At the beginning of each year, I tell the seniors that good theses always begin with good learning, not with good arguments. In the fall, seniors work hard to learn the “grammar” of their topic through independent research. Once they have a basic understanding of the people, terms, and various issues involved in their topic, they begin to formulate an argument. At this point, they apply their “logic” skills and knowledge to make connections with what they’ve learned. This process usually happens in the early winter. Finally, in the spring, they incorporate their “rhetoric” skills to express their ideas in a clear and engaging way in order to persuade their audience to consider their argument.
This is what we mean when we say that the senior thesis is the culmination of a student’s Regents education. A Regents education aims to create an ethically good human being capable of producing effective, thoughtful, and grace-filled words in both written and oral form as exemplified in a student’s senior thesis.
At this time of the year, there are always students who proclaim with a little despair that “there is so much that they still don’t know.” When those words get uttered, I always smile. They've learned that their journey of learning has only begun, and, yes, there is still so much more to learn, more questions to ask as they accumulate more life experiences and knowledge and wisdom.
Their arguments are sometimes flawed, their ideas aren’t always as clear as possible. But as Philippians 1:6 assures us, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” When we stand to applaud these seniors, we applaud their courage to stimulate a dialogue about something meaningful to them and their audience. We applaud their courage to face the world with a mind that thinks critically, with a heart that cares for others, and with a voice that speaks for Christ. I hope to see as many of our Regents community at the thesis presentations as we celebrate together these seniors’ accomplishments and perseverance.
NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATORY POLICY Regents School of Austin admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.