The Old's Cool Academy is a back-to-basics school offering a rigorous, one-year Classical Liberal Arts Education, traditional-skills instruction, and paid apprenticeship.
We loved going to The Academy* so much we decided to open one of our own.
Same cast of characters, of course: Democritus, Clytemnestra, Caesar, Virgil, Montaigne, Spinoza, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Fitzgerald and Frankenstein.
Seriously, the Old's Cool Academy is a traditional, back-to-basics school, offering a rigorous six-month Classical Liberal Arts Education centered on the Western canon. And the time-honored principles, somehow almost-forgotten today–of virtue, facts over feelings, critical thinking, discipline, and character above all. Damn difficult stuff.
This baptism by fire (and fun) will be immediately followed by a six-month paid apprenticeship at one of the many businesses we are partnering with to give our "graduates" an out-of-the-frying-pan taste of the real world.
But the real objective of the Academy will be to provide a timeless and priceless education in the art of how to do good and live well, and to instill in our students the importance of knowledge, curiosity, hard work, and integrity. We’ll also encourage an Emersonian sense of self-reliance, a can-do attitude that will inspire them beyond Hamlet, oars, and lathes, and help them find meaning and responsibility in their lives.
Unlike most schools, which are either academic or vocational (or specifically-focused on getting the applicant a job), the Academy will have the students immerse themselves in the Great Books, to be awed and enlightened by the deeply human and valuable perspectives and answers these classics can still bring to their everyday.
Students will also be studying traditional craftsmanship–e.g. woodworking, penmanship, beer-brewing–the thrill of the drill, the quill, and the still, so-to-speak. As well as business etiquette basics, and, although pooh-poohed in today's real-whirled immediacy and relentless pursuit of gratification, so many other simple but enriching life skills like patience, being humble, and truly grateful.
Our students will discover that manual labor is not only admirable and fulfilling, but almost always translates to a deeper and broader world view. As part of the curriculum every student will either restore a car or motorcycle, or build a boat and drive/sail it away into the sunset, so-to-speak, on graduation day.
The perfect antidote to the go-to-university-or-you're-a-loser mentality, as well as a lifetime membership in a tight-knit community of like-minded recalcitrants and kings–the Academy is a wicked awesome option for anyone ready to bite the ass off a bear, in a quarter of the time, and at a tenth of the cost of college.
Read all about our motto, Viriliter Age, our nickname, Wiseacres, and how the classics, character, and calluses can open up not only your mind and endless possibilities, but the door to the career and life of your dreams too.
A difficult but rewarding Odyssey.
"Wars and a man I sing..." your classical education will begin at the very beginning of man's quest for meaning: with Homer's masterpieces, the Socratic method (and Socratic irony), the wisdom of the Greeks, and will continue down through the ages with the genius of the Romans, including Caesar, Cicero, Plutarch and Epicurus. You'll become familiar if not intimate with our heroes Shakespeare, Montaigne, Spinoza, Hayek, as well as other wise men of granite and insight.
You'll understand the causes of the Civil War, why totalitarianism is the inevitable end-game of identity politics, the beauty and necessity of art, the importance of inductive reasoning, open-mindedness, and a healthy skepticism. And why facts matter.
Life 101 skills will also be emphasized: how to stand up straight, literally and figuratively, write persuasively, think critically, listen carefully, judge fairly, and that the best way to change the world is to change yourself first.
You'll start by cleaning your room.
Back in the day almost everyone had "Farmer's Hands" because they were out weeding the garden, or milking cows, mending the barn, or splitting firewood. There's an invaluable can-do attitude and Thoreauian independence you get from growing your own food and mending your own fences and building your own home that's incredibly rewarding and enriching–an everyday commune with the joys of nature and the beauty of hard, fulfilling work.
A large part of the mission of the Academy is to restore the dignity and respect that honest manual labor deserves, to sync up the rhythms of the hands, the heart, the head, and the self.
We create makers as well as thinkers, and every student will either build a boat from scratch or find, buy, and restore a vintage car or motorcycle.
Out into the real-world to test your mettle.
After your "academics," where you'll also be learning a head-full of business basics, your 6-month paid apprenticeship will begin with a company (and mentor) that matches up your skills with a desired career path. We will work closely with you to find the right choice for you now–just remember you're still young and nothing's forever–to see how well the job fits before you start.
When you do, it'll be a win-win situation: your employer will get a trustworthy and competent slave, we mean hard worker, and you'll bring a problem-solving attitude and outside-the-box thinking, as well as enthusiasm, open-mindedness, and an admirable work ethic to the job.
In addition, you'll be earning a weekly salary (making the Academy a net-zero cost) and hopefully taking a few hard knocks right on the kisser. Builds character.
The business of old's cool is tough love.
Why Old's Cool is epic.
"The teaching style is a dialectic, essentially. Learning centers around interesting, non-traditional narratives, which we explore together by asking questions. I've had many discussions regarding race and racism, slavery, presidential elections, the soul-destroying reality of the hand-to-hand combat practiced by the ancient Greeks. I know how bloody hard that type of warfare is since I'm a Muay Thai boxer. History has almost always been about conquest and subjugation, which I never knew.
More importantly, I've learned how to be much more measured and sober, less critical and more discerning, and I always try to keep an open mind and not let my own prejudices get the best of me. It's been an eye-opening and really, really fun experience. I'd recommend Old's Cool to anyone who might not want to go to college, or who wants to take a "gap" year and figure themselves out first. You won't regret it."
– Julian John, Class of 2022