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For generations, parents (including my own) have made sacrifices in order to send their children to Eastern Christian because they recognized the value of the Christian worldviews and high academic standards we have had for 125 years.  When my husband and I committed ourselves to sending that shy, blond-haired girl to Mrs. Bushman’s Pre-K class fifteen years ago, we never regretted our decision. Every year, God blessed us with the ability to pay our tuition; and every year we were blessed by the way we saw Greta growing in all aspects of her life through the experiences she enjoyed since that first day.

Fast forward to 2018. My husband are I are grateful for all of the people who partnered with us to help her become the 18 year old she is today. As you read my final thoughts below, please plug in the experiences of your own child that allowed them to grow these past years:

We praise God for teachers in elementary school who helped her learn to read and memorize basic math facts so that doing Pre-Calculus and reading The Odyssey in Freshman Humanities was possible. The Bible memory verses and songs sung in chapel are a part of her memory and the foundations of her faith so she could confidently make her public profession of faith in church last year.

We praise God for teachers in middle school who helped her to be confident in the fact that she was made in God’s image at a time when teens struggle with who they are and friendships can be unsteady. Even though she had played on sports teams since she was five years old, middle school coaches helped her grow as an athlete and fostered her love of sports even more.

We praise God for teachers at the high school who broadened her horizons and challenged her to think outside of the box, to grow in ways that weren’t always comfortable, and to challenge her faith through her learning. For a gentle nurse who cared for her during an eye injury and the recovery after ACL surgery. And for a special guidance counselor who helped guide her through the process of having no idea what she wanted to do in terms of college to making that final decision to attend William Paterson University. It is her goal to become EC’s first athletic trainer on those new fields we are planning for!

We praise God for the parents we sat with through many soccer, basketball, and softball games since the sixth grade. We were like a family, always cheering on our girls and watching them grow through wins and losses. And for teammates who built each other up so they could experience some rather memorable seasons together.  And those same teammates, coaches, and parents that supported Greta through a disappointing career-ending injury that sidelined her for her final softball season.

We praise God for classmates she’s been with since that first day in Pre-K who have remained a part of the club they refer to as “ECLifers” along with new classmates who joined her “family” at various stages of school life. I know friendships will change in the next few months, but I pray those solid friendships will continue to strengthen despite the distance between them.

This place we call Eastern Christian is special. It’s like no other school, and I praise the Lord for His guidance and protection of Greta and all of the other graduating seniors throughout their EC experience. Having been Engaged in Mind and Nurtured in Spirit, it is my prayer that she is ready to Transform God’s World.  So as I reflect back on graduation week it was certainly bittersweet and my tears have quietly flowed a few times throughout this senior year, I know Eastern Christian will always have a place in her heart as it does mine and many of yours. It is also my prayer that Greta and all of her classmates will look back at their EC experience with a deep appreciation for their time here and for their parents who made it all possible.

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