One of the fundamental aspects of JHCA's education is the formation of habits in our students. We focus on sixteen habits that, when developed, shape students into virtuous and conscientious young adults. In this post, guest author & JHCA mom Joy Abad discusses how everyone can use habit formation to their benefit, especially when trying to live out their New Years goals.
Life is what you bake it. What started as a hobby for Julie Hession turned into a career–one that took her all the way to the Food Network. A three-time cookbook author with a successful baking blog and a second-grade parent at JHCA, Julie has won televised baking competitions judged by Bobby Flay, Sara Moulton, Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi, and Guy Fieri. Through her Las Vegas-based bakery and café called “Julie Anne’s,” she produced a line of granola that was sold in over 400 stores nationwide. When not starring on TV, Julie creates custom cakes, decorated cookies, and huge charcuterie boards for parties. Currently, she is leading a six-week baking club for students at Jackson Hole Classical Academy!
Last April, we hosted our first ever "Lunch and Learn" for our high school students and it soon became a fun, informative, and inspiring tradition here at JHCA. Every three weeks, we welcome a member of the Jackson Hole community to come to campus to share his or her story with our high school students. These informal gatherings provide our students with an opportunity to learn about varied career paths, hear different definitions of success, and receive poignant words of wisdom. To date, we have hosted professionals who represented a wide range of careers including an investment banker, interior designer, nurse, industrial and critical mineral expert, entrepreneur, and trauma surgeon. Our next speaker is a former Green Beret who served in the Central Intelligence Agency.
Jackson Hole Classical Academy's 6–12th grade visual arts teacher Tamara Callens is an award-winning artist who specializes in oil and watercolor painting, charcoal drawing, and mono-printing. Ms. Callens hails from the Pacific North Coast in California, where she began drawing professionally in junior high school. She eventually settled in the Mountain West, where she draws inspiration from the breathtaking landscapes and fascinating people.
Monica Vitale joined Jackson Hole Classical Academy as the Dean of Academics and College Counselor with a master’s degree in Global and International Education from Drexel University. Prior to joining JHCA earlier this year, Mrs. Vitale worked for 15 years in several academic, advisory and admissions roles at a college-preparatory boarding school in New England. She says having been on both sides of the admissions desk has allowed her to better prepare students for college and career.
The heart of classical training, and education, is a training in the virtues through a foundation of piety, leading to true and effective learning. The authors of The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Classical Education begin the first chapter by discussing the idea that piety is at the heart of education through the classic tradition. The ancient educational tradition with high calling is to allow personal values to guide all learning. Morals ought not to be simply things of study that are reserved from society, but values that are passed down through tradition as the foundation of all, including learning.
One solution to the theological dilemma that God’s foreknowledge and foreordination present to human freedom was first championed by the sixteenth century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina. In philosophical circles, his solution is known – unsurprisingly – as Molinism.
The following has been adapted from an opening ceremony address given to the Upper School students by Jackson Hole Classical Academy Learning Support Coordinator, Mr. Chase Court, who is a licensed school psychologist.
There are three r’s that are commonly used as strategies and measurements of a student’s success in school: reading, ‘riting,’ and ‘rythmitic.’ Robert J. Sternberg, a psychologist and Professor of Human Development at Cornell University, and Rena F. Subotnik, Director of the Center for Psychology in Schools and Education at the American Psychological Association (2006) identified what they term the “other three r’s” critical to education success not sufficiently recognized in schools: reasoning, resilience, and responsibility. Of these three r’s, resilience is the key factor that distinguishes those that are highly successful from others.
“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.
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?
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Our very own Eva G. and Vadin S., both in 3rd Grade, were in Off Square Production's February 2023 staging of "The Sound of Music." Eva played the role of Buckwheat and Vadin took on the character of Baron Elberfeld. They performed in six shows between this past Thursday and Saturday, and the 3rd Grade Class was able to go see the show on Friday to support their classmates!
Congratulations to our up & coming thespians, Eva and Vadin!
Three of our high school students traveled to Star Valley this weekend for the final regular Speech & Debate competition of the season. Junior James N. took second in the Congressional Debate and eighth in the Impromptu Speaking events. Jackson N., also a junior, came in fourth in the Impromptu event and tied for first place in the Extemporaneous Speaking event. Sophomore Oscar A., along with a junior from JHHS, swept the team Public Forum Debate and ended as a co-champion in the event; he also took sixth in Extemporaneous Speaking.
Congratulations to our students and good luck this weekend in the Rock Springs District National Qualifying Tournament!
Freshman Bill R. was honored on January 31 by the Jackson Hole Rotary Lunch Club after being named a "Student of the Season." Mr. McRae introduced Bill at the lunch, stating that he is "a consistent contributor in the classroom and an accomplished chess player." Bill is a Scout, working toward becoming an Eagle Scout, and a swimmer on the JHHS swim team. Congratulations, Bill, for being named a "Student of the Season!"
JHCA students Sascha M. and Case M. placed in 1st and 2nd, respectively, in the Davey Jackson chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution high school essay contest. In this contest, "Patriots of the American Revolution," students were prompted to write about a particular figure in the American Revolution and describe their contribution to the founding of the nation. Essays were judged based on historical accuracy, organization of material, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctation, and quality and scopes of references. Sascha's essay, titled "The Contribution of Baron von Steuben to the American Cause," has moved on to the state competition. Stay tuned for news!
Jackson Hole Classical Academy has been selected as one of the 64 quarterfinalists for the 2022 Yass Prize! The Yass Foundation, established by educational visionaries Janine and Jeff Yass, released a statement regarding the prize that read, “the award highlights education providers that strive to offer education that is Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless (STOP).”
Thank you, Ambassador Andrew Bremberg for coming to speak to our upper school students! Dr. Bremberg spoke about his time as the U.S. Ambassador in Geneva, serving in the White House, and his current position as President of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in D.C., where he is an advocate for freedom around the world.
The fourth-grade class took a field trip today to Yellowstone National Park, just a short drive from our campus! Our students spent the day in the southern loop, which included a visit to Yellowstone Lake to write descriptive essays, a fact-finding scavenger hunt at the Old Faithful Visitor Center museum, and a Ranger Program in front of Old Faithful during which students learned about the Park's hydrothermal features, examined mineral samples, and of course witnessed the Old Faithful geyser.
The fourth grade class explored Yellowstone National Park on Friday, May 20 for their class field trip this year. They saw some exciting wildlife – including bison, elk, and a bear – along their drive and in the Park. In addition to visiting geysers, the Old Faithful Inn, and Yellowstone Lake, they learned about the history of the United State’s first national park and contemplated its beauty.
Nondiscrimination Policy: Jackson Hole Classical Academy admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. Jackson Hole Classical Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, tuition assistance, athletic, arts and other school administrated programs.