Whitefield Academy Blog
A note from John and Rachel Hutson, Whitefield’s crew coaches: Emily is a friend and fellow Wheaton College crew alumna. Since graduation, Emily has been competing at the highest levels of the sport with a dream to row at the Olympic games. Among many other accomplishments, Emily was in the boat at the 2019 World Rowing Championships that qualified the United States for the 2020 Olympics in the quadruple sculls and was one of ten women invited to the U.S. selection camp for that event for the upcoming Olympics. Emily’s advice and support have been essential to our effort to bring crew to Whitefield. We so appreciate this message from her.
Failure. That is the word that more often than not I consider when I reflect on my rowing career. Friends and family all try to (rightly) console me and point out all of the things I did accomplish but it does not change the reality that I did not in fact achieve my Olympic goal. I failed.
There’s nothing better on a hot day than sitting inside with a good book! Whether you’re pulling one off the shelf for the tenth time or headed to the library for something new, summer is the perfect time to read. If you’re having trouble finding a good title or need some new books for your kids, Whitefield Academy’s Reading List is an amazing resource.
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.
Every year, Whitefield Academy seniors spend the year researching a subject of interest to them and write a 20 page research paper on the subject. They then present their research to the greater Whitefield community and answer questions from the audience. The following post is senior Kyla Lindsey’s thesis presentation on iPad use in elementary classrooms. Kyla plans to attend College of the Ozarks and major in Elementary Education. If you would like to see the presentation in its entirety with the footnotes, please click here.
iPads should not be used in the elementary classroom. Most elementary schools in the Kansas City area today provide an iPad to each student to use for various activities, whether it be for flashcards, reading, math games, or a specific app. The consequence of using iPads is that they become a substitute for the method of learning that is best for children, which is sensory input. Taking away the form of learning that allows children to use a variety of their senses to understand and grasp the new concepts they are being taught would be detrimental at the elementary age. The increased amount of time children are spending on screens is not healthy and leading to several negative side effects. The use of iPads in elementary classrooms will not provide a better education to students, and for this reason should not be used.
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.