People don’t live well by accident. They are taught. They are taught by their parents, friends, church, community, and God. Pacifica plays a role in this process. High school is an incredibly formative period in anyone’s life, so Pacifica takes its role very seriously. Teaching students to live well not only changes how students understand the world, but empowers them to experience abundant and joyful lives. Pacifica wants students to take what they learn and unite it with their faith. We provide adult examples of this way of living. Our staff engages students not merely in their studies, but also in the deeper questions they face and the decisions they make. Of course we want our students to learn the material, but we also want to prepare them to thrive in life. These can, and should, work together. In addition to academics, Pacifica emphasizes critical elements of living well:
Christian Faith – We teach our students how to read the whole Bible–from Creation to the promises of Christ’s return. We take them through a study of the Christian church’s history and teachings. This culminates in their being able to understand and even apply a Christian worldview to contemporary problems and situations. After four years, our students see God, themselves, and the world differently—and more accurately. Equally important, our staff model lives of Christian faith. They do not simply teach the text, they live a life of faith in front of their students. In chapel, Bible studies, travel programs, extra-curricular events, and conversations outside of class, students learn how to apply their faith with what they learn and experience in the world.
Joy in life – We believe our faith offers us freedom, an “abundant life,” and the “fullness of joy”—whether during triumphs or setbacks. Therefore, we want our students to be free to experience abundant and joyful lives. We encourage students to live out their stories, fully becoming who God desires them to be. We provide students with opportunities that will change them for the better—both inside and outside the classroom. We want to challenge them and see them mature, to have them learn to “consider it all joy.” As they recognize their freedom, they realize they too can have abundant and joyful lives. This makes them live with more purpose, make courageous decisions, and strengthen their commitments to God. As they learn—in both mind and heart—that for the faithful, all things work together for good, they become prepared for all that life and God have to offer.
Not a square inch – Just as all truth is God’s truth, we trust that everything God created is sacred unto Him: “For all the earth is Mine” says the Lord. Therefore, we want to learn why it is important to God—and to live accordingly. We teach that all parts of life, not just time at church or in school, matter to God. It is with this understanding that we want our students to pursue learning, relationships, careers, and life. We want students filled with courage and not afraid to engage the world with their beliefs. We invite them into an abundant, joyful life by showing them that each moment, every place, and all circumstances offer something of what is true, beautiful, and good.
Practicing Virtue – All circumstances in students’ lives give them a chance to live more virtuously: to live well. But this is not simply taught and learned. They must practice virtue. Students learn to practice the virtues in momentous decisions, as well as in the seemingly small details of their lives. Living virtuously requires far more than memorizing a list of character traits—therefore, we want students to apply what they know of faith and truth to how they live. Each decision matters and will shape them for the better, or worse. C.S. Lewis held the same view: “Good and evil both increase at compound interest.” This is why we want students to learn that the decisions they make on a daily basis are of infinite importance as to who they become.
And they become what they daily practice. Because of this truth, they must daily practice the virtues. How, and what, students practice—faith, hope, love, courage, prudence, endurance, temperance, justice, or even music, soccer, math, or languages—shapes who they become. All habits have either a positive or negative impact on students’ daily lives. Therefore, we want them to practice the right things, virtuous things.
Good Decision Makers – Practicing the right things, however, requires students to make good decisions. Often, the long-term good decisions are at odds with the world around them. Pacifica’s team knows that adolescence is a thrilling time, filled with triumph and disappointment. Our school community strives to give and receive grace through it all, helping our students to better recognize the truth of their lives, who God is, and what He is doing. At Pacifica, students experience support, encouragement, and love as they mature into young adulthood. We want to help equip them to live in a way that puts them in a position to thrive in all parts of life, well beyond graduation. Living well at Pacifica is not simply about following the rules, but learning to make good decisions throughout life.
Learning From Failure – Students who try new things must experience failure. They must feel free to do so, or they won’t take proper risks. No one is perfect at a skill at first. We think failure can be a good thing, but only if students are taught to use their failures as opportunities for growth and maturity. We want them to learn to find the significance of each experience. We want them to celebrate their successes as well as to use failures to make them more moldable and adaptable for God’s purposes in their lives.