Last year, some of our upper school students ventured to Washington D.C. They saw the sights. They toured buildings and bonded over food and fatigue. They saw with their eyes what they’d studied for years. But their trip was more than a sightseeing tour. It was more than a trip down our country’s memory lane. The trip was ultimately about visiting various colleges and universities in and around the D.C. area. It was designed to let our students experience schools they hadn’t yet experienced so that they could consider paths they hadn’t yet considered.
As most of us know, many of the students entering the most well-known Ivy League schools aren’t necessarily smarter or more qualified to lead than students who go to colleges down the road with less clout. In fact, many of our nation’s leaders went to these schools, and many of our nation’s leaders aren’t necessarily living lives that inspire. But the reality is that degrees from these schools are giving graduates opportunities to move into positions of influence. Studying at these schools puts students in community with other leaders (present and future) and opens up new doors to them.
Our goal at Liberty Classical is not about Ivy League. At least, not in the way many might think of it. We do what we do so that students grow to become leaders in thought and in action, in positions of influence that will allow them to infuse culture with the same values that structured their learning at Liberty. We do what we do so that people can walk from the graduation platform at Liberty Classical and into any college or university, any job or position, and be equipped to rise to the challenge in front of them and take a legitimate stand for what is true, good, and beautiful.
One of the best moments of our trip last year to D.C. came when we saw a student let his mind race with possibilities. He seriously considered a very well-respected school that, before our visit, he’d never once even glanced toward as a possibility for him. The experience of his visit gave him the motivation to think differently about what he could do with his life. While he ultimately chose not to go there, the experience showed us that what we’re doing is working. We’re helping students connect with the truth that the possibilities to engage the world for Christ are all around them, and they don’t need to think small.
And that’s been our goal all along. We’ve wanted students to have their eyes opened to the world available to them. We’ve wanted to help them see what it means to truly step into their calling, their God-given design. It’s why Dena Hinkle works so hard with our upper school students, helping them discover who they are and why they were made. If one of them is called to be an electrician, an entrepreneur, or a stay-at-home mom, she helps them pursue that. And if one them is called to roles in local or national politics, or to medicine, law or media, she also helps them get on that path. No path is insignificant, and no dream is too lofty.
It’s not about sending our students to Ivy League schools. It’s about getting our students to see the world that’s available to them. It’s not about telling our kids that there’s something wrong with staying local. It’s about showing our kids that there’s something wonderful about discovering their possibilities. It’s not about building a school of brilliant performers who someday save the world. It’s about building lives that inspire.
One of the ways we do that is by opening their eyes.
And that’s why we take our students across the country on college visits.