All good things must come to an end. While part of the purpose of a classical education is to prepare a student for a life of learning and discovery, our students cannot remain with us forever, and eventually graduate. The last stage of the student’s education, the rhetoric stage, is, perhaps, the most important. If one were to compare the cultivation of wisdom to the preparation of a feast, then the student has spent the grammar stage cleaning the house, cooking the meal, setting the table, finally the table is ready, the time has arrived to feast.
At the rhetoric stage, the student is prepared, through the foundational work he has done at the grammar and logic stages, to finally be able to actively participate in their education, and through discussion with his classmates, led by the teacher, to arrive at an understanding of the subject matter.
It is the change in the method of instruction that most clearly differentiates the rhetoric stage from the grammar and logic stages. At the rhetoric stage, the purpose of the class is not only the relaying of information from the teacher to the student, but to have the teacher guide the student in examining a text and coming to conclusions which they can articulately convey, using beautiful language and sound reasoning. Employing the Socratic method, some of our classes at this stage resemble the university environment in which the student is expected to engage at a very high level. The senior year is capped by a required senior thesis, a lengthy written work which the student must defend before his thesis commitee and later present publicly.
Meet our Faculty & Teaching Staff
Mr. Michael O'Donnell