What do you love about Eastern Christian School?
One of the main reasons why I love Eastern Christian is because of the strong sense of community. Coming from a public school, I wanted to find a place where I would be welcomed and appreciated for who I am. EC did just that when I entered the doors of ECMS at the beginning of sixth grade. Furthermore, Eastern Christian has a strong moral compass across all of its campuses. I can easily tell that every student loves God, loves people, and most importantly, has a desire to create an impact for themselves, the local community, or even the world!
Another reason why I love EC is because of the engaging teachers and faculty. Like the students, the teachers here continually exemplify EC’s core values and motivate their students to do the same. I have grown in every single class due to EC’s challenging curriculum. I value the school’s focus on creating a learning environment that is primarily focused on applying the material in the classroom and developing new skills as a result.
Eastern Christian also excels in allowing students to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities and other academic opportunities that either help students find their passion or develop a skill. My experience working in the Technical Booth for both chapels and theater productions has allowed me to develop a skill and passion that I want to pursue in college and beyond. I also feel that my experience as a JV captain on my cross country team has shaped me into a leader and teacher to others.
Describe one of your favorite teachers and tell why he/she is a favorite.
While I do love all of the teachers that I have had at EC, my favorite one is my English and Spanish teacher, Ms. Pedersen! I have taken four classes with Ms. Pedersen throughout my high school career, and I have enjoyed each one. Ms. Pedersen has taught me many writing skills that I will definitely use in college. She also succeeds in creating an engaging and enjoyable learning environment in each of her classes.
I also want to extend my gratitude to my Journalism teacher, Mrs. Genuario, and my former math teacher Mrs. Andrews. Both of these teachers have helped me unleash my passion in writing and math and have opened my eyes to possible career paths in the future!
Finally, as one of the first students to complete the four-year STEAM program, I am very appreciative of my mentor Ms. Bazanowski and the STEAM director Mr. Verrengia. Their consistent guidance and support of my project has been critical to its final outcome.
In what ways have you grown in your faith as a result of your experience at Eastern Christian School?
I believe that the weekly chapels were an integral part in the development of my faith at EC. I thoroughly enjoyed every speaker and hearing a relevant, applicable message. I also enjoyed being part of a worship community at EC. I never felt out of place during chapel, but rather, I felt enveloped in a community full of passionate believers.
I also think that the teachers at EC have also played a big role in my faith. At EC, teachers share their Christian faith with students and try to apply it to a specific academic discipline. One example that I always remember is seeing how Mr. Verrengia used his faith in teaching Physics Honors. He would always remind me that physics exists because God made the universe orderly. Without God, we wouldn’t be able to comprehend how the world operates!
Lastly, I appreciated the opportunity to pray before every class. When a student shares a need, that prayer is always respected. The students show care toward others by sincerely praying for their needs. I remember when I shared a prayer request how both the students and teachers would pray for me and then ask me the next day how the situation turned out. Whether it was asking for healing for a sick family member or for wisdom for an upcoming test, praying at the start of class has helped me grow in my walk with God.
At Eastern Christian we talk about an education that is “Engaging. Nurturing. Transforming.” How did you experience this kind of education at EC?
I definitely feel that EC has provided me with an engaging, nurturing, and transforming education because of the many opportunities I have had to apply the knowledge I have learned. One of the best examples of this in my high school career is the STEAM program. In this program, I was able to pursue a four-year research project on the possible effects of corticosteroids on the onset, severity, and acceleration of Alzheimer’s disease. I believe that my experience in the STEAM program has been very rewarding, as I have learned how to obtain and conduct research while also being able analyze and draw conclusions from scientific studies.
The STEAM program has transformed me into an even more curious person. There are so many questions in our world that need an answer, and the STEAM program allows students to ask those tough questions. When I go to Wake Forest University in a few months, I will always remember to remain a lifelong learner. Just like Mr. Verrengia once told me in an EC Times interview, “There are always things we can learn.”
How do you feel that EC prepared you for graduation, college/career and life?
Eastern Christian has definitely prepared me for college and beyond in a few ways. One of these ways was through the amount of challenging, yet rewarding, work. Although some may be afraid of challenging work, EC has continued to ignite my passion to pursue academic challenges. EC has taught me that almost any challenge comes with a positive reward. Whether it is simply learning a new topic, completing an in-depth research project, or finishing the lengthy process of laying out the EC Times, I have grown as a result of these challenges, and I would not trade it for anything else!
I also think that EC’s liberal arts education has prepared me for the real world. At EC, I was able to explore a breadth of academic opportunities, some of which I may want to pursue for a career (Math / Statistics and Journalism). As a result of taking many diverse courses, I feel that I have adequate knowledge in many different disciplines. That is the beauty of EC’s education. EC has provided a wide range of courses while also not losing any depth in each course. Every teacher is passionate about the subject material, and is also very knowledgeable in it. Our world is always changing, and EC’s liberal arts education has allowed me to become more prepared to adapt to our ever-changing society.
What opportunities did you experience at EC that you don’t think you would have gotten to experience anywhere else?
If I did not go to EC, I do not think that I would have experienced a welcoming, Christ-loving community. I have always wanted to be a part of a community that cares for one another and accepts people for who they are. I also do not think that I would have been able to form close connections with my teachers at other larger schools. I think that the longer classes and block scheduling allow students and teachers to deeply explore a topic rather than rushing through it in a 40-minute session.
I also think that I would not have been able to experience the small, engaging classes anywhere but EC. While other schools do have small classes, I feel that EC’s class sizes allow students to personally know their teachers and vice versa. At EC, teachers are not just there to teach, but also to know their students and guide them on their walk with Christ. I do not think I would have experienced such a caring faculty anywhere else.
What would you say to a prospective student considering joining Eastern Christian School?
I would tell them to go for it! I am confident that a prospective student would also feel the close-knit community at EC, know their teachers personally, and be encouraged to explore and find their area of passion. EC has provided me with opportunities to grow, and I know they will continue to do the same for all of their new students. If a student wants a worthwhile and rewarding Christian education, there is no better place to look in Northern New Jersey than Eastern Christian!