Portrait of a Defender
Vision of a Veritas Defender: The Portrait & Path
We are committed to growing students towards an ideal of the good, wise, and virtuous young man or woman of faith. As in all worthwhile pursuits, good intentions and verbal assent may resonate but alone produce little real progress. The cultivation of good habits and training of affections, however, provide slow and steady progress in the formation of valiant students. It is easier to speak in ambitious terms and to set lofty goals than it is to diligently persist in retraining entrenched bad habits. We should, therefore, feed our imagination with visions of both the end goal and the journey’s path. John Bunyan’s Celestial City provides an image of the final destination for Pilgrim, but it is the allegorical pitfalls along the way that makes Pilgrim’s Progress such a help to Christian readers.
The Portrait & Path of a Defender first identifies the defining attributes desired for every Veritas graduate—the Portrait—and then marks the guideposts for Veritas students as they progress towards graduation—the Path. Seniors do not magically transform into the Portrait the moment they receive their diplomas. Rather, they grow into it through patiently developing good habits starting in childhood that are carried on in ever-increasingly mature forms throughout their education.
Implication for Adults
We desire to give students virtue. But we cannot give what we do not have. To impart virtue, we must embody it. For this reason, the Portrait & Path of a Defender is a call to all adults to be faithful to their life-giving duties in a collaborative school—parents and co-teachers in the home, faculty and staff at school—to inspire the formation of habits in children. Our own habits will work either for or against the good habits that we want to see in them, both by what we model and by what we ask of them. Children will not call themselves to virtuous habits. We must call ourselves to these habits and then call children to follow. Therefore, each section of the Portrait & Path of a Defender will include thoughts about how the actions of parents and adults can support the growth of students in that area.
- Understand and believe the Gospel, trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
- Are present and active in the worship and life of the local body of Christ.
- Find joy in the study of Scripture, prayer, and service of Jesus Christ.
- Read deeply and charitably; reason truthfully, diligently, and earnestly.
- Speak and write with clarity, wisdom, and eloquence.
- Engage creation with wonder and respect; pursue beauty and good workmanship.
- Love Christ the King, following his command to make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to love God and one another.
Acknowledgement: We wish to thank the Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia for its pioneering work in crafting and sharing with us its Portraits of a Graduate and Student, upon which we relied heavily in customizing this Portrait & Path of a Defender in order to reflect the vision and values of Veritas Academy.
In addition to our recognitions for the good man speaking well—our Senior Thesis Laureate—and the most exemplary scholars—our Valedictorian & Salutatorian—we also recognize one who leaves behind a legacy of leading with the heart in the betterment of self and others for the glory of God: our Veritas Valiant.
As students progress through the three stages of learning and school levels at Veritas—Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric—they receive a comprehensive education that fully integrates a Biblical worldview and focuses on ordering their loves to become Valiants.
The Veritas Valiant Award is the academy's highest honor. It is meant to acknowledge a graduating senior whose life is marked not just by intellect and accomplishment, but also by effective leadership, a spirit of excellence, and personal virtue. The award is conferred upon one—and sometimes two—who possesses and pursues the aspirational, noble qualities we desire to see embodied in a person of whom others would remark, “Now, there’s a Veritas man/woman."
Their attitude determines the joy and satisfaction they find in life, and it defines—and, especially, limits—their possibilities. The cynic has little potential.
Their effort determines where they will reside within that realm of possibilities. Ambition, or perhaps more accurately, desire, is the fuel of the engine of effort. Either selfish desire or noble ambition will drive effort, though the latter more broadly and sustainably. But regardless the motive—noble or otherwise—desire without effort is without impact.
And, finally, their tongue has the power to undo it all. It's the match that most of us use to destroy in an instant what we have spent countless hours building.