Motto to students: ‘Inquire. Inspire. Serve.’

LAKE LURE, N.C. (August 20, 2013): At Lake Lure Classical Academy (LLCA), education is not just about intellect; it is also about character enrichment. New to the 2013-2014 LLCA curriculum is the addition of a Character Education Program (CEP) component. Character education cultivates opportunities for students to demonstrate character strengths in the areas of curiosity, social intelligence, self-control, gratitude, service, optimism, zest, integrity, and grit. The school’s motto to students is to “Inquire. Inspire. Serve.”

End of year survey responses from LLCA parents and families indicated a strong interest in the addition of character development to the school’s curriculum, thus prompting the LLCA Board’s Curriculum Committee to research the best program. They learned about the collaborative character education work achieved by the non-profit, Character Lab, psychology professor Martin Seligman, Dr. Angela Duckworth, and KIPP Public Charter Schools. Through years of research, a set of character strengths was identified that are integral to leading engaged, meaningful, and purposeful lives.

The LLCA CEP is designed around nine of these character strengths, allowing a school-wide focus on one each month.  The Core Knowledge Curriculum already teaches these character traits, and the new CEP strengthens the existing curriculum by emphasizing these nine important character traits.

LLCA Director Jessica Boland gives examples for how character education is incorporated into current studies. Kindergarten students studying the Wright Brothers could explore the brothers’ grit in their determination to fly. The brothers started by repairing bicycles, and after many failed test flights and visits to the drawing board, they “dug deep and demonstrated grit by trying again until they finally got it right and became pioneers in the study of flight.”

Boland adds that sixth graders could explore curiosity as they study historical figures like Scientist Marie Curie whose curiosity led her to become the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. “Curie was curious about how radioactive elements might make life better,” explains Boland. “Her work led to scientific breakthrough such as radiation treatments for cancer patients.”

The LLCA program goes even further according to Board Member and Curriculum Committee Chair Melinda Morse. “Our program also helps students deal with social intelligence and self knowing issues, like failure,” explains Morse. “Is failure a setback, a motivation or a means for collapse?”

CDE research shows interesting statistics like:

• Research into college graduation rates revealed that the students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically in high school; they were the ones with exceptional character strengths (like optimism and persistence and social intelligence).

• Children who had character education were more likely to bounce back from adversity, to persevere toward a goal, to have good study habits, to seek additional help, to persuade others to help them.

• Character is as important as intellect in determining a person’s success.

• We learn a great deal through failure; it helps us develop valuable character strengths, yet too many of our educational and work environments consider failure unacceptable.  We should do more to embrace failure if it’s part of a concerted effort to TRY and to IMPROVE (as the scientific method embraces failed hypotheseses).

• Source: “The Character Test”, New York Times, 2011

LLCA staff received one-on-one training on the Character Education Program (CEP) led by LLCA School Counselor Ms. Walker who is also teaching supplemental lessons to each grade throughout the year. School counselor visits will be monthly for kindergarten through second grades and weekly for third through eighth grades. High school students will work with the high school English teacher through online journaling and other writing assignments with occasional visits each semester by Ms. Walker.

Self-evaluations occur at the end of each month, and third through tenth grades will have the opportunity to work with a trusted friend or partner to give peer feedback.

“We are proud of the character education program and look forward to seeing the LLCA staff build a culture over time that enriches our students and community,” said Morse. “We believe this program will set our school apart and is a truly valuable investment in our students’ future in our world.”

About Lake Lure Classical Academy

Lake Lure, N.C. is home to the 5,700-acre Chimney Rock State Park, 27 miles of pristine shoreline, and Lake Lure Classical Academy (LLCA), a Challenge Foundation Academy (CFA) that offers a first-class education to every child with the goal of developing thoughtful, articulate young adults. Our classical learning environment is disciplined, yet nurturing, and complimented by a picturesque landscape filled with world-class adventure.

The LLCA-CFA Core Knowledge Curriculum is designed for all students to have educational success with an emphasis on language arts, history, geography, mathematics, science, fine arts and character building. The high school program provides a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum that prepares students for a lifetime of critical thinking, self-motivated learning, and active citizenship.

The Challenge Foundation (TeamCFA) is a national network of free, public charter schools, built on the values of hard work, good citizenship, and teamwork. Each school in the TeamCFA network receives long term, meaningful partnership and oversight from the TeamCFA Foundation, with specific regard to academics, business, and governance.

Whether you are a student, parent or member of our community, we invite you to join our family as we raise the next generation of leaders. Learn more at or call 828-625-9292.