January 27, 2017 – Memorial of St. Angela Merici
The typical operations of a start up school continue…building relationships with our bank, Arvest, as well as finding possible vendors such as printers. I have tried three printers out in the NWA area thus far trying to find not only a good price but also a printer who desires to do business with a start-up, a business that treats us like a long term or larger client. In future posts I will recognize the printer/s I am choosing to work with, but at this time I am still looking around and seeking recommendations.
Area Charter School
In participating in the NWA Schools Choice Festival, my table was adjacent to NWA Classical Academy table. I met Ms. Susan Provenza, the headmaster, along with a few of her administrative team members. On Tuesday, I was able to tour their school, and meet with Ms. Provenza to discuss their curriculum and how they are unique to NWA. I have been getting summaries of the individual schools and all the options here in NWA, but over the next few months I hope to visit traditional public, charter, and private schools in the area to introduce myself, get a snap shot the unique educational opportunities they bring to NWA and begin to build collegial relationships. These relationships with other schools will allow me to better understand how to begin Ozark as strong as possible, understanding the educational community is key as there are many schools, public and private that have recently opened or expanding. The Northwest Arkansas community is supportive of non-profits and in particular education options, so Ozark Catholic Academy hopes to enter this healthy educational market in a unique position in terms of our Catholicity, character formation, and curriculum.
I was officially offered some free temporary office space, which will allow me a place to get work done outside of the house on a day to day basis. Most of my day is spent driving place to place meeting people, but having a quiet place to follow up with others whether through emails or phones calls is a blessing.
St. Thomas More
On Monday evening, I gave talk at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Bentonville, entitled, “Thomas More: a Man in the World, rooted in Family.” The audience was made up of parishioners as well as those from the NWA community. My purpose was to enrich the audience with the life and ideas of Thomas More and hopefully to inspire them to learn more about him. I used examples of his upbringing and education, as well as his relationship with his father, Judge John More, Prince Henry (soon to be King Henry VIII), his friendship with Erasmus, but moved into a few details discussing More’s relationship with his wife, Alice, and his children, particularly Margaret, his oldest. I discussed how More’s goal was to prepare the soul of each child for the reality of life. We can observe that he lived this understanding in how he guided the family as a whole but also how he interacted in a particular way with each child. Guiding More’s thought was the reality that grace builds upon nature.
The reality is the faith never goes without [reason]…[I]f reason is allowed to run wild and grow overly arrogant and proud, she will not fail to fall into rebellion against her master’s faith. But on the other hand, if she is well brought up and well guided and kept in good temper, she will never disobey faith, being in her right mind. And therefore let reason be well guided, for surely faith never goes without her. (Thomas More Source Book 278)
More’s end goal was for each child’s soul to enter into heaven, but without self-rule, which was grounded in well-trained reason, a child would not be prepared for life. With the overwhelming amount of technology and gadgets in our lives today, More’s educational philosophy is even more relevant for ourselves and our children.
The lecture led me to contemplate ideas for next week’s celebration of Catholic Schools Week. Look for a week of social media posts (YouTube Video, and our entree into Instagram) giving thoughts to why one should choose Ozark Catholic Academy in NWA when you have so many good choices already. The ground has been tilled and now the seeds are to be planted…
An unbiased plug for my alma mater….the University of Dallas is known as