Anchored by the Classic Learning Test

John Lepine on Navigating Race and Education Amid Turbulent Times

July 27, 2023 Classic Learning Test
Anchored by the Classic Learning Test
John Lepine on Navigating Race and Education Amid Turbulent Times
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of Anchored, Jeremy is joined by John Lepine, founding principal of Crossover Preparatory Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The two discuss Lepine’s journey working with Teach for America as a public high school teacher in Tulsa before beginning his work with Crossover. They talk about the value of single-sex education, Crossover’s commitment to making Christ-centered education accessible to people of all financial positions, and the different ways classical education has influenced the school, despite not following a strictly classical model. They also dive into the controversy behind school choice and the difficulty of navigating the COVID-19 and George Floyd debates of 2020 as a school primarily made up of minority students. 

Today's episode of Anchored is brought to you with support from America's Christian Credit Union. Find out how ACCU can be the banking partner to your school or family by visiting americaschristiancu.com/CLT.

Jeremy:

Welcome back to the Anchor Podcast. We have an exciting guest today, head of school and founder, I believe, of Crossover Preparatory Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, doing truly amazing work. John Lapine. John, thanks so much for being with us today.


John Lepine:

Yeah, yeah, I'm excited to be joining you, Jeremy, and telling you more about the work we're doing at Crossover Prep.


Jeremy:

So I was thrilled. We connected just a couple of weeks ago and you were telling me about the work you're doing, the population you're serving. And I asked a few folks I know and told us about it. It's incredible. And I wanted to just kind of bring this story to our audience. So I'm excited to do that. But before we learn all about crossover prep, I want to talk a little bit about kind of your background as well. And even starting early days, did you receive a Christian education growing up?


John Lepine:

Yeah, I did. So I was raised by Bob and Mary Ann Lapine. My dad's whole career was in Christian radio, and my mom stayed home to homeschool me and my four siblings. And so from kindergarten up through seventh grade, I was homeschooled and learning reading and math and history and all of that for my mom, alongside memorizing verses and learning hymns and having that kind of Christian education. I loved being homeschooled. And when my parents said, hey, we're going to send you a book. to school next year. I was kind of opposed to it, but ultimately it's their decision. They made the right decision. I was at Little Rock Christian Academy from 8th grade through 12th grade and continued to receive a Christian education there. I think you actually interviewed their head of school back in October, Dr. Justin Smith.


Jeremy:

We love him. Dr. Justin Smith is a good friend and he's on the CLT board as well and a great man. Congrats, Dr. Smith on the new role as head of school there. So yeah, big school, big ACSI school, 1600 kids or so. And then even at that time as a high school student at Little Rock Christian or even in your days at the University of Tulsa, did you start to think about a career in education?


John Lepine:

Yeah, my first year going to quote unquote real school, as I thought of it, I was like, oh man, this is great. I loved it. And you know, these teachers, they're getting to do this all the time. This is their job forever. And so I always kind of had in the back of my mind that could be a good option. But when I went to TU, I decided to major in economics with more of an eye towards like a career in maybe public policy or politics somehow. And what kept happening is every summer, instead of getting like an internship at a congressman's office or something like that. I kept saying, no, I want to work at summer camp. I feel like God is calling me to like spend my summers working with kids, telling them about the Lord. And so just summer after summer, I kept making that choice until I got to my senior year of college and I was like, well, I haven't really pursued anything with politics or public policy, but I love working with kids. You know, I just love having an impact on young people for the kingdom. And so I decided to pursue education, which had always been there in the back of my mind. I applied for the Teach for America program and. asked if they could keep me in Tulsa and they said, oh absolutely, if you want to stay in Tulsa, you can be in Tulsa. So,


Jeremy:

the


John Lepine:

got to do TFA and that was really where not only I cut my teeth as a teacher, but where kind of the calling that God was putting on my heart to work with students in North Tulsa in particular, where that first began. North Tulsa is kind of a historically disadvantaged part of the city, primarily African American. And so my placement through TFA was at McLean High School. And I spent four years there, just working with a population of students who were primarily African American, primarily low income, and just kind of seeing some of the needs in that community and feeling a greater calling from the Lord to continue my work there. But I guess what I would say is that my time in TFA, I was working in a public school and I felt like... You know, I love this group of students that I'm working with. I want to see a big impact on their lives, but I felt convicted. Like I, like I was just teaching them sort of the American dream, ultimately, like as a motivating factor, like, Hey, you need to do well in school so that you can go to college, so that you can get a good job, so you can make more money. You know? And like, ultimately at the end of the day, it was like, education is about you making more money someday. And I started to feel like, man, this is, that's so


Jeremy:

Okay.


John Lepine:

shallow. Like it's not working to motivate my students that well anyway. And ultimately, that's not what I think life is about. And so just starting to feel like there's gotta be more to this in terms of setting something bigger and more important in front of students. And yeah, that led me more towards the path of Christian education.


Jeremy:

Yeah, I mean, John, for our audience, if you're not familiar with Teach for America, it's a really important organization. My wife did TFA out of college. She went to the University of Virginia and had a great experience with TFA overall. We did it in Brooklyn, New York. I was teaching with an urban teachers program and she was teaching with Teach for America. But I do remember in her training, she came back one day and was a bit confused. I mean, this is 20 years ago almost. And she said it was, they were really emphasizing that you never assume the gender of a student. And they really made a huge point about this. And it was the first time either one of us had ever heard. It was kind of like, huh, that's interesting.


John Lepine:

Mm-hmm.


Jeremy:

I love the origins of TFA, taking the top students. highest performing students academically in college, and let's put them into the worst schools, right? And I think that's, it's noble. But in some ways has TFA become increasingly ideological as well.


John Lepine:

Yeah, yeah, I think so. And definitely, you know, in my experience in the Corps, there were times where I felt like, man, they are all the way over here on some issue, and I just can't get there with them. But the heart of that mission of like, hey, let's take folks who are coming out of college and have a heart to serve and are willing to step into like a really difficult school potentially to work in, and let's have them connect with that population of students. I think that that's, yeah, really admirable. And for me, that was 90, 95% of my experience. There definitely were some sort of political and social things where I felt like I was on the outside from that. But I love that heart and do think that as Christians, we should feel a calling towards, like hey, how can I serve the populations that need it most? How can I step into a community and be able to share the love of Christ where it's needed?


Jeremy:

So tell us about the origins here. So you spent four years with TFA in Tulsa at a public high school, but then you were feeling kind of the urge seeing what these students need. And I can very much relate. I was in Brooklyn teaching at Progress High School for three years, and I felt like they were in some ways starving for truth. They


John Lepine:

Hmm.


Jeremy:

were starving for meaning. They were in a world of pain and suffering in many ways, and we had nothing to offer. And so, even during your time in the court, it sounds like you started to imagine, what would it be like if I took the rich truth I was brought up with, a Little Rock Christian, and brought this to the same community? Is that accurate?


John Lepine:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I know you love to talk about truth and beauty and goodness and how important it is for those kind of more transcendental pieces to be part of education. I would even notice that in my experience as a teacher where maybe I would try putting like something that I thought would be really relatable, some kind of short story or poem that I thought would really connect with students and was written for young adults. And I would get kind of a response. And then we would read John Steinbeck, or we would read William Shakespeare. And that was where it really connected with students. And it was like, oh, they want the


Jeremy:

Yeah.


John Lepine:

real stuff. They want the actual, the true education. And when I give them kind of those powerful texts that have been taught for, in some cases, hundreds of years, that's what they really connect with. And so that kind of planted a little bit of seed. And over the years, I had friends who were at a church in Tulsa, crossover Bible church. and they were telling me, hey, our church is wanting to start a school for boys, an all boys school, a Christian school in our community, you should go to some of these planning meetings.


Jeremy:

Hmm.


John Lepine:

And so, eventually, okay, I'll go to a planning meeting, I'll just, I can kind of contribute my two cents or whatever, and it turned into a lot more than two cents. I met Pastor Philip Abode, who is the lead pastor at the church and is our executive director at Crossover Prep. One thing turns into another, and I ended up. coming on board as the founding principal for Crossover Prep Boys School. So that was six years ago. We've just graduated our first graduating class. We now have a boys school and a girls school. So the girls school is just a middle school now. The boys school is middle and high school. And moving into a permanent facility this October, which is really exciting. But just, yeah, having the chance to be a part of that growth has been really cool.


Jeremy:

Now, I may be wrong about this, but I don't think and Soren Schwab will have to correct me if I am, but I can't recall an anchor podcast where we really talked about the value of single sex education, the pros and cons of doing that. As a dad, I've got two girls that are in an all girls Catholic school. As a dad that is just like fiercely protective of his daughters, I really love having my girls in all girls schools. But tell us why you wanted to do a single sex kind of education.


John Lepine:

Yeah, man, we could talk about that for a long time. I think that there are a ton of benefits there. And for us, the heart of it was really just seeing where the need was greatest in our community, looking at African-American males and seeing how they were kind of lowest in terms of high school graduation, college attendance, college completion. And so feeling like, well, we need to start with the boys because they need the most help. And really it was after we launched that we started to find... kind of all of these additional benefits. We knew that like, hey, if it's an all boys classroom, there won't be as many distractions. We won't have kind of the puberty and the hormones and the flirting going on within the classroom. We knew that would be a benefit. But starting to realize more that boys and girls just kind of learn differently. And there are approaches and strategies that you can take pedagogically as a teacher that work better for boys or that work better for girls. I think in a lot of cases, our schools are set up. to be very girl-friendly. And a lot of girls can be just better from a very young age at sitting still, keeping their hands to themselves, relating and interacting with the teachers, maybe more social or more verbal on average. And so boys can often kind of feel like they're just like imperfect girls in a classroom because they're just not quite as good at those things that might come naturally to a girl. So in our school, for the boys, we're doing a lot of competition in the classroom. a lot of like physical movement and active brain breaks, things that we just know and that we have, you know, research that backs up the idea that when you do more of that in a classroom setting, it can help boys to stay motivated, to stay engaged, and just like draws them in a way that a standard co-educational classroom might.


Jeremy:

And tell us a little more about the community. You're serving a population, a hundred percent minority population. Is that accurate, John?


John Lepine:

Probably 90 to 95 percent, yeah.


Jeremy:

99, 95%. Some of the most incredible experiences I have had since starting CLT is touring schools like Hope Academy in Minneapolis, serving a population of majority minority students, places like True North. Places like True North in Florida, Mike Balecki's school down there. We'll cut that out, Taryn. Some of the most incredible experiences I've had with CLT are touring schools, places like True North. Academy in Florida, Mike Balecki's school, or places like Hope Academy in Minneapolis, serving majority minority populations and doing incredible work. And the reason I get so excited about it is because I witnessed what I witnessed in New York, where we were not offering them. And I in some ways mourn that because of the way education is set up in America, it tends to often be affluent families that get the genuine article. really great cry centered education or classical education for their students. So for one, just thank you for the work that you're doing. And so how does that work on a funding model as well? Are you, do you have philanthropists? Are people paying to go? How does that all work?


John Lepine:

Yeah, that's a great question. And really when we started Crossover Prep, part of what we were committed to was we didn't want the benefits and the advantages of a private school education to be restricted only to families who could afford that education. You know, we said,


Jeremy:

the


John Lepine:

hey, you shouldn't have to be an affluent family in order to have a Christian education. You shouldn't have to be an affluent family in order to have small class sizes, or excellent teachers, or rigorous curriculum, or any of that. And so from day one, we've just been committed to raising the funds necessary to provide full tuition scholarships to our students. And by God's grace, we've been able to do that every year. Some of that has been a combination of individual philanthropists or foundations that have given us larger grants. Some of it has been just small donors who are... making a contribution and then in the state of Oklahoma there is a tax credit you can receive for low income scholarships and donating towards those. And then most exciting, we've just passed in the state of Oklahoma, so it'll go into effect in 2024, a new tax credit that families who are either homeschooling or


Jeremy:

Yes,


John Lepine:

sending their


Jeremy:

okay.


John Lepine:

kids to school can claim. So that will start to be a big revenue stream for us going forward. Just knowing that Yeah, for a lot of our families, having to pay tuition would take crossover prep off the table, but they want the kind of education that their students can get at our school. And I know I've got good friends


Jeremy:

Now.


John Lepine:

who are kind of on the side of like,


Jeremy:

Yeah.


John Lepine:

do you accept government funding or should you try to stay independent? And


Jeremy:

Sure, yeah.


John Lepine:

I understand the other perspective on that, but I do think that school choice just gives a huge opportunity to schools like ours, where it's like, hey, if there's not a funding stream... going to be very difficult to sustainably offer an education for families that can't afford it.


Jeremy:

It's funny, the folks that are kind of anti-school choice come from like totally different ends of the spectrum. So you have like hardcore progressives that hate school choice because not a dime of taxpayer funding should go to a Christian school. That would be the worst. And then you have a lot of like hardcore conservatives that think this is going to just be more government strings. So they end


John Lepine:

Mm-hmm.


Jeremy:

up being kind of strange bedfellows that are both against school choice, but for very, very different reasons. How do you respond though to that argument that is shared more by, you know, conservatives that say this is going to give just strengthen the federal government to say to control Christian education and Christian schools? How do you respond to that? What are your thoughts on that objection?


John Lepine:

Yeah, yeah, no, and like I said, I think it's a legitimate concern. Part of it is coming from my own context here in the state of Oklahoma, where I know the push for greater school choice and for, you know, whether it's tax credits or vouchers or other programs like that. They're coming from people who are doing it for the reason of supporting all kinds of religious education. And, you know, it could happen at a Christian school, you could have a Jewish school or a Muslim school, but it. it's coming from legislators and from a broader electorate that says, no, we want more of these options for our students. And so I guess I'm not worried about the strings being attached in Oklahoma because the push is to increase student choice and for that to include like the liberty to have a certain kind of religious education, whether that's Christian or another denomination, another religion.


Jeremy:

Okay.


John Lepine:

And so I, you know, I just, I trust Oklahomans in one sense to not attach strings that would end up being a poison pill for private education because that's the reason why we are supporting these initiatives in the first place.


Jeremy:

In the first place, totally. Okay. John, one thing I wanted to pick your brain about, and I've talked to Dr. Justin Smith over at Little Rock Christian about this as well. So Little Rock Christian crossover prep, you're not kind of self-consciously, I guess in terms of kind of marketing, you're not part of SCL or ACCS, kind of the big umbrella organizations within the classical education movement. But when I hear somebody like Dr. Smith talk or somebody like even Larry Taylor, who's the president of ACSI. I think there's a lot of overlap actually in terms of the vision for education that in some ways is very similar to Christian sanctification. I'm wondering how you think, as someone who's at a school that's not, I guess, explicitly classical, how you think of the classical movement and kind of how you relate to it or think about it.


John Lepine:

Yeah, yeah, no, I have a ton of respect for classical education and for that movement. Even when we were in the very early planning stages for crossover prep and we decided, okay, we're not going to take a full classical model. We were still, you know, reading the lost tools of learning and being influenced by just some of the ideas that have been prominent in the classical education movement. You know, our approach to history and literature has a real classical flavor. You know, we have students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade spend a year each on like ancient history and then medieval history and modern history. And then when they get to high school, they're learning history and literature in an integrated class called humanities where the history and the literature come together. And a lot of this is including exposure to those classic texts, whether that means that they're reading Gilgamesh or they're reading Augustine or they're reading Shakespeare, different primary sources like that. So we just, we do have a ton of respect for that approach. And even someday if we open an elementary school, one of the things I love about that classical model is the heavy emphasis on just like knowledge acquisition and memorization that happened at the younger ages when kids are like sponges and they can just kind of soak up a lot of that. I see that in my own kids who are incredible at memorizing things at the age of five or six or seven. And so I think that the classical movement gets a ton of things. right and there are definitely aspects of it that we want to emulate at crossover. You know, at the same time, I do think that part of that word classical, it's like, hey, this is a signifier and depending on who your customers, your clients, your families are, that might carry a lot of meaning and a lot of interest for them or it might be something, for us, I feel like we would spend more time explaining what we mean by classical education.


Jeremy:

totally yeah


John Lepine:

Yeah, and so for us, it's, hey, let's do the stuff that we love about classical education, even if that's not fully our brand or fully our identity, let's take the best of that model and of that approach and integrate it, whether it means something to our families or not that we're a quote unquote a classical school.


Jeremy:

Yeah, and at the end of the day, there's really not anyone or any organization to kind of say where the line is between


John Lepine:

Yeah.


Jeremy:

classical and not classical. And even a lot of public schools, you know, they don't maybe know why they're still reading Macbeth, but they are,


John Lepine:

Mm-hmm.


Jeremy:

which is still good, you know, better to get it in on some level than not at all. John, I want to talk about this kind of loaded subject for a bit if we could. I mean, you've been ahead of school through some really tumultuous times either we've been through as a nation, kind of the COVID George Floyd summer. And, you know, I was thinking during that summer, well, what would it be like to be back at Progress High School in Brooklyn, New York, where we're, you know, majority, minority. And then around that, there's been all these just conversations about race in America. Do you dig into that? with your student body, what has it been like being at school with your population during kind of just a tumultuous time for us as a nation?


John Lepine:

Yeah, yeah, no, I think that that's a great question. And yeah, I think students have been facing a lot. I know that the, you know, like everybody, we were remote in kind of March, April, May of 2020 while we were still figuring things out. And then in Oklahoma, you had a lot of variation where some of the urban districts were still remote for that next school year. And a lot of the suburban and rural districts and the private schools came back in person, which we were able to do. I do think that, yeah, students were suffering a lot from just kind of the loneliness and the depression and the anxiety that can come along with that. And then, yeah, for students of color, you had kind of the also like this kind of racial reckoning that's going on in their society. They've been at home for months. They've been kind of communicating primarily on social media and through screens. They're seeing all of these big issues and questions being raised in their country about racial issues. And I think that one thing that was just really healthy for our students was that ability to return to school in person and to have that semblance of normalcy, even if it was with masks on, even if it was with pivots to online or quarantines or things like that, just to kind of, hey, we are together again, we are a community, we care about each other, we're looking after each other and being able to reinforce that in person and physically, I think that helped our students a lot. just in terms of like their mental health and where they were at. And yeah, I mean, definitely part of what we're looking at is we're trying to help our boys become men at crossover prep is what does it mean to be a man? And there's this added dimension for them of what does it mean to be a black man in the United States in 2023? And so we try not to like overemphasize the importance of race to a person's identity because they're having the experience already of like, hey, I'm African American and it's affected me in these different ways. But we also want them to have this kind of more general or this higher understanding of like, whatever your race is, whatever your background is, whatever your socioeconomic status is, what does it mean to be a man and a good man? Again, another reason why we have an all boys


Jeremy:

Yeah.


John Lepine:

school is we can really press into that with our students and talk about what are the traits of manhood. And, you know, those are. those are independent of your background, those are independent of your skin color. And so that's, I think, a really valuable part of the step for our students is to say, hey, yeah, your race matters, and it's gonna affect you in these ways, but it's not the only thing about you, it's not the most important thing about you, it's not as central to your identity as being a Christian or being


Jeremy:

Yeah,


John Lepine:

a.


Jeremy:

I mean, John, my take, and it could be a bad one, and feel free to say, Jeremy, that's a bad take. Let me help you out. But it seems like most people are in like a really, like one of two really polarized places where it's like either everything is viewed through kind of the lens of racism, which I think people on the right would call wokeism, and we're interpreting kind of everything through that. Or like it just doesn't exist and impact anything. And


John Lepine:

Hmm.


Jeremy:

I feel like increasingly like we've lost nuance. And so I appreciate what you just said of like, this is a really important thing about you, but it's not the only defining thing about you. But do you feel like even during your time at crossover prep that kind of just most folks have moved to like one of these two more extreme kind of positions?


John Lepine:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And there have been different times on staff where we've been wrestling through some of that with folks on faculty or in other roles. Because I do think that your assessment is accurate, that you can have this movement on one side to really just minimize and, hey, this doesn't matter. Let's not even talk about it. If you say anything about race, that's just critical race theory. And I think that, no, that's misguided and that's ignoring like. the actual experience that people are having on a daily basis in their life. You know, like it's living history, it's living memory. A lot of these things like legal segregation in our country. And so like to just pretend that we should just ignore it and it's all over now and let's never think about it again. That's a mistake. But then there's this total opposite error and where you fall into the ditch on the other side of everything is about race. Every, you know, every thing that's ever happened in history needs to be analyzed from this single perspective. And I think that does a disservice to our students as well, because not only is it inaccurate, but it gives them kind of this psychological attitude to, you know, who am I and what's important about me. And if the answer to that is race, I think that's unhealthy as a message for Black students. I think that's really unhealthy as a message for white students that like, race is, you know, it exists. It's a real thing in our society, but it's not the only or the most important thing about you. And one thing that I think the classical model... helps with that is that when students are learning like a broader form of history, when their history goes back thousands of years and across all seven continents, I think that they actually, they understand more about what the world is like. And it's easy to kind of, you know, for students to all they know about history is like, okay, racism, the civil war, slavery, fast forward to maybe World War II, fast forward to the civil rights movement. And that's, those are the only like touch points that they have. for human experience and just to be like, hey, there's a lot more to what has happened in world history than kind of those few points in American history. I think that can really broaden students' perspectives and get them a little bit out of that bubble of like the United States and our politics and our social issues in 2023.


Jeremy:

Place matters a lot. One of the reasons I despise the Department of Ed is that it kind of eliminates local ownership and local flavor. I love that, you know, when I went to Louisiana, it may not be this way anymore, but when I went to Louisiana State University, you had to take Louisiana history, everybody did, and Louisiana politics, which is fascinating, you know, Huey Long and all of this. And I mean, you're in Tulsa where, arguably, maybe the worst race massacre in American history happened, right? In 1921, I mean, you had, is that an event that your students learn about that you talk about?


John Lepine:

Oh, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. And that's something where even 10 years ago, it really was not covered all that much. A lot of Oklahomans were kind of unaware of the Greenwood Massacre. But all students in Oklahoma do take Oklahoma history. And here in North Tulsa, a big unit that we're covering in that is that 1921 massacre and kind of why it started and the effects of it and making sure that history is known and understood. We've also taken students. you know, if you go to downtown Greenwood, you can kind of walk the streets and they have plaques on the sidewalks where different businesses and establishments and law offices and doctor's offices were that were destroyed by that. So there's been a great effort, especially over the past few years, to kind of look into that history and make sure that it's preserved. So we've taken our students on tours of the Greenwood area. They're all aware of the massacre, even before they get to us, but just making sure that part of... our history as a city, that it's learned and that we're approaching that just kind of with the seriousness that it deserves. And yeah, I am grateful that in Tulsa there's been more of this push to make sure that, especially with the recent centennial, that history is known and preserved. There are even still, I believe, three living victims who, you know, were very young when that began. But


Jeremy:

Okay.


John Lepine:

yeah, still living, who are just kind of a reminder to us in our community. of the effects that hatred and evil can have on our society. And at Crossover, we also wanna be part of just that rebuilding and that regrowth. We want North Tulsa to be great again because we know our history, we know what was being accomplished here and the achievements of Greenwood back in 1921. And so really as an organization, our ministry is about restoring our community. Even for our staff, we're asking them, hey, if you're full-time, we want you to move to North Tulsa. We want you to relocate here. That's kind of one of our distinctives as an organization, because this is our community. We don't just want it to be like, yeah, I live over here, but I'll come and help out these people for a while, or from nine to five. We want to say, no, these are our kids. These are our streets. This is our community, and we're working together to restore it to its former glory and beyond.


Jeremy:

John, on behalf of everyone at CLT, just thank you for the work that you've poured your life into, the work that you're doing. changing boys into men and immersing yourself in this community. So thank you for being a guest. We do always end the Anchor podcast by asking our guests about the book that has been most formative for them. Maybe it's a book that you reread every year. What would that be for you?


John Lepine:

Oh man, wow. I could go a lot of different directions, but one of the books that has been kind of top of mind for me, and I think maybe you've read this recently, but I just reread That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis, part of his space trilogy.


Jeremy:

Yes, okay.


John Lepine:

Yeah, controversial, but it is my favorite of the three books in the series. And I really think it speaks so well to our current moment. I just, I remember, yeah, I remember them warning us in my world view classes at Liter Art Christian Academy in high school about postmodernism and hey, you're gonna have college professors who say, oh, well what's true for you isn't true for me. And you kind of hear that at 16 or 17 and you're like, yeah, yeah. Maybe you read C.S. Lewis and some of those warnings and you're like, okay, but is it really that bad? And then, yeah, it actually is that bad in a lot of cases. You really do see that kind of attitude and that mindset in our world


Jeremy:

Yeah.


John Lepine:

today. For Lewis to have gotten that so right in 1945 and for it


Jeremy:

Incredible.


John Lepine:

to still be relevant today, yeah, it's incredible.


Jeremy:

Well, I'm going to take the very unpopular position that actually Paralander is the best in the series. And


John Lepine:

Ehh


Jeremy:

I had built up, maybe so many people told me that hideous strength was going to be the best that I had built that up. And then, and I think there was, I was also maybe just a bit confused. I found that the plot at times, there's so many different things going on. Um, so when you think about the trilogy, why did, why does that stand out to you? And I like the Paralander to me was like, it captured the the tragedy of the fall in a way no fiction book had ever done. And the whole idea of like, what would an unfallen person even be like?


John Lepine:

Mm-hmm.


Jeremy:

And like, oh, they'd be kind of like an alien. You know, you think of this innocent green woman in Paralandra. Yeah, for that hint of strength, what was it to you that stuck out in the trilogy?


John Lepine:

Yeah, yeah, I mean, I think that the like the mindset of the villains in that book, you know, the NICE and kind of how everything is instrumental, you know, it's like they're, it's not even like the ends justify the means, it's just kind of like the means justify the means like we're just doing things because we can do them and there is no ultimate like orienting value or purpose or goal. It's kind of like progress for the sake of progress with no... reflection and I mean ultimately I guess they do have a goal but it's a diabolical one that they're not aware of themselves necessarily. And so I just yeah I think that book it really does set two worldviews in contrast and it should remind us of A that we are in a struggle that's not against flesh and blood but also B that it's a struggle that we are going to win because the true power and truth and goodness and beauty are on our side.


Jeremy:

And we're here with John Lapine, head of school at Crossover Prep in North Tulsa. John, thanks so much for being with us and thanks so much for the work that you're doing.


John Lepine:

Yeah, thank you, Jeremy. Pleasure to be on.


Jeremy:

John, did I pronounce your name wrong in the intro?


John Lepine:

Yeah, you gotta write at the end. It's Lepine, not Lepine.


Jeremy:

Okay, we're going to do the intro again here. So it's Lepine, not Levine.


John Lepine:

Yep, Lepin.


Jeremy:

Lepine, okay. And then anything else in terms of a professional intro that would be helpful? Do you have one somewhere that would be good to read or?


John Lepine:

I can email you like my, I've got a little paragraph bio, like from our website or something. So I could send that to you if you'd like. I'm not too particular but.


Jeremy:

Yes, send that and we'll actually do that now if we could because I've got to upload this all in kind of one thing here. If you've


John Lepine:

Okay.


Jeremy:

got that readily available and,


John Lepine:

Yeah.


Jeremy:

Ter, yeah, thanks for being patient here.


John Lepine:

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, just give me a second while I pull that up.


Jeremy:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And great job, by the way.


John Lepine:

Oh, thank you. Okay. I'm just going to trim out a couple things from this to keep it snappy for you. Okay, it is on the way to your inbox.


Jeremy:

Okay, all right, we'll do this and I've got to have you just stay on here for just a second after


John Lepine:

For sure.


Jeremy:

I read this for the uploading thing. It just takes one second. All right. Welcome back to the Anchor Podcast. Folks, we have a special guest today, Dr. John Lapine. Why can I not do this right? What is wrong with me? I did have a speech of Hanna McGran, Lapine.


John Lepine:

the pain.


Jeremy:

Lapine, what is wrong with me? Lapine, we're gonna do it again. All right.


John Lepine:

Bean Machine.


Jeremy:

Now I'm laughing. All right, Lapine. I'm scared I'm gonna do it again. All right. Welcome back to the Anchor Podcast. Folks, we have a special guest today. Dr. John Latine Sr. is the founding principal of Crossover Preparatory Academy. After graduating from the University of Tulsa, the newest CLT partner college, he joined Teach for America and has worked in North Tulsa ever since. While serving as an English teacher and a department chair at McLean High School, he earned his PhD from the University of Oklahoma. He lives in North Tulsa with his wife, Katie, and their four, soon to be five children. John, welcome to the Anchor Podcast.


John Lepine:

Thanks Jeremy, it's great to be here.


Jeremy:

I say right that


John Lepine:

Yeah, you got it.


Jeremy:

time? All right, all right, John, awesome. Hey man, Justin Smith just speaks so highly of you and really I wanna stay in touch. We'll see you on Monday with this meeting with Jen Frey.


John Lepine:

Looking forward to it. Thanks again for having


Jeremy:

Actually,


John Lepine:

me


Jeremy:

stand


John Lepine:

out.


Jeremy:

here one minute. Let me stop


John Lepine:

Okay.


Jeremy:

recording.