As we announced a few months ago, we will be welcoming a new Grammar School Dean to Covenant for the 2020-2021 school year. We are pleased to introduce Mrs. Ashley Cossin and hope this short interview helps our community get to know her a little better. We can’t wait for you to meet her in person!
Tell us about your family. How old are your children? What are their interests?
My husband Jim and I have been married for 21 years. We met while we were students at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Our oldest child, Cana, is 18. She is a freshman at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia. At PHC, she plays on the women’s soccer team and she is a captain of the freshman Mock Trial team. James is fifteen and is currently a sophomore. This year he is involved with speech and debate. He also has experience with robotics and would like to join the robotics team at Covenant. John is 12 and in 7th grade. He plays club soccer, and he looks forward to playing on the Covenant soccer team.
What are some things you enjoy doing outside of work?
Of course I love to spend time with my children and my husband. Activities we enjoy outdoors include camping, hiking, and going to the beach. When relaxing indoors, I love reading, solving crosswords, Sudoku, and putting together a challenging puzzle. Meeting friends for a cup of coffee or a meal is also one of my favorite ways to spend free time.
What is one of the best books you’ve read in the last year?
One book that I found especially encouraging was Treasures of Encouragement by Susan Betters. This book prompts Christians to earnestly ponder how they can encourage others. Susan Betters recounts many personal anecdotes in the book including losing her sixteen year old son. She tells of the important role the members of her church played in supporting her through this difficult time. The book reminds believers of the importance of assisting one another during times of hardship.
Who are one or two people who have really influenced your thinking about education?
Doug Wilson’s book Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning provided my first glimpse into classical Christian education. It is remarkable that Wilson remembered reading an essay by Dorothy Sayers while he attended seminary as he contemplated creating an academically challenging Christian education for his oldest child, Rebekah.
While I was working at Veritas Classical Academy, I had the privilege of hearing his daughter, Rebekah Merkle, speak to our staff. Her insightful answers to both education and social issues revealed the excellent education that she received at the Logos School in Idaho.
What advice would you give to a family just beginning their journey in classical Christian education?
I would encourage them not to worry about their children’s grades for the first few months. The education that Covenant offers may differ greatly from the curriculum that they have used previously. Also, a significant amount of the curriculum used in the grammar school is cumulative. Students entering in the later years of grammar school often require several months to adjust. Lower grades on schoolwork or tests may not reflect the substantial amount of new information that your child has acquired.
For parents of logic and rhetoric students, I would encourage them to talk with their children about their classes. Most parents did not receive a classical education, and we can all glean from the wisdom and insight that our children are receiving in their classes.
What do you think you will miss most about being a classroom teacher?
I will definitely miss the daily interaction with my students. During the school year, teachers get to know the children in their classroom and their families on an extremely personal level. These close relationships with fellow believers was an aspect of teaching that I greatly enjoyed. Although I loved being a classroom teacher, I also look forward to the new challenge of being a full time administrator and the opportunity to work with a larger number of families and students.
What were some of the things you appreciated most about Covenant during your visit in January?
I absolutely loved the two days that I spent at the school in January! I have worked at two smaller classical Christian schools in southern California. While at Covenant, I enjoyed observing an established K-12 classical Christian school with veteran teachers and clearly established policies and procedures. In addition, I loved witnessing the focus upon God and His word. From the scripture verses in the lunch room, singing hymns with the entire student body on Thursday, and singing with the staff on Friday before students arrive, it was apparent that Covenant was a school striving to glorify God during the entire school day. I recognized that Covenant would be an excellent fit for me and for our children.
What excites you most about working at Covenant?
I look forward to having the opportunity to use my classroom and administrative experience to help parents further their children’s education. Classical Christian education offers today’s students an outstanding academic and solidly biblical education, and this makes me excited for the next generation of Christian children. I am thankful to have an opportunity to continue serving the Lord at Covenant Christian Academy.
Along with Christ-centered academics, the goal of a classical Christian education is to shape the hearts, affections and spiritual lives of our students in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. Stephanie Schwab, one of our two Kindergarten teachers here at Covenant, has graciously answered some questions to help give insight into what guiding the hearts of her students looks like in Kindergarten.
How long have you been teaching kindergarten at Covenant?
I have taught in the kindergarten classroom here at Covenant for seven years.
Apart from academics, how do you cultivate and guide the hearts and spiritual lives of your students?
It is a huge privilege to be able to teach right from the source, to guide children to understand and memorize portions of Scripture. Along with learning straight from God’s Word, every day brings an opportunity to learn how to apply what we learn from Him as the children interact with classmates, teachers, and work toward God-honoring attitudes and behaviors. My goal is to partner with the parents to help the students as they begin their journey of loving whatever our Heavenly Father calls Beautiful.
Would you mind sharing with us a story of your kindergarteners taking steps towards growing in wisdom?
At the beginning of the year, a kindergarten girl and boy who rode the same bus found themselves quarreling over who would enter the bus first. As you can imagine, each wanted to be first and devised a game wherein whoever sighted the bus first could choose who enters. After learning the biblical principle of preferring others (in class and at grammar school assemblies), as this truth sank in, the game changed to become, “If I see the bus first, I can choose that YOU go first!” This worked for a while until the young gentleman learned to defer to the young lady. Now they are working on how to graciously accept the gift of going first!
Describe the atmosphere of your classroom.
Typically, the kindergarten atmosphere is that of excitement, mixed with lots of energy and joy! In the course of the day, as students learn to relate to one another, strong feelings can flare! One important goal of the year is to give the students tools that they will find helpful in their interpersonal relationships now and throughout their lives to bring peace and resolution into areas of conflict. One example is helping students to walk through restoration with each other, offering meaningful repentance and forgiveness to one another. They learn that they can call on God for help in these areas. During the year the students learn to apply order and personal responsibility to their daily routines, while still maintaining excitement, energy, and joy in their learning.
How have you seen some of the lessons you teach in kindergarten be displayed further on?
I love to watch the children as they participate in Show and Tell and imagine how they will use what they learn when it comes time to present projects later in school and ultimately as they give their senior theses. When I hear these little ones graciously fielding questions about the objects near and dear to their hearts, or for that matter, learning to formulate appropriate questions from the ‘audience’, I see these as first steps toward upper school rhetoric. Even today, a kindergarten child who was sharing was asked about his special treasure and he responded, “That’s a tough question,” then turned to the over-eager group and graciously reminded, “I need time to think about this, put your hands down!” Wouldn’t it be great for more of us to learn that we need to take the time to answer well and to listen to each other!
Thank you, Mrs. Schwab, for your faithfulness in guiding the minds, hearts, and lives of our kindergartners!
For any family interested in joining us on the journey of teaching students to walk towards wisdom, beginning in kindergarten and every step of the way, feel free to visit our kindergarten page: https://discovercovenant.com/kindergarten/ or contact our Director of Admissions, Katie Broeg, at Katie.Broeg@DiscoverCovenant.com.
Science and mathematics are essential fields of inquiry and instruction for a classical, Christian course of study. Many of our graduates have gone on to pursue further education and careers in these disciplines in fields such as medicine, computer programming, bio-medical engineering, and more. (See our profiles on Allie Good, Ben Brown, and Daniel Schwab for a few examples).
We are happy to announce two new faculty members who will be teaching math and science classes at Covenant next year. Sarah McCollum will teach Biology and Andrew Ferris will join our team full-time to teach Grammar School Science, Life Science, Geometry, and electives. You can learn more about each of them – as well as our Lead Science Teacher, Beth Miller – by clicking on their names.
Overview of Covenant’s Math and Science Faculty
Over the last few years, we have been blessed to assemble a fabulous team of educators to teach our math and science courses. The following slides provide information about our program and the gifted faculty who will be teaching our students. If you would like to learn more about Covenant, please contact Admissions Director, Katie Broeg, to begin a conversation.
Compiled by John Hayward, Upper School Dean
Would you give a 10 year old a chainsaw? There are likely different answers that people give
depending on their own background and experience. Answers to that question also demand the
response, “Which 10 year old?” Debates could follow but everyone would agree that you don’t
give a powerful and potentially damaging tool to children without giving them warnings and
instructions. Social Media is a tool, and this blog talks about needed wisdom for its use.
Young Teens and Social Media
Protection and Prudence in a Pornified World
Compiled by John Hayward, Upper School Dean
Our students read the book of Genesis and the Epic of Gilgamesh which demonstrate that there is nothing new about sexual immorality. The Apostle Paul’s letters from the ancient world show us there is nothing new with sexual sin being a problem within the church. These articles are built upon ancient biblical wisdom but apply it to the new aspects of the internet worlds our families need to navigate.
- Protecting Your Home from Porn (Part 1)
- Protecting Your Home from Porn (Part 2)
- Porn, Smartstuff, and Thoughtfulness
- Catching Your Child in Sexual Sin (Part 1)
- Catching Your Child in Sexual Sin (Part 2)
We are happy to introduce you to our new biology teacher, Sarah McCollum. Sarah has a bachelor’s in Biology from Stephens College and a Master’s in Science Education from the University of Iowa. Earlier in her life, she taught high school science for a number of years and is now excited to return to the classroom at Covenant. Sarah is married to Kevin and they have two children, including Rachel who joined us as a 9th grader this past fall.
When did you decide to become a teacher?
I fell in love with science in middle school, and after taking biology as a freshman in high school I knew I had found my niche! My original plan was to work in biological research. However, during my junior and senior years of college, I realized that I was not satisfied hanging out with test tubes and micropipettes all day long! After praying, I felt that God was leading me towards teaching – that would allow me to combine my love of people with my love of science. There was only one problem with my plan – I was a senior due to graduate with a degree in biology, but no teaching training! I decided to continue in school and earn my Master’s Degree and my teaching certificate at the same time. After teaching for 6 years, my son was born and I left the teaching job to be at home with my son, and a few years later, my daughter.
Once both children were in grade school, I returned to teaching as a substitute, which I’ve done for the last 6 years. During the past year, I began to feel restless with the substitute teaching – I missed being able to design lessons and build long-term connections with students. In the fall, I tutored a student in biology and realized that I was just as passionate about biology as I was in the beginning! I was thrilled when Covenant started discussing with me the possibility of teaching biology as a part-time job.
What are some of the things you enjoy most about teaching?
I love teaching biology because it is the study of the living things that God created. Biology is intricate, beautiful and fun, and helps students understand how the world around them works! I believe the most critical part of teaching biology is to provide a solid and well-developed foundation that can be built upon in any future biological field students choose to follow.
Apart from teaching, what are other things that you enjoy doing?
Besides my love of science, I love studying and teaching the Bible, reading classical whodunit mysteries, embroidery, camping, spending time with my family and taking long walks with my dog.
What have you enjoyed about our school since your daughter started this fall?
I have enjoyed getting to know the people at Covenant this year. The school is very welcoming and has made Rachel and me feel at home and a part of the Covenant community very quickly.
It’s great to have you here, Sarah! We look forward to having you teach biology to our students next year.
Beth Miller joined our Upper School faculty in 2017 and was recently appointed as our Lead Science Teacher. She came to Covenant with extensive experience as a teacher in homeschooling co-ops, teaching mathematics courses from Algebra through AP Calculus, and science classes such as Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. We thought that our families would enjoy getting to know her better so we have put together this profile.
Tell us about your family?
Rob and I have been married for 20 years. We met in college at Bucknell University where we both majored in engineering. Rob majored in civil engineering, and I majored in chemical engineering. We met through our involvement in the Christian fellowship on campus. We have 3 children: Jonathan, who is finishing up his freshman year at Drexel as a Finance major, Sarah, who is finishing up her junior year at Covenant, and Jacob, who is finishing up his 8th grade year at Covenant.
What attracted you to classical, Christian education?
I read a good bit about education as our children were approaching school age. I loved the idea of their education equipping them to give a reason for the hope that we profess in Christ and enable them to stand firm in their faith and not be blown about by the waves of the logic or passions of our culture. Classical Christian education seemed to be the best way to accomplish it. I particularly remember reading an essay by Dorothy Sayers and thought her descriptions of the trivium would fit well with the growth of a child.
How did you get interested in science? Tell us a little bit about your educational and scientific background.
I have always been fascinated by how things worked. I remember begging my parents for a computer at a young age…I’m dating myself, I guess. They were rare in households when I was in grade school. In school, I was good at math and science and my chemistry teachers in high school suggested that I combine them by pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. So off to college I went.
Bucknell proved to be a great place to learn. It’s a liberal arts school with a great reputation for engineering which is small enough to have lots of interaction between faculty and students. For my work/study jobs, I was fortunate to be able to do chemistry research with professors the first two years, and engineering research for the last two. Senior year I wrote and defended my honors thesis on a computer model for the school’s plate distillation column. I recently went back and was able to see the bound copy in the school’s library!
After graduation, I worked for Air Products and Chemicals doing process design. Basically, I was designing 5 story building sized refrigerators which we called cold boxes. Some turned natural gas into a liquid for shipping and others separated air into oxygen, nitrogen, and argon. I loved it. Most of my time was in modeling and design, but I also got to do a stint at a plant startup. A few years later, Rob and I got married, and then children came along. I began to work part time (still for Air Products) for a while and then quit to be with my kids full time.
How do you think your experiences working as an engineer have contributed to your classroom experience?
A lot! As I teach my students how to do experiments I’m mindful that their lab work has a goal…to discover things and make careful observations of God’s world. That is what research is. And all the properties that we learn about can be used to make our world better. Understanding them leads to inventions and to plants like I used to design, and, of course, cool classroom demonstrations. I am still fascinated by how things work. I want to instill in my students a curiosity about their world and a confidence that their God has hidden marvelous things for them to discover in the patterns and properties of the universe.
I’m also mindful that even science people need to communicate on paper and orally. I can tell my math students that they DO have to prove their answers with work…even engineers must prove that their designs will stand up or work. No one trusts even the most senior engineer without some work to back it up. The same follows in my math and science classes.
Working also provided me with some fun stories about playing with liquid nitrogen.
How were you involved in classical Christian education before coming to Covenant?
As I homeschooled my children, it became clear that for me to give them the kind of education I wanted I would have to partner with other families. Memorization is much more fun with other kids, and dialectic and rhetorical skills require that you have other people to bounce ideas off of. Also, there were some subjects that I needed help with (history is in the forefront of those!). So I started 2 different homeschool co-ops both of which were classical, Christian education co-ops. I directed the one which focused on grammar school for 8 years and was part of the managing board for the second after that. It made me look around to see what was possible for my kids. I was blessed to partner with some great people who helped me educate my children. In addition to being the Director of the Upper School there, I developed the science program for the 2nd-12th grade years and taught the upper school classes in Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics…along with some Latin, math games, and SAT math prep. I loved watching the students grow as they came through the program. And I loved sharing my love for science with them.
In your opinion, what place should the sciences have in a classical, Christian education?
Although science is not the first thing you think of when you hear the words of the trivium: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric, it provides a great vehicle for practicing those skills. Science is part of the wonder that we want to instill in the grammar school children…wonder at the amazing world God has designed. Logic is one of the hall marks of good science. Writing lab reports gives students a good opportunity to practice collecting data and proving what they claim to be true. Part of logic is understanding causes and effects, and again, science provides a perfect place to practice logic where questions starting with how and why help ferret out their understanding. Why does the pressure of a gas increase when the volume is decreased? How can the force of an impact be decreased? A good science class is full of opportunities to practice thinking well. Ernest Rutherford of the gold-foil experiment fame said (and I’m paraphrasing) that your scientific discovery was of no use if you could not explain it to a barmaid…which was his way of saying that knowing a thing was not much use if you could not communicate it to someone else; hence rhetoric is important.
Also, science is part of our world whether we know it or not. We want students who can think through which treatment for a medical condition would be best for them, or how to save money on their heating bills. They need to be able to discern if the person on the infomercial is peddling science or fish oil. We need students who can be a persuasive voice for ethical science which honors God. This means they need to understand science.
Finally, though the trivium does not include words that speak exclusively of science, looking further in classical education to the quadrivium (arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy) does. It shows that classical educators were interested not just in science…but good cutting-edge science. Astronomy in the Middle Ages would have been like studying astro-physics or semi-conductor computer chips today. I would go so far as to say that science does not just have A place in classical, Christian education, but that it has an IMPORTANT place there. It trains our minds to think carefully and wonder greatly. I want my students to be able to say that they see the world differently after taking my classes.
As a somewhat new member of our community, what are some of the things that stand out to you about Covenant?
I have loved getting to know the people of Covenant. It is a wonderful place for me to work and for my kids to learn. One of the things I love is the rhythms that are knitted into the day to remind us of what is important: Loving God and honoring him with our time and talents. We do this in the Upper School through the morning Matins, praying and singing after lunch and again at the end of the academic day. I’ve loved seeing the care and thought that has gone into preparing the students to write and speak well and hearing about the discussions that my own children are having in their classes. There are some wonderful faculty members whom I am so thankful my children have the opportunity to learn from…who will inspire them to think about God’s world and what has happened in it. That doesn’t mean it is easy…but that it is shaping them into being those people that I talked about before who can give an answer for the hope that they have and discern the good from the bad in the winds that blow through our culture. I’m proud to be a part of it and have found several kindred spirits here. I’ve also been humbled by how much the parents contribute to the school. I’m so thankful to be in a place where MANY people are working to make Covenant a great place to learn.
I’ve also been having fun with all the toys in my lab! For someone who carefully purchased each piece of science equipment needed for my previous classes, it has been great fun to have such a well-stocked lab to work with. I have burettes, beakers, flasks, and pipettes aplenty.
What would you want your future students to know about your classes?
Hmmm…good question. I want my students to know that my classes are hard and that they are fun. And that I care about them. I want the students that have come through to tell those who are coming that the work is hard…the math can be difficult. But there are flying pigs to watch, raw eggs to toss, crash bumpers and airbags to design, soda cans to crush with atmospheric pressure, and dollar bills that are NOT consumed by flames. Because though science is hard…it is also fun.
When you’re not teaching at Covenant, what are some of your favorite things to do?
When I’m not teaching at Covenant, I enjoy being with my family. Taking my kids to their events and cheering them on is my mainstay. I also enjoy Boggle with Friends, and Sudoku (because…math and logic of course, but only the REALLY hard ones), and watching a good detective show with my husband.
Thank you for so faithfully teaching our students about God’s creation, Mrs. Miller! We so appreciate you.
What kind of impact can a classical education have on a person’s life? We recently asked Gordon Zubrod to share his thoughts about how his own classical education served him through his life as a Captain in the Marine Corps and federal prosecutor. As the grandparent of three Covenant alumni, as well as the father-in-law of Covenant’s founding Headmaster, Mr. Zubrod has seen firsthand the impact that a Covenant education can have on students.
Tell us about your educational background.
My undergraduate degree was taken at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a minor in political science. I took my law degree at the University of Maryland School of Law and later graduated from the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island, qualifying me as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Marines.
What (and who) were some of the formative influences on your life?
Key formative influences include, first and foremost, coming to faith in Jesus Christ. I slowly went from a self-absorbed scholar-athlete-reprobate to a simple believer who realized that God had given me a mind and that I should be brave enough to use it in his service.
Second was/is my wife, who showed me what grace looked like at ground level: humble, kind, persevering and ready for laughter.
Third was my father, who read great literature to me from childhood (the Iliad and the Odyssey, Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventures, Kon Tiki, Two Year Before the Mast, countless poems). He even sang. He was called the Father of Cancer Chemotherapy, responsible for developing numerous drugs that retarded or destroyed cancer cells. His faith informed everything that he did. He was offered the Deanship of Georgetown Medical School and Chief of Research for a major drug company after he left federal government (he was chief of scientific research at the National Cancer Institute), choosing instead to work with Haitian refugees in Miami, many of whom were suffering from AIDS. As a marine biologist (his other career), he taught me the Latin names of fish that were being studied at the laboratory in Maine where we spent our summers. When I would correctly identify a species as “squalus acanthius” or “lophius piscatorius” he would bestow his ultimate commendation: “Good show, old man.” By the way, Dad told me that his most significant training for medicine was Latin and Greek, which taught him the mental structure to see the essential “grammar and logic” of cell structures and of the diseases that attacked those cells.
I should add my long-suffering mother, who made me recite poetry and the rules of grammar to her each night as she prepared dinner and who persevered in prayer for me during the lost years.
The Marine Corps was an astringent application of discipline and method. I learned structure, chain of command, to take on large responsibilities and develop a bias for aggressive action regardless of the odds against me. They also required us to take the most difficult tasks (including examinations) when we had gone weeks without adequate sleep, food or preparation. The key was to find out who could perform best when he felt he had nothing left. It left a strong impression to this day, having become the habits of a lifetime.
I was greatly influenced by the Benedictine monks, who taught me for four years as a teenager (at St. Anselm’s Abbey in Washington, D.C.). I became what my daughter refers to as a “grammar Nazi.” They made us read difficult texts, including Caesar’s Gallic Wars, Virgil’s Aeneid and other Great Books. Mostly, I was struck, not only by how learned they were, but how reflective and thoughtful they were. Indeed, my wife and I still speak French to each other when the topic is sensitive and the grandchildren are around.
Finally, a very great influence was books. My mother, during the summer months, required us to read for two hours every day after lunch. Four of the five of us (the fifth was way too young) would climb into the same giant hammock and read each day. I read my way through the children’s and the young adult sections of the library in Bar Harbor, then walked into the adult section and discovered mysteries, which directed my career choices. A near disaster occurred when I asked my mother what a “lingerry” was. When, after making me spell it and discovering that the word was “lingerie,” she began to censor my reading choices. That incident led me to look up words for myself in the dictionary. I am still a bookworm, and still looking up words on my own.
How did your classical education impact you?
Classical education affected my life as a Marine and as a Federal prosecutor in a number of ways. I learned to read texts (orders, battle plans, statements, case law and facts) very carefully, to ask pointed questions based upon my reading of the facts and the law and to disagree with particularity and force when I thought a superior was wrong. I learned that huge issues and contests are usually decided on very small facts, minute details and to be the most versed on these facts going into any conflict or debate.
My classical education also trained me in the art of persuasion, to find le mot juste to deploy with skeptical agencies, autocratic superiors, aloof judges and in negotiating with brilliant opponents. Once, a barrister from Canada wrote me a letter about my position. He quoted Swift: “It is a wonderful thing to be a giant, but a terrible thing to act like one.” (Gulliver’s Travels). After laying out the ruin caused by his client to innocent people, my closing response was borrowed from Pepys: “A scoundrel’s back should taste the lash.” Great fun. Moreover, throughout my career, I have done the essential writing in every case that I have handled. Others may tweak the draft, but the essential text is mine. Having written the core documents, I was also the most informed and best prepared to try the case. It was a telling advantage.
Finally, in the legal profession, I came across numerous men and women who had a similar love for the law as a profession and were engaged in a life-long pursuit of self-education. They were well read in history, literature, philosophy and, of course, the law. In the midst of conflict and strife, they would reach back for a classic quote (e.g., “Once more into the breach…or else fill up the wall with our English dead.”).
You recently taught Covenant’s first ever Moot Court elective along with U.S. attorney, and Covenant parent, Stephen Cerutti. What are some of your observations?
Steve and I approached the course with some foreboding, not knowing how well the students would grasp complex Constitutional issues, rules of evidence, how well they would be able to handle oral argument and the think-on-your-feet give and take of the courtroom. We needn’t have worried. They were very sharp and, for the most part, took the course very seriously. Of course, some were superior and their preparation made them stand out when they rose to present their case to the Court. As a teacher, I found that the greatest quality of the students, in addition to their ability to grasp complex ideas, was their intellectual curiosity. I was continually challenged on the justice or logic of a particular Supreme Court ruling. The debates would rage between students on a particular issue or legal precept, with each combatant clearly expressing his/her position. Again, for the most part, they were not afraid of work, which included weekends and after-school hours. They wanted to get it right.
Were your goals for the course achieved?
On the positive side, the students rose to a high standard. As one expressed it in a letter written after the trimmest had ended, she had not realized how hard it was to become competent in a profession and how thrilling it was to find herself moving toward it after much effort. Several students said that the experience whetted their appetite for law and were considering pursuing a professional degree.
On the negative side, I think that we should have allowed more time for oral argument during the semester, but were hindered in doing so by the volume of information that had to be absorbed in order for the students to competently argue their cases in Federal court.
What advice would you give to parents considering coming to (or staying at) Covenant?
As the grandfather of three alumni of Covenant, I can personally testify to the performance of the school’s graduates in college and grad school. Zoe graduated summa cum laude from both Grove City (BA) and Villanova (MA). Noah, who will be entering his senior year, is carrying a 4.0 average in philosophy and is heading to Oxford to study philosophy and then to Italy to study Latin for a year. Moreover, their former classmates have experienced similar success in college. I was talking to a graduate of Covenant last Sunday. He told me that his college classmates were terrified of having to prepare a 5-minute presentation in Speech class. He stated that he had done it so frequently that he didn’t even break a sweat in his presentation, which was head and shoulders above the other speeches.
I’m not certain of the precise makeup of the final years at Covenant, but I am aware of the Senior Thesis and I presume that there is greater freedom in the final years to experience the professions. If not, I would include visitors from the professions, chosen for their ability to communicate the particulars of professional practice. This would include college professors to alert students what to expect when they get to college. Perhaps, visits to a medical school, a college class or a business (such as Classical Academic Press) would add to their experience as a Covenant student. I also think that debating, public speaking or dramatic readings of plays and even acting out parts of plays should be a requirement of the rhetoric phase (in college, we used to get together with some of our professors and read portions of plays, always the high point of the week).
In any case, those are the things that I would offer to parents, namely, that an upperclassman at Covenant gets to do things that most people experience only (and even then, rarely) in college. In other words, the school is not just about getting the necessary number of courses to graduate, but to experience the love of learning, becoming a lifelong learner along the way.
Thank you, Mr. Zubrod, for sharing your thoughts with us!