Finding Meaning Through Learning
Elizabeth Black, Dean of Faculty and Curriculum
I would like to share a thought with you during this difficult time. It is taken from an essay on “Learning in Wartime” by C.S. Lewis. Although referring to a different type of evil than a pandemic, Lewis speaks to the heart of education during the most trying of times.
Written in 1939, gazing ahead at a fearful world, he wrote:
I think it important to try to see the present calamity in a true perspective, The war creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself.
If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun. We are mistaken when we compare war with "normal life." Life has never been normal. Even those periods which we think most tranquil, like the nineteenth century, turn out, on closer inspection, to be full of cries, alarms, difficulties, emergencies.
Plausible reasons have never been lacking for putting off all merely cultural activities until some imminent danger has been averted or some crying injustice put right. But humanity long ago chose to neglect those plausible reasons.
They wanted knowledge and beauty now, and would not wait for the suitable moment that never comes.
Despite this tumultuous time, our students continue their intellectual growth and development. Indeed, I am bold enough to say that although in a different context and by different means, our students continue to receive a rich education with the help of the remarkable women who are their mentors and teachers.
At Oakcrest we choose to continue the pursuit of knowledge and beauty, because it is precisely these which give depth of meaning to life.
I encourage you to do the same.
Elizabeth Black received a Bachelor of Arts in Classics and Early Christian Studies from Christendom College. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Liturgy from the Liturgical Institute. With ten years of teaching experience, seven of which have been at Oakcrest, Ms. Black brings abundant practical knowledge of teaching young people, especially girls, to her role of mentoring the faculty and developing the curriculum. Ms. Black is trained in the Ward Method and began teaching at Oakcrest in 2012.