Sunday, November 11, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

This Veteran's Day, we pause to honor all those who risked their lives for the protection of our freedom.  My sincerest thanks and admiration goes to everyone in our community who have served and sacrificed in America's armed forces.  Your selfless service to our country is a model of virtue that our students can and should follow wherever their careers lead them.

On this day dedicated to praising our Veterans, I am especially reminded of C.S. Lewis' statement about the virtue of courage.  "Courage is not simply one of the virtues," he writes, "but the form of every virtue at the testing point."  Our Veterans are a continual tribute to the way that virtue is forged by strength of will in the face of fear.  Indeed, several of our graduates have enlisted because they were inspired by the example of their forefathers.  Like them, may we ever strive to become worthy of the freedom that our Veterans secure on our behalf.

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Happy Fall, Y'all is a high school social for 9th - 12th grade NPX students
 Saturday, November 17 from 7:00 pm- 9:30 pm in the courtyard. 
There will be fun & games and the 4th annual LIP SYNC BATTLE! 

Bring your A-game and sign up for the lip sync battle in Mr. Black's room. See you there! 
Print your receipt and bring to Mr. Black to receive your ticket, or purchase from a Senate member during lunch. Students must come with a ticket to the social - NO EXCEPTIONS.

Cost $10 online
$15 at the door

All students must be picked up no later than 10:00 pm from the social 
in the front of the administration building. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

We are entering a truly delightful season in the life of our school!  Soon we will have the pleasure of seeing our Juniors and Seniors perform Shakespeare plays--something to which I look forward each year.  I am always amazed to witness our students' outstanding displays of thespianism, and I am already looking forward to the performance this Thursday!

I am reminded that during a time when budget cutbacks have led many schools to cancel their fine arts programs, our Academy continues to provide a rich immersion in art, music, drama, and poetry for all our students.  Through the experience of performing a Shakespearean play, our students glean an appreciation for the subtle nuance and rich history of the English language; they learn a deeper empathy and a more sophisticated emotional landscape, and they acquire the skill of performative presentation.  Our students learn these things because Beauty, as much as Truth and Goodness, is an essential aim of our curriculum. We would no sooner eliminate the fine arts than we would math or science.

As we look ahead to our annual drama performances, our Cabinet of Curiosities show, and our Winter Concert, I hope that each of you is as excited as I am about this most wonderful time of the year!

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

Hosting professors from around the nation has become something of a tradition at our Academy.  Each time we do so, our guests leave impressed with the same appreciation for our faculty and students that I have.  What a joy to share our vision with these ambassadors of higher education!
On this Thursday, North Phoenix Prep is pleased to host Dr. Joseph Wysocki, who is visiting our campus to learn more about our classical liberal arts curriculum, as well as the Socratic teaching techniques that our faculty use to provide a truly transformative education for our students.  
Dr. Wysocki is Assistant Vice Provost and Director of the Honors College at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.  He has also served as Director of Thomas More Scholarship, Chair, and Associate Professor of Government and Political Science.  Dr. Wysocki earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at Baylor University.  Prior to Baylor, Dr. Wysocki earned a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Belmont Abbey College.
Welcome to North Phoenix Prep, Dr. Wysocki!
With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Friday, October 19, 2018

Middle School Social November 3rd


Saturday, November 3rd 6pm - 9pm in the Archway Multipurpose Room

NPX PSO Presents


Bring your dancing feet and enjoy some tasty treats

Cost: $10

Due by Friday, November 2nd to the black box in the front office

Otherwise $15 at the door

Cash OR you can pay by check made out to NPX PSO

Please note, this is NOT a costume party


Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

It's appropriate that humility is the last of the Six Loves, but it is ironically the most important. 
That's because humility rescues our other loves from the disease of arrogance or narcissism.   

At North Phoenix Prep, we are committed to serving others, because that is what Love actually is.  Humility is a key virtue in opening our hearts to the possibility of selfless love.
Great Hearts conceives of its mission as one of radical service to others, to the community, to the American republic. Like Socrates, we view our mission as a kind of piety or obedience—he famously explained in his trial that he sought the truth and engaged others in conversation because he believed that’s what the god of the Delphic oracle had ordered him to do. And, like Socrates, our love of excellence and relentless pursuit of truth seems destined to look like arrogance to others not similarly inclined. We must, therefore, actively cultivate HUMILITY, self-deprecation, self-giving in our work and in our way of communicating with others about what we do and what we love—above all, our schools must cultivate the practice of humility and service in our students. 
We must continually emphasize that Great Hearts pursues excellence not because we think we are or ought to be better than everyone else, but rather because we think that there are things, thoughts, thinkers, and examples that are much better than ourselves.
With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Teacher Feature: Mr. Gray

Mr. Tom Gray teaches 8th-grade Medieval History and 10th-grade Economics at our Academy.  He possesses a wide range of teaching experience from Grand Canyon University, and he is the proud parent of a Prep student.  Mr. Gray earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Dallas Baptist University, completed graduate courses in American History from the University of Northern Colorado, and earned an M.Div from Fuller Theological Seminary.  

Our students prepared a few questions for Mr. Gray:

When did you decide to become a teacher, and why?  
I became a teacher in graduate school when I was given the opportunity to teach a freshman-level American History course.  At that point I realized that I had an opportunity to pay a debt I owed to two teachers.  I had an amazing 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Brinson who saw through my misbehavior and instead saw potential; she believed in me and challenged me to do better.  Then there was Mr. Hayes, my middle school assistant principal who noticed my less than spectacular grade in English.  He called me into his office one day, and again, saw potential in me; he tutored me after school and would hand write notes of encouragement on my report cards as my grade steadily went up.  I have had some amazing teachers in my educational journey, but I owe Mrs. Brinson and Mr. Hayes a bit more than the others.

If you could have dinner with anyone from history or literature, who would it be?  
I would have to say that would be J.R.R. Tolkien.  He is a masterful storyteller as well as a writer who prompts his readers to think more deeply.  I am especially fond of his “On Fairy Stories” and try to read The Hobbit and the LOTR each year—this year will mark my fourth reading.  The dinner discussion would certainly be stimulating and would likely revolve around his characters and ultimately, myth.

What interests do you have that might support an extracurricular club?  
I have been competing in the Scottish Highland Games for several years now and love training for them which involves strength training.  This year I finally set up my “garage” gym in order to have more freedom to train for the Games. I am currently the sponsor for the Strength and Conditioning club and am looking forward to working with the throwers on the track team.
Mr. Gray Competing in the Scottish Highland Games!

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

As we look ahead to conferences, it's timely for me to share the fifth of our Six Loves: Conversation and Community.  

The faculty and I look forward to dialoguing with you about your student's progress, and we are excited about launching forward into the second quarter!

The West has been called by some the “civilization of the dialogue”, because of the unique way in which argument, dialectic, reasoned speech, and conversation have operated in Western philosophy and politics through the ages. The Western intellectual tradition has itself been called “the Great Conversation”, a dialogue of ideas and persons, of books and thinkers that spans thousands of years of history and cuts across divisions of language, culture, religion, and history. At the heart of a Great Hearts school is the Humane Letters seminar, a place where contemporary, 21st-century Americans join this Great Conversation about the true, the good, and the beautiful.
There is something universal about this conversation—it transcends the peculiarities of place and time, and participates in something that has been going on for thousands of years in the West. At the same time, following the example of Socrates, who devoted his life to seeking absolute and universal truth without leaving one particular city, we hold that this conversation must be rooted in relationships, friendships, in the COMMUNITY of a particular place, a particular group of friends, in a particular school. Without personal friendships and familiarity, which take time to develop, and without a sense of place and community, the conversation will run cold or become sterile, a mere intellectual exercise.
With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

This week's letter addresses the topic of the Philosophical Realism, one of the central things that we deeply love as an Academy.

  • The Virtues: Moral, Intellectual, and Athletic Excellence
  • The Western Tradition
  • Human Dignity and Freedom
  • Philosophical Realism
  • Conversation and Community
  • Humility
Our Academy plants itself squarely within the classical tradition of Western philosophy: following the example of thinkers like Plato and Aristotle, we posit the knowability of the cosmos, the power of human reason to know not just itself and its works, but a reality outside itself, and the ability of reason to cut through limitations of culture, history, and social conditioning to know truth.

We prefer this classical tradition of thought in opposition to what we might call the “sophistic” or
“skeptical” tradition, which goes all the way back to ancient Athens, and which is alive and well
today. The skeptic holds, generally speaking, that “man is the measure of all things”; that “truth” is
relative or even non-existent; that notions of good and evil are mere social conventions, and that
ethics are non-rational; that beauty is just a question of taste or preference; that reason is merely
the power to make infinite distinctions.

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Campus Aesthetics

As a community that pursues the Beautiful, we believe that our campus aesthetics matter.  That's why we have hung beautiful artwork from the Western Tradition in our hallways and classrooms.  That's why we are developing the community garden in our Courtyard.  That's why we feature excellent student work on display boards around the campus.  These may seem like small details, but taken together they create an atmosphere of order and purpose for our whole Academy.

Looking forward, our faculty and staff are turning our attention to the issue of litter and debris in our communal spaces such as our hallways, courtyard, and multi-purpose room.  Our goal is to instill a sense of responsibility and order in our students and to foster a student culture of cleanliness and attention to detail.  The campus belongs to everyone in our community, and so we all must take care of it.  This does not mean that we expect our campus to be perfectly pristine.  The work of cultivating adolescent hearts and minds is inherently messy, so we expect some amount of flotsam and jetsam around the campus.  But we also believe that there is an analogical relationship between that which is material and that which is moral or intellectual.  Properly ordering the one helps our students to order the other.   

As a first step, we have begun emptying the "Lost and Found" cart at the entrance to the academic building on a weekly basis.  This was done last week after several notifications to students that it had become a pungent eyesore.  The uniform items, lunch boxes, and water bottles that were collected will be available for purchase through the PSO at the next resale.

We will turn our attention to the common spaces on our campus next week, and we will likewise give our students the opportunity to keep the campus neat and tidy on their own.  If it becomes clear that the students need our help, then our faculty and staff are also happy to provide solutions of our own.  Please join us in talking with your students about cleanliness and attention to detail, especially this coming week.  Together, we can pursue the Beautiful on our campus.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Teacher Feature: Ms. Lentz

Ms. Lentz is a veteran teacher with seven years’ experience in both public and private school settings. While a seventh-grade math teacher in New Orleans public schools, Ms. Lentz served as Math Department Chair at O. Perry Walker Middle School and Eleanor McMain Secondary School. She later designed and implemented a rigorous pre-algebra curriculum for grades 5-7 at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana. While at St. Martin’s she won the J. Gordon and Lou Ann Reishe Outstanding Teacher Award. We are honored to welcome Ms. Lentz to our faculty of outstanding teachers.  Ms. Lentz teaches seventh-grade Pre-Algebra at our Academy.
Our students prepared a few questions for Ms. Lentz:
When did you decide to become a teacher, and why?
I became a teacher immediately after graduating from Tulane and completing my certification. I had volunteered with New Orleans youth throughout college, and teaching seemed like a great way to serve both the students and the city that I loved. Over the next several years I continued to teach middle school math, only stepping away when my eldest daughter was born. Now that my children are older, I’m thrilled to return to the classroom.
How did you deal with stress when you were in school?
Looking back, I’m not sure I dealt with stress particularly well when I was in school. When I was a student I kept myself incredibly busy, and I remember lots of late nights and often feeling overwhelmed. I danced with a youth ballet company and had classes or rehearsals every day and on weekends. I was also very involved at school with student organizations and service projects, and the time I spent with friends during those activities was probably how I found most of my stress relief.
How do you best connect with students?

I enjoy connecting with students through conversation. Learning about their interests and backgrounds helps me to understand more about them as a student, and as a person. The North Phoenix Prep and Archway community affords us many opportunities to interact outside of the classroom, and I appreciate the time I get to spend with students and their families.