richness, rigor, and its demand on students to think longer and more deeply on the things that matter most. A Dominion classical education is even more unique in that we have a high view of God’s Word, we believe truth exists and can be known, and we have teachers and staff that truly care for you in unique ways because they are convinced that you bear God’s very image.

Despite the uncommon qualities of a classical education, Merkle points out, “It is possible to approach even a classical education in a way that ensures you will get nothing terribly profound out of it.” You have been invited to the feast, but you have to decide to partake. Your benefit will largely depend on you.

So let’s hold the thought about this unusual education, while we shift to the documentary I mentioned earlier. This 2013 documentary is entitled On the Way to School and tells the story of four children around the world who go to astonishing lengths to get to school.  

There is Jackson and Salome, who walk and run to school for 2 hours in the blazing sun covering 9 miles each way, watching for elephants and other wild animals as they go. 

There’s Sahira from Morocco, who walks 4 hours through the mountains to get to her boarding school each Monday.  She lives at school away from her family during the week because of the long journey. 

Samuel from India sits in his wheelchair as his two brothers push him 2 miles to school each day.  He makes the journey in his chair because he wants to be a doctor someday. 

Carlito and his sister Micaela from Argentina ride on horseback for 11 miles each way through rough, desolate terrain.

What I find most amazing about this documentary and the students I watched is not just the distance, the extreme isolation of the journey, or the circumstances that make this journey necessary, but instead, I am amazed at the determination, grit, and deep desire to learn that drives these students to such extreme action, day after day.

So why do I think this book about your unique education and this documentary are saying something profound and worth our consideration? Because these two things woven together make me wonder. 

I wonder, what does it mean to be given a peculiar education that is only experienced by a small percentage of people in the world?  What do we do with this unique gift?

I wonder what would happen if we asked for God to form in each of us a firm, unflappable desire to learn that rivals the students in the documentary?

I wonder what would happen if we prayed for the desire to know and love the Creator of the world we are studying, God Himself?

What if this very year you decide to lean into this peculiar, classical, and Christian education with the resolve and zeal we see in these young students going to school? 

What if this year you press into relationships with your peers and teachers with that same zeal, really seeing and knowing the people you spend your days with?  

What if we pray that the spirit of God would shape us into people that do not see learning as an end in itself, but as a way to love and serve God and His kingdom?

So, my charge for you this school year is that you would each consider asking God for these things and that you would ‘Squander not thine extraordinary education!’