by Craig Dunham, Headmaster
Having lived in Montana for all of three months now, and having spent the summer hiking and camping mostly around Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley, last weekend was my first opportunity to see more of the Treasure State, as I drove to Great Falls to watch our varsity Griffins play volleyball.
If you’ve made the three-hour drive from Bozeman through Helena to Great Falls, I don’t have to tell you how beautiful it is. If you haven’t, I’m not sure I can adequately describe the vastness of scale, the contrast of colors, or the teeming of the Missouri River through the canyons it carved. I thought about having one of my daughters snap a few pictures with my iPhone, but we all know the limitations of trying to capture God’s grandeur in a viewfinder; it’s not a matter of finding the views, but fitting them that is always the trick.
Just as reading the book is always better than seeing the movie, experiencing the sight is always better than trying to take a picture of it. Personally, I’ve stopped trying to capture life in pictures, and instead just take ones that are good enough to trigger those I took in my mind. Life is more easily experienced than described, which is frustrating when experiencing something you want to share but can’t (or at least can’t adequately).
Which brings me to Recitation Day – one of our attempts (albeit a rudimentary one) to present to parents and grandparents of our elementary students just a hint of what they are learning in their studies at Petra. To watch a child learn is as beautiful and awe-inspiring a sight as seeing the Missouri meander through the Montana mountains; unfortunately, trying to tangibly capture that sight is as great a challenge as any.
But we try. We try to give you a glimpse of how your elementary students are engaging with classical content that has stood the test of time; of how they are forming (and being formed by) a Christian worldview of that classical content; and how they are learning this classical content and Christian worldview from teachers who live joyful lives with a love of learning.
To be sure, Recitation Day is only a partial picture of all that your children or grandchildren are learning at Petra, but we hope this snapshot will be one of many you collect as your student continues through our grammar, logic, and rhetoric schools. Enjoy the views!