For the Love of Our Students

By Kimberly Farley

Working for CLT has given me the opportunity to witness the amazing degree of our pupils' character.

The CLT team is comprised of a fairly diverse group of individuals. We have graduates of private liberal arts colleges, state universities, and seminaries, with degrees in philosophy, engineering, Classics, medicine, archeology, economics, and others; we box the political compass, and religiously, we range from Catholic to atheist, evangelical to Eastern Orthodox. It is a unique group of people who are genuinely friends despite this diversity. So what unites us? Genuine love for students, and a desire for the best education for them.

Our founder Jeremy Tate often remarks that the best argument for a Classical education is to meet students who have been educated classically. We often see that they are well and widely read, good writers and communicators, and have a keen grasp of history. These students have a strong tendency to excel in college thanks to their rich educational background. But the students we serve are more than just outstanding scholars. They often demonstrate that highest of CLT goals: the reconnection of knowledge and virtue. 

Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of interacting with many students and parents, as everyone has had to navigate the challenges of a world with little resemblance to its immediate past. Schools closed. Students who rarely spent much time in front of a computer shifted to predominantly online learning. College admissions and testing requirements changed. Family dynamics were disrupted; loved ones were lost. Throughout all of this, students were expected to move forward toward their goals. And move forward they have: despite overwhelming hardship, I have witnessed students demonstrating amazing perseverance and resolve.

We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We have had students whose internet failed during their exam, and only managed to finish their exam sitting in a car in a parking lot of a nearby fast food restaurant. We have spoken with students who struggled doggedly to make older technology work, resulting in exams that were more than double or triple the length of time normally allotted (and filled with more tech frustrations than most of us handle for ourselves in a year!). We have spoken with students who were testing despite the recent loss of a close family member, or parents who are trying to sort through test registration while dealing with the loss of a spouse or parent. We have talked with students who could not leave their home for months at a time due to a medically vulnerable family member.

Amid all this, our students have proven their resilience and character. They have been kind and gracious despite incredibly stressful circumstances. They have persevered.

I have often told our students and their families that our exams measure academic skills very well; they are invaluable for understanding academic strengths and determining areas for improvement. However, an academic assessment, by itself, does not measure potential for success in life. The qualities we have observed in our students over the last two years bode well for their future success. Whatever uncertainties they may face, they have shown themselves prepared to face them with patience, resolve, and respect for others, even during their hardest days. These are the virtues that must accompany knowledge for any education to be truly great.

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Kimberly Farley has a degree in occupational therapy from Eastern Kentucky University, and worked in that field before devoting herself to homeschooling her three children full-time. She then led CLT’s customer service team until her recent transition to Director of Homeschool Partnerships. She lives in Tennessee with her husband.

If you enjoyed this piece, check out some of our other material here at the Journal, like this author profile of Jonathan Edwards, this “Great Conversation” essay on the idea of hospitality, or this contribution from one of our students on the relationship between discipline and liberty. And don’t miss out on our podcast, Anchored, hosted by Jeremy Tate.

Published on 23rd March, 2022. Page image of an illumination of Fortune’s Wheel, from a medieval manuscript of The Consolation of Philosophy.

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