Our mascot is the symbol of the school and what we strive to be every day. We are the Sentinels, and in this we seek little that is new. We call upon a long tradition of stalwart defenders and heroes, guardians of the good, the true, and the beautiful.
Who, then, are our heroes? For one, Winston Churchill. On June 18, 1940, with Britain unsure of its future and strength, after a long decade of watching an evil regime rise in the east, Churchill delivered one of his finest speeches. He spoke,
“What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire…If we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”
Golden View Classical Academy students study this speech in 7th grade, and therewith come to know one of the West’s greatest Sentinels.
Who else is a Sentinel? Abraham Lincoln. We have a particular love of America at Golden View Classical Academy, and so Abraham Lincoln is encountered first in Kindergarten, again in 5th grade, and yet again in 11th grade. In the crucible of the Civil War, Lincoln saw sharply that the stakes were none other than the fate of popular government everywhere and always. The man who had the courage and prudence to save the union when powerful voices disagreed surely counts as a stalwart defender of liberty.
We also agree with Pericles that liberty is at the root of happiness, and courage at the root of liberty, and so we hold in esteem a host of brave soldiers in our long history. The famous and infamous battlefields where good encountered evil, at Normandy, at Gettysburg, at Poitiers, at Marathon, at Thermopylae.
Thermopylae is a wonderful story, and it is difficult to ponder the fate of the west had these soldiers not held their ground. The Great King in Persia was marching with his million man army across the Hellespont, through Thrace, and down into Greece. There was one pass through which he needed to travel, known as Thermopylae or the “Hot Gates.” He sent a herald to scout out the area. Reporting back, the herald claimed he saw a small cohort of Spartan hoplites. They were merely sitting there, unflinching, combing their hair. Why were they combing their hair? Because to stand up to such a formidable enemy was nothing to them. Their courage was so powerful, they simply could not flinch. And so they fought. When their swords failed them, they fought with daggers; when their daggers failed, they fought with their teeth, and despite losing they sent the message to the invading army that crippled their ambition and expressed the inextinguishable Greek love of freedom.
Next to these great men and others like them, we think that policemen, firemen, mothers and fathers, teachers, and honest citizens of all stripes who, in their own way, preserve what is good and noble about the West as our civic heritage.
With them, we are the Sentinels.