The Examining Life

A Podcast of the Arts of Liberty Project

Episode 14: The Transition to Classical Education

Welcome to "The Examining Life," a podcast of the Arts of Liberty Project. Hosted by Drs. Jeffrey Lehman and Andrew Seeley, the podcast covers both works from the Western tradition and contemporary events of interest. Lively, personal, and timely, "The Examining Life" contributes to the renewal of liberal education.

How can teachers and schools adapt to classical education? Is the method really suited to students of all ages and abilities? In this episode, Susan Wallace, veteran teacher, discusses with Dr. Seeley how she and her school have grown while transitioning to classical education, and examine a talk given by the late Pope Benedict XVI, which inspired their school’s motto, Quaerere Deum.

About our guest - Susan Wallace

Susan Wallace has been a teacher at St. Agatha Academy in Winchester, KY for 36 years. She received the "Teacher Who Made a Difference" award from the University of Kentucky. Her experience in classical education began in 2013. She has found it most rewarding for both her students and herself. In addition to teaching, she has had the opportunity to work with incoming teachers to help develop the strong teaching core that is now present in the school. From weekly classical meetings for the staff to the transforming of her class poetry night into a school-wide evening called “Artes Liberis,” Susan has contributed to continued growth and joy of classical education at St. Agatha Academy.

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Podcast Colloquy Excerpt

Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI’s 2008 address to the Meeting with Representatives from the World of Culture:

First and foremost, it must be frankly admitted straight away that it was not their intention to create a culture nor even to preserve a culture from the past. Their motivation was much more basic.  Their goal was: quaerere Deum.  Amid the confusion of the times, in which nothing seemed permanent, they wanted to do the essential – to make an effort to find what was perennially valid and lasting, life itself. They were searching for God. They wanted to go from the inessential to the essential, to the only truly important and reliable thing there is.

Podcast Resources

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Marc Antony’s Funeral Oration

Read Marc Antony’s funeral oration from Act III Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar here. Better yet, see Charlton Heston perform it in the 1970 film here.

The Spider and the Fly

Susan mentioned The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt, which takes four minutes to recite, as the greatest memorization challenge her second grader’s tackle. Read it here.

Simply Classical

Susan was touched by Cheryl Swope’s Simply Classical because it showed how classical education is accessible to any child, even children with special needs.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Meeting with Representatives from the World of Culture

Our podcast excerpt came from this 2008 address of Pope Benedict XVI. Read the full address on the Vatican website here.


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