Recently, Taylor F., a junior at Eastern Christian, shared her perspective at our scholarship banquet regarding how the mission of Eastern Christian School has impacted her life. What she had to say was so powerful that we decided to share it here in our blog.
“As I walked into my first day of school, at Eastern Christian as a four-year old—I was unable to understand or even care about the mission statement of my school. I was unaware of how I would be challenged as a student in my education, and at that age I didn’t know that my faith would grow everyday while simply going to school. I also had no idea what amazing things I would be able to do, not only locally, but across the world.
However, now as a Junior in High School at Eastern Christian, I am astonished by the profound impact that this simple mission statement of Eastern Christian has had in my life.
Engaging the mind. At Eastern Christian, I am challenged academically on a daily basis. One of our core values as a school is to “strive for excellence” in all that we do as not only students, but as individuals. I have been taught by my EC teachers that in everything that I do, should be done to bring glory to God. My teachers are constantly encouraging me to push myself, and to strive for excellence.
Although at times courses such as humanities have been extremely challenging for me, I am continually amazed by the dedication of my teachers. For teachers at Eastern Christian, their work hours are not confined to an 8 to 3 o’clock school day. Teachers are constantly offering to meet with me before school, after, or through email to help answer any questions I may have.
The High School also offers a National Honors Society program for students who attain strong spiritual leadership, have achieved a certain amount of service hours, and maintain a high GPA. By being in this program, I am reminded that hard work really does pay off. Many colleges look students who are in National Honors Society. As a junior, prepping for college can be difficult, and confusing. However, at Eastern Christian, I am given the opportunity to meet with my college and career counselor and have personalized meetings with my parents to discuss college options. These meetings are individualized to each student, which makes these meetings extremely helpful. In short, my teachers at Eastern Christian not only are here to educate me and push me academically, but even more there to care for me as an individual, which leads into the next part of the mission statement here at Eastern Christian, which is Nurturing the spirit.
Nurturing the Spirit. Something that makes our school unique in the way that we strive to “nurture the spirit” is through older students mentoring and leading the younger students. I first experienced this when I was in middle school and was placed in a small group with an “8th grader” as my leader. It was a time of laughter, games, prayer, discussion, and most prominently a time that I was able to look at my leader and her faith, and strive to be like her. A few years went by until when I was actually a small group leader myself. It was cool to see the experience from the other side of the spectrum. This challenged me to be a Christ-like example for the younger students that I was leading.
As new adventures awaited me in high school, a small group program called “Timothy Groups” became an important part of my life. Timothy Groups are designed to help make transition from middle school to high school for freshman somewhat of a smoother process. I looked up to my Timothy Group leaders and admired their willingness to go out of their way to help me whenever I needed them. I became a Timothy Group leader myself and had the privilege to help a group of freshman, pray for them, and to disciple them.
A huge part of my spiritual life has been from different experiences that I have had in chapels that take place in my school every Wednesday. Since my elementary years up till now as a junior in high school at EC, the goal of our chapels is simple—to praise Jesus. As a freshman I remember being amazed as I stepped foot into my first High School chapel. One thought kept running through my head—and that was that everyone looked so free. I was amazed to see the enthusiasm and passion as upperclassmen lead worship on stage. However, it was something bigger than just the production part of chapel—it was the genuine love and worship that was taking place to glorify Christ as a school community.
As I said before a huge part of nurturing the spirit in Eastern Christian takes place student to student; of course the teachers who work with us students everyday play a huge role in teaching in our lives not only academically—but on a deeper level spiritually. I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I have been to have teachers who I know genuinely care about me—enough to care about my spiritual life. Whether it has been meeting with a teacher to pray with me about personal issues, or a teacher praying before a test, asking for God’s guidance, or them sending me a card when my Great Grandma passed away letting me know that they were praying for me—my teachers at EC have always shown God’s love through their encouraging words or through prayer.
And to me, that is the most distinct characteristic that sets a Christian Education apart from any other form of education received in a public school. The fact that I am not just a student in a desk to my teachers, but actually a person, a child of God, one with feelings and emotions. As every school year goes by, I am more and more thankful for the willingness from my teachers to not only teach my academically, but more important help guide me in my walk with God. And to me, that is priceless.
Transforming the World. The final part of our school’s mission statement is transforming the world. It seems crazy and a bit bold doesn’t it? A small Christian school being able to transform the world? Well, before I went on my first mission’s trip to Puerto Rico as a Sophomore—it seemed crazy to me too.
Being a part of the experiencing missions class that is required for any student going on a missions trip that year—the phrase, “transforming the world” became real to me. Every year the high school sends out about four groups to different parts of the world from Lynn, Massachusetts, to Uganda, Africa over spring break. A cool experience is the commissioning service that our school has every year in our chapel before the teams leave. This consists of worship and prayer and the student body, parents, and staff committing to keep the teams in prayer.
One of the most memorable experiences that I had while in Puerto Rico with my team was during our soccer ministry that we did, God gave me the opportunity to pray with a girl from the local area that was around my age. It is awesome to see how God was able to use me in that moment to shine His light all the way in Puerto Rico. I had such an awesome experience in Puerto Rico, I am now planning to go to Costa Rica next year during my spring break.
Another opportunity that I have had that relates with the transforming the world part of the mission statement in by being a member in a group started by two senior girls called “Loosen Chains.” Our group meets during SOAR, and our goal is to raise awareness of the widely spread issue of human trafficking. It has been amazing being able to see all of the events we have been able to do just as a small group of girls. We work hard to raise money for different organizations and do this through events such as a clothing swap, awareness night, and our most recent project that is planning a 5K. It is great to be a part of transforming the world through something as small as a group of girls meeting once a week.
God is doing amazing things at Eastern Christian, and I have been given many opportunities to serve Him in awesome ways not only in the area around me but also through things such as missions trips which take me around the world to share God’s love.
I am very thankful for the choice that my parents have made every year since I was four years old, to make the sacrifice financially to send me to a Christian school such as Eastern Christian. I am convinced that it has been because of my experience with my teachers and the support that they give me that I am the person I am today. God is certainly doing amazing things through this school, and that can be seen through the smallest details that make up our school, all the way to a larger scale by looking at our school’s mission statement.”