Haley Wade had forgotten all about Founders Classical Academy when her family received the call; after all, she’d been on a waiting list for seven years. But when spots opened up for her and her sister, she was ready.
After completing eighth grade at a local middle school in Leander, Texas, Haley was academically inclined but getting a little bored.
“I like being challenged,” the now-ninth grader says. “I think Founders is a good mix of challenging and fun. It’s not like anything I’ve ever been taught before.”
What’s different about Founders, a public charter school? It’s the classical model of education—rejecting wokeness and progressive trends.
“The curriculum teaches the liberal arts and emphasizes the intellectual and moral virtues through a content-rich, cohesive course of study,” the school’s website explains. “The Western tradition is central to the study of history, literature, and philosophy at Founders, and within the Western tradition, students engage in a rich and recurring examination of the American literary, moral, philosophical, and historical traditions.”
Meanwhile, all around Texas and the nation, public school districts are embroiled in controversy. Parents are upset over school closures, mask mandates, and disturbing reading materials.
In stark contrast to this, Haley’s focus now is on “The Iliad,” a nearly 3,000-year-old epic attributed to the Greek poet Homer.
“I love it!” she says. “I’ve never read anything like it.”
It’s part of a Greek Literature class. She also has Latin, Western Civilization and a class on the Trivium, which covers the fundamentals of classical education: grammar, logic and rhetoric.
“Trivium is the hardest because I’ve never learned this before,” she said. “I didn’t know grammar. Now I’m learning to diagram sentences. “
Haley’s mother, Rachel Wade, was intrigued when she first heard about Founders.
“We had some friends who got into the school when it opened,” she says. “It sounded really great. And my sister had great things to say about classical education. So we thought it would be a good fit. But [acceptance] is through a lottery. We didn’t get a call—until this year.”
She says she couldn’t be more pleased with the school, which her two older children now attend (she hopes that her youngest will start kindergarten at Founders in a few years).
“We’ve seen them just blossom,” Rachel explains. “They talk about things that blow our minds—things they’re learning and how they’re growing. It’s been awesome to see. We’re really grateful she’s in there now, and she’s able to travel down a better path. This is going to benefit them so much in the future.”
The focus of classical education—on the good, the true and the beautiful—aligns exactly with what Rachel wants for her children’s education.
For Haley, it’s a whole new world.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” she says. “Now I think I want to be a classical education teacher.”