Here's a promotional video for Delphian School, an expensive ($42,000 a year!) prep school located in rural Oregon. One thing they fail to mention: "A good majority" of its staff consists of Scientologists, and "the structure of the school, its ethical code and its language all reflect the influence and precepts of Scientology."

Delphian, which is K-12 and has about 250 students, was founded by Scientologists in the 70s. It's not actually accredited (it's in the "final stages" of the process), but costs more than $42,000 between tuition, room and board. And what do you get for your money? The Daily's Ben Carlson interviewed several former students and came away with a nice portrait of the school's... intriguing education philosophy:

Study Tech revolves around three basic ideas: All educational problems arise from misunderstood words (including words as basic as "the" or "it"); abstract ideas need to be shown in pictures or clay to be grasped; and students should not progress in a subject until they master every single step.


[Former student Paul] Csige said that, as a high schooler, he was asked to sculpt the numbers one through 10 in clay. He began smashing the clay into the shape "3", but was told this didn't have enough "mass." To show the number three, he had to roll up three balls of clay.

Now, just because you have to make everything out of clay doesn't mean that the whole school is worthless (it does mean the school is hilarious)—Earthlink founder Sky Dayton is a graduate, and others "have gone on to become computer programmers, designers and filmmakers." Many of the students Carlson spoke with have a positive impression of their time there

Not all of them, though. A significant portion go on to join the Sea Org, Scientology's creepy "navy"—a group of deeply committed Scientologists used as, essentially, slave labor for key religious projects like building Tom Cruise a bunch of motorcycles. One Delphian alum says that as many as one-third of his graduating class joined Sea Org; another—initially a non-Scientologist, or "wog"—tells Carlson that the "culture shock" of graudating from Delphi and joining the real world led him to convert and join up with Sea Org.

And why wouldn't you suffer from culture shock, when the "Delphi experience" is so bizarre? Some of the practices and rules Carlson writes about include:

  • Students are required to undertake "training routines," including one where the kids "sit still for two hours staring into another student's face," and another in which "students sit without twitching or laughing while other students tease them, make faces or say lewd things."
  • Facial hair is forbidden at Delphi. So is any PDA beyond "holding hands."
  • Delphi students are "encouraged to tell on other students." A group of students called "rovers" keep an eye out for bad behavior (and possible beards) on campus.
  • If you do break a rule, you're listed on the "Golden Rod," a catalog of rule-breakers hung in public on the door of the "ethics officer."

If none of that turns you off and you've got some kids (whose potential you just know would be unlocked by a mound of clay and an atmosphere of ceaseless terror and paranoia), you can learn more about Delphi's admission here.

[The Daily]