Ridgeview hosted two entirely new events this past Saturday, and both buoyed the spirits of anyone who might have worried that our message has been rendered dilute or less urgent. Both events stand as a testament to the steadfastness of our community, and that that community is not narrowly interested only in the welfare of their own children, but of the thousands of children who may yet be positively impacted by a uniquely Ridgeview education.
Anyone, it is said, can sink a ship. The world does not want for such people. Defeatism in the face of adversity, grumbling along a rough road, and shrewish caviling when personalities clash are always and everywhere the enemy of the common good. With these negatives in mind, we are all the more fortunate to have seen that perseverance and good cheer are still hallmarks of those most committed to Ridgeview’s success. Doing anything worthwhile, especially if it is being done for the first time, cannot but be fraught with difficulty. We have inherited a great school burdened by a fear that we will be accused of elitism. We have historically been indecisive about how to persuade others of our greater purpose and culturally antagonistic to raising funds lest Ridgeview look too much like a private school. We have much preferred to talk of books and high-minded intellectual matters in the hope that the rest of the world will let us be. The world, however, will abide no such thing. It leaves no man to be, and those who cease trying to gain ground find quickly that they succeed only in giving it up. While nature may abhor a vacuum, the world we live in abhors an equilibrium – one may come or go, but idleness will not be accommodated.
In acknowledgment of this, we work each day to examine ourselves with as much honesty as we can muster and to improve ourselves in those ways that make the greatest sense. We reflect and we act and we repeat. We inch our condition forward despite the frustration, ignorance, and impatience that we recognize as qualities sown in the nature of man. While all of this occurs within each individual, it occurs with even more discernibility in organizations. They rise and fall according to their honesty in self-examination and their willingness to act in accordance with the lessons derived therefrom.
One aspect of Ridgeview that must be improved is its ability to speak to others who are not inclined to hear and persuade them of those things we have found virtue in. On Saturday morning, we attempted to do precisely this with nearly seventy people who had only a limited familiarity with the school and a passing interest in liberal education. It produced many letters of intent and additions to our lottery, but this would be only the most quantitative measure of Saturday’s success. I do not, however, believe it would be the most meaningful. What was most impressive was watching our community come together to meet this challenge. This is not to say that it unfolded flawlessly. There were hiccups and many lessons were learned, but there was also an incredible service performed by Ridgeview’s staff who, through long and frantic hours, made the event logistically possible. Our Student Ambassadors provided a welcoming experience for all of our guests, and many of them commented about what fine young people they were. The speeches painted a portrait of the impressive and important work Ridgeview does, and the role it has come to play in the private lives of others is simply humbling.
The evening portion was equally illuminating. It was not the game of one-upmanship many of us supposed it might devolve into; instead, it was friends, neighbors, and colleagues happy to have a night without the kids and with which to enjoy one another’s company. They ate and drank, bid on baskets, and talked cheerily with one another throughout the evening. Some of them were even able to hear the speeches above the din of the patrons on the lower floor. The final accounting is not yet in, but it is unlikely that we raised all of the money we would have liked. The PAC will not be completed this summer, but that was not the objective. The objective was to find a fit beginning for a new tradition, generate some funds for our school, and hear from a sampling of those who have benefited from a Ridgeview education. In this sense, the night was a success. The opportunity to see our staff at their finest and hear what the school has meant to so many of our families was priceless.
To everyone who attended, thank you for your support of Ridgeview Classical Schools. We said that the heart of the school was the PAC, but this was clearly in error. The heart of Ridgeview is its community.