An Encomium for the Classical School of Wichita Class of 2017

By Josh Dyson

Note: This encomium was given at the CSW 9th-12th Grade Spring Dance in April 2017. “They” refers to the graduating class of 2017.

ten ways to destroyThey are hard to tell what to do. They have their own plans and have a way that they intend to do things. They are a difficult group to control. At the Annual Banquet last night, one of our seniors mentioned their “wonderful experiment” in tie-dying t-shirts for the House Games. While it didn’t all go as planned, she talked about how she grew personally through the experience just by getting the opportunity to try it… for better or for worse.

Anthony Esolen hits on a similar idea in his 10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child[1] when talking about the value of allowing children to organize their own sandlot/pick-up baseball games rather than making kids always do things adults organize for them. He says, “People who can organize themselves and accomplish something as devilishly complicated as a good ball game are hard to herd around. They can form societies of their own. They become men and women, not human resources. They can be free.”[2]

 I would like to adapt what Esolen says and personalize it for this current class of Seniors.

People who can organize themselves and accomplish something as devilishly complicated as…

*Organizing a tie-dye t-shirt event for the entire upper school…

*Producing a commemorative video like you have just seen that honors all the current graduates…

*Planning and executing a Formal Dance—the dance where we are tonight…

*Researching, writing, and defending a Senior thesis…

*Even planning their own trips to Florida and South Dakota…

This group is hard to herd around. They will form societies of their own. They have become men and women. They have become free. And if there is any goal to a Liberal Arts Education it is just that—that they may be free.

It’s been an honor and pleasure. Thank you.


[1]As an aside, my 7-year-old son saw me reading this book earlier today and asked what it was called. When I told him, he asked if the book actually teaches you how to destroy a child’s imagination. He then proceeded to grab the book out of my hands to try to tear it apart. I said “No, no! It’s just satire!” He doesn’t know what satire is, but I was able to preserve the book.

[2]Anthony Esolen, 10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2013), 59.


Mr. Josh Dyson is in his third year as the Director of Operations at CSW. Prior to joining the CSW family, Mr. Dyson served as the Chaplain, as well as teaching Bible and Latin at Houston’s First Baptist Academy. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Languages and Christianity from Houston Baptist University in 2007. Additionally, he has done graduate work at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and at Houston Baptist University. Mr. Dyson and his wife, Julie, have been married for 10 years. They have three children, and another on the way: Deacon, a first grader at CSW; Noelle, 4; Daisy, 2 and another daughter, expected any day.

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