Welcome parents and students, faculty and staff, friends, neighbors, and all others who are joining us today to celebrate the achievements of these thirty-two students.

Welcome also to a venue that, while new to us, is a place familiar with the grand purpose of such occasions. In 1889, when this building was opened, the students studied what might today be called a classical curriculum. Students at that time were asked, “Do you desire to become a better, more learned person?” Students at Ridgeview today are asked: “What will justify your life?” Students at this school, in the 1890s, studied English analysis and composition, arithmetic, bookkeeping, American history, drawing, rhetoric, American literature, algebra, geography, government, general history, physics, moral training, physiology, botany, geometry, Latin, English literature, chemistry, political economy, astronomy, trigonometry, and music. The boys took classes in military tactics and there was an indoor rifle range in the basement. In 1889, there were forty students, and by 1891, there were just four graduates – one boy, and three girls. Then, the class motto was Ad astra per aspira – through hardships to the stars. Today, Ridgeview’s official motto is Veritati Virtutique Dedicatum – dedicated to truth and virtue, and its unofficial motto, πάθει μάθος– we learn by suffering. Then, the school’s colors were blue and yellow. Ridgeview’s are blue and gold. Interestingly, a local man named Robert Pike wrote a history of this school in which he ended the chapter on the school’s curriculum with this thought: “A return to the past can only lower the overall quality of education.”

Ridgeview’s mission and philosophy is predicated on the idea that only with a knowledge of the past can one properly prepare for the future. Today, however, we consider the past, the present, and the future of ourselves and the young people whom we have shepherded out of adolescence. Today is about them in one way, and in twenty or so years, it will be about them in another. All the moments of their childhood that we could have more fully taken in, regardless of how thoughtful or deliberate we have been, are coalescing. It is the rare man or woman who has no regrets over a flash of their temper, a missed opportunity, or some lingering regret about a thoughtless cruelty. If we have committed ourselves to our careers to provide materially for our children, we regret that we did not take more time with them; if we have given more time, we tend to worry that we ought to have provided more materially. Paternalism is fraught with endless anxieties. Our children move on now, as much a product of our careful deliberations as of our incautious expediencies. It is a thousand childhood moments from their first laugh to their first word, from their first genuinely kind deed and the clothes they outgrew to the toys that were discarded along the way. Today marks a moment when we move from first steps, first dates, and first hurt feelings to a moment in which pride is comingled with a sinking feeling in our chests as we imagine the vacant room, the empty place at the table, and the quietness that replaces mundane conversations. It is a childhood that can never be regained, and though revisited by swiping through the photos on our phones, it is a childhood that can never be amended, corrected, or brought to a more perfect or ideal form. We move from a life in which we have been chaperones, directors, and organizers to one in which we are observers of the work we have wrought. Our actions, all past, matter. Marcus Aurelius was correct in noting that “what we do now echoes in eternity.” What we have done manifests itself in their temperament, character, attitude, and the possibility that they will live happy and fulfilled lives. Nor does it end with them, the manner of our living will inform these same qualities in the grandchildren and great-grandchildren we may not live to meet. While it is difficult to remember in the moment, every moment has mattered.

Jonathan Swift, in his most famous satire, has Gulliver encounter Lilliputians who remark upon the foreigner’s obsession with time. In removing his watch, they remark that, “We conjecture that it is either some unknown animal, or the god that he worships; but we are more inclined to the latter opinion.” The Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov gets to the crux of our issue with time. He begins his autobiography by noting that, “The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour).” Nabokov may be right or wrong about those two abysses, but our mortal lives are winding down from the moment they begin, and we are forever trying not to miss appreciating the most poignant parts. The French ophthalmologist Louis Émile Javal intensely studied the way in which people read, and identified what he called saccades, in which the eyes did not flow fluidly over text, but moved jerkily along resting in one position and then another. We are in much the same situation concerning our sense of attention and memory. Attention is a matter of learning how to think, which implies exercising control over how and what we think. As David Foster Wallace asserted, “It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.” We are not Sherlock Holmes – our attention, and our memory, are imperfect. The ways we wish we would have behaved, the moments we wish we could relive, and the sense that the present might be different were our past better, plague even the best of us. As Milton put it, “The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.” The poet in Beowulf gets its mostly right in contending that, “Every life has more than enough sadness and more than enough joy.” None of us, if we have any capacity for reflection, can be perfectly content with our past, but we can, as one modern author suggested, treat our minds as we would a private garden and be careful and deliberate about what we introduce and allow to grow there. Our time may be finite, but what it means to us and holds for our future is for us to determine. One thing is certain, appreciation requires attention.

The past being what it is, we want to be present in this moment for our children, but it is not the same moment for us as it is for them. In what the Greeks called Kairos, we see designated “all the possibilities within a given moment.” Clearly, based upon our experiences, what is possible for us in this moment is not possible for someone without these experiences. In our pursuit of serenity, we yearn to live in the moment, but as André Maurois wrote, this state or “combination of phenomena which occupies a person’s consciousness at a given moment,” for an unchanged duration seems inconceivable. “If it is a question of another person, death may intervene; if of music, the music will cease; if of a book, its last page will eventually be read.” The philosophies, or even therapies as they might be understood, such as Stoicism and Epicureanism were “intended to provide a cure for anguish, and to bring freedom and self-mastery, and their goal was to allow people to free themselves from the past and the future, so that they could live within the present.” The great Russian littérateurs like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Pasternak regarded these as the accursed questions – the ones that all human beings had to contend with, and only by grappling with them could they grow in wisdom. These were questions that neither schooling nor the experiences of others could wholly prepare one for, and such questions, issues, and ideas became the centerpieces of their novels. We want our children prepared to face these confrontations, for them to appreciate properly in the present and minimize guilt in the future, and to have the capacity to focus on what matters most. One of the ways that we have given them to achieve this is through slow reading and the enjoyment of things partaken in for themselves. Virginia Woolf, in “How Should One Read a Book?” wrote,

Are there not some pursuits that we practice because they are good in themselves, and some pleasures that are final? I have sometimes dreamt, at least, that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards – their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble – the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading.”

An enjoyment of the present and a realization of the possibilities in it, has as one of its requisites that we are able to do a thing without recourse to an ulterior motive – for joy, for play, for satisfaction. Our life in the present is a matter of what we are paying attention to. As the psychologist Winifred Gallagher writes, “At any one moment, your world contains too much information, whether objects, subjects, or both, for your brain to ‘represent,’ or depict clearly for you. Your attentional system selects a certain chunk of what’s there, which gets valuable cerebral real estate and, therefore, the chance to affect your behavior. Moreover, this thin slice of life becomes part of your reality, and the rest is consigned to the shadows or oblivion.” In this moment, think of everything that your children have accomplished and all that you hope they will do and become. See them here before you, compare them in your mind to the moment when you first held them in your arms, then their swaddling blankets and now their gowns. Let this moment be appreciated with as much intensity as that with which you cherish those memories.

As they prepare to join the ranks of Ridgeview’s alumni, consider their future and your own. How shall we see our future selves? Are we apart from or a part of something? We can conceive of two very different conceptions. First, the sixteenth-century poet Sir Edward Dyer who wrote of sovereign self-sufficiency as follows:

My mind to me a kingdom is;
Such perfect joy therein I find
That it excels all other bliss
Which God or Nature hath assigned.

Do we really intend to propose that we are so complete? That we take so little inspiration and have so little impact upon our fellows? Contrarily, is our condition better described by the seventeenth-century poet John Donne?

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thy friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
for I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

If we perceive ourselves – parents, teachers, and students – as interconnected, our vision of the future appears very different than if we perceive ourselves entirely self-reliant, atomistically individual. In order to appreciate these interconnections, we must continuously cultivate the skills we have developed for reading. More attentive readers will mean more attentive people, but this sort of attention is not our default condition. As Alan Jacobs notes, “as long as we have had readers we have had readers frustrated by their inability to concentrate.” As Jacobs continues, “Reading is a way of connecting with others, but the connection is an odd combination of the intimate and the virtual: if we say that when Machiavelli entered his study there was really no one there, we speak a half-truth. In a way he sat there alone; in another way he enjoyed the best of company.” Reading’s relevance to the kind and quality of our future is its ability to show us our relation to not only those alive, but to all of those who have ever lived. In becoming attentive to this, we habituate ourselves to overcoming our mental sloth.

There is much that has the potential to distract us from this sort of attention, and none more problematic than social media. It has been described as the anesthetic of loneliness, but when its novelty fades, what is revealed is a state difficult to discern from certain addiction behaviors. It is fair to describe the various digital interferences in our lives as the chief distraction from the sorts of things that we will later most regret not having given our attention to – namely, our children. In Adam Alter’s book Irresistible, he cites a psychologist named Catherine Steiner-Adair who studies the effects of digital media on children. She wrote that, “many American children first encounter the digital world when they notice that their parents are ‘missing in action.’ ‘My mom is almost always on the iPad at dinner,’ a seven-year-old named Colin told Steiner-Adair. ‘She’s always ‘just checking’. Penny, also seven, said, “I always keep on asking her let’s play let’s play and she’s always texting on her phone.’” Instead of cultivating an online presence, we ought to be cultivating the qualities we suppose will produce individuals capable of appreciating what it is they are paying attention to.

After a decade’s worth of teaching, I was heartened to hear this year’s seniors thank the faculty for the work they have done on their behalf. I am heartened each time I hear our students thank their parents at the end-of-the-year concerts. I am heartened each time I hear our faculty thank their TAs and the parents who have volunteered. I wholeheartedly believe that there is little better than gratitude and few things worse than ingratitude. I am not alone in this. The eighteenth-century poet Samuel Garth wrote that,

That man may last, but never lives,
Who much receives, but nothing gives;
Whom none can love, whom none can thank,
Creation’s blot, creation’s blank.

And, Plautus who wrote that, “He is ungrateful who denies that he has received a kindness which has been bestowed upon him; he is ungrateful who conceals it; he is ungrateful who makes no return for it; most ungrateful of all is he who forgets it.” I, however, am grateful to work in a school wherein gratitude is a common currency. That it is, becomes a part of what signals our student’s capacity to appreciate and attend to the fact that they have others to esteem besides themselves.

If we want to complete our paternal role, we must recognize that it is not over – only changed. As I noted at the outset, we are moving from directing to observing, but we will continue to be emulated in intentional as well as unintentional facets of our behavior.

There is a story about an aging Roman soldier who was involved in a lawsuit that seemed likely to go against him. He stood to lose most of what he had, and left with little recourse, is said to have accosted his former commander, Augustus, in a public place, asking him to appear in court on his behalf. The emperor selected one of his men to appear on behalf of the man, but the soldier rolled back his sleeves to reveal his scars and shouted, “When you were in danger at Actium, I didn’t choose a substitute, but fought for you in person.”

There can be no substitutes. Our students will continue to confront real challenges and temptations. They will have whatever we have given them in their arsenal, but most of all they must have us, able defenders of those principles that are dearest. We must not assume that some other substitute – friend, teacher, or professor – may stand in our stead. In the Talmud, it states that, “The righteous promise little, and perform much; the wicked promise much, and do not perform even a little.” “Say little and do much,” it says in Sayings of the Fathers. So it is, our roles – parent’s as well as student’s –  have changed. We should live the advice we would give them, continue valuing what we have taught them is worth valuing, and take great pride in the magnitude of their accomplishment today. We must not let their capacity for attention, appreciation, and gratitude be dulled or diminished by the world’s apathy, and if it seems – ever – that this is asking too much from people so young, consider their theses. Consider that they wrote on focus, on attention, on gratitude, on balance, on beauty; that they contemplated self-reflection, service to others, adventure, self-confidence, and fulfillment; that they extolled love, self-examination, perseverance, the value of struggle, peace, freedom, moral sense, purpose, and harmony. When one considers with what they have filled their heads and what they have poured out of their hearts, it is not difficult to imagine a world made better by their involvement and participation in it. To answer the question posed to students in 1889, our students have desired to be better and more learned, and they have become so. In answer to the question we posed to them at Ridgeview, the answer is that they will justify their lives – by their attentiveness, appreciation, humility, charity, and gratitude.

Please join me in congratulating the Class of 2017.

Ridgeview’s Mock Trial teams recently competed at the regional competition held here in Fort Collins. While both teams performed phenomenally, only the A Team will proceed to the state competition this year.

Mock Trial has been a great opportunity for students to learn the rules of evidence and put together a case as real lawyers would. Lawyers prepare opening statements, direct questions, cross examination questions, and a closing argument. Lawyers also study the rules of evidence so that they are able to make objections at the right time, as well as respond to objections made by the opposing team. Witnesses become their character and learn their character’s witness affidavit, and also try to anticipate what questions they will be asked on cross. At the competition, the case that is presented is treated as if it were a real court proceeding. Not only is Mock Trial a great learning opportunity, it provides much appreciated time to bond with classmates.

Ridgeview’s ability to have so many extra-curriculars, such as Mock Trial, Science Bowl, and a chess team that all compete at high levels, even in competitions without school size divisions, is amazing.  These activities make Ridgeview so special.

Mock Trial 2018 Team



Hey, everybody, I can hardly believe that we’re in third quarter already!

It was quite a bit warmer today than it has been and the afternoon Algebra II class was held outside. Sadly, as everyone who’s lived long in Colorado knows, the warm weather won’t stay long, but it’s nice while it lasts.

This small break from below freezing temperatures and frost covering the windshield in the morning means that Winter is getting closer to its end and Spring will be coming soon. Enjoy the long weekend, remember that we’re already in the last semester of the 2017-18 school year, and finish the year strong!

Here’s a little poem I wrote to celebrate the slightly warmer weather. Hope you all enjoy it:

The barren coldness of the Winter

Is not yet gone completely

But for the moment Spring has come

And it’s rain, not snow,

That hangs in the clouds above.

The nights are no longer

Quite so gray

And stars are shining softer

In the warmer, sweeter air.

Throw open your doors and windows

To catch this fleeting breath of stirring life

And treasure it,


As the days grow dark and cold once more,

That Winter cannot last forever

And Spring will come again.

It is widely known that Ridgeview offers many trips for its students; in fact, some even say that it is one of Ridgeview’s defining characteristics. Most prominent among these are the annual class trips, which take place in the summer. From camping to caving, and even paintball, the Ridgeview staff makes sure that their students stay occupied over the summer. Not only are these trips always a blast, but they also provide the ideal environments for new relationships to be forged. Through these trips, students really get a chance to bond with each other and with their teachers too.

Ridgeview also has a slew of trips during the school year as well, including those for the Student Ambassadors and members of Student Council. This month, Ridgeview’s Student Council went snowshoeing in the Gould area. We stayed in yurts, and we went on two snowshoeing hikes (including one up Montgomery Pass). Personally, it was one of the best Ridgeview trips I have ever been on! Next week, I get to have yet another Ridgeview adventure on the Student Ambassador ice-climbing trip, during which we will climb up a frozen waterfall! The staff at Ridgeview sure knows how to keep us active, and not just with homework.

These trips, of course, are fairly adventurous, but they are also educational. For example, over the summer, the Student Ambassadors went on a wilderness first-aid trip where we learned the basics of wilderness survival and trauma care. The Sophomore class went caving last summer, where they not only got a spectacular first-hand experience of cave exploration, but also learned about the cave’s history and geology. All-in-all, these trips are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. What will your next adventure be?

My breaths were deep and silent as I went to the front of the stage. It was our last chance to produce something incredible, and we all knew it. So, we all slid into our positions and looked to each other for support. The first note was soft and firm, uniting us in the prayer we were to offer to our guests. And so, we sang. We swelled as one to waves of music and down to the tiniest ripples of sound. Our notes aligned like the stars in fairy tales, allowing something unbelievable to occur. Our sound bloomed like a rose we had cultivated for so long, finally bearing the fruits of beauty. And we concluded with a note that faded into blissful oblivion.

Now, what I describe is the prayer of the Madrigal Feast that some of you may have attended. But, as you can see, it was slightly more than a piece to all of us. It was a frustration to say the least. It was beautiful, but it was a cruel piece. We all knew just how beautiful it could sound and each time, it fell lamentably short. It was precise; we could never find its possible perfection, and with one foul pitch, the harmonies dissipated like a fine mist interrupting a rainbow.

But this performance was a new experience. Together, we locked in and found the sound we were searching for. In that moment, the prayer was what it was meant to be. Pure, beautiful, and shared with everyone in the hall. It was a highlight of the performances.

This year of Madrigal practices was filled with uncertainty, bitterness, and likely even a bit of anger. However, surmounting this prayer was an accomplishment that represented each obstacle the choir had conquered to get to our final performances. This year was full of challenges and we were all forced to rise to them. Yet, we transcended each trial placed before us, and we did so together. Something new rose from the ashes, and it was truly beautiful.

The Post Solstice Solace was at High Peak Camp in Estes Park this year. The weather was beautiful for sledding, ice skating, ice fishing, snow shoeing, and talking with friends. Many started off the morning by sledding down the snow hill or ice skating on the pond. Later, we ate some delicious Nordic food including meatballs, soup, and dessert. After lunch, one group went on an enjoyable snowshoe trip around the camp. We enjoyed hot chocolate and other hot drinks together to warm up from the cold.

Ridgeview’s ability to put on events such as the Post Solstice Solace is just one reason why Ridgeview is so special. A school taking a day off to spend together in the Rocky Mountains cannot be found elsewhere. Overall, the Post Solstice Solace was an exciting day spent together with friends in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

What was once the sanctum of a church is now Ridgeview’s performing arts complex – referred to by its familiars as the PAC. There is something appropriate about the relationship between its past and present usage since so many things that happen elsewhere at Ridgeview culminate in the PAC. A student may practice in the band room, but they will perform their polished pieces on the stage in the PAC. Every assembly, every awards ceremony, every back-to-school and state of the school address; every speech for Student Council elections and board elections; very nearly every faculty meeting, movie night, and senior lock-in will be viewed by an observer seated on these overworn pews. The memorization of lines for a play may happen in the relative obscurity of a classroom, the singing for a musical practiced in the bathrooms upstairs, but most of us will come to know of our student’s talents and efforts from a performance in this room. It is here that every parent attends their first informational meeting, and if their students are fortunate and steadfast enough to become Hoplites, one of their final moments as a Ridgeview parent will be spent in the same room watching their child present and defend their senior thesis having studied in countless classrooms, with countless teachers, and having read countless books. It is not a luxurious room by anyone’s estimation, but many grand moments have occurred here and many more landmark moments seem likely to come.

Directly across from the PAC sits Ridgeview’s gymnasium. Each of our students takes a physical education course from kindergarten, but they also take a karate course, and later a jujitsu course, and still later, if they are so inclined, they have the opportunity to take a course in Krav Maga. Any school that takes personal responsibility seriously must by extension take the notion of self-defense seriously, and Ridgeview has demonstrated its consistent earnestness in this regard since its founding. The development of one’s physical faculties, and the knowledge of how to maintain them throughout one’s lifetime are no less essential than the development of one’s intellectual faculties. In an age of soaring obesity rates, and a manner of living that is increasingly sedentary, Ridgeview regards it as obvious that our student’s lives will be dramatically improved if they understand how to protect their health. That Ridgeview does not offer high school athletics is not a refutation of this belief, but a reflection of our founder’s understanding that the district schools were not wanting in this respect, but with respect to academics. Consequently, while Ridgeview has focused on character and academics, its students have made consistent use of the opportunities available to them through the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) and a diversity of club sports in Northern Colorado. Finally, we have been fortunate to have a PE teacher who has promoted social dance and made it such a popular elective that our school’s dances better reflect the elements of sociability, dignity, and class that one would expect from a school that places such a high premium on character.


D. Anderson


Throughout the Ridgeview education, students face the question “What is man?” constantly. Moreover, in living an examined life, it is impossible to avoid the question.

Over Winter break, I had the pleasure of reading a book called A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes by Adam Rutherford. Although I enjoyed its exploration of genetics, I loved its take on the limits of science. Our current understanding shows that though man is in some part determined by his genetic make-up, in many ways our genes are not our fate.

Thirty years ago or so, scientists believed that once they could sequence man’s DNA, they could figure out what it indicated, tracing the very existence of humanity on the molecular level.  Instead, they found a convoluted mess of repeated sequences, pseudo-genes (sequences that have all the indicators of coding a protein, but do not), micro-sequences (tiny sequences that regulate many complicated processes in indirect ways), and other “junk DNA.” Additionally, there does not seem to be a clear-cut way in which nurture interacts with our genetic nature.

It is indeed wonderful that the very map of man cannot completely describe him.  This secures the need for the humanities all the more. If science had successfully demystified man, would we be able to debate freedom? What about free will? If, indeed, whatever is must be, then does the naturalist’s fallacy truly matter? In other words, if what is must be, does it matter if it is not right?

This realization can also be shown in the contrast of the dystopian worlds of Orwell’s 1984 and Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Whereas the former describes a science-based society based on optimizing humanity, the latter shows a society placated by a lack of knowledge. Both societies wage war against the humanities because Socratic examination complicates life; they were formed on the very basis that the humanities are freedom to man. If you want to eliminate liberty, start by doing away with the humanities.

However, man is not merely ivory-tower examination. He is also a being of action, as I will discuss next week.

We have now arrived at a new semester in the current school year. It is not uncommon for students to grow discouraged around this time, for though they have come far, they still have a seemingly endless road ahead of them. In my last post titled “Hard Work: The Cultivation of Self,” I went into detail about how all this work is not for nothing. While the things I touched on are valuable ideas, I often find that rhetorical flourishes do not always get to the point. With this in mind, I present you the following poem by George Eliot, so that you may find the meaning in it for yourselves.

Making Life Worth While

Every soul that touches yours –
Be it the slightest contact –
Get there from some good;
Some little grace; one kindly thought;
One aspiration yet unfelt;
One bit of courage
For the darkening sky;
One gleam of faith
To brave the thickening ills of life;
One glimpse of brighter skies –
To make this life worthwhile
And heaven a surer heritage.

Before leaving the lobby, the plaques recognizing our student’s academic achievement and character are noteworthy for two reasons. First, Ridgeview, like so many other schools, wishes to highlight those students who have endeavored to earn the best grades and thereby distinguish themselves. These names extend as far back as the first semester of Ridgeview’s first year. Second, and perhaps more importantly, academic achievement never supersedes considerations of character. Even the valedictorian and salutatorian are not determined without a consideration of the student’s character, and students of the quarter are chosen by the faculty and regarded as exemplary with respect to not only Ridgeview’s academic standards, but the school’s emphases on leadership, character, and ethics.

One observation many parents make about the elementary cafeteria is that there is no evidence of a hot lunch program. This is something that sets Ridgeview apart from many of its contemporaries: the desire for active parental involvement. To this end, Ridgeview also does not participate in a bussing program. We want for parents to parent and for teachers to teach. The less ownership we take from the former, the more we can contribute to the latter. The parent who packs a lunch and arranges a ride to school is much more likely than the parent who does neither of these things to read with their child, ensure that their homework is completed, and properly address any disciplinary infractions. The austerity of our lunchroom and the transparency of our classrooms is evidence of Ridgeview’s desire to be in partnership with parents interested in a classical education.

There are three digital monitors in the public areas of the school, and the first that guests generally encounter is located in the lobby. These monitors serve to help keep our community informed about opportunities and upcoming events. For instance, Ridgeview boasts two separate parent reading groups, the schedules for which are advertised on these monitors. In a weekly group, parents read the same excerpts and selections that faculty read in their biweekly seminars. These excerpts are chosen for their pedagogical and topical relevance. For example, the parents and faculty this year have read pieces examining the state of culture, patriotism, education versus schooling, and the development of the moral imagination through literature. A monthly reading group takes on longer works, and spends greater time with a single author. This year parents have read works by Hannah Arendt, Søren Kierkegaard, Thomas Paine, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Leo Tolstoy. In hosting these groups, it is our wish to foster intelligent and humane conversation among all those who contribute to the education of Ridgeview’s students.

These monitors also advertise a wide variety of other activities such as mock trial, Madrigals, Veritas, Math Counts, Chess Club, the Turkey Shoot, the Post Solstice Solace, Humanities and Science Days, the concerts, plays, musicals, and other auditions that routinely take place, college visits, Quill Club, and so many of the other events that crowd Ridgeview’s calendar and keep these hallways occupied throughout the year. In watching these monitors, it is readily apparent that there is more happening here than any one person can participate in; but in looking about the lobby, it is equally apparent that there is something for which every student can be recognized.

D. Anderson






As I survey the lobby at 7:20am, I see parents buying and selling Scrip. I hear elementary students practicing their poetry recitations on the way to the PAC. I listen to high school  students debating about literature one second, history the next, laughing even as they defend their points spiritedly. I see parents fixing their daughters’ hair, carpools dropping off their neighbors’ children, and a board member smiling warmly as she greets students and parents. I answer an attendance call and talk to a mother excusing her ill child from school, while also asking for something for him to work on at home. We in the front office see all of this, and we cheer on all these teammates.

We hear that many students excel in sports outside of school. Some of them are math wizards. Some of them play multiple instruments, participate in sports outside of school, or prepare for dance performances nightly.

We hear the stories of some parents who work two jobs, while some work long nights. Some are single parents and some have the help of grandparents. Many of them work through their child’s homework, learning the material themselves in order to teach it. Parents envy an education they did not know to wish for.

We have heard that students, teachers and parents are tired, excited for family trips and outings. Some of our families have lost dear ones this year and are grieving. And, we grieve with them.

We listen to tales of students who came to Ridgeview from kindergarten, adjusting as challenges come. We know that others found it later as a refuge from unchallenging academics or disadvantageous environments. We, too, see Ridgeview as a citadel of learning.

More than that, people tell us their motives and motivations. Every student, teacher and administrator is not here incidentally, but purposely. Everyone is at Ridgeview because although it is not always the easiest, it is certainly the most worthwhile.

In the Front Office, we recognize the silent efforts of community members who wish to be better, and we hide identities of anonymous donors who wish to better others. Our interactions with both are awe-inspiring and humbling.

I would just like to remind you that every effort is both seen and appreciated. I would like to remind everyone of the community spirit that Ridgeview embodies. While this spirit sometimes seems to hide, it fills the halls and lobby daily. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! I look forward to 2018 and all the new stories it brings with it.




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