The Added Value of a Chelsea Education
“Education cannot be neutral. It enriches or it impoverishes.” ~ Pope Francis
As parents we are the primary educators of our children. What we hand down will influence not only their lives, but those of their progeny and the communities they build. A family who chooses Chelsea believes that good education enhances good communities. And good communities impact the world.
At Chelsea, the Catholic worldview which is so highly valued and well-taught in our homes and parishes, informs every aspect of the curriculum and student life. Our execution of that ideal is not perfect. Similarly, our goal, is not to produce perfect, demerit-free students, but to inculcate in each of them — and model for them — a desire to love God and one another and to build communities that bear witness to that love.
In his opening day remarks, Chelsea headmaster Jonathan Brand reminded students that, just like their teachers, each of them is a builder. “We will all be building a tradition of learning. Tradition literally means “handing over.” Your teachers are prepared to pass on, or hand over, to you a tradition of learning that reaches across centuries — from great works of literature and heroes from the past to scientific insights and mathematical formulas. When one day you graduate from Chelsea, you will “hand over” a distinct kind of learning environment to the new students who take your place.”
Building this community, he stressed, will require that all members respect God and one another. Also necessary, Mr. Brand stressed, is that we all cultivate and embrace a spirit of adventure. The opportunity to do so may be found on the soccer field or in the school hike up Old Rag. It may also be found in cracking open the first page of The Iliad, taking on a sheet of unfamiliar math problems, giving up a study period to pray the rosary, or reaching out to a new student. In seizing these opportunities, a student builds up not only him or herself, but a community of risk-takers and adventurers.
G.K. Chesterton writes in his book The Unfinished Temple, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” Much like Mr. Brand’s message, this notion does not resonate because it is new . It has been “handed over” for decades and examined by the virtuous. It resonates because it is true and because its challenge, like the first step of an adventure, remains new as every day is new. The message itself carries with it a call to constant practice, renewal of the heart, and conversion to an idea, not of this age…or any age. And it demands taking risks, being open to adventures, and very hard work.
What then, does an educational institution look like that helps our children strive for that ideal? At Chelsea, we encourage students to take risks even if it could result in failure. We ask them to be open to adventure, and we try to bring that spirit of adventure into our classrooms and school life. We ask them to work hard, and we celebrate that hard work and the progress and self-confidence that stem from it.
Ultimately these are not unlike the risks of falling in love, the adventure of starting a family or the hard work of raising children. We are all builders, and the community we build together at Chelsea can set the world on fire.
Post by: Greg Lynch, Chelsea Director of Development