If a time lapse video had focused on the Delphian campus from our 1976 beginnings to now, you would see many changes. You’d see buildings and houses appear, forests grow and countless children become adults. You’d see fashions, hairstyles and technology evolve. But what is really interesting to focus on is what would still be standing through all of this evolution and change.
In 1983, founding Headmaster Dr. Alan Larson typed up a philosophy of the school on a single sheet of paper. It explained who we are and what we expect of students. This document recently made the rounds at Delphian again. It didn’t look remarkable at first. The sheet was printed on normal copy paper and must have been xeroxed a hundred times.
On this little piece of paper Alan wrote down a basic philosophy of the Delphian School for students to read upon arriving on campus. Though Delphian is constantly evolving and modernizing, this little piece of paper laid out a high standard that still exists as the foundation of the Delphian culture today.
What We Expect Of a Student
Published in 1983
We expect a student to apply his best efforts to improvement and growth.
In order for Delphian to be the right school for a student, the student must understand what we mean by improvement and growth — and must want them for himself. The family must also understand what we mean by these and want them for a student. Otherwise we will be working at cross-purposes and none of us will be happy with the results.
We want students who develop positive, dynamic goals and the integrity to pursue them, irrespective of whether they “fit in” or not. We want students who become able to do what is right without worrying whether his peers think it is “square” or not. We may not expect every incoming student to already have these abilities, but we do expect him to want this and to work very diligently and productively to achieve it.
Any leader worth the name has had goals he aspired to and the integrity to hold onto them despite social pressures to “fit in” and not “rock the boat.” Thus, it is not a primary purpose of this school to produce graduates who “fit in.” We have no urge to teach students that “adjusting to their environment” is something to aspire to.
If society were not in such a tailspin, morally, productively, and socially, perhaps we would not feel such an urgent need to produce some leadership to help pull it out. However, it is, and we do. We do a service to no one if we allow students to aspire to grow up and go out and “fit in” to a society that is in a tailspin. They must be able to confront changing their lives and their environment for the better. They must have a strong moral grounding and, from that, be able to form and pursue positive goals, with the courage to march to the beat of a different drummer.
This is integrity. It is what we expect our students to develop. They will have the opportunity. It is up to them to seize it.
A student should not come to Delphian seeking a school where he can slip in and quietly obtain a diploma so he can go out and quietly fit into the tailspin.
Arial photo of the Delphian campus in the 1970s
Students studying in the library in the early 1980’s.
A student should come to Delphian prepared to become part of a group that is constantly creating the above viewpoint. He should expect to have his productive viewpoints prized highly. He should aspire to a high ethical level, and welcome the idea that his classmates and the school will expect it of him. It is one of his main contributions to the school. He should understand that the payment of his tuition and fees is basically his entry ticket to the community. From there on, his continued membership depends on his maintenance of a high level of exchange with the group. This will take the form of work projects, helping run the school, maintaining the school, helping his fellows and — most of all — improving and developing himself.
If the student does that, and we expect it, an enormous amount of learning will occur.
And we will have fun while we do it.
Dr. Alan Larson
1976 - 1991
Felix Forslund and other volunteers clearing debris from around a displaced plane.
Alan Larson and the
graduating class of 1989.