A Place for Learning and Leisure

Jonathan Desmarais • Logos Academy Upper School Literature and Lead Teacher

“If you are losing your leisure, look out! It may be that you are losing your soul.” -Virginia Woolf

In his 1835 text De la démocratie en Amérique, commenting on the development of American society, the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville was perplexed by Americans’ incessant restlessness in the midst of constant prosperity. He describes an individual that is always striving for the betterment of oneself and the ones that he/she loves. He found that through hard work, ingenuity, and education, in the pursuit of happiness, Americans largely are unhappy. He concludes that “he who has set his heart exclusively upon the pursuit of worldly welfare is always in a hurry, for he has but a limited time at his disposal to reach, to grasp, and to enjoy it.”

Over the past hundred years or so, American education has adopted many of the same principles guided by the pursuit of “worldly welfare”, embracing quantitative output and high test scores. While these goals are certainly worthy pursuits, they do not however, help shape the entire student in a holistic sense. We as a society have become very good at developing individuals that work hard to receive high grades, to get into a good college, to get a high-paying job, to purchase a nice home, and to ultimately pass this tradition on to our children. However, we as a society, have failed to develop individuals who are guided by the pursuit of beauty, truth, and goodness; the key ingredients to living a fulfilling and happy life.

At Logos Academy, we can certainly boast of our students’ high academic achievement, however this is not our ultimate desire. Logos Academy is a place for learning, but it is also a place for leisure. The Greek word for leisure is “scholé,” from which we get the English word “school.” It is our desire at Logos Academy to create a vibrant community that takes a holistic approach to student learning, using the innate God-given senses of wonder and curiosity to produce individuals that are driven by the lifelong pursuit of learning; a learning that seeks to explore and worship God’s creation.

First time visitors to Logos Academy often comment that our students are happy and joyful in their learning, and this is certainly no coincidence. As the Upper School lead teacher it is my privilege and joy to share with you some highlights of what our students have been doing in their classrooms over the past few weeks and months that embody the spirit of scholé.

Incorporating the skills they have been developing in their Rhetoric Class, the 6th Grade have been interviewing family members and friends in order to write their own autobiographies.  Stay tuned as the students will be presenting their finished autobiographies to their peers and Lower School students in early February. Recently, students in Ms. Gilda Hein’s Spanish I and the Intro to Spanish courses prepared a Quinceañera celebration, complete with authentic Spanish food, music, games, and decorations.

Experiential learning and community engagement is a major focus of a Logos education. Recently the 6th and 7th Grade choir under the direction of Ms. Christine Musser performed for the Rotary Club of York at the Yorktowne Hotel. In addition, two Logos students in the Class of 2017 were honored by the Rotary Club as they were selected as Students of the Month. Congratulations Kauna and Deon! In Mr. Michael Hornbaker’s Christian Heritage Course, the Class of 2018 have made use of the various historic churches that are located in downtown York. They have been in dialogue with various church leaders as they experienced some of the most aesthetically beautiful sacred spaces that York City has to offer.

Lastly, as the Upper School Literature teacher, I am proud to announce that Liesl Krauss, from the Class of 2019 represented Logos Academy at the regional Poetry Out Loud Competition in Gettysburg in early February after winning the schoolwide competition in November. Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition in which high school students are judged on their physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, and evidence of understanding. At the school competition she gave some fantastic performances of Eleanor Wilner’s “Without Regret” and “The Enigma” by Anne Stevenson. At the regional competition she will also be reciting “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth.

I could certainly continue on for many pages about the many wonderful things that occur on a daily basis in the Upper School at Logos Academy. Tune in next time to read about more ways that Logos students have embraced scholé in their pursuit of beauty, truth, and goodness.

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