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How Challenge Challenged Me as a Student

The Challenge program is so named because it makes students accomplish difficult things. It is not easy. If you’re wondering whether or not the Challenge program is right for you or your student, perhaps this personal testimony from one of our very own Challenge students might clarify your decision.

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Graduation Celebration: Reminder to Register!

This year, we are excited to host the Classical Conversations Graduation Celebration from Friday, April 30 through Saturday, May 1 during our National Conference. We’ll be celebrating right next-door to our home office in Southern Pines, North Carolina. We look forward to recognizing this momentous day with our Challenge grads, families, and friends!

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Amos Fortune and True Freedom

In celebration of Black History Month, we would like to commemorate one of the great heroes of American history, Amos Fortune.

Amos was born an African prince named At-mun. When he was only fifteen, slave traders kidnapped and auctioned At-mun into a life of slavery in Massachusetts, where he was renamed Amos.

For nearly three decades Amos endured the injustices of slavery. However, he never lost hope for a future of freedom. Finally, Amos bought his freedom. Thereafter, he started his own tanning business in New Hampshire, saved money, and purchased freedom for many other slaves.

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Booker T. Washington and True Success

Born into slavery, Booker T. Washington and his family were emancipated after the Civil War. Growing up, Washington endured many hardships. Nevertheless, he learned the value of hard work, education, and perseverance as he ascended the ranks of society.

Our Challenge I students read and discuss Booker T. Washington’s autobiography, Up from Slavery, comparing and contrasting it with the earlier Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

Amidst retelling his life’s story in Up from Slavery, Washington often provides brief yet powerful insights on the importance and true meaning of education, industriousness, happiness, and success.

The latter theme, success, consistently emerges throughout the text. So, as tribute to this influential and inspiring individual, here are three lessons from Booker T. Washington about true success.

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I Survived Mock Trial

For several years, I regarded the coming of Challenge B with fear and trembling because of one thing: Mock Trial. I had never participated in any form of debate during my school years, so it was a vast unknown. (Well, not entirely unknown, but I am not sure my fascination with courtroom dramas on television counts as courtroom experience.) I was not sure I could help my son with Mock Trial in any constructive way. Yet I concealed my fears from him, took a deep breath, and took the plunge.

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Top Four Things You Can Learn from the Science Fair

Imagine this: an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” The main character: a parent who did a horrible job on her junior high science fair project. Fast-forward to the present day. The plot: the parent is now trapped in an endless cycle of producing science fair projects until she finally gets it right.

In all seriousness, I must confess that I approached the Challenge B science fair project with a mixture of fear and dread. By the time I reached my son’s age, it had already been decided that I was a literature and languages person, not a science person. Even though I found science texts interesting and I made good grades, by age 13, I already wholeheartedly believed in the airtight categories of science people, math people, English people, art people, and so on. Therefore, I did not try very hard to come up with a great project; after all, no one expected me to—not even me.

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Is Protocol “Starched, Stuffy, and Stiff?”

Classical Conversations’ Challenge communities organize chaperoned Spring Protocol events each year for their Challenge I-IV students. Students choose dressy attire, eat together in an upscale setting, and may attend a cultural event (such as the theatre, opera, or symphony). Many communities have individualized Protocol training using Sandra Boswell’s book, Protocol Matters.

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 Classical Conversations