Each year, our upcoming graduates take a deep dive into a question about life. Over the course of our third term, just after high school acceptances have been received and just before graduation, they explore their life question. This is done over eight weeks and from eight different guest presenters. In years past, soon-to-be graduates asked and explored What is a happy life and What does it mean to act courageously. This year, they asked What does it mean to live a life of curiosity.
What a question!
Living such a life is, according to our graduates, an invitation to...
Find God in the world (and people!) around us.
Find ourselves in the things that we do and aspire to do.
Take responsibility for the knowledge and wisdom with which we are entrusted.
Learn from our family and collect the accumulated wisdom they have to share.
A trial-and-error process of living life and finding our way to Heaven.
All nine of our 2023 graduates contributed an answer to this question, and all nine are worth reading. There is a remarkable amount of sophistication and thoughtfulness layered within each answer to the question. One student even found himself fully enthralled by the teachings of Thomas Aquinas and rejected curiosity, instead preferring scholasticism.
Before we can realize our full potential, we must define what that looks like for us. It is through curiosity that we find what we want to achieve in life. If you want to become the best you, be curious. - Michael Lou, Class of 2023
Despite its upbeat contents and the humor, outlook, and charm of each author, you may first be struck by the dramatic chiaroscuro of Caravaggio's The Incredulity of Saint Thomas (1601).
Good! You should be curious about this choice of cover!
Caravaggio captures something about Jesus that few other painters do. Saint Thomas famously said "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." Truly amazing, however, is that Jesus allowed for it, understanding what Thomas needed in order to become a man of greater faith. Like Caravaggio, our students understand curiosity as just such an invitation.
Below, please find a .pdf copy of the 2023 Capstone Program that you can read at your leisure. As one parishioner said, I couldn't put it down! You might not be able to either. The writing that each boy brings has impressed us, and we couldn't be more proud of what they have accomplished.
At Saint Paul's Choir School, we regularly ask Do we make our students feel like Superman. Most often, we associate this with our choral program. Training boys to sing as trebles -- roles that only they can perform (as evidenced by their decades-long replacement by girl sopranos in most choruses) -- is like training a young superhero to use his power responsibly, beautifully, and with the public good in mind. Their role quite literally is to lift the prayers of our Parish community to God through their singing.
Of course, thinking and writing are superpowers, too, and ones that we also help our students hone. The path to articulate literacy is long, arduous, and -- actually -- quite fun. We partner with Rose Debate to run a rhetoric program that includes critical thinking through speech writing, volte face (changing sides in a debate on command), and even stand-up comedy. We use the program materials from the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) to give students predictable and practical techniques for writing. And, of course, we use Latin instruction to bolster grammar and vocabulary throughout. Best of all, our teachers choose books that boys love to read from The Hobbit to To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hounds of the Baskervilles to The Odyssey.
Below, please find a .pdf of the instructional journey our students take in anticipation of excellence in reading, writing, and the Capstone Project.