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A Word From the Head

May 5, 2017

Senior Thesis Presentations May 15-19

The Senior Thesis is the most tangible example of one of the goals of a Regents education- to graduate students who can declare, dialogue, and defend their position on an argument. This is the pinnacle of the classical Christian education model and the event is something every person who has a student at Regents should witness. The week of May 15-19 each senior will present their thesis and in so doing will have completed the final assignment as a Regents Knight. The smile on the face and the bolstered shoulders of a student standing alone at the podium as the crowd cheers their accomplishment brings tears to my eyes every time.

Seniors research their topic for nearly two semesters and then distill their knowledge down to a 20-minute speech. With the shepherding care of Mr. Carlisle and Mrs. Usry and their respective one-on-one adviser, they hone their vision down to a laser precise thesis following the canons of classical rhetoric.  

The Senior Thesis is more than just a written assignment or a speech well delivered. After the presentation, the crowd applauds and the student takes a deep breath as the real test now begins. 

For the next 20 minutes the senior fields questions from four judges while a live stream video broadcasts the final steps of the journey around the world. Every thesis is delivered from Knights Hall on the 3rd floor of the School of Rhetoric in front of windows looking upon the world the student will soon enter. 

Senior thesis judges are hand-picked by a parent volunteer, many with expertise on the particular subject. A judge also takes questions from the audience using an iPad and may interject a thought from someone who could have an unconventional or completely opposing viewpoint on the subject.

While the judges probe and challenge the strength of the student's preparation, the audience watches with anticipation- and a little thankfulness- that they are not the one alone at the podium. My favorite part of watching the audience is seeing the senior's fellow students, many of whom may have walked this journey together as friends since Grammar School, and are now giving them non-verbal cues of affirmations – little winks, empathetic smiles, subtle nods saying "we stand with you."  

At the end of the 40th minute, Mr. Carlisle or Mrs. Usry stand as the student finishes their final answer. She made it!!!!!!!  The crowd explodes into applause. Collectively the room sheds a tear of thankfulness, pride or sheer relief.  I am always moved by the body language and facial expressions of the senior as the crowd cheers. They walk away from the podium a different person than the one who started 40 minutes earlier. It is the end of one journey and the beginning of another.

Please do not miss experiencing the joy and affirmation of the Regents vision these thesis presentations provide. Here are the times and subject titles. See you in Knights Hall.

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Rod Gilbert
Head of School

B.S. Economics
M. Divinity, Mid Amer Sem
Ph.D. (candidate) S Baptist Sem
Interests: soccer, Alpine dairy goats

read his bio



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