Recently the board members of Ashland Christian School decided to extend their educational services into the upper grades by creating Veritas Classical Christian Academy. I had a chance to speak with Director of Development, Rich Policz, and get the scoop on the new high school that's coming to town this fall.
1. Why VCCA?
For nearly 40 years, Ashland Christian School has considered options for a high school. Here in an era where young men and women are leaving the church in droves, all while national standards in education are slipping, a school like this is critically needed. VCCA will exist to sharpen young minds with rigorous program of study and prick young hearts to contend for the faith in an intelligent and winsome manner.
2. What's a Veritas anyway?
Veritas means “truth” in Latin. We picked that name because as a classical school we will teach Latin, but more importantly, truth is such a vital concept in Scripture. Jesus describes His purpose in John 18: “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
The once-great colleges like Harvard have “Veritas” as a motto (Yale is “Lux et Veritas” or Light and Truth), and in a sea of moral relativism they have robbed it of its meaning. We like the idea of picking up this discarded word from the dustbin, and affixing it to our school as a symbol that the Truth of Christ is central in all that we teach.
3. Don't we have a perfectly fine high school already?
I guess that depends on what you mean by “perfectly fine.” It is not the primary responsibility of the state to educate our children. I believe that parents are called to be diligent teachers to their children, and that the most important thing to teach is the character and nature of God—His righteousness which demands justice and His love which provides the sacrifice which sates his righteous judgment.
A Christian education ought to come alongside parents in disseminating these transcendent truths. They are the key to everything we learn or do. I think its fair to say that this transcendent view of God is not preeminent in our current local high school options. This is to take nothing away from the Christians who serve as public school teachers---often they are muzzled lions, sprinkling in truth where they can. My fondest hope cannot be for schools to “allow” prayer back in or for the 10 commandments to be posted. My colleagues and I are not content to be sprinklers of truth—we are made to sing it out as loudly as we can, and in doing so be a stone on which future generations can sharpen their swords. That’s the kind of tool that parents deserve to have in their job of raising the children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
4. You intend to be a "classical school." What is that and how is it different from what we typically understand as school?
In many ways a classical education is your grandparent’s education. It hearkens back to an older style of teaching and focuses on things that have been forgotten by newer “innovations” of modern education. There is a strong emphasis on Latin, logic, great books, and scientific and mathematical progression. In the end, we are teaching students “how to think” rather than just processing information. In a world where technology puts endless scads of information at our fingertips, it is vitally important that we learn how to assemble that information and use it in a meaningful way to understand what is true, just, and beautiful—with the ultimate understanding that Christ is at the center of such things.
5. I hear that all the course books will be on iPads? Is this true?
Yes, this is indeed the case. After talking about your “grandparent’s education”, the iPad is one innovation that we can get behind. Each student is required to have their own iPad for most of our classes (Rhetoric/Debate being one notable exception). Students will be able to download all of the reading materials, and in some cases lesson notes that they will need for their courses.
The iPad reader apps allow the students to mark their books and fill them with notes in a way that a traditional textbook would not allow. The school saves money in that we don’t have to buy physical books, keep track of them, and find a place to store them. Also, digital editions are often much more affordable and since much of our curriculum is old enough to be in the public domain, many of our texts are free! Beyond that, students will be able to keep their books with them forever.
6. How does a Christian worldview play into the daily classroom activity?
No education, no matter how hard it may try, is neutral. We will be teaching from a explicitly Christian (that is to say Biblical) view of all of life. A Christian ought to view math as part of God’s revealed truth and part of his common grace. A Christian ought to have a different perspective on life than non-believers and this should affect how their lives are lived. There should be a discernable difference as someone “watches their life and doctrine closely.” This is one of the core ideas behind VCCA—one which we hope spreads beyond the walls here.
7. Take me through a normal day/week at VCCA.
Our prescribed courses are laid out in more of a collegiate format, so Mondays and Wednesdays will be alike and Tuesday/Thursdays will be alike. Our class periods will be much longer than a typical school, weighing in at an hour and fifteen minutes. This allows for instructors to both lecture and have the opportunity to work alongside their students. Our lunch time will be an opportunity for faculty and students to eat together and discuss life.
Fridays will be different from all other days (not dissimilar to the workplace!) and will feature an hour of life-on-lives mentoring in the morning, in which a godly man or woman from the community will meet with 2 young men or young women respectively to share life with a focus on Scripture. It’s critically important to teach the coming generations, but it is equally important for investment of time and influence in their lives in a relational manner. Fridays will also feature a school wide chapel.
Another key feature to VCCA, is that Friday afternoons will feature a series of guest lecturers across all of our disciplines, who will instruct our students in an area of expertise. We have university professors, pastors, entrepreneurs, and community leaders who have all volunteered to participate in this innovative endeavor—all men and women who boldly profess Christ and live a vibrant faith.
8. Tell me about the teachers at VCCA.
Most of our core area teachers have a masters or a doctorate in the area of study. They are university professors, pastors, experienced high school teachers, with interesting life stories. All are eminent in their qualifications. Many of our specialties teachers (computer, music, art, etc) while carrying a level of expertise, are much younger and bring with them the zeal of youth which will lead to great connectivity to our students. If we had a million dollars and were tasked with starting a small community college, I doubt we could do much better than this staff.
9. What is your expectation once students graduate?
In short, we expect to produce students who are able to think and are rich in integrity. So that no matter what our graduates set out to do from technical skills, entrepreneurial ventures, or collegiate studies, they will have the means to acquire the necessary knowledge to be successful and spiritual depth to leverage that success into positively impacting their community.
10. Can anyone be a part or is this just for Christians?
As it currently constructed, VCCA falls under the major policies of Ashland Christian School. As such, VCCA is only open to parents who are professing Christians who attend a church. Discipleship is our principal aim. Having said that, discipleship is not so far removed from evangelism…
11. How can one get their kids enrolled at VCCA?
They can contact the school office at 419-289-6617 or email me personally at email@example.com
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