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Classical Conversations celebrates 20th anniversary

In the fall of 1997, Leigh Bortins began teaching a once-a-week, classical-model program in rhetoric in the basement of her Winston-Salem, North Carolina, home with her oldest son, Robert, and 10 of his friends. That program has grown just a bit over the years, and this fall Classical Conversations, Inc., will mark its 20th anniversary with a nationwide celebration Oct. 18.

From its humble beginnings with 11 students and one tutor, CC has grown to more than 105,000 students led by over 15,000 contracted directors and tutors. Forty-four thousand families participate in CC programs in almost 2,500 communities located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and 15 foreign countries.

“It’s hard for me to believe that we are already celebrating our 20th anniversary,” said Leigh Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations. “It seems like just yesterday that we were gathered in my basement and we were figuring out the curriculum one day at a time. God has been so faithful to us as we fumbled our way forward into the awesome, God-honoring organization that CC has become!”

CC is planning celebratory events at 10 venues throughout the country so that as many CC families as possible can attend (see the chart below for locations). In addition to local speakers and entertainment at the various venues, parts of the anniversary party at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center in Albemarle, North Carolina (about an hour east of Charlotte), will be simulcast to the other venues around the country.

“Between all 10 venues there will be room for almost 6,000 people to attend,” said Robert Bortins, Classical Conversations CEO, “so we encourage CC families to not only attend themselves but to invite former CC families and friends of CC as well. We want these celebrations to be homecomings of a sort, as CC families from several states come together to celebrate. You are bound to run into old friends and familiar faces. It’s like a gigantic reunion of the CC family.”

Six of the 10 celebration sites will be at Great Wolf Lodge resorts, the largest family of indoor water park/hotels in the U.S. with 13 resorts. Great Wolf Lodges were selected to allow CC families to build mini vacations around the 20th-anniversary celebrations.

 “My family and I love Great Wolf Lodge!” Robert Bortins. “It is great fun and family-centric, just like CC! We have used GWL for celebrations in the past, and we hope that lots of CC families all over the country will turn out for our anniversary blowout. We tried to make sure that at least one of our 10 locations is less than a half day’s drive from the vast majority of CC families.”

In addition to its giant water park full of thrill rides and water slides, each Great Wolf Lodge features specialty restaurants and other family-friendly dining options, arcades, spas, fitness rooms, yoga, bowling and children’s activity areas.

For more information about the 20th-anniversary celebrations, contact CC’s customer support at 910-684-5665 or www.classicalconversations.com/support.

Leigh Bortins started Classical Conversations in 1997. The family-owned company is headquartered in Southern Pines, North Carolina. For more information about CC, visit www.classicalconversations.com.

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