The week before Ridgeview’s Homecoming dance is known as Spirit Week. This year that week was October 9th-13th. For students, this meant that there was not only an opportunity to dress as we otherwise wouldn’t, but also a chance to bond with each other and get a good laugh when our classmates wore ridiculous fashion or looked like they were 80 years old.

This year, Monday’s theme was Character Day. Students were dressed as their favorite character from the Ridgeview curriculum.

Tuesday’s theme was Fashion Disaster Day. Students came to school with the worst fashion possible (this time we all had an excuse for it).

Wednesday’s theme was Decades Day and students came dressed from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s as hippies, disco dancers, and hip hop kings and queens.

On Thursday, students raided their grandparent’s closet to look like old people for Grandparents Day.

Finally, on Friday, we celebrated our Ridgeview Spirit Day in blue and gold. We ended the day with a pep rally before our Homecoming game.

We have spent the week preparing for Homecoming and getting excited for it. However, we must not forget the more important aspect of Spirit Week. Spirit Week allows us all, as a student body, to band together and enjoy something. It allows us to show our pride for Ridgeview; it allows us to get excited, not only about Homecoming, but about our school as a whole.

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On Monday October 2, Ridgeview hosted First Responders’ Day.  This event is fun and knowledgeable for everyone. We were able to honor the people who dedicate their time and energy protecting others out of the goodness of their hearts.

During this event, the parking lot is filled with different vehicles that the first responders use. Unfortunately, this year it rained so there was no helicopter to explore. However, Homeland Security, the SWAT team, Poudre Fire Authority, Larimer County Dive Rescue Team, Colorado State Patrol, Sheriff, and others were all present.  The entire school community was able to visit each station and question the First Responders.

The first responders deserve to be honored because of the work they do. They are willing to risk themselves to save others; they sacrifice their time for others. These people do not go to work every day because it’s their job; these people genuinely love helping others and want to protect our community.

After questioning the first responders, I found that they all wanted to be at Ridgeview on this day in order to educate us in helping them. The more they share about staying safe, the more effective they will be in an emergency. The best way to prepare the next generation in safety is to bring their equipment and stories and to share them.

First responders are normal people. They have the same emotions as everyone else. They get angry and sad. They cry. They laugh. The only difference is their job. They are willing to do what most people would be afraid to do.  Most of the first responders had wanted to do these jobs since they were children. They always strove to help others. Because of their careers, they face different difficulties than the average person. They are faced with danger and fear, but persevere through it for the sake of others. First responders do not win every battle. Sometimes, lives are lost. It takes a different type of courage to continue in the face of tragedy, when the job becomes stressful and emotional. First responders do not let their fear and emotions interfere with their work, as they must serve as a leader when the average person is confused or frightened.

We honor these men and women because of the lives they lead.  They set an example for all us to follow. They demonstrate courage, integrity, perseverance, honesty, and other Ridgeview pillars. They represent what Ridgeview tries to teach its students each day.

Anyone in the Ridgeview community well knows about the ominous Senior Thesis that every Ridgeview graduate writes. In this thesis, the soon-to-be graduates are tasked with answering the question of “What is the Good Life?”– what it means and how to live it. Fortunately for us, the Ridgeview faculty does not simply pose this question and then leave the seniors helpless and struggling to form an answer; rather, the seniors choose a faculty member to help guide them along their own unique path, at the end of which will hopefully lie some form of answer.

What is more, Ridgeview students become exposed to the central question of every Senior Thesis in their freshman year, and go through the rest of their high-school career pondering the Good Life in light of the various topics presented to them in their time at Ridgeview. Seneca would describe Ridgeview students as “bees, who flit about and cull the flowers that are suitable for producing honey, and then arrange and assort in their cells all that they have brought in.” Likewise, we, as students of Ridgeview, are tasked with taking the concepts we have been exposed to in classes such as literature, moral philosophy, and western civilization and crafting them into our unique concept of the Good Life.

All those who wish to live and to live well must contemplate the Good Life, seek to define virtue and happiness, reflect on morality, explain why it is necessary, and then apply these concepts in their own lives.  Why? Henry David Thoreau provides an answer in his Walden, in a chapter entitled “What I Lived For.”

I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear […] I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.

We should all desire to live the Good Life, not only in order to be virtuous, but to pursue a higher form of living. How great a disappointment it is for someone to live out their whole life in “quiet desperation,” as Thoreau recognized, and to come to the end of it realizing that they had not truly lived, and thus they discover that they are no longer content with their life of contentment, but regret not living the life of happiness and virtue.

In order to avoid such misfortune, we must become exposed to such concepts as virtue and vice, good and evil, and especially the Good Life, while still in our youth. The one who contemplates these concepts in his early years will lead the life of self-examination, an essential part of living well, according to Socrates, and keep the life of desperation at a distance. So, we have arrived at the purpose of education.

It cannot be stressed how important education is in the lives of youth.  The ways in which children are instructed in their early years inevitably shapes how they will live their lives. If they are taught in such a way that they cannot think for themselves, they will grow up “orbiting” around the “systems” of others, as Ralph Waldo Emerson describes. However, if they are taught to think for themselves and form their own opinions, then they will realize that “the act of thought” truly is “the sacredness which attaches to the act of creation,” a concept Emerson also touches on in his essay on the “American Scholar.”

Thus, this sort of higher education is requisite in living the Good Life, for one can only arrive at such a conception through Education. The morality of the young relies heavily on the type of education that they receive. Unfortunately, our modern society has fallen short in its instruction of the young. Society has drifted from higher education to lower education, in which children are taught the essentials so that they may prosper in life (though here prosper is meant in a more earthly sense and seems to be more equivalent to “survive”). Our society educates the young, not so that they may live well, but so that they may eventually contribute back to society.

Ridgeview is unique on this front. Here, students are not only enabled to survive in the real world, but to self-examine and to live well according to their conception of the Good Life. While Ridgeview may be, in this sense, an oasis of higher education, the surrounding desert has not been eradicated. We must each do our own part to protect the integrity and morality of our youth, and so protect them from living lives of quiet desperation.

 

 

Make the most of what you’ve got:
The time you have today.
For the present named becomes the past
And no time can be reclaimed.
This time is a gift, the present you have
Use it well and make no regrets
For tomorrow is promised to no one to live
And yesterday cannot be changed.
Make of now what you are able
Don’t wait for greater things to come
For heroes lived and live in their now
Seizing the day that they receive.

A Poem by Lucy R.

Over the course of the summer, there is much required reading. For the juniors, the reading included Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories. Often summer reading is thought of as a meaningless book meant to impede the freedom vacation brings, but this book rather interested me.

Each of these stories have one source of intrigue or another, but one ensnared me, titled Artist of the Beautiful. It is the story of an artist named Owen who, not once, not twice, but three times pours his life into the creation of a mechanical butterfly to pursue his dream of creating “The Beautiful.” Each time Owen tries to build it, the project is broken by some interference or circumstance, and each time Owen stumbles into a darkness of despondency. Yet every time he stumbles, he rises from the pit, guided by the Beauty he sees around him. This resistance to naysayers and upholding of his beliefs is what makes Owen admirable.

There are many people in the village who argue against Owen’s quest and their complaints are merited. His former master believes Owen to be a negligent fool to not devote himself completely to fulfilling his duty as clock maker in the village. The blacksmith thinks Owen to be strange for not investing his time and strength into more fruitful pursuits as he does, hammering and twisting iron into tools. And finally, there is the woman Owen loves. He believes she could understand him, but, like the rest, she does not comprehend his obsession with Beauty and believes him foolish. And so, Owen is disliked and mocked by most of the village with no one to stand by him.

Owen is far from perfect, as he lets his dream control him and neglects his duties to the town, but Owen does still present a good role model in the approach he takes to achieve his dream. Each time the butterfly breaks and the naysayers gather around him, Owen’s spirit is broken. But this hurt and pain never stops Owen from pursuing his dream and what he believes is important. His belief in his principles and values while he stands alone is what differentiates him from all other characters who stand together in their scorn. Few people possess that certainty in their principles while being faced by a majority.

Each day, when we leave Ridgeview, we read this creed: “Even if everyone else, not I.” This creed tells us to stand for our beliefs and values even if everyone around us does not. This mentality imitates Owen’s model, but to avoid Owen’s faults or pursuing the wrong principles, we, as students of Ridgeview, must draw examples from texts and teachers alike. Each day, we learn about life and how to live it well. From Cicero’s teachings on morality to Emerson’s teachings on self-reliance, we are taught what is good. But from subjects like Owen and Socrates, we are taught how to stand for it.

This year, Ridgeview is pleased to welcome five new student authors to our student-run blog, Hoplite Insights. To learn more about these students, please read their introductions below.

Ethan, Class of 2019

My name is Ethan and I am in 11th grade. This year I am a member of Hoplite Helpers, Veritas, Science Bowl, StuCo, Student Ambassadors, and the Ridgeview blog of course. I enjoy activities like hiking, kayaking, swimming, and traveling.  Some of my more academic interests include science, math, and philosophy.  I hope to bring a unique set of qualities to the RCS blog, in that I value both science and philosophy, ways of thinking that have long been thought of as opposing one another.  While this is my first year as a blogger for Ridgeview, I hope to catch on quickly and post some interesting stuff for you. Let’s make it a great year!

Sarah, Class of 2019

I am Sarah, and I am a junior. I have attended Ridgeview Classical Schools since Kindergarten. I am an avid lover of theater, both watching and participating, and a lover of vocal music. I hope that my experiences in Ridgeview’s music and theater department will provide a unique perspective for the Student Blog.

 

image1Alison, Class of 2019

My name is Alison, and I am a junior. I enjoy playing soccer as well as hiking and backpacking in the mountains. This year I hope to bring content to the blog that readers will find both interesting and enlightening.

 

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Kelsey, Class of 2018

I am Kelsey, and I am a twelfth grader. I have been at Ridgeview since kindergarten and I am excited to share what Ridgeview is like.  My favorite subjects are physics and math. I love learning in general and experiencing new things. I like attending all of Ridgeview’s events, and I can’t wait to share the fun that I will experience this year.

 

Lucy, Class of 2018

My name is Lucy, and I am a twelfth grader. My interests include drawing, writing, reading, fashion, debating (okay, sometimes I just like to argue), people watching, Krav Maga, Quantum Physics, sleeping (an interest I believe I share with every Ridgeview student ever), languages, accents, cultures…can I just say almost everything? Through the blog, I hope to bring honest and thoughtful reflections on Life, the Universe, and Everything, and maybe a poem or two to provide relief from solid blocks of heavy, philosophical pondering.

 

 

 

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One of the greatest things about receiving a liberal arts education is our freedom to explore different disciplines. Of course, as our school focuses on a classical education, our curriculum focuses on humanities classes, deeply exploring the fields of literature and history. At the beginning of high school, I was an almost exclusively humanities-driven student; now in my senior year, I have realized that I have started to gravitate more towards the social sciences and sciences. Luckily, the core classes and electives Ridgeview offers has allowed me to indulge my varied interests throughout the past four years of high school. Here is what my schedule and a day in my life at Ridgeview looks like:

7:30am: Honors Modern Literature with Mr. Hild: this year we have discussed novels such as Crime and Punishment and Heart of Darkness, but now that we have finished with our final text, we are delving into thesis discussions on things such as beauty and morality.

8:10am: Honors Modern European History with Mr. Herndon: we began the year learning about the French Revolution, and now we have just finished learning about Otto von Bismarck.

9:00am: American Capstone with Mr. Herndon: this class, a one semester-long seminar, began where we left off in American History our junior year, and we are currently discussing the final year of World War I.

9:40am: Latin VI with Mr. T Smith: after years of reading authentic ancient literature, Mr. Smith has instituted a new program throughout the school where we balance our reading of texts with learning how to speak the language.

10:30am: At this point in the morning, I go to a study hall where I usually devote my time to working on thesis drafts; a lot of the time, if the weather allows, we go outside by R2 to work, so this is a really nice break in the day to get some fresh air and sun. (I don’t have a lunch because my schedule is so busy so I usually eat during this time).

11:10am: AP Environmental Science with Ms. Durrell: this class quickly became one of my favorites. After a general introduction to earth science, we learned about population economics and world health. Now, after several months of discussing air pollution, water quality, land use, and energy resources, we are about to being our final unit on Ecology, a topic about which I am very eager to learn.

12:00pm: Social Dance with Mr. Halseide: I took this class freshman year as well. At the beginning of the year, we refreshed our knowledge of swing dancing (a Ridgeview tradition and so much fun!), and we are now focusing on salsa dancing.

12:30pm: Independent Study German Literature with Mr. Hild: this is my third year taking German, but because the class is offered at the same time as my Latin class (if you can’t tell already, I love languages), Mr. Hild graciously opted to meet with me during my lunch period so that we can work one-on-one reading German texts and developing my speaking abilities.

1:05pm: TAing for Dr. Bevill’s seventh grade science and AP Chemistry classes: after taking AP Chemistry with Dr. Bevill last year, I wanted to keep working with her, so I decided to become her teaching assistant. I prepare labs, grade assignments, and assist during laboratory experiments.

1:50pm: AP Statistics with Dr. Freese: this year’s math class has really made me enjoy math more than I have in the past. We have learned about various statistical methods and tests, and ways in which to conduct experiments on populations and samples.

2:30pm: Now that Madrigals is over, my afternoon study halls are usually taken up by Student Council, Prom Committee, or senior class meetings.

So that’s a day in my life at Ridgeview!

Ice Expeditions, Reason, Beethoven, Hamlet, Spanish Terrorist Groups, and Populism, among others, all in one day: this is what Ridgeview’s Humanities Day promises our community. A plethora of topics that exemplify the best of a liberal arts education. Ridgeview describes Humanities Day as its “intellectual homecoming, [which] showcases the kinds of discussions we have every day in class, and offers an opportunity for our community to engage with our faculty as public intellectuals.” Humanities Day clearly achieves the purpose Ridgeview has set out for it; I do not believe anyone could attend one of these lectures or presentations without acknowledging the true value that deep discussions and intellectual pursuits have. I seemed to understand and appreciate the objective of Humanities Day even more this year during Dr. Strauss’s keynote speech on Populism in Ancient Times when I realized that it related not only to my freshman Western Civilization class, but to my Government, American History, American Capstone, and Modern European History classes as well.

Yet what has always stood out to me the most about Humanities Day throughout the years I have been attending is not just how it showcases the manner and content of our education, but the way in which it is presented to us. I have had a multitude of lengthy discussions with fellow students, teachers, and administrators as to how passionate our teachers are about whatever topic they are discussing; the love and interest our teachers hold for their subjects and fields of expertise is truly a gift to students.

The first session I attended at Humanities Day was Mr. Carvalho’s presentation, titled Crisis Leadership: Wiessner and Shackleton’s Lessons from the Ice, in which he discussed how different approaches to mental modeling result in very different forms of leadership in survival situations. While I admired Mr. Carvalho’s extensive knowledge about the topic, I was most impressed by his presentation when I realized how closely it tied into his approach to his various roles at Ridgeview as a teacher and a mentor. Mr. Carvalho’s examination of crisis leadership connected very closely with a number of encounters other students and I have had with him during Ambassador meetings, camping trips, and random discussions.

When I attended Señora de Munsuri’s presentation on ETA and separatist violence in Spain, it was the first time I had ever been in a classroom with Ridgeview’s Spanish and French teacher, and I am so glad that I did. As a disclaimer before her presentation, Señora de Munsuri told her listeners that she had actually deliberately chosen to present on a topic about which she previously had known nothing about. When she said this, I was struck by the fact that not only did she want to teach us about an interesting subject, she herself was passionate about learning something new and conducting large amounts of research so that she could educate both herself and all of her listeners.

This is the epitome of a Ridgeview experience and education: teachers not only interested in teaching, but learning as well, like Señora de Munsuri; teachers who immerse themselves in their fields so much that they practically become encyclopedias like Mr. Herndon; teachers who stand on top of desks and recite epic poetry like Dr. McMahon; and teachers who throw copies of Moby-Dick across classrooms because they become so immersed and invested in the content of their books like Mrs. Calvert.

 

One gray morning, I rolled half-asleep out of a car and started towards Dakota Ridge High School. It was the first time I had participated in the state science bowl competition, but I already knew from the army of volunteers in matching t-shirts and the throngs of teams from all over Colorado that I was in for a day of tense competition. I looked behind me to take my cues from the Ridgeview team veterans and was rather surprised at what they were carrying.

I do not know what I would put on the short list of things to carry to a science bowl competition. Favorite flash cards, dog-eared textbooks, and – if you are packing light – a detailed glossary would all likely have a place. But such a list would be incomplete. Where, after all, is the ultimate Frisbee?

“Go long,” yelled Colin. Beginning the day’s competition with a seemingly out of place Frisbee catch, I was initiated into Ridgeview’s unique science bowl tradition: serious science and serious fun. Too often academic competitions are stuffy affairs full of starched collars and equally stiffened persons. The day of my first science bowl competition, I did not clench my teeth; I ate peanut M&Ms. My palms did not sweat; they caught Frisbees. When I might have been fixedly reciting plant hormones and their functions, I was trying and failing to ride a RipStik. A glance at Ridgeview’s track record suffices to show that we have a great science bowl team who competes seriously, but what the numbers do not show is how much fun we have along the way.

I joined science bowl last year at Mrs. Petterson’s and several participants’ suggestion. Mostly, however, I joined for love of science. Science bowl questions have you stretching for every biology term you remember and every one you don’t. Scrambling through my solubility rules before the other team does and taking my best guess at the name of certain type of pyroclastic flow is, to me, enjoyable and gratifying. Other people, like Tyler, are more drawn by having only 20 seconds to do an integration by trigonometric substitution. Going through practice questions is a diverting challenge and reviewing old information in light of the new things you have learned, can be too.

Ridgeview’s science bowl teams love what they do and they have a lot of fun doing it. Though I was surprised to turn around and find that Colin, Blake, and Logan were equipped for competition with M&Ms, a Frisbee, and a RipStik, I realize now their fun approach to competition was only a natural outgrowth of the fun they have with science. To them as to me, serious science will also be inseparably connected to serious fun. They taught me many things, including the cleavage planes of feldspar, but the most important thing lesson they taught me was that while some teams will come for a trophy, we will always come for love of the sport and of the experience of playing.

This year, as a graduating senior, it was I who brought the Frisbee. I hope I carried well the torch of enjoying science bowl. I hope future teams carry it on.

To inquire about science bowl see Mrs. Petterson or Mr. Morse.

We seniors have officially hit the beginning of the end; our last semester of high school lies before us. Four more months of school, approximately only 80 more school days before we walk across a stage, get handed a diploma, shake Mr. Anderson’s hand, and toss our caps in the air. By the time we graduate, we will have spent roughly 2,000 days in school since kindergarten, so 80 certainly seems like a small and quickly-dwindling number.

The beginning of our last semester of high school started off on a good foot, though an eye-opening one at that. At the 2nd Quarter Honors Assembly, Audrey was announced as being the valedictorian of the Class of 2017, and myself the salutatorian. We are both so honored and excited to speak on behalf of our class at graduation. I think that hearing that announcement was the first time this year that I truly felt like things were coming to a close and that our impending graduation is actually a reality. There have certainly been other moments earlier this school year that felt “senior-y,” such as attending our last Homecoming dance or committing to my first choice college, and buying our graduation caps and gowns, but it has become increasingly apparent to me that there is a difference between doing things that a senior would do and realizing the significance or finality of those things.

Yet the most eye-opening moment of the whole year for me was this past Saturday night, at our last Madrigals performance. Every person who’s been in Madrigals and graduated from Ridgeview knows that the final performance of “Silent Night” on Saturday night is a pretty emotional ordeal for the seniors. Singing those last few notes marked the end of a wonderful experience that is for me one of the greatest highlights of my time at Ridgeview. I am so grateful for having the opportunity to be part of such an amazing group, and for having that beautiful contribution to my life. The end of the Madrigal season was another “final moment” to mark our senior year, and what a bittersweet moment it was for all of us seniors.

By the time we graduate, I will have been at Ridgeview for 8 years, Audrey for 11, and Grace for a whopping 12. We have experienced and learned so much throughout our time at this school, and I truly hope that these next four months will be the best we have had. We still have so much to look forward to. No matter whether they be stressful like thesis presentations, fun like the senior prank, or exciting like the last day of classes, we have so much to anticipate and I strongly encourage all seniors to savor every moment as best we can, because they will go quick and we will be graduating before we know it.

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