King’s Mountain Camp
“Attendance at Franklin Classical School is a great privilege.
And like all privileges, it comes with certain responsibilities.
I therefore, personally accept each of the following Christian responsibilities….”
So begins the FCS Honor Code, a covenantal commitment detailing the biblical principles upon which this community is established and describing how we at FCS seek to walk together before the Lord and with each other.
Preparation for making this commitment—for signing this honor code—takes place at the beginning of each school year as 7th through 12th graders attend King’s Mountain Camp. Our camp name commemorates the example of the men from Tennessee who fought in the Battle of King’s Mountain and in just one hour and fifteen minutes turned the tide of the American War for Independence in favor of the colonies. Their example provides inspiration and courage as we learn to likewise stand for what is right and true amidst today’s cultural and spiritual battles.
Seniors lead teams of younger students through daily activities such as swimming, canoeing, scatter ball, volleyball, and a variety of rope course challenges. Each team includes alumni and a few students from every grade, thus creating a type of family atmosphere for the school, where all ages get to know and care for one another. Every morning and evening at camp, students gather for a time of senior-led worship, after which Dr. Grant tells vivid stories that introduce the FCS honor code and the FCS culture, providing students with a vision of who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Dr. Grant’s chapel talks include topics such as the Battle of King’s Mountain, the meaning of the symbolism in the FCS crest, and the history behind our school song (“King Alfred’s War Song”).
Following chapel each evening, students enjoy porch time at their cabins with the FCS alumni and teachers who have come to camp to serve as counselors. Games and activities include Capture the Flag, swing dancing and scavenger hunts. In addition, the junior class conducts a blessing service they have planned and prepared for the seniors. This service includes Scripture reading, prayer, and any other elements the juniors want to include in order to encourage, strengthen, and bless the seniors who are stepping into a new level of leadership and responsibility at school.
The climax of the week occurs on Thursday evening as parents join their children at camp to eat dinner together and to witness the signing of the honor code. Undoubtedly the most moving moment of the entire week takes place as FCS alumni spanning eighteen years of senior classes join the new senior class at the front of the chapel and pray for them before the new seniors sign their honor codes for the final time and officially step into a position of servant-leadership within the culture of the school. After the honor code signing, each team of students presents a skit they’ve worked on while at camp. Alumni not only judge the skits and award a winner, but also put on a skit of their own. So the evening culminates in laughter and joy.
Ultimately, walls of unfamiliarity break down at camp, and in just four days, students and teachers learn more bout one other than they might have learned in four months of simply attending class. As a result, when students walk into school for the first day of actual class, they are not walking into a building full of strangers, but are instead returning to community and relationship. In addition, they have a common uderstanding of their purposes at FCS and a common commitment to spiritual and academic growth “…by the bounteous grace and according to the merciful providence of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Alumni Coffee House: The alumni coffee house is primarily a celebration for the entire school, a time to be together at Christmas, after exams as finished. Secondarily, it’s a time to welcome back alumni who are home for Christmas. We hope all our FCS families and any available alumni will join us, as well as any friends of FCS.
Oral Defense: Much of the senior year focuses on the senior thesis and oral defense—a truly life-changing process as seniors undertake intense study of topics linked to their personal giftings and callings and then defend their conclusions before a panel composed of their teachers and mentors. This experience strengthens not only their research, reasoning, and composition skills, but also trains them to exercise courage and perseverance, hones their public-speaking ability, and reveals the great rewards of diligence and walking in community. Though much groaning typically occurs during this process, most seniors immediately exclaim after oral defense, “Wow, that was amazing! I wish I could do it again!”
Junior/Senior Banquet: The banquet is a formal dinner hosted by the junior class to honor our seniors. Each student and his or her parents are guests at a sit-down dinner, while seniors receive blessings from the junior class.
Night of Blessing: Prior to graduation, the Night of Blessing is an opportunity for juniors to bestow a blessing on the senior class as they begin a new journey. This is a celebration but also a time of appreciation and friendship.
Senior Trip: Considered the pinnacle of the FCS senior experience, students spend 11 days exploring London, Chartwell and Cambridge, accompanied by George and Karen Grant, who have led the yearly trip for more than a decade. Tour sites include All Hallow’s Church, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Parliament Buildings and White Hall, Changing of the Guard, Churchill Cabinet War Rooms, Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street, The Round Church, Cambridge College, Antiquarian Book Shopping, Vespers at King College, Globe Theatre, London Bridge, Tate Modern Museum and many more historic sites.