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Head of School, Thursday, February 14, 2019

Dear JH Classical Academy Parents,
 
FortitudeCourageBravery. These are the virtues needed when we are experiencing fear, and the virtues we've been studying this month.  Nobody likes to encounter the vulnerability, uncertainty, and insecurity caused by fear. Nobody likes the hurtful thoughts or actions that arise when fear causes us to lose perspective or blame others or ourselves.  So, what can we do when we are feeling afraid? 
 
For me, words, stories, and friendships help. Words like, “Fear not, I am with you” or “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” are calming truth in the midst of fear. I wrote my senior thesis on Harriet Tubman from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and found her heroism inspirational. Sometimes stories like that provide the bravery needed in the midst of fear. The presence of friends who have weathered storms or suffered loss with me are tremendously comforting when I’m feeling afraid or alone.
 

One of the reasons our curriculum at JH Classical Academy is so powerful is because these words, stories, and friendships are etched into the hearts of our students throughout our program. Teachers provide beautiful and meaningful scriptures, historical speeches, songs, and poems to memorize. Teachers create mentoring activities to encourage understanding between students so that they learn the importance of friendship.
 
Words. Third Grade memorizes the Beatitudes to always remember, “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” Stories. Fourth Graders read “The Hobbit” and admire Frodo’s heroism in giving up his life to save Middle Earth and the good in the world. Friendships. Fifth Graders memorize,“Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friend.” I could share an example of words, stories, and friendship from every grade level.
This coming week, the seventh Graders are memorizing “If” by Rudyard Kipling, written in 1895. In this poem, Kipling provides a blueprint for living a good life from the perspective of a father giving advice to his son to find his place in the world. The poem paints a picture of real concerns about the human world and the admirable goals we must pursue. How beautiful it is to have these words etched in the hearts of our children so they can recall them at a testing point?!
 
“If” by Rudyard Kipling
 
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
 
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
 
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
 
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
 
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters“Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” The word courage comes from the French word “coeur” that means “heart.” When our heart reaches this testing point, let us protect it from fear and remember, read, and reinstate the words, stories, and friendships that give us fortitude during challenging times.
 
“Courage, dear hearts!”
 
 
Mrs. Polly J. Friess
Head of School
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Contact

Jackson Hole Classical Academy
P.O. Box 7466
Jackson, WY 83002
 
Enrollment Inquiries:
Polly Friess
(307) 690-8396
 
All Other Inquiries:
School Office
(307) 201-5040






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