Presentation Descriptions

Keynote Address  9:00am-10:00am

Dr. Anika Prather, Founder of the Living Water School/Lecturer at Howard University/Newly appointed as Director, High Quality Curriculum and Instruction in the Dept of Ed Policy at Johns Hopkins University

Classics for ALL

I will share my journey into classical education and how I discovered a classical tradition in the Black community and many other diverse populations. I will also share practical tips for making classical learning accessible to diverse students.



Session I  10:10am-11:05am

Robert Jackson, Executive Director, Great Hearts Institute for Classical Education

Devil in the Desert: Paul Horgan’s Austere Sacramental Vision

Using Paul Horgan’s short story, “The Devil in the Desert,” as a backdrop (and primary source), we will discuss the dramatic power of Horgan’s story-telling through character development and various literary devices—tone, irony, imagery, archetypes, etc. Along with a few other short stories by Horgan (briefly summarized), we will explore the author’s ability to depict striking movements of the human spirit from the most austere circumstances and settings—as though wringing water from a cactus. In a form of literary alchemy, Horgan’s short stories produce authentic spiritual refreshment from the tragic elements of the human condition.

Emily Maeda, Director, Paideia Classical Community

Cultivating Desire: Musical Education for the Ordering of Loves

A musical education, or education of the muses, was understood to be essential for training the passions prior to training the analytical capacities of children. James Taylor writes,"The Muses introduce the young to reality through delight. It is a total education including the heart - the memory and passions and imagination- as well as the body and intelligence." While a musical education encompassed all of the arts, music, using the elements of pitch and rhythm, was seen as uniquely capable of uniting soul and body. This power of music, the ability 'to know' both in one's mind and body, is the beginning of all further intellectual pursuits. How can our musical teaching lead with delight to cultivate the desires of our students, awakening them to music's transcendent realities?

Rex Seiple, Art & Art History Teacher, LCHS

Art History Mash-ups

When cultures clash, blend, evolve, and conquer the resulting changes in religion, economics, and world view are reflected in the art. I will take you to several points in history where rapid changes in civilization resulted in fascinating mash-ups of style, symbolism, and propaganda.

Natalie Scarlett, Author, English Teacher, LCHS

Tale as Old as Time: Wonder, Enchantment, and The Moral Imagination

Why are fairytales so enduring? How have these simple stories become popular and pervasive across all media but also elemental to the formation of an individual's moral character development? Why are we continually drawn to fantasy, magic, and wonder that somehow sparkles through these often didactic tales? Can these be taught in a way that doesn’t diminish them to simplistic morality tales? Looking at classic fairy tales with the guidance of C.S. Lewis’ “On Stories,” Bruno Bettelheim’s "The Uses of Enchantment," extensive research from literary critic Peter Hunt, and a liberal arts course I took on Classic Children’s Literature, I will lead a lively discussion relevant to all ages on the significance of fairy tales in culture in general and in specific works of art. This will be a conversation with each other and with the literature and theory itself.

Kristen Rudd, Head of School, Cairn Academy

Searching for the Perfect Man: The Tyrannizing Image of the Ideal Type

In stories through the ages, we read about heroes and what makes an ideal man: the tyrannizing image of what man ought to be for a particular culture. The Greeks gave us Achilles and Odysseus, and the Romans gave us Aeneas. Medieval literature gave us Beowulf and King Arthur. But where and to whom do we look for the Ideal Type in today’s world? Which stories should we and our students pay attention to in order to find the Perfect Man? Join us as we seek and find possible answers to this eternal question.

Dr. Matthew Post, Assistant Professor of Humanities, Associate Director of Liberal Education and Culture, University of Dallas

Can rhythm and melody make us better human beings?

Aristotle tells us that music is one of the most important powers (not just art) concerned with the soul, but its power is easy to mistake because it is at once a matter of education, play, and a way of life. Without music, people cannot distinguish fun from leisure, what is merely useful from what is noble, or what is necessary from what is truly free—a power Aristotle does not even give to reading, writing, or other forms of reasoning. More than this, Aristotle argues that rhythm and melody can closely represent not just emotions, but moral virtues—a bold claim! In this presentation, we will test his claim by discussing the thoughts of the ancients (Plato and Aristotle), the Medievals (represented by Hugh of St. Victor), and the post-moderns (represented by Nietzsche). But we won’t just discuss their ideas, we will listen to the music that inspired and was sometimes inspired by them, to see for ourselves if rhythm and melody can convey virtue.

John Herndon, History Department Head, Ridgeview Classical Schools

Aryan Green: The National Socialist Religion of Nature

The Twentieth Century can truly be called (in Robert Gellately's term) the "Age of Social Catastrophe." Most people recognize National Socialism, or Nazism, as a system that espoused a doctrine of little more than hatred, yet it won the support of millions of Germans and even non-German Europeans. How was this possible? One approach to answer this is found in how National Socialism crafted a new form of post-Christian worship centered on nature and uniquely tailored to the needs of modern man. The sources and expressions of this religion of nature will be the topic of discussion.



Session II  10:15am-12:10pm

Dave Lunn, Music/Orchestra Teacher, LCHS

A Mixtape for Aliens? : The Voyager Golden Record

In 1977 the Voyager space probes were launched to study the Solar System and interstellar space. Aboard each craft was a gold-plated disc containing information about life on Earth, in case it is ever discovered by an extraterrestrial life form. Among the information on the discs are 30 musical selections. What music could represent all of humanity? How were the samples selected? Will they ever be heard? Find out in this out-of-this-world session!

Florian Hild, Classical Literature Teacher, Loveland Classical Schools

Pride & Prejudice & Platonism: Jane Austen, Philosopher; or, Why Mr. Tullius Should Teach Jane Austen

We will read and discuss several excerpts from Jane Austen's novels to observe her philosophical acuity as she wonders about the difficulty of escaping the cave of first impressions.

Dr. Joel Penning, History Teacher, LCHS

Cruel Necessity: England's Seventeenth-Century Revolution

A century before America's revolution, England grappled with the same questions about the nature of government. The process included decades of war, the execution of a king, and the issuing of a bill of rights. This talk will examine the political crisis from the English Civil War of the 1640s through the revolution of 1688, with a special focus on how England's colonies viewed the ongoing debates in the mother country and how England's solutions to the big political questions differed from those of 1776.

Ian Stout, Executive Director, Loveland Classical

478 BCE: A dialogue between Socrates, Lao Tzu, and Gautama Buddha

A fictional philosophical exchange occurring 2,500 years ago provides participants an insight into the outlooks of these three seminal thinkers, who ushered in classical-era thought in Greece, China, and India.

Dr. David J. Rothman, Independent Writer & Scholar

Belle Turnbull, Poet of Colorado

“Pasque Flowers”

The earth’s in cataclysm,

storm-bound, deprived of Heaven:

Yet round the wasteland these

punctual presences

stand up in amethyst,

mist-whorled, unearthliest:

Deep-footed against death

Springs the returning wreath.

Belle Turnbull (1881-1970) may be the greatest poet ever to come out of Colorado. She attended Vassar (Class of 1904) and then spent her career teaching English at the Colorado Springs High School. She retired in 1937, and then, with her partner, the novelist Helen Rich, moved first to Frisco and then shortly thereafter to Breckenridge when it was a declining mining town. It was here that she found her subject and voice, becoming our first great lyrical poet of the Rocky Mountain alpine sublime, along with the first great narrative poet of the region, creating, in her book-length poem Goldboat, a story about mining that feels as gritty, beautiful and complex as life itself. Join us as we explore the work of a Colorado poet who deserves to be in the Library of America.

Dr. Karie Willyerd, Author, School of Business Advisory Board, CSU, 

The Bauhaus Legacy: Revisiting the avant-garde of 1928

Until the Nazis closed the Bauhaus in 1933, it was one of the most progressive art schools in the world. The legacy of the Bauhaus extended to equal access for men and women, the integration of all the arts, appreciation for crafts and trades people as artists, and as an influence for architecture, textiles, photography, and design that extends to today. The Bauhaus is an extraordinary example of how great ideas can not be extinguished … only dimmed for a while before burning brightly as inspiration for generations to come.

Tracy Nichols, Art Teacher, LCS

Japonisme - The influence of Japanese Art on Western Artists

"Look, we love Japanese painting, we’ve experienced its influence — all the Impressionists have that in common." "All my work is based to some extent on Japanese art..."

Vincent to his brother Theo from Arles, 1888 

Come and see how van Gogh, Monet, Cassatt, Frank Lloyd Wright, Tiffany, and many more western artists, past and present, have been fascinated and inspired by Japanese Art.

Trent Kramer, Headmaster, Ascent Classical Academy

The Crito: Socrates' Last and Greatest Lesson

Plato's dialogues make up a large portion of what we know or believe to know about Socrates' teachings.  The Crito is a dialogue between Socrates and one of his students, Crito, in the prison shortly before Socrates' execution.  It is in this dialogue where Socrates expresses to his student the principles by which he lived and ultimately was willing to die for, all the while offering one final lesson to his students.  While we do not know if this dialogue ever truly occurred, Plato gives his readers much to consider in this pinnacle text.  



Session III  1:00pm-1:55pm

Educator’s Seminar, Facilitator: Lander Hultin, Literature Teacher, LCHS

Open to teachers and administrators, this seminar will aim to synthesize the diverse topics explored in the keynote and first two sessions. Focused on content, pedagogy, and educational philosophy, we will not only discuss ideas from the earlier sessions, but we will also focus on how to bring this great festival of ideas “back home” and into the classroom. Classical education is truly a paideia, a communal effort in deep formation of ourselves and our students. To this end, join us in discussing what our wider community of schools can cultivate together in events like the “Festival of Ideas”. 

Julianna Kramer, Student, LCHS

Why Does Music Sound Good? The Math Behind the Melody

Many people say that music is merely a combination of sounds, and that what sounds good to me might not sound good to you. But is it all just subjective? Or is there some objectivity in why some pieces of music sound better than others? In this presentation, we will walk through what creates these differences and how we can learn to agree to disagree.

Paige Gowing, Librarian, LCS, Erin Grandprey, Art Teacher, LCS, & Amy Clemens, Music Teacher, LCS

Poetry of Pop Music

We will explore the complexities of pop music, dispelling the notion that pop is utterly devoid of literary substance. Pop is a genuine and authentic mode of poetic expression, often dismissed in educated circles. You can, believe it or not, be as moved by a Taylor Swift song as you are by Henry David Thoreau.

Philip Hales, History Teacher, LCHS

"The Angel of Andersonville": Father Peter Whelan

From June through October 1864, sixty-two-year-old Father Peter Whelan, an Irish-born, Catholic priest living in Savannah, GA ministered daily to the sick and dying US Army prisoners of war confined to the notorious prison stockade at Andersonville, GA. In 1864 as US Army forces were closing in on Richmond and other parts of the Confederacy, The Confederate government decided to consolidate prisons and relocate prisoners to a new prison Camp Sumter near Anderson Station in southwest Georgia. Before completion of this new prison stockade, the first US army prisoners of war began to arrive. More than 33,000 prisoners would be confined at Andersonville; 13,000 of them perished. Father Whelan's tireless labors ministering to the sich and the dying earned him the respect of all who he met, many converts to the Catholic Church, and tremendous honor in Reconstruction Savannah. He earned the Sobriquet, "The Angel of Andersonville."

Jim Rose, Retired Academic & Architect, Historic Preservation Committee

Buildings and Beliefs

This presentation will look at 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, each of which exhibits ways that mankind through history has used architecture to accommodate rituals, ceremonies and beliefs. By examining these cultural artifacts of the built past, we gain insights into what we value and choose to preserve.

Jean Bradley, Science Teacher, LCHS

From Frozen Cells to Furry Ferrets

Black-footed ferrets, native to the grasslands right in our backyard, were thought to be extinct until Willa and her family were discovered in Wyoming in 1981. 40 years later, Willa's frozen cells were thawed and successfully cloned to produce Elizabeth Ann - an adorable black-footed ferret who has been called a "leap of hope" in bringing genetic diversity back into the black-footed ferret population as repopulation and reintroduction efforts continue. Hear stories about the prairie and learn about conservation science and genetics of our BFFs.

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