Ambleside Schools International Articles

Aspens in Autumn

Browse more Ambleside Schools International Resources.

An Atmosphere of Words, Wisdom, and Peace

In the five years since graduating from Ambleside, I have held close the loves that it shaped in me. I love peaceful learning; Ambleside formed in me a diligence and deep interest which outlasts and supersedes the bribery of grades, the perfectionism that drives procrastination, and the harshness of hurry.  


Our eighth-grade poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, gave me a love of words whose sound rolls round into patterns, and of poetry which says exactly what it means. 


Nature study taught me an attentiveness to quaking aspens and roiling thunderheads. 


During one transcription lesson, when we were asked to write a long passage from memory, my mind was more fully engaged than in any Stanford class thus far. Yet even that greatest challenge to my mind was delightful, and peaceful.  


The atmosphere, you see, matters. Love is caught from an atmosphere and outlasts it. Give a child a love for ideas, nature, and challenges, and those loves will last through later anxious environments where others perceive school and work as a burden. 


Ambleside’s habits gave me the valedictorian podium, but its atmosphere gave the words, gave the wisdom, gave the peace.  


I gave this speech at my 2022 high school graduation (54:42 to 58:45). Since then, weekly Sabbaths have blessed my first year at Stanford with peace, good work, and closeness with the Lord. Sabbaths, in fact, create an Ambleside atmosphere in a place of striving by putting rest and work into an obedient balance. Perhaps half a dozen friends there joined me in the practice.


Would you do the same? 


By Bethany Lorden 

Alumna of Ambleside School of Colorado

Valedictorian Speech PDF