What do you love about Eastern Christian School?
I love Eastern Christian School because we strive to be a unified body that’s always growing in new ways. Whether its by starting a STEAM program, integrating technology into classroom teaching, or allowing students to form new clubs, EC is always looking for new ways to express their love for us and rejoice in what God has blessed our community with. During my time as a highschooler, I had the great opportunity to help plan Culture Week. It’s amazing how so many people care to increase their knowledge of one another’s life experiences. The school culture is one where I feel like there is always a place for everyone to be encouraged. We’re so eager to cheer each other on to express our God-given talents, whether through attending a sports game or a musical. There’s just a clear sense of increasing love that emanates from EC’s faculty, students, and families.
Describe one of your favorite teachers and tell why he/she is a favorite.
Mrs. Aceino has been such a light in my life since the moment I entered high school. I can remember going into the Open Art SOAR as a freshman not knowing what to do but sketch on scraps of paper. However, she encouraged me and many other students around to try out mural painting on the hallway walls. I was initially hesitant to make such a permanent mark on the school, but it’s so clear from the progress I and her other students have made that she is a master at imbuing confidence in others. The following year, I decided to join her Art 1 class, and because she met me at the skill level I had and built me up from there, I went on to be honored as a finalist for NJ Youth Art Month not once but twice! I’m so grateful for the way she pushed me to see my God-given talents even when I didn’t first have the confidence to apply them at a public level.
In what ways have you grown in your faith as a result of your experience at Eastern Christian School?
Before being at EC, I wasn’t aware of the many ways I could connect with God. I usually limited my devotional time to reading from a devotional book and offering a repetitive prayer, but while doing that, I never really felt the awesome presence of God that I would heard chapel guests speak about. However, at EC, the sense of community through morning devotions made my spiritual life awaken in a new light. I learned to really hear God’s voice through collaborative devotions with classmates, and I had amazing teachers show me how to feel God’s presence with a sense of awe through nature and other ways I hadn’t previously realized could be so effective.
The Eastern Christian tagline is “Engaging. Nurturing. Transforming.” How did you experience an education that is engaging, nurturing and transforming at EC?
The engagement came from teachers always pushing me to go past what I was comfortable with in terms of my art skills and academic rigor. While being engaged in the academics, there is always a support network of those wanting to nurture your skills, and that makes facing any challenge less overwhelming. EC also engages students to consider how Christ comes into play in subjects, such as history and english, where our vision of the world is transformed from a superficial one to a spiritual one, learning to analyze the state of our world from a Christian perspective. In every way possible, EC graduates leave high school feeling transformed both academically and spiritually.
How do you feel that EC prepared you for graduation, college and life?
EC prepared me to have a sense of purpose in the work I completed, which I feel will definitely keep me on track to deal with larger responsibilities as I go off to college and eventually live on my own. Teachers always made it clear that assigned projects are meant for us to learn from and glorify God with, not simply for getting a grade, and in extracurriculars, they supported my passions and let me to take on full leadership positions in clubs, such as Art Club and Geocaching Club. This sense of having a higher purpose for my work definitely prepared me for the college application process, and it will definitely carry on throughout my life.
What would you say to a high school student considering joining Eastern Christian School?
Visit the school, and see how friendly everyone is in person! I guarantee you’ll find a group of people who not only have similar interests to you but also want to see you grow into the incredible person you’re meant to be.
What opportunities did you experience at EC that you don’t think you would have gotten to experience anywhere else?
The opportunity to be part of a cohesive school culture of God-inspired love is something I don’t think I would have experienced elsewhere. It’s seen in the way teachers are concerned if their one of their students seems cast down, and it’s seen in how students want to see me happy on a day where I might be feeling tired and low. It’s clear to me that people at EC know they’re on this planet for a purpose greater than academics or their job, and having the opportunity to be in that kind of love is not something I think other places can easily replicate.