Why Academy?

The term “Academy” tends to conjure up a picture of students in uniforms engaged in academically rigorous classes, with a time table and a bell. Typically the name is used by college preparatory schools or by schools that follow the principles of a classical education. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is neither of those, so why do we use the term in our name?

School of Athens, Fresco by Rafaello Sanzio Da Urbino, Vatican City, Wikimedia Commons

The original Academy was founded by the philosopher, Plato, around 387 BC. The name came from the piece of land where the students and teachers met, an olive grove belonging to Plato and named after its supposed original owner, the hero, Akademos.

This Academy of Plato’s was not a school in the sense of learning to read and write, but was rather a school of ideas. Here young and old gathered to discuss and observe (after Aristotle joined the school with his insistence on empirical knowledge) the world around them in order to grow in understanding and wisdom.

It is in this sense, that we call ourselves “St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy”. We meet as a community so that we can interact with the world of ideas, observing what we can, and discussing what we see and what we have been told as we seek to grow in understanding and wisdom.

We expect students and teacher/parents alike to give their best effort to the work, to be diligent and attentive, and in that respect we are rigorous in our approach. However, we recognize that each student and parent/teacher is a unique person and instead of holding an arbitrary standard of perfection we simply ask that each person make an effort to improve in their execution of their work and to grow in understanding and wisdom.