Pursuing Goodness, Truth, and Beauty

Written by Matthew Stone, ’10

My four years at Hillsdale College taught me the importance of living a life in pursuit of what is good, true, and beautiful. Countless classes, lectures, and conversations reinforced these ideas by preserving them among a haven of students and professors. During my senior year, I distinctly recall never wanting to be away from this community of like-minded individuals; the thought of graduating and entering the “real world” unsettled me. Yet, part of our responsibility as humans is to go into our local communities and teach these great ideas. If the wonderful ideas gleaned from the past four years of my life at Hillsdale form part of a much longer tradition of knowledge, then it is critical that they should be passed on to future generations of Americans, perhaps now more than ever.

Although I was skeptical of vague and cliché attempts launched by countless individuals to “change the world,” I remained optimistic of the potential for caring teachers to shape the impressionable minds of the next generation of Americans. I therefore chose to pursue a teaching career at a nationally ranked charter school in the Boston metropolitan area and to do my part by sharing my wonderful experience at Hillsdale with those in my immediate neighborhood and community.

My first years teaching at the school were truly rewarding. I witnessed the power of education to free the mind and cultivate the soul. My experiences at Hillsdale taught me much about the practical aspects of teaching, such as classroom management, collaboration among colleagues, developing assignments and assessments, and refining my own knowledge of history. More importantly, it gave me an opportunity to serve my community by using my talents to point students and teachers alike toward the truth.

My guiding principle throughout these times has been to share a knowledge of the good, true, and beautiful to my students, who I believed have an innate desire to know these things. It takes the right kind of teacher teaching the right kind of things to unlock this love of the good and my commitment to bring this type of education to children has only grown stronger each year.

Five wonderful years and one master’s degree later, an opportunity opened up for me to take on a leadership position in one of the schools in Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative. This past July, I officially accepted the assistant headmaster position at the new Founders Classical Academy of Mesquite, which will open this August and serve over 380 students who predominately come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds in neighborhoods just outside of Dallas, Texas. I am thrilled to bring the knowledge of the higher things into the lives of hundreds of students and parents who might otherwise never experience this type of opportunity. I love our school pledge, which is recited by our students every morning:

I will learn the true. I will do the good. I will love the beautiful.

Sharing a pursuit of the true, good, and beautiful with our students will require significant sacrifice from the entire staff and larger school community. A liberally-educated classroom is not one where students simply listen to the teacher and memorize without a purpose. Providing a truly classical education means bringing ideas and stories to life so that they inspire students to know, learn, and grow.

My college education dramatically influenced the teacher that I have become and I am forever grateful to Hillsdale. Hillsdale’s decision to become involved in the K-12 education through the Barney Charter School Initiative provides an incredible opportunity to spread the good, true, and beautiful. It gives our nation hope for the future again.

Matthew Stone graduated in 2010 and currently holds the position of assistant headmaster at Founders Classical Academy of Mesquite. Previously Matthew taught middle school history for five years at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Nichole, live in Mesquite, Texas.