What grades and subjects do you teach at Habersham?
I teach 9th grade literature and history as well as 12th grade literature. The 9th grade humane letters course is centered chronologically around the period from Late Antiquity to the High Middle Ages (0-1300 AD). We talk about the Fall of Rome, the rise of the Church, Byzantium, scholastic philosophy, and much more. We are reading some of the greatest books of the Western tradition – Augustine’s Confessions, Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, and Dante’s Divine Comedy. The senior literature class is in large part an introduction to the modern novel. We read Dostoevsky, Camus, Huxley, Solzhenitsyn, O’Connor, and McCarthy. I also incorporate a lot of twentieth century poetry into the class.
What brought you to Habersham? How long have you been teaching?
Though I teach at Habersham now, my first relationship with the school was as a student. I came to Habersham as a Junior and graduated in 2015. After finishing graduate school, I decided to move back to Savannah with my wife and daughter in order to be closer to family, and was looking for teaching jobs. I immediately inquired at Habersham. The school ended up having a spot open and hired me. This is actually my first year teaching full-time, though I taught part-time at a classical Christian school while in graduate school.
What do you love about teaching at Habersham?
Habersham’s mission to the restore the Image of God in its students through education pervades every dimension of its structure. The way that the curriculum in my classes is set up is such that I am able to weave literature, Scripture, philosophy, theology, rhetoric, and history all together in an invitation to these students to enter into a great Christian tradition of thinking and living that will make great thinkers and great saints out of them. I deeply believe in this mission and in the course Habersham has charted to accomplish it.
What experience do you have with classical education?
I have been in classical education since the second grade. From second through tenth grade, I attended a small classical Christian school in Effingham County. That school then merged with Habersham in 2013, and I then attended Habersham. I am immensely grateful for the intellectual and spiritual gifts which a classical education has bestowed on me, and my decision to teach in a classical school was motivated primarily by the desire to give to other students what classical education gave to me.
What’s your favorite Habersham tradition?
Though many of the distinctive Habersham traditions were present when I was a student and the Prefect of Lafayette, it is very interesting to see the ways in which they have evolved since my time. When I was a student, my favorite house event was House Olympics, but that is almost certainly because of the immense stress of planning Feast Day as a Prefect. I am excited to see what Feast Day looks like this year!
What is one of your favorite cultural or family traditions?
I come from a highly liturgical Christian tradition, so I think that my favorite yearly tradition is what is called the Easter Vigil. It is a lengthy, elaborate ceremony on the evening of Holy Saturday which ushers in the end of Lent and the beginning of the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. In it, the Church lights and blesses a new fire used to light the Paschal candle, reads through nine prophecies of the Old Testament foretelling the victory of Christ over death, baptizes new believers, and celebrates Holy Communion in the light of Christ’s risen glory. It is a really joyous event, and one of the most distinctive of the Christian tradition, as it usually begins around 9 pm and continues till after midnight and involves many highly symbolic acts not often done through out the church year.
Tell us a little about your family.
I am married to Mallory, who teaches right across the street at St. Vincent’s Academy. We met in college and were married in the summer of 2019. We have a two year old daughter named Genevieve, in part because she was baptized on the Feast of St. Genevieve in February. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris.
How do you encourage students to pursue academic excellence?
People pursue excellence in things for two reasons–either they care about that thing, or someone they care about or respect cares for that thing. Therefore, my goal in teaching is always to inspire love for the matter which we are studying together, so that they wish to do excellently in my class themselves. Also, I try very hard to build a relationship of trust with the students, so that my love for the subject is not an embarrassment to the student, but something (hopefully) that they want to imitate, even if somewhat unconsciously at first.