Iron Sharpens Iron

All was silent. It was late May, the day after classes ended, and 234 teenagers put their summers on hold long enough to cram in to a stuffy gym for Epilogos, our final exordium of the school year. To a student, they hung on my every word.

“The Ambrose of Milan Award for Academic Year 2016-2017 is given to….”

Giving The Ambrose of Milan Award is wrought with difficulty. As a classical Christian school, our primary purpose in education, the thing we value above all others, is the cultivation of virtue. Students can study quadratics and stoichiometry anywhere; only in Christian community can they be forged in to the men and women God has created them to be.

Recognizing and celebrating virtue can also be difficult. Virtue is rarely quantifiable. It doesn’t fit neatly in to a rubric, a grading scale, or a lesson plan. It is most often unseen: it happens at dinner tables, in car rides, on athletic fields, and in the dark and secret recesses of Instagram and SnapChat code.

The Ambrose of Milan Award is our attempt as a school to recognize and celebrate virtue in the lives of our students. The process for doing so is rigorous. We dedicate an entire faculty meeting to it, nominating students from each class, reviewing their careers at our school, telling story after story of moments where students clearly showed the virtues of prudence, temperance, justice, fortitude, faith, hope, and especially love. In particular, we look for instances where students showed a desire to love God and man, a legendary kindness, an unwavering courage and honor in trials, and a Christ-like attitude of humility and service to others.

You can imagine nominating students for this award might be difficult, and often it is.

On occasion, however, it is not. Thus was the case this year.Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 3.41.41 PM

“The Ambrose of Milan Award for Academic Year 2016-2017 is given to….”

Noah Squared.”

Proverbs 27:17 reads, “As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens his friend.” The two Noahs – “Noah Squared,” as they have been known at our school over the last six years – have been an amazing image of this biblical truth for all our school to see. They have faithfully encouraged each other in classrooms, in Mock Trial courtrooms, on the playing fields of House games, on cross country courses, and everything in between. They have prayed for each other, formed accountability groups with other boys in their class, and have debated theology, literature, and philosophy at every turn. Through their close Christian brotherhood, they have made one another other better than they would have been on their own.

That is a beautiful thing we can all celebrate.

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