INDIVIDUAL INTEGRITY, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT, GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP
From its very founding, Middleburg Academy has been guided by the belief that without a strong moral foundation, a student’s education is incomplete. We compel our students to ask themselves three central questions for a strong moral development: Who are you? Where are you going? and Who is going with you?
Our graduates acknowledge a spiritual dimension to their humanity and appreciate that moral principles and spiritual development are integral to their success as students, artists, and athletes, and to their active roles as “young men and women of moral integrity who will be responsible leaders and citizens in a diverse and ever-changing world.” This aspect of our mission is implemented directly through required Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior Seminars, and the community service initiatives that flow from them.
The Seminars have been created by Middleburg Academy faculty, who provide the following insights into the program’s goals and guiding principles:
Q: What do you think is the greatest value these courses offer to Middleburg Academy students? By the time they graduate, what key benefit(s) do you hope they will have received?
A: The goal of the Seminar program is for students to recognize that their education cannot be contained in a notebook, a classroom, or even a diploma. The Seminar is intended not only to lay the foundation for student success, but also to inspire students to embody habits of intellectual curiosity and initiative in their chosen pursuits.
Q: How is the discipline of religious studies relevant to an independent high school with a college-preparatory curriculum?
A: The academic study of religion (independent of doctrinal association) is one important hallmark of a curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking, use of primary sources, synthesis of ideas, and application of content to contemporary society. Religious Studies is an unparalleled opportunity to integrate multiple disciplines in a single classroom including history, geography, literature, language, and current events.
Q: Of what relevance is a religious studies program to those who do not practice a faith?
A: Students of the 21st century are global citizens. At Middleburg Academy, we seek to nurture them into becoming informed and conscientious global citizens who are respectful participants in pluralistic society. While these objectives transcend religious affiliation, they require knowledge about the faiths and practices that have shaped civilization and continue to shape current events.
Q: How do the school’s Community Service Program and the Seminars relate to each other?
A: The Seminar integrates Middleburg Academy’s priority of community service into our curriculum. In this way, we are able to educate our students about authentic service, research timely and relevant service opportunities, and help them to become fully engaged in the preparation and reflection that are integral to service learning.
Q: Can you explain what is meant by “authentic service?”
A: In authentic service learning, students are not simply accumulating hours of free labor. The ideal of authentic service learning is for students to first identify an issue of interest to them by asking the following questions: What problem exists in the local, national, or global community that needs solving? What can a student contribute to the solution? Students then commit themselves to service, but the process does not end there. Students reflect on the experience, appraising its value in terms of both the growth of the individual student and the impact on the problem. Finally, students share their experiences while inspiring others to join the given cause, seek out their own passion, and share their own time and talents.