I can be anywhere when it happens. It’s happened at Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club and the Exchange Club – all venues where I’ve been a guest. It’s also happened at Kroger, the bank, the little league park, and of course, in restaurants. People I don’t even know ask me, “So what do you do?” I pause, and I answer the question, knowing exactly what the next one will be. It’s always something like, “Oh, yes! I’ve heard about that school – nothing but good things. And then, “What kind of school is that anyway?”
Where do I start? I have developed a new strategy so that whenever I am asked about my students, I provide a picture, what I call a portrait of the graduate. The “Portrait” is an ideal list of qualities that our faculty aspires to develop in young people. This list can be found on our website, but we would prefer that you actually see it in the lives of our graduates, developed and displayed as they leave these halls for the next stage of their lives.
So what does a New Covenant student look like? A New Covenant student is eloquent with the written and spoken word. Cicero taught us that rhetoric is “a good man, speaking well.” Solomon said that “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” New Covenant students study languages. We parse; we diagram; we write; we speak. We master our mother tongue and the languages underlying it. Language is a gift from God, and the Scriptures refer to his Son as the Word. So we take words seriously from kindergarten forward.
A New Covenant student is also intellectually vigorous. This means that a student is led to know God, self and the world. Most people in our culture have been taught that religious people are somehow handicapped, as if religion is an impediment to knowledge. The Scriptures teach precisely the opposite. We know ourselves most fully when we know God. When we know God, we want to know about everything he has made. Our faith drives our curiosity. Our faith excites knowledge. Above all, our faith requires excellence. We do not believe that Christianity should nurture mediocrity, but requires us to strive for excellence.
Finally, a New Covenant student is a lover of truth, goodness and beauty. These are the things that make us fully human. As one of my graduate professors quipped regarding the causes of the Trojan War, which was fought over a woman: “You have to have beauty in your life.” We not only teach our students to communicate, but to create, to participate and to appreciate the beauty of the world. This is done as a community. There is no such thing as an orchestra of one, or a choir of two.
New Covenant is so much more than academics It’s an experience that engages the whole person. So we paint; we play; we sing…together. Just for the love of it. If you would like to see some of our students, stop by our website. We’ve got some “portraits” there in video form. I hope you’ll view them.