I love school.
I know, I know. It’s weird to say that. I think that in some circles it would effectively squash any Coolness™ I may have boasted beforehand. But that’s fine; I find that books, gel pens, papers, speeches, choir, uniforms, freshly sharpened pencils, and homework are all worth good-natured mocking about nerdiness. I even like finals week, and Herodotus is my favorite author, so I deserve it.
Consequently, I just didn’t want to graduate. Graduation marked what seemed like the end of my favorite things, things that I wanted to stretch out and enjoy forever. My mother kindly reminded me that books and writing wouldn’t magically disappear once I moved a tassel from right to left, and so I got a little more excited about the whole thing. I then looked towards graduation with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. High school gave me a very clear trellis to grow my work on, and I was simply afraid to lose it.
But I’m a Calvinist with a strong streak of narrative love, so I should have known that God had a plan for me — and this time, the whole globe — that would completely undermine my expectations. I lost my last quarter of school-at-school due to the COVID-19 craziness, and I’ve been grown in new and uncomfortable ways through that loss. God told (and is currently telling) a weird story which I get to be a character in; I really don’t aim to be the sort of woman who needs to call for smelling salts. So, with encouragement from parents, friends, and Scripture, I buckled up, did Zoom workouts from my living room, Zoom classes from my room, graduated on a farm, and enjoyed most of it, even when I needed to write a poem to productively express a sad emotion.
I’ve been a high school graduate for ten days now, and I’m loving it. This week I’ve spent most of my time working alongside the teachers during “Outservice” week, and I’ll be joining the team as a full-time intern teacher next year, with duties including assisting Mrs. Pakinas with fourth grade and probably teaching a few classes of my own. Monday was my first day helping out, and about four hours into it I had reached a new conclusion on my graduation.
The conclusion I reached is as follows: I can already tell that I am going to love working at ECS even more than I loved being a student at ECS, for a few reasons. The teachers are a team hungry for fellowship and itching to “carry and advance Christ-honoring culture,” and I am honored that they would include me in that endeavor.
The school taught me, alongside my parents, to love the work in front of me because of the principles behind it. Yes, I naturally love new notebooks and learning just because I enjoy them, but I realize that’s not at all the main reason I love ECS. I loved being here because of the culture that came from the teachers and their collaboration with parents.
Education is sorely lacking in our culture— if you don’t believe me, watch this video, which isn’t any form of rhetorical argument that I was taught— and we have a unique opportunity to fill our local community with God-glorifying men and women who are not afraid to stand up to lies from media outlets or friends and family. Nehemiah and his men worked to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls because the city sorely needed defenses; Christian parents and teachers must currently work to rebuild the educational defenses that have been neglected, and in some cases, torn down purposefully. This is what the school aims to do.
The school is in the business of people, as I believe the U.H. has said before. If someone graduated and couldn’t recall any conjugations or chemistry formulas, but they knew their identity in Christ and their calling in God’s world, the school would have helped fashion a person that could advance Christ-honoring culture, no matter what they set their hands to. I just happen to be setting my hands to teaching next year, alongside continuing my own education, and I am eager to do it with a red pen and book in one hand and a coffee in the other.
*Maggie Higgins (flagship student when the school began in 2012; graduate of the Class of 2020; teaching Intern for next year; resident Gnome agitator)