Parents and teachers in our community strive to equip Covenant Classical graduates for their future. A question and answer style survey was sent out to reccent CCS graduates to hear what they think.
Did attending a Classical Christian school prepare them for college? Specifically, did CCS prepare them? What do they miss most about school at CCS? What was the best thing about their Classical Christian education? What were some things they took for granted living at home? Are they involved in church while at college? If they could go back, what would they change about their years at CCS?
Read on for answers, insight, and more from Covenant Classical School alumnus Daniel Haycox.
What type (private, public, Christian, technical, in-state, out-of-state, etc.) and size of college do you attend? Give name of college (not required).
I go to a small Christian private school called Lipscomb University.
How do you feel your classical Christian education prepared you for college compared to your classmates?
To me, high school was the last time I was told what to believe and how to think. Of course, I was allowed to disagree with what the teachers were saying, but I personally liked being offered a framework for living righteously and evaluating ideas.
Being told what to believe isn't always a bad thing, or inherently propaganda or indoctrination. Jesus told people what to believe very frequently. As a student, it is not my job to say what I think. My job is to understand and integrate the wisdom of those who are wiser and older than me. And I felt like CCS communicated that wisdom very directly. In college things are taught much more ambiguously. There's such a diverse audience of students that teachers don't seem confident to make definitive statements that risk offending people. Even Bible classes are taught in a hesitant sort of way. Instead of being told how we ought to think, we are offered ideas which we are supposed to interpret on our own.
I'm really thankful that I have a strong foundation to reference when considering the ideas that are presented in college, since no other foundation is being offered here. I frequently refer to books, poems, and Circe blog articles which were shown to me at CCS when writing college papers.
Are you involved in church, Bible studies or other spiritual activities at college? Why or why not?
I go to an Anglican church and am not currently involved in any Bible study. I don't have a
whole lot of free time and I find student led ones to be generally not worthwhile to me. I do try to be invested and involved in my church community.
What was the best thing (or one of the best things) about your Classical Christian education?
Reading the great books of Western literature.
Lipscomb doesn't do a great job at making us read those, and when we do, it's nice to be able to speak intelligently about them. And the CCS teachers would read them aloud in class, which is the best way to do it. Saves students homework and the whole class lackluster discussions devoid of any specific reference to the text.
No high school experience is perfect. If there was something you could have added to your CCS education, what would it be?
Make sure everybody - students, teachers of every subject/grade, staff, and heads know what classical learning is and how teaching/learning at CCS should be different than your average school. The best teachers were always the ones who understood the distinct nature of classical teaching.
What has surprised you the most about your college experience?
You will make deep friendships much more quickly than in high school.
After only a semester, I reached a level of friendship with my college best friend that equaled or exceeded several of my high school friendships, which I had built over four years. Don't underestimate the power of eating together and living in the same building when it comes to growing close to people. Yet don't forget those high school friends either.
If you could advise high school students about the best summer activities to engage in before college, what would they be? A job, SAT/ACT prep, mission trip, internship, sports camp or something else?
High schoolers, you gotta do something over the summer.
I know it sounds hard to chose work after you've been working hard all year, but you've just got to. It was senior year when I "woke up" and realized that colleges were expecting me to use my time wisely and grow as a person before stepping on campus. And by senior year you don't have the time to do that. I was really glad my parents had forced me to do things over the summers, because I would not have chosen that on my own.
Get involved in a formal way with something you are interested in. People and organizations love helping high schoolers to succeed. Just do your research. If you like animals, look up opportunities at local shelters or zoos. If you like public service be a NC Government page. You don't have to do something that "looks good on a resume," but make sure it is something that you can write about in a resume format, and you can talk about in an interview. Working on artwork doesn't fit on a resume. Shadowing or volunteering at a studio or museum does.
Volunteering for a couple hours here and there doesn't fit. Working consistently with one organization does. And hopefully, these things that you do will help you grow as a person, which is really the whole point.
Other than your parents, who has been the most influential person in your life? Why?
I've got to say two - Josh Leland and Andrew Morton. They pointed me toward the right books, the right friends, and the right way of living. We also have a shared love of many nerdy things which helped to expedite our friendship. Every man has got to have some solid men backing him up - and these are my dudes.
What is one thing you took for granted at home?
When you go to college, you have to build your own communities. They aren't given to you like at home. I particularly noticed this while becoming a part of my church's community. I couldn't rely on the connections or friendships my parents had made to meet people. I had to do it by myself.
Since being at college, have your interests changed? Do you like the same subjects you liked when you were at CCS? Why or why not?
I'm an animation major, which was a relatively recent passion to bloom in my life. I really only started pursuing it my senior year at CCS, but it is nearly all-encompassing now. A huge part of my life is now tied up with my art. As a result, I don't have as much time to pursue my favorite subjects at CCS, like philosophy and history. But I still like them, and I still think a lot about metaphor and philosophy when making my art.
What do you see yourself doing when you
Dream job would be running a show for Cartoon Network or Disney, but I expect to work in other areas of the animation industry to build up to that point.