Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Epiphanies Love Company

By Kami Fletcher (Sophomore at GWU)

Have you ever walked with giants of character? When was the last time you rubbed shoulders with great thinkers? Can you sit down with people who care, and discuss forms that matter? Do you know what an on-campus George Wythe education is like?

On campus is the Magna Charta diagrammed in dry erase marker on the front of the dishwasher. On campus is a two-hour movie with roommates and the typical four-hour colloquium afterwards about the symbolism of the characters and plot. On campus is students sleeping on the couch in the school lobby with a book in their hands. On campus is an immersion into a wonderland of people united under a common vision to “move the cause of liberty.”

The first time I strode through the doors at George Wythe University and met the product, I was sold. The primary reason to study on campus in Cedar City is the other students. The curriculum is challenging, the instructors are inspiring, and the town is rich in culture and adventure; but it’s the students that make George Wythe what it is. To watch boys and girls read, write, and discuss the classics and transform into men and women who know how to think, who have a higher purpose to their lives, and who will make each place they journey better because they have been there. To hear untried youth ineptly speak and debate and then transform into orators and storytellers of power, logic, and heart. To smell the sweat behind an “honors” oral exam prepared for with hundreds of hours of annotations, diagrams, and staying-up-late-and-getting-up-early studying. To feel the chills looking around a classroom table at the bright and eager faces of the future of this world.

I’ve yet to visit another campus of higher education that begins each class in the proper order; acknowledging Divine Providence, of the republic for which our flag stands, a recitation of the mission of the school, and then a submergence into personally and universally applicable true principles. I’ve yet to visit another campus where a mentor meeting is about who I am becoming; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, as well as study specifics. I’ve yet to visit another campus where bookshelves in bedrooms are a student necessity to hold an 1828 dictionary, the Great Books set, and as many well-thumbed classics as will fit stacked on top, leaning beside, and piled in front. I’ve yet to visit another campus where I can walk up to anyone and ask them, “what is your mission in life?” and regardless of their answer, I know they’ve thought about it before that moment, and probably more than twice.

I have walked with giants of character; shuffling home from the library together, hiking through the majestic natural beauty surrounding Cedar City, skipping to the park to play hard after a full day of studying, and rushing to the front of the classroom to diagram the Tytler Cycle. I rubbed shoulders with great thinkers when I woke my roommate up to tell her how I am like a young Natasha Rostova (because epiphanies love company), when I won the race to the back of the big classroom to point out where the Cuban Missile Crisis happened on the map, when I sat at the feet of older, wiser students to listen to their discussion on the moral implications of Communism, and when I read aloud my entire copy of Anthem because my friend didn’t have one. I have confidence sitting down with a middle-aged mom to discuss if families are like monarchies, gathering on the kitchen floor to talk about Georgics with my peers, asking a blind date about his philanthropic entrepreneurial ideas and sharing mine, and defining statesmen as Gandhi’s “be the change you wish to see in the world”, Churchill’s “never, never, never, never give up”, and Henry’s “give me liberty or give me death!”

Do you know what a George Wythe education is like?

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