FROM THE HEADMASTER, DR. RICHARD A. BRAKE
Forming Souls During a Pandemic: A Statement of Purpose from St. Michael Academy
There are times in a Nation’s history that require clear thinking and confident resolve, a time to be reminded of first principles and how to apply them to the crisis at hand. We live in such consequential times.
Educational institutions like ours, St. Michael Academy, are therefore obligated to provide their communities with definitive statements clarifying their intentions for the coming school year.
WE ARE DETERMINED TO BE OPEN FOR BUSINESS NEXT YEAR – PRUDENTLY & BOLDLY!
Obviously, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, prudence dictates that we must take concrete steps to safeguard the health and welfare of our precious students, parents, faculty, and staff. We did so before the closure and will continue to do so upon re-opening. This will no doubt require enhanced facility cleaning, more emphasis on personal sanitization, logical re-arrangement of classroom space, and other “common sense” mitigation measures.
We have learned a lot about the severity of the virus and its impact on various constituencies, as well as how to minimize its spread and its effects. We will surely continue to learn more which will inform our re-opening school this fall. We are carefully taking note of how other communities, both at-home and abroad, are re-opening their schools, and are pleased to see many instances where the strictures of learning and health are successfully reconciled with minimal disruption. We are confident that even within this extremely fluid environment, we have the proven capacity to adjust our delivery of classical education to serve the needs of the entire child: mind, body, and soul.
This comprehensive approach to learning and formation is the hallmark of a Classical Catholic curriculum and we are proud that, despite the closure, our Online Learning Initiative allowed us to continue educating our kids when most schools could not. Our students and teachers were given a hands-on lesson in perseverance, and we are all the better for it! Our independence, low student-teacher ratio, and straightforward teaching style gave us the flexibility to seamlessly adopt an online educational model in a matter of days, and we can do so again – TEMPORARILY – if necessary.
Another major lesson we learned from the COVID-19 closure is that online learning for high schoolers is a secondary option at best, and only effective on a temporary basis. We have many examples where students at all levels struggled to keep-up with their studies, while teachers became overwhelmed by the taxing routine of preparing, recording, producing, and disseminating lectures, lessons, and labs.
SIMPLY PUT, WE CANNOT FULLY PERFORM OUR ACADEMIC AND SPIRITUAL MISSION ONLINE!
St. Michael Academy is proud to teach the classical virtues of Prudence, Courage, Temperance, and Justice, as well as the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Now more than ever, we need to form future leaders who are instilled with these virtues, allowing them to demonstrate resilience, not panic, in the face of the unknown. We must inspire and model for our students the prudence, courage, and love that seem to be in such short supply these days. And we cannot do so long-term from a Zoom seminar or You Tube lecture.
We pray that calm, cool, and collected decision-making will govern the deliberations of local, state, and federal lawmakers allowing St. Michael Academy (and other similar schools) to perform its mission both effectively and safely. For the rest, we place our trust in God, who made Heaven and Earth. With HIM all things are possible.
Our troubled world longs for the peace and unity that is promised in the Gospel. And with that in mind, we at St. Michael Academy welcome all who are looking for an alternative for their sons and daughters during these confusing times. What we offer is the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness of our civilization through the lens of Christian Love. What a wonderful combination, and so will you consider joining us next year? You’ll be ever so glad you did. God bless you and God bless our County.
St. Michael, pray for us!
Dr. Richard Brake, Headmaster