by: Ron Gilley
Re-enrollment season at Trinitas is in full swing and, in fact, the deadline to re-enroll current students for next year is just a few days away. With the thought in mind that parents re-evaluate their child(ren)’s education during this season, it might prove helpful to review some of those distinctions that make Trinitas a rather not-so-ordinary sort of school.
Now Trinitas is far from perfect because all the board, administration, faculty, students, and parents are a bunch of sinners. But then that’s no different from any other school, is it? What is different is that we are working on being perfect; in other words, we are a community of believers who are growing together in Christ. We are not adversarial toward one another—most especially the relationships between our parents and teachers are not adversarial; though, that is exactly the norm for parent-teacher relationships in many places. Instead, when we offend each other, we confess our faults to each other, repent, and seek forgiveness. We are working towards a common goal and growing together in Christ as we do. That is not an ordinary quality in schools.
Another distinction is that Trinitas is classical, both in what we teach and how we teach. Our aim is to graduate young people who know a lot, but who most importantly know how to think and learn for themselves. We spend much of our time training students to think and articulate precisely by having them practice on languages that are no longer spoken and by having them write tens of thousands of words and present dozens upon dozens of speeches. We read stacks of old books every year, some of them written by people who have been dead for over 2,000 years; in fact, we read no primary sources by living authors. We read everything by the light of Scripture. Rather than tell students what to think, we force them to work hard to understand the ideas being presented and to evaluate them according to their truth, goodness, and beauty. When students get into the world on their own, and we are not there to tell them what to think in a given situation, the value of this education will prove its worth. We don’t tell them what to think; we teach them how to think. That is not an ordinary quality in schools.
We desire our students to be persuasive speakers for the sake of the Gospel; indeed, we also desire them to be spiritually gracious and socially graceful for the sake of being better representatives of the Gospel. We ask them to recite poetry before large audiences of people they don’t know. We teach them how to drink tea and which fork to use and how to fold their napkin. We make them sing…and dance…with each other…in front of other people. We require them to love their neighbors, as Jesus commanded, by being kind and polite and respectful, even if they are 13 years old. We ask them to engage with but respect different doctrinal positions their classmates hold. That is not an ordinary quality in schools.
We expect parents to be engaged in the life of their student(s) and the school. Unlike the state, Trinitas is not here to raise children. We are here to come alongside parents and help with the things many parents are unable to do—teach Latin, Algebra, music, art, et cetera. We stand in loco parentis, in the place of the parent, at school, but parents are the ultimate authority in children’s lives. If children will not obey their parents at home, they will not obey their teachers at school and will, therefore, become a burden on the school. Trinitas parents see to it that their children uphold the Fifth Commandment. Trinitas parents side with and support teachers. Trinitas parents support the school with their time, talent, and treasure as they are able. That is not an ordinary quality in schools.
Trinitas is a board directed school. The school was founded on a mission and vision that is distinctly Christ-centered and classical. The board is responsible for guarding that mission and vision and for seeing it carried out. They are not open to every wind of educational change. In spite of pressure to do otherwise, their job is to remain true to the mission and vision. That is not an ordinary quality in schools.
For eighteen years God has blessed Trinitas. During this re-enrollment season I am hopeful for the continued blessing next year of a school full of joyful children who are eager to learn. That is not an ordinary quality in schools, but it has been a quality of Trinitas since the beginning. Does that describe your child: joyful, eager to learn? This school is not for everyone. It is different. There is nothing ordinary about it. But then I am hoping that is exactly why your family is here.