Whitefield Academy Blog
During finals week, one of our Juniors who transferred into Whitefield this year, Emma Pesek, came into the office. “Is there anything you all need me to help with?” she asked, needing to kill some time between finals. I perked up. “Sure!” I answered. “Would you be willing to write down what you think of Whitefield as a junior transfer student?” She happily complied, taking a white piece of printer paper and a pen and plopped down in the foyer for a few minutes to jot down some bullet points. Here’s what she said:
We all remember commercial jingles from when we were little. We had a VHS of the real people Peter Pan when I was little and it started with a Raisinets commercial. I could sing the whole thing for you. I could also sing you all the songs from Peter Pan. Just come and test me.
The following is the Valedictory Address from the 2021 Whitefield Academy Commencement Ceremony given by Valedictorian Emerson Claire Jones.
Hello, I’d like to join with Ruby Jane in welcoming you to graduation. As some of you may know, I have attended Whitefield Academy since kindergarten, and it has been my privilege to be a member of this class through the development of the past thirteen years. This time has given me a unique perspective on our class. As I walk into Whitefield every morning, I say goodbye to my sisters as we rush to morning Bible reading. Once I enter my first hour class, I feel the sensation of comfort rush over me as I know that I am surrounded by those who know and care for me. As I take my seat, I hear a sarcastic remark from Eli, the strum of the guitar from Brendan, and the roar of laughter from Eby and Kyla. I chat with those around me about my morning and the upcoming test or dance until we are called together to begin studying. This year, you would find us with Dr. Mac, reading the Gospel of John or Bonaventure, discussing the revolutionary ideas that these authors bring up, and allowing them to deepen our faith. In these few moments that I have described to you, I was enjoying the final product of what it took years to create. My class has persevered through so much, whether we were comforting each other through loss or laughing with one another over a joke. The end result that you see here today is what it took years to come to. Instead of seeing little kindergarteners coloring when you walk into our classroom, you now see young adults having conversations and sharing life with each other. “How did this happen?” you ask. There are many things that I attribute this change to and I believe the primary causes are the classical curriculum taught here, the teachers that have invested in us, and the time we have spent with one another. In addition to the passage of time, and the toil of our parents, Whitefield Academy has been the key formative force in our lives, and it has shaped us in many ways.
The following is the Salutatory Address from the 2021 Whitefield Academy Commencement given by Salutatorian Ruby Jane Bartmess.
Good evening parents, faculty, friends, and fellow graduates. Tonight is a night of celebration. A celebration of not only an academic achievement, but also of the completion of a journey. From kindergarten until now, we have grown, changed, and friends have come and gone as we learned to love each other as Christ first loved us. It is clear that we would not be here tonight if it weren’t for great mentors and companions who have helped us on our journey. Thirteen years ago at about this time, we were all finishing the first year of our academic journey, some of us at Whitefield, others at various schools across the country. And now, all together, after many years of hard work and dedication, laughter and learning, we are here tonight to graduate. To graduate is not only to be a recipient of a diploma, but it symbolizes a turning of pages from one chapter of life to the next. We have the privilege of walking across this stage because of the help and support from all of you here tonight and from many of you who are watching at home.
Last year, my wife and I started a rowing team at Whitefield. One of the neat things about coaching rowing at a classical school is that I can point to a rowing race in one of the most important texts of classical literature: the Aeneid. In one of the oldest references to athletic competition, the funeral games of Anchises include rowing, boxing, archery, and horsemanship. Aeneas held these games to honor his father who had died in the Trojan War. Unlike Aeneas, I do not schedule our regattas using the obituary section of the newspaper, but I think there’s something to learn about the fact that when the Greeks wanted to honor their fallen heroes, they immediately turned to fiercely competing with one another in contests of strength and skill.
At Whitefield Academy, our cultural trips are a hugely important part of our education. The United States is home to some of the world’s greatest cities, filled with museums, theatre, music, and architecture. These experiences are very shaping for our students, opening their eyes to new places and giving them a chance to exercise a little bit of freedom.
It’s Trips Week! To the layman, that means that all of our students from 7th grade to 12th grade leave school for a week on either a mission trip or a cultural trip. Traditionally, our 7th, 9th, and 11th graders serve at Show-Me Christian Youth Home, Sagrada Scholarship Bible Camp, and Bermuda, and our 8th, 10th, and 12th graders visit Chicago, New York, and a place of the seniors’ choice.
We live in a culture of self. Scroll through social media and you’ll quickly see memes encouraging you to “Never let the light dim from within!” or “Always wear an invisible crown!” The message of our culture is that we should be self-reliant and find self-defined happiness through self-expression and self-made success. As in 2 Timothy 3:2, we have become lovers of ourselves.
Raise your hands – how many of you can relate to this:
Sometime, long ago, you sat in a classroom, head in hand. The lesson is boring you. You’re confused. You’re frustrated. You raise your hand, not to seek clarification, but to express defiance:
“Mrs. So-and-So, why do we have to learn this?”
In our increasingly irreligious society, many holidays have developed two tracks. When selecting Christmas cards last year, my wife remarked that the website had a choice between “Christmas” and “Religious Christmas,” as if these were two different holidays celebrated on the same day. Christians have also seen this dual attitude applied to Easter. It may seem at first glance that many of our Easter traditions are completely secularized, following after the “non-religious” version of the holiday, but actually many “secular” traditions have Christian origins. By learning about these origins, Christians can reclaim traditions whose meanings have been de-sacralized.
No matter your denomination or how you take communion, as Christians we can all agree that deciding to take communion is a big deal. It’s been the most recent for us in the series of “Big Decisions You Have to Make as a Parent.”
In the past few decades, we’ve seen a revolution in the way most students are educated in this and many other countries. Countless hardware and software products have been produced with the promise that they will help schools better achieve their mission of educating students. Often these methods and applications carry the label “STEM” for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Those anxious that the humanities are being left behind have coined “STEAM,” where arts are shoehorned into the mix.
Whitefield Academy BlogRecently, I saw a conversation play out on social media between two of my real-life friends: A mom reviewed her elementary school child’s report card. The lowest grade, to her dismay, was in Art. “How could that be?” Her child was very creative...
Every year at Whitefield Academy, students in the junior class write homilies and present them to the entire upper school. Read below junior Mary Grace Wilson’s homily from this week, drawing on the example of Jonah and remembering when she too ran from the Lord as a middle schooler worrying about transferring schools.
The sentiment is as common as the color red in Kansas City during the playoffs: “We need to offer more practical training for our students so that they can get good jobs.”
Have you looked at the weather forecast for this weekend?! High of 2 degrees on Sunday! I think our freezer is warmer than that. Might be a good time to have some cozy indoor activities up your sleeve.
When my husband and I began to consider sending our 15 year old daughter Annika to Whitefield Academy, one of the costs we counted was travel, the minutes and miles we would spend on the road. We live 40 miles from school and knew we would spend at least 40 minutes in the car each way. We decided the long commute was worth it, and we were not wrong. However, it is a hefty commute– especially on those days when I make the two-way trip twice. Lots of minutes and lots of miles. I have been searching for ways to redeem that time in the car–both when my daughter is riding shotgun– and when I am making the trek by myself.
I’d probably be correct in saying that face to face education is something that most of us never thought we would have to argue for. It was just a given. Of course our kids would walk into the school every day! But as we know now, that’s not always the case.
Most of us remember a few bits and pieces from or days in elementary school. If we attended a typical, modern American school, we had our classroom and a little desk. We had a teacher who gave us lessons in reading and math. In those classrooms, we learned to tell time and count money and do a thousand other little skills.
This past Saturday, my husband, my girls, and I spent the day in one of the buildings on Whitefield’s campus helping our students build some racks for the rowing team’s boats. “I’m sorry,” you say, “racks…in a building…in Kansas City…for boats?” Yes, much like Noah we are just going with this one. The racks went up great and now it’s super spiffy, but the thing that really struck me happened toward the very end of the day.
Screens are everywhere. Screens in our living rooms, our workspaces, our family rooms and many times in our kitchens too. Screens in our mini-vans and SUVs. Screens in our toys and games. Screens on our wrists and in our hands. It sometimes seems an impossible task to find a balance for our children in our digitally saturated world.
The fact that our littlest students are able to be in in-person is a blessing that is not lost on our families and our faculty. Having our Pre-K and TK students in our classrooms and on our playground instead of in front of a screen is something that we know is unique and precious in Kansas City today.
If you are not familiar with the church calendar, you may be surprised to find that the Christmas season, or Christmastide, does not actually begin until December twenty-fifth and then proceeds for twelve days until the Epiphany. The season before Christmas is called Advent. Of course, the season of Advent is vitally connected to Christmas, so I recognize I am being somewhat pedantic. Nevertheless, I think we could benefit from some reflection on the meaning the church throughout history has assigned to the Advent season as opposed to the Christmas season.
After a year like 2020, everyone is looking forward to the Christmas season! And once again it’s time for the unparalleled Christmas Gifts You Won’t Regret Giving List! This list is generated by our students, parents, and teachers, and each gift is something that your kids will want to use year after year instead of wanting to throw out after one time. Purchasing some of these items through the links provided will kick back a small percentage to Whitefield Academy!
If you’ve been around classical Christian education for even a little while, you will soon come across the phrase “lifelong learning.” We want our students to continue learning past their school years as they go forward into God’s calling on their lives. We want them to become leaders in their churches, able to read Scripture effectively and to proclaim its truth winsomely. We want them to be good spouses and parents, leading families through each new challenge that faces them. We want them to learn new ideas and skills that will equip them to succeed vocationally in our rapidly changing economy.
Saturday is Reformation Day. On October 31, 151, a monk named Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, voicing his displeasure with the church of his day. This sparked what we now call the Protestant Reformation.
Many parents were in the same boat in August of 2020. The same sinking/exploding/lifeboatless boat called the USS Education. Do we homeschool? Do we wait for our public school to open back up? Do we finally make the leap for Christian school? Do we buy an RV and take the year off?
In the book of Acts the Apostle Peter is on a rooftop when Christ says to him in a dream “And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” – Acts 10:13
Serve Day has become a staple on the Whitefield Academy calendar. Kids come to school bright and early, ready to serve our local Kansas City community. Whether it’s our little lions singing for grandmas and grandpas at local nursing homes, our middle school lions working in food banks and public gardens, or our high school lions cleaning up brush and organizing clothes at a shelter, our students love being the physical hands of feet of Christ on this day every year.
If you had told me in 2019 that in 2020 I would be teaching music at a classical Christian school in the middle of a pandemic while wearing a mask, I might have been a bit confused by your prediction. Yet, here we are!
Caecilius est pater. Metella est mater. Quintus est filius. Thus begins the first textbook in Whitefield’s new Latin curriculum. This Latin is so simple that you probably don’t even need me to translate it for you, so I won’t. In this blog post we’re finally going to get to what I’m sure you all have been dying to find out: what is the new Latin curriculum going to be? Well, before we get into the specifics, let me start by recapping the program’s goals. Our first and main goal is to train students to read authentic, unadapted classical Latin texts with skill and joy. Cicero, here we come! And second, the program aims to train students in a comprehensive knowledge of the Roman world by which (so that) we can more properly understand the Latin texts we’ll read as well as the classical inheritance we’ve received as modern Westerners.
Good morning faculty, students, and first responders. My name is Andre Bauer, and I am a senior here at Whitefield Academy. This is my experience of the 9/11 Memorial in NYC and how it changed me.
Last January, I found myself at a notable “international pancake restaurant” with three other teachers and our soon-to-be-graduating senior class at about eleven o’clock at night.
Okay, for all of you who aren’t immediately cracking a smile at this blog post title, let me explain the humor: reading Latin is cool and impressive (duh!) and therefore “legit” in English slang, but legit is also Latin for “he/she reads”, so it’s a bilingual pun. Ha! Now of course it’s fun to start things off with a little joke, but this pun also leads us nicely to our topic here today, namely what the goals of our new Latin curriculum are and how we’re going to get there.
Whether you’re googling “can I wear a mask into a bank,” “does hand sanitizer explode in a hot car,” or “in-person schools in Kansas City,” it’s pretty clear that this semester is going to be different than any other before it.
What a roller coaster of a ride it has been for the past few months. Who would ever have imagined this time last year that we would have to transition to “Whitefield-at-Home” so quickly in the spring? I cannot say enough what a blessing our teachers were during this period. I am more grateful than ever for their dedication, service, and commitment to excellence for the sake of our children and the Kingdom of God.
The following address was given at Whitefield Academy’s 2020 Commencement Ceremony by Caitlin Dugan, salutatorian of the class of 2020.
Thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate this accomplishment. We wouldn’t be here today without the unique impact this community has had on us. I’m not sure how many seniors can say their schools spent over four hours driving around the KC metro area just to make sure their seniors were celebrated. Thank you also to the 6th grade class for the chalk art. It was so fun and we all loved it so much. This year has been far from what any of us graduates planned, but each of you made us feel so loved and special, so thank you for that!
Hello everyone, I am so honored to be standing here giving this speech. Valedictorian has been my goal for a long time, and I am excited that I finally achieved it. I want to thank my mom and dad for pushing me to be my best. I also want to thank the faculty for teaching and guiding me. And I want to thank my classmates for being such a great group of friends. I am going to miss all of you.
Wal-Mart grocery pick up gave us chocolate chip cookie mix instead of the brownie crisps that I ordered. I know I could have told them I didn’t want the substitution, but hey, I forgot, so we have had this mix sitting in our pantry for a few weeks.
When my extended family celebrated holidays at my grandmother’s house, I remember becoming old enough to sit at the adults’ table. I couldn’t necessarily understand everything they were talking about when they discussed politics or religion (they had lots of fights!) or business affairs. Despite my limited understanding, though, I wanted to participate in their conversation. I could tell whatever they were talking about mattered. Everyone leaned forward and gave the topic their full attention.
Fostering relationships across grades is a unique and important aspect of the community at Whitefield Academy. Whether it’s the buddy system between Kindergarten and Fifth Grade, an upper school buddy class planning activities for their lower school counterpart on All School Games Day, mixing grades up at lunch tables, or the seniors escorting the Pre-K kids down to their classroom for Pre-K Round Up, mixed grade relationships are actively and intentionally pursued.
It’s time for another Read Aloud with Whitefield Academy teachers! Today, Mrs. Amos, our Transitional Kindergarten teacher, will be reading Bangalee by Stephen Cosgrove. Enjoy!
As I consider all that we have experienced over this past year, I’m thankful for all the hard work that students, parents, and teachers have given in a collaborative effort to see our children flourish and learn. I’m also thankful that the students will have a chance to rest and let what they have learned sink in over the next few months before we begin working on their formal education once again in August.
Whitefield Academy BlogWelcome to Whitefield Academy's Monday Read Aloud! Join Mrs. Dodd, one of our amazing kindergarten teachers, as she reads The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown! https://youtu.be/VNlhLch13zg Whitefield Academy is now enrolling for the...
Welcome to Latin story time, round two! Today we’re going to look at a tale most famously told in Livy’s enormous (yet fragmentary) work of Roman history, Ab Urbe Condita. Livy, our primary source for Rome’s early history (and for several of the stories mentioned in our last post), dates the end of Rome’s monarchy and the beginning of the Republic to 509 B.C. The transition was purportedly inaugurated, or rather initiated, by the horrific rape of a Roman soldier’s wife. Livy of course presents the event as history, but we have to keep in mind that he was writing nearly 500 years after this supposedly occurred, and though he worked from intermediary sources which no longer survive, he was not writing strict history in the modern sense.
Welcome to Read Alouds with Whitefield teachers! Enjoy some down time while reading some great stories! Today, Pre-K teacher Mrs. Metcalf will be reading The Garden, The Curtain and The Cross by Carl Laferton.
In August of 1995 I walked into Latin class for the first time. A native of Lawrence, I attended Lawrence High School and so was privileged to sit under the teaching of Dr. Anne Shaw who, more than twenty years later, still remains one of the most formative influences upon me as an educator and a Latinist. I chose to try Latin as my foreign language because it sounded cooler and more obscure than my other options of French, German, and Spanish.
I remember a conversation I recently had with a Christian friend who wondered aloud why our family would pay to send our children to a classical Christian school when the new charter school down the road was free. Caught off guard, I did not know how to respond. I mumbled some answer about how we really love our school and the people, both of which are true, but how does that compete with free?
I was recently emailing with a mom of a Pre-K student at our school. When I asked her what went into her decision for choosing Whitefield, she responded:
When you pick a school for you kids, don’t look at the kindergarten class…look at the senior class. They are the results of the education you are choosing.
Often times our choice of a Pre-K or Kindergarten are made out of convenience.
Your baby is going to college! Has the panic set in? You want them to not only survive but to thrive. After pooling the thoughts of a number of parents and current college students, here’s what they think your teen should be able to do before leaving the nest.
Though the hours seem seem to be going slowly during this stay-at-home order, our Seniors are still barreling toward the day when they pack up their cars, hit the road, and become Freshmen. In order to encourage a strong transition from high school to college, some of the faculty and staff at Whitefield Academy weighed in with things they wished they had known before leaving for college.
These are unprecedented times. A new frontier, if you will, for almost everyone in the world. Many parents who never planned on being THIS intimately involved in the minutiae of day to day second grade, are finding themselves proctoring grammar quizzes while on Zoom call “Happy Hours “with other actuaries in North Carolina. Bizarre.
We love Whitefield Academy! Not only are our 3 kids (twelfth grade, ninth grade, and seventh grade) able to continue their school year online through Zoom classes, but they are also able to continue their new sport – rowing!
Friends who used to play and study together, and moms and dads who used to work closely with colleagues, and families that used to worship as members of a congregation are now distributed to their various homes. Perhaps, more than ever, the question of community comes to the fore.
Whitefield Academy families are creative and resourceful when it comes to our new, if temporary, COVID-19 lifestyle.
During the fall of 2019, approximately 300 Robotic teams competed throughout the Kansas City metro area, and the top 44 teams competed in January 2020 for the chance to go to Houston, TX for the World Competition. The Whitefield Lions Robotic Team earned a spot as a top 44 team and competed with the best of the best in the KC area.
Choosing a Pre-K or Kindergarten is a very important decision to make for your child. Finding a safe and happy place with a positive and encouraging learning environment will set your child up for success as they further their education.
Our family started attending Whitefield Academy for the first time this school year. Up until this time, I had homeschooled our four girls. Being able to focus on the foundational spiritual health of my girls has always been an integral part of our parenting and schooling. We prioritized and carved out time to do devotionals together, pray together, and read inspiring stories of saints who have gone before us and who have made a difference for Christ in their time and age. But more than anything else, we wanted our girls to know of a God who loves them, is near to them and who is constantly pursuing them. In the midst of the flexibility of the homeschool environment, we gave them opportunities to respond and have conversations to discuss these very important spiritual matters.
Every year, Whitefield Academy juniors write and deliver homilies based on Scripture in front of the entire upper school. This homily was given by Olivia Chace on Wednesday, February 19, 2020.
I remember a few months ago, I was walking to class upstairs and heard Kyla ask Mr. Castro a question: The quintessential, ‘What is love?’ So I went to my class, which Mr. Castro was teaching, and we had a discussion about the question of what love is and how to love. Initially I thought it would be a pretty easy question to answer, but I was wrong. Just like God, love is complex, and there’s so much to know about it that it’s impossible to understand in many lifetimes or in one chapel. So, what I’ll be speaking about is the nature of love based on a passage in 1 John, how that message about love can shape us at Whitefield, and why we should marvel at it.
The following post is edited from a speech given by the Whitefield Academy Head of Math and Science, Sarah DeConink.
Math is often categorized as a collection of patterns and comparisons. Some people describe it as a language of order. Both of these are true, but math is so much more than patterns and order. Mathematics in a classical Christian school is primarily considered not a boring requirement but an art that conveys the beautiful and poetic expression of creation while developing virtue in the individual who carries the mantle of studying it.
A few weeks ago, while I was a work, I received a text from my daughter’s kindergarten teacher. My daughter, Olive, had written a hymn and had requested to perform it in front of her class. Her teacher obliged and sent me a video.
Each year, since my kids were babies, we have given them a special book or two for Christmas. Now Christmas isn’t the only time of year my kids receive books as gifts, but the books they are given at Christmas are unique from other books they get throughout the year. At the end of their childhood I want them to have an exceptional collection of books that represent not only quality children’s literature but works that are unique, creative, and inspiring. Books that they will want to return to time after time. Books that they will want to share with their own children someday. I call them coffee table books for kids. The following are a few of my favorites. Some you may have heard of, but hopefully there will be at least a few new ones for you to explore.
We wore the 4:45am practice like a badge of honor when I was on the rowing team in college.
Whitefield Academy BlogThis Christmas, my robot servant, Alexa, has been hard at work playing Christmas songs. “Alexa?” Silence. “Alexa?” Silence. “ALEXA?!” “Beep boop.” “Play Josh Groban Christmas songs.” “Shuffling Christmas songs by Josh Groban.” What Child is...
Whitefield is blessed to have a strong community of families. These families are often multi-generational in their support of our school. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and all other loved ones; we are so appreciative of your support in making our school the best it can be.
Whitefield Academy BlogSometimes as parents we get excited about fulfilling a Christmas gift wish for our kids without a thought of what the aftermath will entail. Oh, these lights and sounds miiiight get annoying after awhile. Oh, I spent a whole bunch on this, and...
“Oh gods, what is she plotting? What vast new agony? What huge horror lurks in the House? What evil plotting? The family cannot bear it, there is no cure, and help is so far away” (Agamemnon, 1100-4, translated by Peter Meineck). Thus utters the ill-fated prophetess Cassandra in Aeschylus’ famous tragedy Agamemnon. Following the end of the Trojan War, Cassandra, a Trojan princess, has been taken back to Argos by Agamemnon as his war-won concubine. Agamemnon’s wife, Clytemnestra, welcomes both warmly, yet in spite of this, Cassandra senses that death awaits Agamemnon as well as herself. And sure enough, within three hundred lines the corpses of both are rolled out on stage with an exuberant Clytemnestra above them. “I stand where I struck” (Agamemnon, 1379), she tells the audience, blood soaking her clothes and a crimson-stained bathtub at her side.
A month or two ago, Carol Nichols, our test coordinator, showed me a quote that so delighted me. The photo accompanying it looked like it might be a quote from George MacDonald, the writer who according to C.S. Lewis “baptized my imagination.” But it was not; rather it was a quote from John Muir, the noted naturalist.
Today marks the quincentennial—that’s the five-hundredth anniversary—of Martin Luther’s protest against the Roman Catholic Church which started the Protestant Reformation. We usually think of Martin Luther’s reforming work as having to do with theology and worship, but Luther had a lot to say about the education of children as well. In fact, Luther saw the proper education of children as essential to the spread of the gospel, and so he sought to reform the schools as well as the church. Luther wrote that “If I had to give up preaching and my other duties, there is no office I would rather have than that of a school-teacher.”
Whitefield Academy Blog With the holiday season quickly approaching, our family has started to prepare some of our traditions. We have some that are pretty universal like eating turkey on Thanksgiving and some that are a little more unique like celebrating Reformation...
My oldest daughter is a second grader this year, which means she’s starting to study history.
Daughter: “We’re starting to study history.”
Mom: “Oh yeah, what are you starting with?”
Daughter: *eye roll* “Adam and Eve.”
“Oh, I am so glad you came to see us today! I don’t get to see kids your age very often,” said the resident of a senior living facility to my first grade daughter. The first and second grade classes had come to the senior living facility for…
While most of us understand that social media and other online activities cut into our ability to do good work, high-tech gadgets and constant connectivity to the web have become so common that it seems hard to imagine life without them. In a recent popular business book Deep Work, Cal Newport offers some ways to reduce the noise of these distractions and enhance our ability to do valuable and meaningful work.
“I will never use this in real life,” says almost every exasperated junior high Algebra student. The hours of solving algebra problems. The random letters. The complex terminology: factors, commutative, quadratic and rooster form. The bizarre word problems about how long it takes Superman and Iron Man to fly and crash into each other from 100 miles away given different speeds and different starting times. All of these add to a student’s perspective that the information they are learning in my class is irrelevant to their everyday life. So how do I convince a junior high student just how relevant algebra is?
Every year at Whitefield Academy, one of our Juniors gives an address to honor and remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
Membranous, scaled, leather-like, and horny. These are the four types of wings found in the insect world, and it is actually fascinating! This fact makes the following so shocking.
In the middle of my engaging lecture on different types of wings, a hand shoots up. As a teacher, we always hope and assume that students are completely riveted by our subject matter. It is with this assumption that I call on this Biology student.
When the first day at a new school comes around, the entirety of the focus is on the student. Be sure to have the right backpack and lunch box, know where your classroom is, and most of all, make new friends! It’s tempting for parents to cover up with sunglasses and drive through the carpool line (very slowly of course) without giving a second thought to the parents in the cars flanking us, but who’s reminding the parents that we need to make new friends too?
Good morning everybody! My name is Caitie Dugan, and I am the Student Body President this year. I was asked to give the charge to the 7th graders, and I am so excited to be here!
As Whitefield Academy enters our 25th year, so many exciting things are happening. But one of the most exciting things is that as we grow older, we are finding that many of our graduates are having children who they are now enrolling at Whitefield. In fact, this year we will have five children of alumni enrolled!
Math did not come easily to me in school. I remember being bored with long division. I found it difficult to concentrate on the problem-solving processes that we were taught. So many steps and so much room for error. I found myself getting frustrated. I could barely engage long enough to finish my worksheets.
My family and I were in North Carolina recently at the beach. While I sat in my chair with eagle eyes on my four and six year olds who were “surfing,” I was distracted by a gaggle of six teenage girls walking past me. They were walking in the surf in three pairs. Each girl had her phone out and was taking a selfie. At one point, one pair stopped with the selfies and decided to take turns filming each other spinning, checked the video, spun again, checked the video, spun a third time, and then continued on with the walking and selfies.
Summer is an excellent time to take advantage of different performances around Kansas City! All of these performances are family friendly, and the majority of them feature local talent!
Good evening. Looking back on these past thirteen years, I am overwhelmed with emotions: laughter, gratitude, embarrassment, some sadness, wistfulness, frustration, confidence, joy, and love. But I am also able to realize how many people have helped bring my classmates and me where we are today. My family is of course one of the greatest influences on my life, but their work might have been for nothing if it were not for my classmates, classical ideas, and teachers. Together, these people have heightened the merits of classical education, and in so doing, they have taught me numerous lessons. It seems to me that perhaps the most valuable things I have learned from them are how to constantly model Christ’s love, how to discuss, and how to actually think, and as I reflect on them today, I know that they are lessons that will not leave me for the rest of my life.
If you didn’t know it already, May is National Summer Camp Flyer Month. It is in this month that flyers start to creep into backpacks and onto refrigerators from schools, libraries, and churches. Coincidentally, it is also the month that I become “no fun Mom.”
Whitefield Academy was blessed this year with six students achieving the status of valedictorian. Two students from this group were chosen to address their class at graduation. Here, Megan Dykstra shares her valedictorian address:
Summers fly by. My twin first grade daughters and I start talking about summer goals in April and May. Last summer they each wrote a Top Ten Wish List of the things they wanted to do. This summer we decided to follow a theme: parks. One Hundred Parks this summer is our goal.
Spring break is over, and we are entering the home stretch toward summer! Time for your teens to start figuring out a summer job that will fill their hours and their wallets, plus learn some valuable life lessons. Here are some tried and true ideas for jobs that will keep your teen occupied all summer long.
Gone are the days, unfortunately, of working in the fields all summer. Now, as parents/cruise directors, we have to make sure that our kids are filling the lazy summer hours with activities that are brain-stretching rather than brain-rotting. Here is a slew of great tips and links to free and smart summer fun in Kansas City.
On March 14, 2019, five Spanish 3 Whitefield Academy seniors and I got on a plane and flew to Guatemala. We went to work alongside the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Guatemalan staff to share how the Lord has changed our lives (in Spanish!) through soccer camps for kids and through sharing the Gospel with our testimonies. As God usually sees fit, He used this trip to reveal more of Himself to us as well.
Whitefield Academy Blog Choosing a school for your children can seem like an overwhelming decision.Even at the early age of 4 or 5, choosing a kindergarten typically decides which elementary school your children will attend which leads to which middle school they will...
“Bullet, Bullet, Bullet!” is the hopeful chant ringing from my basement. No need for alarm, my kids are just in 11th place on Mario Kart Wii and hoping desperately to get the “bullet” that will rocket them to the front of the race. After an overdue basement clean-out, we unearthed a dusty Wii system that, after ten years of inactivity, surprisingly still worked! Newly introduced to the excitement of racing Luigi and Baby Peach through digital lands like Moo Moo Meadows and the ever formidable Rainbow Road, our kids quickly found their “need for speed.”
Whitefield Academy Blog The biggest deterrent for most families when it comes to choosing private education for their children is the price tag. Though adding private school tuition to the pile of bills can be daunting, some Whitefield families have shared a number of...
I’ve had a few experiences in my parenting life where I have officially felt like a parent. The first one was driving to VBS in my SUV while wearing a neon VBS t-shirt and playing bible songs for my kids in carseats behind me. The second one was sitting outside my oldest daughter’s Winnie the Pooh theatre class, waiting with all the other parents. The third was dropping my daughter off for full day kindergarten.
As a father of young children with an interest in history, I have often wondered how Christians in the past raised their children and what great church leaders taught about parenting. One Christian teacher who wrote extensively on the subject was Saint John Chrysostom, an Archbishop of Constantinople in the fourth century. “Chrysostom” was a nickname meaning “golden-mouthed,” a reference to the bishop’s skill in the art of rhetoric. He was a favorite of the Protestant Reformer John Calvin, who admired his faithful interpretation of Scripture in his many sermons.
We got the internet when I was in seventh grade. I remember because it was the same day as Jake Waxman’s bar mitzvah. I also remember that my shirt hadn’t finished drying, and I had to wear a slightly damp shirt to the service.
I’ve always struggled with having a consistent prayer life. I found myself offering up the standard, “I’ll be praying for you,” to friends and then realizing, “No…I actually probably won’t. I’ll forget about this until the next time I see you.”
Why do we study Latin and Ancient Greek? As a classicist, I have been asked this question countless times, and I can rattle off the standard answers – studying Latin and Greek beefs up students’ English vocabulary and grammar, allows them to read some of the greatest literary works of Western civilization in their original languages, and immerses them in the cultures that brought us democracy, Plato, gladiators, and the arch. Now, these are all great reasons to study languages that otherwise seem arcane, complicated, and, well, “dead,” but the value in devoting oneself to Latin and Greek – even at the secondary school level – extends far beyond such bullet points.
With tax season and re-enrollment upon us, many parents have budgeting on the brain. After realizing our favorite budgeting program wasn’t quite working out, specifically meaning that my wife kept thinking we had more money than we actually did, I decided to go searching for a new program.
Imagine a typical evening at the dining table. You’re asking your kids about the day’s events.
One of your children launches into a stream of consciousness…
“First I gathered a bunch of wood, and some stone too. I had to build a shelter because it was getting dark. I also made some armor, but that took a long time. I accidentally fell into some lava once. After that, I found some villagers and bartered with them to get some emeralds…”
The story goes on ad nauseum, and, wait, since when does my child live in a wooden hut he built himself and barters for precious metals with strangers?
Transferring to a classical Christian school can be particularly unique because the curriculum, in many ways, is very different from the average public school or even the average Christian school. Classical schools also tend to have smaller class sizes. This is great for teaching but can make being the “new kid” even more obvious and scary.
I’ve found myself lamenting our widely dispersed communities lately. Our church draws people from all over the Kansas City area, so the majority of our friends live at least twenty minutes away. Our school is similar, reaching areas as spread out as Lee’s Summit, Leawood, Shawnee, North Kansas City, and Belton. After-school games and activities will send us out west one day and way out east another.
As parents, we are always trying to do what is best for our kids. We agonize over decisions as simple as what they are eating for breakfast to what school they will attend and how it will prepare them for the next step in their academic career. This was where we found ourselves four years ago as we were deciding whether our premier high school athlete should remain in a small Christian School. A school that wouldn’t send him to a State Championship or have him written up in the Kansas City Star with accolades of his athletic talent. And to further complicate our decision, our athlete’s dream was to play in college.
To most of us, especially those of us who may have not enjoyed a classical education, the classics may seem a little bit inaccessible. We have this idea that the classic books and plays are difficult to understand. They were written centuries ago, and who has time to try to decipher them, right?
As Upper School educators, we have found that our sixth, seventh, and even eighth graders reach a point during the day where distractions are strong and the ability to sit still decreases significantly. So rather than creating punishments to discourage this behavior, we decided to bring back something that was the norm for this age at one time but is no longer: recess.
We’ve all been there. Drawn down the Costco Christmas aisle. Pulling toys off the shelf willy nilly because there’s a $10 rebate. But we have to stop and think: Will 10:00am Christmas morning mom like this gift as much as pre-Christmas mom? A tall task. So we at Whitefield decided to put together the Ultimate Christmas Gift List for all ages.
Whitefield Academy Blog When was the last time you looked up to the evening sky and beheld thousands of twinkling stars? I remember as a child raised in rural New England the sky being so black and dark that it allowed me to view what seemed to be millions of stars....
Due to my chronic problem with being early to everything, I ended up sitting in the lunch room with the entire elementary school on Monday during school pick up. Let me describe this magical scene to you.
Amidst the trickle of Friday folders, flyers, emails, parent alerts, newsletters, and school communications that endlessly drip into a parent’s daily routine, there came a unique envelope in the mail last month.
I should start with a caveat that we are a bit more than a public school couple. We’ve seen it all: magnet, charter, private, public, Christian…you name it, my husband or I have been there. But when we were pregnant with our first child and…
Did you do a lot of college exploration your junior year? Are you absolutely committed to your first choice school? Are you a fantastic candidate for admission and are you positive you want to go there? If this is the case, an early action or…
As you get closer to applying for college, it’s important to have a plan for taking the ACT and/or SAT standardized tests. These tests are not the only part of applications that colleges consider, but they are one important aspect, so you…
I am excited to share with you a much-loved daily practice at Whitefield Academy. Each morning the upper school students, faculty, and staff assemble together for corporate prayer, Bible reading, and singing. Considering the fact that time is…
Each year, the Whitefield upper school community sets aside four days for retreats, two days in the fall and two days in the winter. These retreats are formational and transformational for students and staff alike. This year’s fall retreat was…
Visiting the campus of a college or university that you are considering is a great way to get a feel for the school and decide whether or not it would be a good fit for you. Here are some tips for your visit as well as some questions that are…
Every year at Whitefield an upper schooler gives a charge to the seventh graders entering upper school. This year, senior Lindsey Jones presented the following message. Good morning everyone, and welcome to upper school, seventh graders. I know…
Choosing where you will attend college is a big decision. Consider some of these things to help you narrow down your choices.
Volunteering and extracurricular activities are great ways to not only improve a college application resume and help the community, but they will will tell you a lot about who you are and what you might want to pursue.
In classical education, students advance through the three Trivium Arts (Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric) to pursue wisdom and understanding. Education begins first in the Grammar school, where educators train the young minds to comprehend and to write. Students then progress to the Logic school where they are trained to analyze and to make judgments. Rhetoric school is the final stage where students learn to synthesize and compose texts in order to practice using wisdom in solving problems.
As a family, we are getting ready to embark on our seventh year at Whitefield Academy. Over the years I have had a chance to see classical Christian education up close, and by now it is safe to say that we are convinced enthusiasts. There are many aspects of the way Whitefield does Christian classical education that I appreciate, but one facet that has completely taken me by surprise is the positive cross-grade relationships at Whitefield.
And just like that, we were back together again. Over an unusually hot and sticky week in early June, about a week after the final bell rang for the summer, Whitefield’s faculty and staff gathered together for our second annual summer retreat — a time to reflect on the previous year and to help one another grow as teachers, people, and followers of Jesus. We gathered with a mixture of emotions: sad as we left our families for several days, but energized by one another’s company; weary from a long school year, and yet expectant that there was still so much for us to understand in order to be the teachers and staff that our students, parents, and God would have us to be.
The longer days of summer are a great time to take advantage of the great local theatre as well as the national theatre that Kansas City has to offer! Grab a picnic blanket and a picnic dinner and take the whole family out to Theatre in the Park, or get all dressed up and head downtown to the Kauffman. Either way, your family is sure to have a memorable time!
I once asked a group of high schoolers in Sunday school what a catechism was. This is a church where a catechism is used regularly, and so it was intended as an easy question. But I quickly realized that even in churches where a catechism is used, the practice and history behind such documents is often not a familiar concept.
Summer is the perfect time to get your family hooked on audio books! Between long car trips, early morning drives to swim practice, and lazy afternoons lying in front of the air conditioning vent, audio books are the perfect companions for your kids. They certainly don’t replace climbing in bed and listening to mom or dad read, but they are an excellent, close second.
Pre-Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten serve as the bridge from earliest learning to Kindergarten. Through play-centered activities, children develop the fundamental skills for success in school in an age appropriate and developmentally appropriate setting.
Between allergies, piano lessons, and screen time, playing outside has not just gone out of style, it’s gone by the wayside. Gone are the days of bare feet and dirt, tree houses and ropes, and campfires and s’mores. Some aspects have disappeared for good reason (I mean, do you really want tetanus with those bare feet?). But have we thrown the baby out with the bathwater?
Elementary schooler? Jobs? You heard me correctly! Now I’m not advocating for a trip back to the factories of the Industrial Revolution, but summer is an excellent time for kids to learn some new skills and earn a few dollars. These jobs are divided up into two categories: Money-Makers and Skill-Makers. The Money-Makers are jobs that kids can do to actually bring home a few bills to put in the piggy bank. The Skill-Makers are non-paying jobs that can teach your elementary schooler some new skills that will come in handy later in life. (See our post on Teen Jobs for your older students.)
Technology has been on our minds a lot lately. How much is too much? How young is too young?
One of the first things I spotted when I started teaching at Whitefield Academy seven years ago was a quote from Henry Adams: “They know enough who know how to learn.” Providing our students with a variety of tools to place in their learning toolbox is at the core of what we do. They are learning how to learn.
The term intersectionality is more than just a mouthful, it is the current mantra of higher education. In its simplest form, it is the concept that one’s identity is defined by the inextricably linked sum of various human characteristics such as race, gender, and sexual orientation. Taken a step further, it is the theory that discrimination based on membership in different minority sub-groups intersects to compound oppression (WSJ).
My husband and I provided a classical Christian education for both of our children who are now grown and married with children of their own. Recently I was talking with my daughter and she mentioned she was surprised that a friend of hers had not read any “real” books in high school. By “real” she meant books such as Homer’s The Odyssey, Augustine’s Confessions or Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and by “read” she meant from cover to cover.
Spring Break is closing in, and you never know what the weather will be like in Kansas City! In anticipation of some stay inside days, here’s an all-encompassing list of some great performances around town. Take advantage of some of these shows as opportunities to do something artistic as a family!
At Whitefield Academy we teach from an eternal perspective. Our motto “Omnis Scientia Ad Dei Gloriam” means “All Knowledge to the Glory of God.” True knowledge begins with a reverent and loving desire to please and serve God as He is revealed in the Holy Scriptures. We believe that, as Proverbs 9:10 states, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Whitefield Academy BlogWhen I was in college, a single mom invited my roommate and me over for meals and coffee a number of times. I'm embrassed to say that I can't remember her name, but I remember vividly how it felt to be warmly welcomed into someone's home when I...
I was sitting in a coffee shop a few weeks ago when I overheard two dads complaining about their kids. The first complaint was that, at a most recent outing, one daughter didn’t eat anything because she had eaten so many Rice Krispie treats before-hand. The second, on which they both agreed, was that their kids always have their phones out at dinner rather than engaging in conversation. The two dads agreed that this upcoming generation is a “worse generation” than the infamous millennials and surely won’t amount to much.
If you are a friend of mine you have probably heard me complain about how the world is going down the drain because of all the incorrect spellings of “there” and all the unnecessary apostrophes. Sending us a Christmas letter addressed to “The Hutson’s” is the fastest way to send me into cardiac arrest. As an English major and former high school English teacher I like to think that I understand the English language pretty well. Imagine my surprise when my kindergartner came home chanting, “English words do not end in I.” I stood for a minute and thought to myself, “Hmm, she’s right. I never thought about that.” That small little chant floored me as I began to ask myself, “How many reading rules did I never learn?”
There is nothing like a Kansas City winter! One day it’s 65 degrees and the next we’re snowed in! As you prepare for more snow (locating the snow pants that are three sizes too small, covering the driveway in salt, and stocking up on hot chocolate) make sure that you double check the garage for your sleds!
Since my last post, Congress passed the new tax law and it became effective. I also spoke to my father-in-law while celebrating Christmas and he shared an additional idea about the new law which I think would be very valuable to many Whitefield families.
If you pay any attention to the news you are probably aware that Congress is working on major changes to the tax law. Regardless of your opinions about these changes, they are almost sure to affect you and because of the changes, you might want to change the way you give to charitable organizations and save for private school costs. I am not a tax professional, but I do work in the finance industry and I have been following the new tax legislation closely. Before the new law goes into effect (it is very likely to pass this week and be effective January 1, 2018), I wanted to try to explain some of the changes that will most likely affect Whitefield parents. I’m going to try to do this in a way that is easy to understand, and I’m not going to spend much time explaining changes that we can’t really do anything about. I’m also not going to share my opinion on the law, at least not on this blog!
I remember the days when I used to really like school vacations. Now that I am a mom, I’ve realized that “vacation” now actually means “hide in the bathroom while tiny fingers reach under the door and high pitched voices scream about being hungry and bored.” Ah, motherhood. It’s a battlefield, folks. And as in any great battle, one needs a well thought out, easily implemented battle plan (Christmas Break Edition).
Do you feel like your house is filling up with “stuff” faster than you can say “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”? We are quickly approaching that time of year where we wrap gifts up with fancy paper, give them to our children, and then watch them fall to the wayside after a few days. If you’re tired of the stuff rut, here are some suggestions for gifting experiences rather than things for your tweens and teens.
We recently suffered a loss in our extended family. When we found out about this kind man’s passing, we were very worried about telling our three year old daughter. We were worried not because we thought she couldn’t understand but because she had been praying fervently at every meal and bedtime for weeks that he would be healed.
We discovered classical Christian education when our oldest was entering the third grade, and we began to incorporate Latin into our curriculum. Several friends and even some family members began to question this seemingly outdated notion. Often times people would comment that Latin is a dead language and thus might not be terribly useful. As I began to learn more about Classical education, I began to investigate a defense for learning Latin. Soon I discovered, in research and then by our own experience, that Latin is a language of depth and style, full of words rich in meaning and definitely worth learning.
It has happened to me more than once. My girls are playing on the playground and another child is mean to them. Either they won’t let my kids in the playhouse or they ignore my kids or they push my kids off the equipment. And instead of reprimanding their child, the parent looks at me and says, “Sorry my kid is being mean.”
In first grade, I watched a video about fire safety. I vividly remember the entire movie: a kid is having a friend over to spend the night. They are playing with slot cars, and after they go to bed, the slot cars spark, starting a fire. The entire house is bathed in smoke. Luckily the family has a fire safety plan complete with extendable ladders on their windows and, I believe, whistles. Unfortunately, the kid spending the night doesn’t know the plan, and the firemen have to go in and pull him out, unconscious.
I feel really badly for the person at our church who collects the sign-in booklets from each pew after the service. My five year old insists on being the one to sign it each Sunday: “Lila, Olive, Ma, Pa.” She doesn’t call us “Ma” and “Pa” in real life; I think she’s pretending to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. Most people don’t seem to notice the hearkening back to 1867, however. Instead, they notice, usually with alarm, that she’s writing these names in cursive.
In his 1520 book on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, Martin Luther compared the church in the Middle Ages to Israel exiled in Babylon. One of Luther’s criticisms of the Catholic Church that he thought furthered this metaphorical captivity was that they did not translate the Bible into common languages or teach common people to read it. He translated the New Testament into German and encouraged the teaching of literacy to all children, a fairly radical idea at the time. The Reformation movement he started lead to a large increase in literacy rates throughout Europe, the benefits of which we continue to enjoy today.
While walking to the dining hall in college, a car full of rowers drove by me, noticed I was short and asked if I would like to be a coxswain (the smaller person who sits in the boat and yells at the rowers). I had just realized that my plan to be an actress in the theatre department wasn’t coming up roses, and I had some time on my hands, so I said, “Sure!” Thus beginning a five season long career of being the Mens Varsity A coxswain in a sport that I hadn’t previously known even existed.
A caveat to start: I grew up doing musicals. I probably played soccer and softball a handful of times. I was on the rowing team in college as a coxswain because I was short and loud. I am no sports expert. So I turned to some seasoned sports parents to ask them the questions: Why should my daughters play sports? What’s the point of competing in athletics? Here’s what they said:
At Whitefield Academy, experiences outside the classroom are vital to classical education. Upper school students alternate cultural trips with mission trips each year to see and serve the world together. These trips inevitably broaden minds, start conversations, and bolster relationships. Here is one account of many.
This is the first in an ongoing series of great finds at the library.
A local library is a great resource for new stories to tell your children, but sometimes you can also find stories your children have already heard told in new ways and with beautiful illustrations. Fairy tales (call number 398.2), whether from the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, or other sources, have stood the test of time and have attracted many great illustrators.
While driving in my car this morning and actively succeeding in tuning out The Magic Tree House book on tape, I realized that we only have one month of summer left! My great plans for an epic summer haven’t been realized! We haven’t learned another language! We’ve eaten tacos for dinner three nights this week! We’ve watched Moana 19 times!
Not all children’s bibles are created equal. This becomes clear after you receive ten different lackluster versions for births, baptisms, birthdays, etc. Teaching our kids God’s Word is serious business for we “know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1). We need to be careful that the Bible stories we read, even to little ones, proclaim the whole, true picture of God’s Word.
In his 1981 work, After Virtue, the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre described what he took to be the besetting affliction of modern man:
[Each] of us is taught to see himself or herself as an autonomous moral agent; but each of us also becomes engaged by modes of practice, aesthetic or bureaucratic, which involve us in manipulative relationships. Seeking to protect the autonomy that we have learned to prize, … we find no way open to us to do so except by directing toward others those very manipulative modes of relationship which each of us aspires to resist in our own case. The incoherence of our attitudes and our experiences arises from the incoherent conceptual schema which we have inherited.
My husband and I found ourselves staring this question in the face as we were choosing where to send our daughters for elementary school. A smaller student to teacher ratio tends to cost more money, so is it really worth it?
I’m looking out over this summer with a mixture of “How am I ever going to survive?” and “I only have 12 summers left with my girls! Make it count!” I quickly get overwhelmed with everything that I need to teach my girls: tying shoes, showering, brushing their own hair, doing chores. Every once in awhile I realize that I’ve missed something important (“What do you mean you don’t know how to put a shirt on?!”). The responsibilities of parenting are much more expansive than I ever expected them to be, and it’s easy to find that I’m focusing on small, unimportant things and letting the most important things fall to the wayside.
When our kids were younger, it was easy to have books readily available. We filled our home with books, went to the library weekly, and “story time” seemed like all the time. I loved watching their little worlds and vocabularies expand as they pored over board books on their own and sat on our laps listening to those beautiful stories.
A few weeks ago, I had my bi-monthly, stay-at-home mom break down: “I feel like a servant! I’m drowning in mismatched socks!” etc. My loving husband talked me out of it and assured me that I’m appreciated, and though that’s lovely, it didn’t solve my problem of genuinely being overwhelmed by housework. Then, while reading Little House in the Big Woods to my three and five-year-old daughters, I had a realization: “Why am I the only one doing chores when there are two other women living here?!” Laura Ingalls Wilder and her sister were the exact same age as my daughters in her first book, and they did all kinds of chores! They helped wash and dry dishes, kept an eye on the meat smoking fire, churned butter, and Laura’s only toy was a corn cob wrapped in a blanket…and she loved it! But I digress. So following in Laura’s footsteps, I decided that it was time for my own daughters to start pulling their weight in our household.
This blog is full of information on education, parenting, and faith, written for the Whitefield community and the Kansas City and classical school communities as well. Written by Whitefield parents, faculty, staff and students, the Whitefield Academy blog is the perfect place to interact with our classical, Christian school. Another great way to learn more about Whitefield and engage with our school is to explore the brand new Whitefield Academy website!