Saint Therese Classical Academy is an independent private Catholic school serving grades 7 – 12 in beautiful Santa Barbara, California.
Statement of Purpose
God created man in His image, endowed with powers of intellect and free will. These gifts set us above all worldly creatures, giving us the ability to know, love and serve God. God creates us having the seeds of knowledge and moral virtue together with the natural wonder required to grow. We begin life actually knowing nothing. If great care is taken, if wonder is maintained and if we cooperate with God’s grace, we will grow in the virtues of intellect and will necessary to achieve eternal happiness.
Our growth in virtue or vice is affected by our actions. Through prayer and participation in the sacraments, we grow in the theological virtues. Through a humble pursuit of the truth, we grow in the intellectual virtues. Through repeated actions in accordance with prudence, we grow in the moral virtues and the arts. Our task in this life is to do the things that aim at virtue out of the sincere love of God.
The purpose of education is to lead the young soul through activities which cause growth in the theological, intellectual and moral virtues. God ordained that this task fall primarily in the hands of parents. The guiding principle of St. Therese Classical Academy is that parents are the primary educators of children. It is the parent who teaches the child through exhortation and personal witness the importance of prayer and the sacramental life. It is the parent who answers the child’s continuing flow of questions that develops his understanding of the world around him. The parent also provides prudent counsel to the child, enabling him to do the good things that lead to moral virtue. The importance, difficulty and nobility of the parental task are great.
As man is a social animal, it is appropriate that the parents look to other institutions to assist them in their noble undertaking. First among these institutions is the Church, established by Our Lord Jesus Christ to lead, teach and sanctify its members as they sojourn through time into eternity. The laity participates in the Church’s work through particular apostolates. The work done at St. Therese Classical Academy is one such lay apostolate.
The purpose of St. Therese Classical Academy is to assist parents in the task of educating their children by providing education beyond that which the family can provide on its own. The Academy aims primarily at providing the intellectual formation requisite for growth in virtue. Students study the faith and morality present in the perennial teachings of the Church. By seeking understanding of the Church’s teachings in an atmosphere free of dissent, growth in the theological and moral virtues is facilitated. The other disciplines are organized to facilitate growth in the intellectual virtues of understanding, scientific knowledge and ultimately, wisdom.
The Academy follows a liberal arts curriculum. Classically, the liberal arts are divided into the trivium consisting of grammar, logic and rhetoric and the quadrivium consisting of arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy.
The liberal arts provide the young mind with the tools of learning and an introduction to the intellectual life. The art of grammar teaches the student to compose sentences well, necessary for understanding. Logic teaches reasoning and the methods that yield science and wisdom. Rhetoric teaches persuasion and discourse used when bringing the truth to others. Grammar, logic and rhetoric are basic tools of the mind.
Since the young student is familiar with quantity, yet less familiar with the order and structure of nature, the mathematical sciences are especially proportioned to the young mind. Hence after the trivium, the student studies the quadrivium containing mathematical disciplines. Arithmetic and geometry consider number and magnitude respectively. Music uses number and ratio to produce harmony. Astronomy applies the properties of magnitude to explain the motions of the heavens. In addition to these, Latin is studied to practice art of grammar. The trivium strengthens the young mind with the tools of learning, the quadrivium provides an arena appropriate for the young mind in which the tools can be used.
Growth in knowledge and wisdom requires experience. The studies of literature, geography, history, and natural science are added to the trivium and quadrivium to broaden the students’ experience. Literature and history broaden the student’s experience of humanity. Geography and natural science broaden the student’s experience of nature.
The crowning discipline of the curriculum is theology. Each discipline prepares the mind for a contemplation of God. The theology tutorial formally considers our relationship to God by presenting the Church’s perennial teaching free of any dissent.
As the family is the natural environment in which education takes place, schools that assist families should as much as possible reflect a healthy family environment. A responsible parent is concerned about the personal well-being of each of his children. A responsible educator should likewise be concerned about the personal well-being of each of his students. This puts limitations on both the size of the classroom and the size of the school.
The Significance of St. Therese Classical Academy and Parent-Supported Schools
Parent supported schools are valuable both in themselves and to society. Their intrinsic value is to the family. We live in a time when the strength of the family unit is at an all time low and parental authority and rights are being undermined. Parent supported schools provide needed assistance to families struggling to maintain the Catholic faith and custom that is their tradition. Academies like St. Therese Classical Academy are important to maintain the moral fiber of our country. All agree that culture should be part of a school’s curriculum. Contention arises when a pluralistic society tries to specify what is culture and what should be taught. As agreement is impossible in large institutions, they are forced into multicultural curriculums that are hostile toward authentic culture. These curricula form familiarity with many cultures, yet convictions about none. It is not enough that a child is familiar with many customs, morals and faiths. The child must make a particular custom and faith his own so that he can grow in the virtues and character that custom and faith motivate. Since a democracy is only as good as its citizens, the formation in a particular faith and custom provided by a family supported school is essential for maintaining the moral fiber of this country.
Fully Accredited for grades 7-12 by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.