Field Guide to ECS
Evangel Classical School is an engaging and enlightening destination, filled with gleeful laughter, mischievous munchkins, and erudite learning. However, there are some phrases and rituals that may be foreign to visitors and new initiates. Accordingly, we have developed the following guide to aid in acclimation. For those desirous of further study, many of the entries have been linked to more substantial articles:
A dumpy, preposterous winged rhinoceros who serves as the school’s mascot. When wearing a fleece to the local store, prepare to be asked about the “flying orange dog” embroidered upon your lapel. He is a character from N.D. Wilson’s 100 Cupboards fantasy series, chosen as ECS’ mascot because he is fiercely loyal, multi-visioned, and yet singularly devoted to his mission. He is also a tad ridiculous, which helps students and faculty not take themselves too seriously...he has also been changed from his original gray color to the ECS orange because, orange.
ECS’ more unique color (amidst the navy and grey) was not chosen because of its near impossibility to match two different shades, nor its relationship to William of Orange and the Netherlands (go Kuyper), nay verily for its automnal glory. It was chosen because it is Mr. and Mrs. Higgins’ favorite color, and you get to do that when you help found a school.
Risus est Bellum
Inspired by a two-page advertisement found in Credenda/Agenda that spoke of laughter being war, it was adapted to the school’s motto and written in Latin because, duh, it’s a classical school. A few years ago, the UH (see below) crafted it into a liturgical piece where students recite the phrase and throw back their heads and belly laugh.
This stands for “Unruly Headmaster,” so named by the troublesome gnomes who haunt the corridors of ECS (see below). The Unruly Headmaster has been known to laugh in the face of adversity, force secondary students to speak in class with an adapted version of Spin the Bottle, craft bows for archery contests, and be repulsed at the mere mention of mayonnaise. He is the staunch leader who crests the waves at the helm of ECS - and occasionally plungers toilets.
The gnomes emerged within the first few years of ECS, and they have been trouble ever since. They harken to some characters also found in 100 Cupboards (we’re looking at you, Ted), and enjoy leaving notes throughout the school, appearing in plastic form in random places (such as toilet stalls and yearbook spreads), and generally mustering up mischief to thwart the laughter and singing and merriment of ECS students, which makes their little ears bleed. They have also been known to prank the UH in the form of mayonnaise packets, paper clips, and other horrendous tricks.
Six years ago, the ECS Faculty decided to institute houses for the Secondary Students of ECS (those 7th - 12th grade). The Houses were named after Reformers, not because of gross idolatry, but because these Reformers have defined much of the Western tradition students learn throughout Omnibus (see below), and are worthy of study and emulation. ECS has four houses: Calvin, Knox, Luther, and Tyndale, overseen by Mr. Bowers, Mr. Sarr, Mr. Giddings, and Mr. Weinberg, respectively. Houses provide camaraderie, healthy competition, quick and easy organizational categories, leadership opportunities, and some smack talk sallies. They compete throughout the year in various competitions and daily tasks for the coveted House Cup, which is awarded at the final assembly of the school year (and doesn’t actually involve any cup).
This means "all things" in Latin and is a six-year course, beginning in 7th grade, that enables students to study a certain epoch in history each year of their Secondary experience at ECS (Ancient, Medieval, Modern...repeat). They read both primary and secondary texts relevant to the history, literature, art, and philosophy of each time period. Omnibus is considered the cornerstone to the Secondary program at ECS, and though it involves heavy amounts of reading and writing, it is also full of laughter, occasional sarcasm, and zesty class discussion (such as the definition of taco salad).
Though neither Anglican nor comprised of monks, ECS practices this liturgical tradition of morning prayer and meeting to set the tone for the school-day ahead. It typically involves announcements, reminders (don’t lick doorknobs), reading of gnome notes (see above), the Pledge of Allegiance, recitation of the Apostle’s Creed, lauding through song, and prayer.
First published in 1709 by Bishop Thomas Ken, the Doxology is the closing lines to a number of older hymns that had long been in circulation in Britain. ECS uses the Doxology to close meetings, assemblies, weeks, and occasionally to thank US Navy battleship crews or serenade seagulls outside the Seattle Aquarium.