The Latest at JHCA

Articles of Interest

List of 20 news stories.

  • Checkmate! How playing chess develops critical thinking

    Mr. Jay Stallings, JHCA Chess Coach
    “Chess teaches foresight, by having to plan ahead; vigilance, by having to keep watch over the whole chess board; caution, by having to restrain ourselves from making hasty moves; and finally, we learn from chess the greatest maxim in life - that even when everything seems to be going badly for us we should not lose heart, but always hoping for a change for the better, steadfastly continue searching for the solutions to our problems.” — Benjamin Franklin

    “Should I sacrifice my rook?”
    “Whose pawn will promote to a queen first?”
    “Considering the imbalances, what is my best strategy?”

    These are typical questions a chess player asks before each and every move played during a single game of chess. The answers require a combination of logic, calculation, strategic thinking, and resourcefulness.
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  • Physical Education the Classical Way

    Mr. Seth Rutt
    The classical model of education has seen significant growth over the past 40 years. The return to traditional and time-tested methods of teaching is integral to developing student character and training them in truth, goodness, and beauty. In classical schools, subjects including literature, the sciences, and mathematics have been restored to their previous standards of rigor. But what about physical education?
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  • Orchestrating the Curriculum

    Orchestrating the Curriculum for a Well-Rounded Education

    Mrs. Kate Rudolph with Dr. Dan Russ
    The emphasis on interdisciplinary learning is unique among schools today, many of which are dictated to by their textbooks and a curriculum that compartmentalizes knowledge. Each subject is presented as though it exists in a vacuum, never influencing or being influenced by anything else. This compartmentalization of knowledge denies students the opportunity to make connections across topics and to see the world the way it really is, in all its beauty and complexity.
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  • Annual Wilderness Adventures trip provides opportunities for student growth

    Mrs. Kate Rudolph
    The 7th- and 8th-grade students had an exciting opportunity this past week to experience the beauty of nature, build community with their classmates, and test their own strength and perseverance through backpacking and camping trips guided by Jackson-based tour company, Wilderness Adventures (owned and operated by JHCA’s Holland family!). The 7th graders spent the week at Camp Open Door near Granite Hot Springs with 6th-grade homeroom teacher Mr. Ian McRae, while the 8th graders backpacked into the Jedediah Smith Wilderness, just north of Grand Teton National Park, with 8th-grade homeroom teacher Ms. Abigail Anderson.
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  • Classical Education: The remedy to the resume conveyor belt

    Mrs. Kate Rudolph with Mrs. Hillary Short
    The American education system prioritizes prestigious college placement. While it is expected that high school students build impressive resumes to send off to impressive universities, many students have begun packing their resumes earlier and earlier. Now, middle school students are beginning to build up their college resumes in an attempt to out-do their classmates years before filling out college applications. According to Mrs. Hillary Short, the Lower School Dean of Faculty, this college application frenzy creates students who believe that “jumping through hoops matters, not actually developing who they are as a person or learning to love learning.”
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  • 10 Summer Activities to Keep Your Child's Mind Engaged

    At JH Classical Academy we seek to instill in each of our students a love of reading to cultivate lifelong learning. Not only does reading give students an understanding of the world around them and glimpses into other worlds, but it has been proven to bolster cortical growth in children. Now that students are out of school for the summer, it is critically important to continue fostering the habit of reading and learning at home. 
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  • On Math and Spirituality

    Ms. Sarah Boss
    When thinking of classical education, the humanities is often the first thing that comes to mind. The “classics” of literature, classical languages, philosophy, and so on. But math and science — the more practical fields of study — can be taught from a perspective as classical as Aristotle. My. Kyle Botkin, 5th- and 8th-12th-grade math teacher, is a fervent believer that math can — and should — be approached not just factually, but philosophically.
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  • On Love

    Dr. Joseph Rudolph
    Perhaps no word in our language is as powerful or as hard to define as the word “love.” It can have so many different meanings! I love God; I love my wife; I love to teach; I love coffee. And in each context, "love" means a very different thing.
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  • The Lovely Spring

    Mr. Ben Walter
    This weekend I took a walk along Game Creek in the early afternoon sun. Even though we probably have two months of winter left, spring seemed about to fly in on the next breeze. Earlier in the week, I had read a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins titled "Spring" with the 8th grade. Because the JHCA's virtue of the month is love, the two ideas of love and spring rolled around in my head this week. Here is Hopkins' poem.
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  • Imitation

    Sarah Boss
    Ernest Hemingway famously advised aspiring authors: “It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.” Hemingway’s trademark pithiness aside, the issue remains that even seemingly effortless writers must study and develop their craft somehow. Whether this quip relates to fiction or essays or speeches, writing is a skill not born with but learned. But how?
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  • On Habits

    Ben Walter
    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
    Aristotle did not in fact write this commonly attributed quotation, which is a 19th century paraphrase of his philosophy. Is it an accurate paraphrase? That depends on our definition of “habit”!
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  • [A diagram from Harold Speed's The Practice and Science of Drawing. It illustrates how we gravitate from a young age toward symbolic drawing (A) rather than the drawing of light and shadow as we see it (B).]

    On Art Education

    Ben Walter
    Classical art education provides more than a creative outlet. Like any discipline, art education should have a structured curriculum. Art training neither stifles nor guarantees creativity. However, it does remove impediments to expressing oneself creatively. There are four specific benefits of a systematic art education.
    1. Accurate Perception.
    Perception is our view of the world. Accurate perception is the ability to see things as they really are, not a pre-conceived mental shorthand of a thing. Training in perception involves understanding the relationship between form, value (light and dark), and color. Form is the boundary of an object. Usually, in the perception of form, our tactile sense dominates our visual sense. A person feels the boundary of a ball, and, if untrained in art, will draw a ball as a circle with an edge. The circle is really symbolic—it marks where he feels that the ball stops. However, objects as they appear do not have boundaries delineated by lines. In reality, form appears through shapes of value (light and dark). While an artist may interpret form into line, this is an interpretation of reality.
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  • Reconstruction of the Acropolis and Areopagus in Athens, Leo von Klenze, 1846

    Athens, London and the Plague

    Ben Walter
    History doesn't necessarily repeat itself. However, history instructs us on what can happen; it lets us see the triumphs and catastrophes that civilizations are capable of. The downfalls of great nations illustrate what our own culture must avoid. As Covid-19 looms over the two-thousand and twentieth year of grace, we should take a moment to look at the societal impact of pandemics in history. I've chosen two opposite examples for our glance backwards in time: Athens in 431 B.C. and England in 1665 A.D.
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  • And the Moral of That Is…

    by Ben Walter
    I remember reading with delight my parents’ edition of Aesop’s fables. Almost as fascinating as Milo Winter’s beautiful illustrations were the morals at the end of each story. For the Fox and the Cheese it was, “Don’t listen to a flatterer;” for The Sun and the Wind, “Kindness works better than harshness;” and the Satyr and the Man, “Don’t say one thing and do another.” I think I liked seeing how the stories were more than just a plot—they meant something.
    Fables like these do form an essential part of the intellectual development of young children. However, it is important that children are taught to look beyond the simplistic moral that these stories present. Otherwise, their ability to relate virtue to a complex world will be stunted. As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “When I became a man, I put away childish things.”
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  • Heroes at Dinner

    Ben Walter
    I enjoy helping monitor lunch at JH Classical Academy. Rather than grabbing a working lunch, I’m forced to sit down, pause my work, and catch up with a student or colleague over food. This might just be “classical.”
    The 10-12th grade Humane Letters class just finished reading Homer’s Iliad with Dr. Rudolph. The Iliad is the 7th century B.C. epic poem of the Trojan War and is about heroes and heroic behavior. In her essay The Necessity of the Classics, Louise Cowan argues that each generation must read about heroes in the ancient and modern classics. She writes,
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  • Arete 3

    Ben Walter
    The previous essay explored how the Greek word arete changed over centuries from meaning “excellence of any kind” to primarily “moral excellence.” We left off with Aristotle, who believed that virtue consisted in actions to pursuit of happiness (with true happiness being a well-ordered soul not physical pleasure.)
                Aristotle, and many other classical philosophers, thought that the virtuous person was ruled by reason—i.e., that reason leads to virtue. And how could they not? Unbridled passion and immoderate feelings create a turbulent, rather than well-ordered, soul. These philosophers also generally agreed that not even religious feeling was particularly inclined to create virtue. How could the philandering Zeus or resentful Hera be considered role models for virtuous action? And so classical philosophers viewed fervent religious devotion, beyond the necessity of public duty, as superstition at best. Only reason and intellectual contemplation lead to virtue.
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  • Beethoven-Mahler 1815

    My Favorite Composer

    by Ms. Koci
    Choosing a favorite composer is hard, but my favorite has to be Ludwig van Beethoven. Why? He changed the rules of music. His compositions are groundbreaking.
    Now how about a favorite piece of mine? Well Beethoven’s rousing 9th Symphony or his haunting Moonlight Sonata are tempting choices, but I’d have to go with his Piano Sonata 23 in F Minor nicknamed the Appassionata in 1837. The more I listen to the piece the more I identify with it.
    Listen here and here to the first and third movements.
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  • Arete Part 2

    Written by Ben Walter
    Warrior Ethos

    One of the definitions of arete is virtue. The word virtue is from the Latin vir meaning man. The Roman god of Virtus was depicted as holding a javelin and wearing a helmet. Someone who had virtue, in the classical usage, was quite literally and stereotypically “manly”: he was brave and able to defend his family and city.
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  • Prodigal Son Rembrandt

    Written by Ben Walter
    The Return of the Prodigal Son
    Rembrandt is probably the greatest (in my biased opinion) of the Dutch Baroque painters. Of his many masterpieces, The Return of the Prodigal Son is one of the best. It was completed in 1664, a few years before Rembrandt’s death; it contains psychological insight with a personal and moving interpretation of Jesus’ parable.
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  • Arete Part 1

    Written by Ben Walter
    Arete is an ancient Greek word that means “virtue” and “excellence.” Arete is the goal of classical Christian education. This goal is reflected in JH Classical Academy’s mission statement:
    The mission of Jackson Hole Classical Academy is to cultivate within its students the wisdom and virtue necessary to discover their God-given potential and contribute to a flourishing and free society.
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Community News

List of 5 news stories.

  • Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.: The Power of a Good Education

    Mr. Nathan Winters, Executive Director of Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming, addressed the JHCA community at Monday’s opening ceremony to remember the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the importance of a good education.
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  • Advent & Hanukkah: Light in the darkness

    Mrs. Friess addressed the entire JH Classical Academy community recently. She spoke about Advent and Hanukkah, both of which began this past Sunday. Both Advent and Hanukkah use light imagery to express the important themes of each celebration.
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  • JHCA Welcomes New Staff Members

    Jack Ledden joins JH Classical Academy as the building and grounds coordinator with years of experience in facilities management, engineering, and carpentry. His wife, Kristyn Ledden will be the accounting and procurement coordinator.
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  • Spirit Days to promote unity and teamwork

    JHCA Spirit Days are coming your way! We will “kick off” our Spirit Days this year with kickball on Friday, September 24! Spirit Days are “an opportunity to build community with the students, faculty, and parents,” according to Dean of Students Samuel Lunz. Students will be able to wear jeans to school along with their navy JHCA t-shirt, light blue JHCA t-shirt, or their JHCA hoodie, allowing students an extra opportunity to show school pride throughout the day. The Spirit Day activity will occur after school, and a different activity will be chosen each month. Parents, family, and friends are all welcome to join in the fun!
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  • Scholé, ad fontes, and virtue key pathways to classical education

    Mrs. Hillary Short
    JH Classical Academy is a proud member of the Society For Classical Learning (SCL). Mrs. Friess and I attended the annual SCL conference in person last week in the beautiful and historic Charleston, South Carolina. This year’s conference focused on eudaemonia, Greek for “human flourishing.”
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In the Classroom

List of 5 news stories.

  • Learning fortitude and perseverance through poetry

    Students in Mr. Ian McRae’s seventh-grade Literature & Composition class recently read the poems “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley and Lord Byron’s translation of Horace’s “Odes III.3.” These poems were selected to coincide with recent opening ceremonies, in which we discussed the virtue of fortitude.
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  • Fifth-graders create cell models for science class

    Students in Ms. Kirby Feaver’s 5th-grade science class have been studying the structures and functions of cells. In order to practice and apply what they’ve been learning, students were given two weeks to build models of plant and animal cells using household materials. 
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  • The Virtue of Temperance & Becoming "Idea Chocolatiers"

    Mrs. Hillary Short, the Lower School dean of faculty, spoke about the virtue of temperance at our last opening ceremony for the month of November. She compared using temperance when making decisions to the process of tempering chocolate. Mrs. Short encouraged the lower school students to be what she called “chocolatiers of ideas” when they practice temperance.
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  • Students launch model rockets in NASA Club grand finale

    The NASA Model Rocket Club had an impressive finale Tuesday as students launched their rocket prototypes, some reaching upwards of 100 feet. Mr. Kyle Botkin, math teacher at JHCA, said he started this club to get students excited about and interested in rockets.
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  • 1st, 2nd & 4th Grade Art: An extension of history class

    Our first- and second-grade students have been studying indigenous dwellings in history class. Mrs. McDaniel, JHCA lower school art teacher, coordinated a Mexican themed art class project. Students painted scenes in the style of traditional Mexican art on vellum to represent the thin paper historically made from animal skins. These scenes were then mounted on paper that students painted with watercolors to resemble tanned leather.
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