“A society that wishes to be both ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, wants what never was, and never will be.” - Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy is a public charter school in Rutherford County, North Carolina. For over twenty years, we have been a college preparatory school option for our community, using the classical model of education. This model follows the Trivium, the three natural stages of human development involving Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric.
At TJCA our goal is not just to impart knowledge to our students, but to equip them to think and learn for themselves, for the rest of their lives. The Trivium does this by grounding students early on with the Grammar stage: during the elementary school years and into middle school, students use observation and memorization to master basic facts dealing with history, literature, art, science, and mathematics. They are then ready for the Logic stage, starting in middle school and progressing into high school: through the Socratic method, students build the skills of discursive reasoning, learning to form and defend sound arguments. In the Rhetoric stage (high school), students develop the ability to communicate persuasively; they express the knowledge and logic they have acquired through public speaking, culminating in a senior thesis presentation and defense. These three steps build on each other to produce well-rounded, thoughtful students who understand the purpose of education and are ready to learn on their own.
In addition to the usual North Carolina standard courses, our classical curriculum requires two courses of Latin (with an emphasis on grammar), a course on logic, and a course on rhetoric, as well as an art history course. Beyond academics, we offer an arts program for our many musicians, actors, and painters, and we have plenty of athletic opportunities ranging from football and soccer to basketball and tennis. Together, our students develop their scholastic abilities, creative talents, and physical skills, in order to become well-developed and virtuous people.
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Our noble guide, the beacon of our youth:
In your footsteps we gladly follow,
For in your hands you hold the torch of truth.
Thomas Jefferson, we’ll always love you,
And we’ll always love your burgundy and gold,
For we take with us your gift of knowledge,
And face the future courageous and bold.