11Dec

Education For Its Own Sake

The liberal arts curriculum offered by Mount Royal Academy is classical in that it has been time tested over millennia. Rather than utility, this education seeks to impart a knowledge of and love for truth for its own sake. Having this focus allows one to attain the highest good - that which is good, true, and beautiful in its very self.

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04Dec

God's Virtuous Act

Dear Families, It is never easy to process different but converging experiences, so here goes. Sunday marked the beginning of Advent, followed by a solid snow storm, and then yesterday was Giving Tuesday. Here we have the liturgical calendar and its primacy transitioning into the reality of weather - an uncontrollable but inescapable dynamic to be dealt with - then a secular occasion that summons reflection on why we give what we give to what we do. As I was immersed in all of these experiences, I got to thinking. There is one certainty in life: all parents want what is good for their children...

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20Nov

Paideia: Education and Formation of Young

Dear Families, As I was listening to a podcast recently, I was again struck by something of note. It concerns the idea of paideia: the Greek ideals pertaining to the education and formation of young children. The priests on the podcast (Catholic Stuff You Should Know) likened this to gardening. Molding the young, helping children to choose the right path, is indeed similar to gardening. (I did like the metaphor extension when they noted the difference between pruning vs. weed-wacking!) Also discussed the importance of creating a nurturing and proper environment to encourage good growth. It ma...

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15Nov

Magnanimous Teaching

Dear Families, Virtues are the skills required to live a happy and fulfilling life. There are rules to human life that establish the boundaries (do not steal, be dishonest, or hurt another person), much like any sport. But the most successful athletes practice the skills that make them excel within those self-evident limits. A skilled quarterback still excels within the rules of football. A virtuous person excels within the rules of life. Without practicing the skills of throwing, timing, and reading the opponent, the quarterback cannot succeed. Without practicing the skills of human life - vi...

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06Nov

An Ancient but Contemporary Mission

Dear Families, Last week I was blessed to witness the confirmation of many of our young people.  With the transition to the restored order of sacraments in our diocese, many parishes have experienced larger confirmation classes than usual. In this instance, Our Lady of Fatima (New London), was proud to host Bishop Libasci for two separate ceremonies, featuring over 100 young people! I was proud to see so many of our own students present. I was also proud to see so many of our own Mount Royal community members there as well: parents, siblings, sponsors-- witnesses all. To see the overlap of...

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30Oct

All Saints' & All Souls'

Dear Families, This is the time of the year when the pace of life seems to really ramp up. It isn't even that the first two months of school are any different, but I think we all sense the increased rhythm of the academic calendar as we turn to November. Dr. Kalpakgian always taught me the needs resulting from the rhythm: there has to be an element of dance, play, and leisure - even sometimes unplanned - in order to rejuvenate the soul and make us more free to focus on and love the good things that are always happening around us - even when we aren't looking closely enough. Our liturgical cal...

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24Oct

Many Parts, One Body

Dear Families, I am privileged to teach catechesis here at Mount Royal Academy. I am even more privileged that I have been able to teach (and learn) with the same group of students for three years in a row. We are able to dive more deeply and quickly into discussions, to offer one another more critical feedback in an honest manner, and to truly experience the joys of helping one another along the path to heaven. In Catechesis III (eighth grade) we just finished our first unit. The featured themes of solidarity, family, common good, and community were striking. We contextualized these topics fr...

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18Oct

Right Anthropology Equals Right Education

Dear Families, In astronomy class yesterday, one of those moments happened when the teacher-- which was me-- and the students could all clearly see that together we were not tackling the question as we should. It was quite humorous to observe all of the students chime in with parts of the answer, but unable to coherently complete the correct answer (our minds are all in need of a little fine tuning). An adage that I often recite to the students explaining the expectation goes as follows: "Complete sentences come from complete thoughts, which come from a completely functioning intellect....

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09Oct

The Fallacy of Outcome Based Education

Dear Families, “Sir Francis Bacon exhorts us to conquer nature by applied science. The efforts in schools, in general, are based on the false assumption that man is malleable, and that the school can shape man into anything it needs to solve its social problems.” - Steve Rummelsburg. While listening (again!) to the Pints with Aquinas episode Mr. Tremblay referenced last week, this quotation kept coming back to me again and again. Mr. Rummelsburg discussed with host Matt Fradd, his views on the historical purpose of schools, the contemporary shapes this takes, and the modern problems resulting...

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02Oct

Do we want our children to be happy or good?

Dear Families, The simplest questions are always the best ones to answer. In my own youth, these questions were not present in the forefront of my own thinking, due in large part to the type of education I received. Later on down the line, these simple questions became downright fascinating to me.We can start with the first, most obvious question: What is education? G.K. Chesterton coined this response: "Education is the transmission of culture." What is culture we might ask? Culture is living in common, or communion with others. The root of education means to lead forth (Latin, educ...

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