Rhetoric Thesis

Term: Yearlong 2020–21, September 8–May 28
Target Grade Levels: Grades 11–12 (see placement details below)
Schedule: 2x / week, 60–75 min.
Price: $595.00

Course Section
Section 1: M/W 9:30 a.m. ET with Ben Whittington

Ongoing Enrollment and Placement

Ongoing Enrollment

While our courses are no longer available for purchase on the website, Scholé Academy is open to inquiries about enrolling in courses at any time during the year.  If you wish to enroll in a Yearlong course for the 2020-2021 school year after the official add/drop deadline (September 21), you will need to contact us directly.  We will consider each request on a case-by-case basis after considering several factors, including size of the class, the preparedness of the student, the willingness of the instructor to accommodate a late addition to the class, and the content of the course.  If you would like to submit a request for enrollment in an ongoing course, please visit our Contact Us page.

Placement Process

To help ensure that students enroll in the correct course levels, Scholé Academy requires many students to complete placement evaluations. Placement evaluations are only provided to students after the corresponding course registration has been completed. A placement assessment will be required in the following situations:
  • if the student falls outside of the stated age/grade range for the class.
  • if the student needs to demonstrate a certain level of skill and proficiency for the course.
  • if the student has completed prerequisite requirements somewhere other than Scholé Academy (e.g., at home or with another school). In this case, our instructors will need to verify that the student has adequately fulfilled the prerequisite requirements.
  • if a placement assessment has been recommended by a Scholé Academy instructor.
First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Parents are encouraged to connect with the Scholé Academy Principal and/or with the course instructor to make the best enrollment decision for their student.
Registration is not finalized until the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.
There is a $75 deposit built into the cost of each course.
  • If a placement evaluation has not been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted a full refund, including the full $75 deposit.
  • If a placement evaluation has been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted part of their $75 refund: $35 will be paid to the instructor for the placement evaluation, and the remaining $40 of the original deposit will be refunded.
After May 1, withdrawals are granted a full course refund, less the $75 deposit. Students may withdraw from a course through the second week of classes. After the second week of classes, no refund is given.

Rhetoric Thesis: For purposes of clarity, this course should not only be considered for high school seniors, but also for any student wanting to write a substantial thesis and corresponding speech for delivery.

Rhetoric Thesis prepares students to meet the challenges of college-level writing in the liberal arts tradition. The thesis paper is the culmination of classical students’ high school scholarship, as it provides an opportunity for them to showcase not only their content knowledge but also their ability to engage persuasively in “the Great Conversation.” The thesis process—from the initial stage of finding a topic to the final day of presentation—is a jungle within which many students quickly find themselves lost. This course is a step-by-step guide that leads students through the process of writing a thesis paper, helping them avoid the typical false starts and dead ends of the journey. The course instructor walks alongside students as they engage in the challenging task of preparing and presenting a thoughtful, original response to an issue. Grounded in classical rhetorical theory, this course guides students through the 5 canons of rhetoric, piece by piece, as they write the 6 sections of their oratio. Students will ultimately become thinkers who can combine their wit, wisdom, eloquence, reason, and ethics for future writing endeavors.

Syllabus: View the syllabus here.

Placement: Please read about our new process above.

  • Students should have a working knowledge and familiarity with the informal fallacies (a good preparation would be Scholé Academy’s Informal Logic course or The Art of Argument text).
  • Students should be able to apply the principles of formal argument construction (along the lines of Scholé Academy’s Formal Logic course or The Discovery of Deduction text; also, Scholé Academy’s Persuasive Writing course or The Argument Builder text).
  • Students must have completed Rhetoric 1 or an equivalent course studying the nature of rhetoric for the modern student; the common topics; the rhetoric processes of invention, arrangement, and style; and a wide range of schemes and tropes.
  • Students enrolling in this course should also be proficient in the use of MLA writing standards, employing those standards consistently in their own writing when necessary. This style manual is widely accepted for college students and academics, and beginning to adhere to writing standards is essential for college-bound students.

High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in speech and debate, composition, or language arts.

Student Expectations:
This course is suitable for high school students, and particularly (although not exclusively) for 12th graders. To be successful in this course, you will need to have a few pre-requisite skills. Make sure each of these descriptions is true of you. If you aren’t sure, let’s talk, and I can help make sure the course will be a good fit.

  • Reads at or above a tenth-grade level.
  • Composes essays with confidence
  • Successfully completed Rhetoric I through Scholé Academy or has comparable experience in classical rhetoric
  • Listens, take notes, and is willing to engage in group discussions (extroversion not required!)
  • Capable of guided, independent reading and research
  • Types sufficiently well to transcribe a lengthy essay without frustration
  • Possesses basic computer skills—browsing, accessing assignments, scanning, e-mailing, and managing files
  • Has the intellectual and spiritual maturity to entertain opinions that are contrary to his or her own established beliefs

Q: Why do students need a thesis?
A: Dr. Alyssan Barnes, author of the Rhetoric Alive! series, addresses this question in her article From Sophomore to Senior: Why Students Need the Senior Thesis.


At Scholé Academy, we have carefully considered how we should engage our contemporary culture as those who believe that Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and that all truth has its source in him. We think it is important to provide our upper school students (in grades 7-12) with tools and opportunities for critically examining various cultural trends, issues and mores through the lens of orthodox, Christian beliefs. Being confident in the truth revealed to us in creation, the Scriptures, and the tradition of the church, we are not afraid to follow the truth and its implications nor to address error and falsehood. … Read more about our Faith & Culture.

*Required Texts:

Rhetoric Alive! Senior Thesis: Student Workbook: ISBN-13: 978-1600513572

Writing with Clarity and Style: 2nd Edition  ISBN-13: 978-1138560093; ISBN-10: 113856009X

Office of Assertion: An Art of Rhetoric for the Academic Essay: ISBN-13: 978-1932236453; ISBN-10: 1932236457


*Optional, Supplementary Texts:

MLA Handbook, 8th Edition ISBN-13: 978-1603292627; ISBN-10: 1603292624**

Turabian Handbook, 9th edition  ISBN-13: 978-0226430577: ISBN-10: 022643057X**

APA Handbook, 7th edition  ISBN-13: 978-1433832734: ISBN-10: 433832739**


*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.

**Different subjects require different citation methods. Depending on what topic the students in- dividually chooses, I will show them the appropriate citation methods. Once the student de- cides on a particular method, I will recommend they purchase that book, however it is not required.

Ben Whittington received his B.S. in Religion and a M.A. in Philosophy from Liberty University, and is currently finishing his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham (U.K.). While at LU, he served as the Coordinator for the Center for Apologetics under Joshua Chatraw. During that time, he published his first work as a contributing author in Sean Mcdowell’s “”New Evidence That Demands a Verdict”” (2017). In addition to spending the past two years as a Latin/Omnibus Teacher at an ACCS school, he has spent the past several years as an Adjunct Professor teaching Philosophy courses (residentially and online) at the College of DuPage, Ivy Tech Community College, and Volunteer State Community College.

Ben and his wife Emily reside in the Nashville area, and are active in the Church of the City. He has two little girls: Hadassah (3) and Eila (1). They love TV shows such as The Office and Friends, but their real TV love is Survivor. Ben’s favorite books are Lord of the Rings and Lewis’s Space Trilogy. btwhittington@icloud.com

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:


  1. Visit zoom.us/download.
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.


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Explore our courses!

First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.


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Please take careful note of our teaching philosophy, our technology requirements, our school policies, the parent agreement, and the distinctions between our grade levels.

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Our Assistant to the Principal will be in touch with you after your enrollment to help you with next steps, including any placement evaluations that may be required for your course selections.

This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.

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