Page images
PDF
EPUB

she has added some optional study, as Greek, one or more of the modern languages, or the accomplishments of music, painting; drawing, or the like, the diploma recognizes these special attainments. As the end sought in study is development and culture rather than mere scholastic learning, a system of equivalents is regarded as just and wise; and any substitution of one study for another to which it is deemed equivalent is stated in the diploma.

"Thus the mastery of certain studies of the classical course may be regarded as an equitable equivalent for certain omitted studies of the higher English course. And the mastery of certain of the optional studies may be accepted as an equivalent for certain omitted studies of either of these courses. The essential thing is that she who receives a diploma in testimony that she has completed the higher English course shall have acquired the mental discipline, the strength and culture, which would have been acquired by a mastery of all the studies of that course. And so in reference to the diploma conferred upon those who complete the classical course, the essential thing is not the means but the end, viz: culture, strength and grace. Special attention is called to this system of equivalents.

"Ample justice is done to those who do not complete either of the full courses required to entitle them to a diploma. When such a pupil leaves the institution, she is entitled to an appropriate certificate, which will state what studies she has mastered, be they many or few.

"It is believed that this system of testimonials will be regarded as an improvement. The technical diploma, conferred 'in course' upon all who have been so many years members of an institution, is notoriously a very uncertain testimonial. What county school commissioner would accept such a diploma as sufficient evidence of fitness to teach a common school? It is claimed for the system here stated, that, while it deals justly with those who have mastered but a few studies, it rewards with deserved consideration those who have mastered many."

4. Absolute and not relative attainment is rewarded. The

superintendent says:

"The trustees of the Athenæum are utterly opposed to any use of the principle of emulation which tends to provoke unhealthful rivalry. A system under which the success of one precludes the success of another is mischievous. A system which rewards absolute excellence, by whomsoever attained, whether by one or many, is open to no such objection. Provided only that the reward be offered to all on the same conditions, and that the success of one be not bought at the cost of the failure of another, a system of rewards may answer valuable ends.

Such a system does not provoke competition of pupil with pupil, or mere emulation to excel others, but an enthusiasm to attain the highest excellence.

Holding these views the trustees have authorized the superintendent to offer a gold medal to all who reach a certain grade of scholarship. There will be two medals a larger and a smaller. The former for those who reach the required grade in the classical course, and the latter for those who reach the same grade in the higher English course.

All examinations are marked on a scale of from 0 (failure) to 10 (perfection). The pupil who has sustained at least one-half of her examinations in the Athenæum, and Vol. II-90

who is graduated with an average standing of not less than 9.7, will receive a gold medal. If she is graduated in the classical course she will receive the larger, if in the higher English course, the smaller gold medal.”

5. "It is a peculiarity of the Athenæum that it neither provides nor desires a boarding department. It is not a boarding school.

Experience has shown that those Protestant parents who have entrusted their daughters to convent boarding schools have made a grave mistake. The convent is not a home its life is artificial: if it for the time protects from some evils, it exposes to others; and it contributes little to the development of a character competent to protect itself. Whatever accomplishments it may secure, it does not develop the practical wisdom and self-mastery essential to safety, usefulness and happiness.

Yet some of the most mischievous tendencies of convent schools are inseparable from the best Protestant schools, in which large numbers of young ladies are shut off, by the necessities of the system, from nearly all natural contact with society. A strictly family school, into which a few girls are received as members of the family, and in which they are under those influences, and no others, which are the atmosphere of a christian household, is one thing: an immense establishment, in which are gathered fifty, one hundred, or more, young girls, and in which they are subjected to a complicated system of artificial regulations, is another and a quite different thing. The former may be to some very desirable. The latter is a product of our modern life, which seems to have originated in an attempt to imitate, in arrangements for our daughters, the monkish system of dormitories in our colleges for young men. But the dormitory and commons system, so common and deemed so essential in American colleges twenty or thirty years ago, is passing away. The commons feature of the system, the practice of requiring all students to eat at a common table, is already generally abandoned; and the dormitory feature is becoming more and more unpopular. Experience has demonstrated that family influence is far more healthful to body and to mind than that of any system which separates the student from contact with family and social life. And what is true of our young men is yet more important in reference to our daughters. The nunnery is not less mischievous than the monastery. God has made the family the nursery and sanctuary of all womanly excellence. If the child is to become a truly educated woman she has much to learn that books cannot teach. The formation and strengthening of correct habits, the lesson of self-mastery, competence to protect herself, practical wisdom in the ordinary intercourse of life, the knowledge of common things-these are ends of education of far greater moment than mere progress in book-learning at the cost of these. A vigorous, well balanced, and self-reliant character is far more likely to be formed in the atmosphere and amidst the daily experiences of a christian family, than in the best managed boarding school in which scores and hundreds of all sorts are associated in compulsory daily contact.

Of course, this claim of the superiority of the family is certainly true only in those cases in which the family is a cultivated and christian family. When the Athenæum was instituted there was some fear that there would not be found a sufficient number of fit families, who would receive girls as boarders. But happily this fear has proved unfounded. In such a place as Jacksonville, so distinguished for its general culture and its high moral tone, it is believed there will continue to be found, for all who desire them, safe and pleasant homes. A trial of four years has gone far to confirm the soundness of the principles here set forth. With their

present views the trustees of the Athenæum would not accept, as a gift, a building of marble to be used as a boarding house for school girls. A home in a family is incomparably safer and better."

The above full statement and the abundant quotations will give the reader a view of the peculiarities of this institution. During the four years of its existence, it has had, successively, sixtyseven, one hundred and five, one hundred and thirty-nine, and one hundred and sixty pupils. The list of studies offered to pupils for their election is larger than in any other ladies' school in the State, including in Greek the Anabasis and Memorabilia of Xenophon, the Iliad, selections from the historians and the · dramatists, Plato's Gorgias and the Greek Testament; these are named as evidence of the large scope of the courses offered.

The institution is not under the patronage of any sect, or attached to any in its interests.

By the organic act of incorporation the institution is placed on a broad catholic basis. The board consists of twenty-one members; and it is enacted "that not more than three of its trustees shall ever be members of any one religious congregation, and no sectarian or partisan test shall ever be held as a requisite for admission to any office or privilege of the institution."

STATISTICAL SUMMARY.

Years occupied in regular course of study....
Number of pupils pursuing a full course...
Number of pupils pursuing a partial course
Number of pupils in primary department..
Number of pupils graduating during the year

Whole number of graduates since organization of institution..
Number of professors and instructors...

Value of buildings, furniture and grounds..

Value of apparatus....

Charge per annum for tuition in regular course..

Necessary incidental expenses, per annum, including board..
Average of total annual expenses, per student...
Date of annual commencement..

4 ..100 40

20

5 9

17

.$21,000

500

40

200

275

First Tuesday of June.

GALENA FEMALE SEMINARY.

(Galena, JoDaviess County. Founded 1866.)
SARAH L. BAILEY, Principal.

This seminary appears to be intended for a select school mainly for the benefit of the residents of the town in which it is located. A preparatory and higher department are embraced. From a report I quote as follows:

"Estimating our school not by amount of endowment, elegance of buildings, cost of apparatus, or number of professors and students, but by what it is doing for the development of its individual members, we think it may claim an honorable place among the higher schools of Illinois"

[blocks in formation]

[Mount Morris, Ogle County.

Founded 1839.7

Rev. J. M. CALDWELL, A. M, Principal.

In the words of the principal, "This institution is under the patronage of the Rock River Conference of the M. E. Church. It has partially or entirely educated over 3000 young men and ladies. Professors D. J. Pinckney and W. T. Harlow have each held the position of principal twelve years successively. This is the oldest literary institution in the northern half of the State." Students board either in the seminary or in the families in the place. The courses of study are a classical, a scientific and a preparatory, together with commercial, musical and ornamental departments. The classical course is designed to prepare young

men to enter college in the sophomore year, and embraces an amount of Latin and Greek equal to that usually read in the freshman year. The scientific course is intended to equal that usually pursued in scientific institutions, and occupies four years. Teachers of French and German and phonography are provided. The institution has, by its charter, all the privileges and powers of a college, but does not design to confer any degrees except B. S. The graduates of its classical course receive a certificate of their standing and attainments.

I regret that the materials are not at hand for a more extended account of this time-honored and eminently useful and worthy institution.

STATISTICAL SUMMARY.

Years occupied in regular course of study.
Number of pupils pursuing a full course...
Number of pupils pursuing a partial course
Number of pupils graduating during the year

Whole number of graduates since organization of institution, about..
Number of professors and instructors...

Value of buildings, furniture and grounds

Number of volumes in libraries..

.....

.........

Value of libraries....

Value of apparatus....

Charge per annum for tuition in regular course..

Room and necessary incidental experses, per annum...
Average of total annual expenses, per student....
Date of annual commencement.

WAUKEGAN ACADEMY.

[Waukegan, Lake County.

Founded 1848.]

Miss A. A. STEWART, Principal.

40

60

3

400

.$30,000

1,200

$1,000

800

38

15

200

Fourth Thursday in June.

Messrs. Henry L. Hatch and Isaac L. Clark, opened this school as associate principals, and managed it for two years; since then it has been in various hands, with varying fortunes. It prescribes no course with a view to graduation, and is not endowed, depending upon its popularity and good management for pecuniary success. Its principal says:

"Up to the year 1854, the school was unusually prosperous, numbering at times three hundred pupils, engaging from six to seven instructors. Since that time it has maintained a good repu

« PreviousContinue »