An Educational Advantage

“Anthony, while proofreading our class’s research essays, reading yours was a breath of fresh air. I’m surprised how many students don’t know how to write well.”

That’s Professor Goldberg speaking, my freshman Writing and Rhetoric lecturer in college. The reason she’s surprised is because she’s teaching at one of the world’s finest schools, Stanford University. She continues, “I can tell your high school prepared you well.”

To be honest, I’m a math major and thus English has always been of peripheral interest to me. Nevertheless, she’s right. I’m indebted to my high school, Forest Lake Academy (FLA), for providing an excellent foundation for my future studies.

Granted, when I graduated FLA and started studying at Stanford University, I was intimidated by the backgrounds of my fellow students. Stanford accepts less than one in ten applicants, making its students among the brightest from around the world. Yet, over time I discovered that my education at FLA provided me with a competitive advantage in a number of ways.

Here’s five examples:

  1. a solid foundation: In addition to the small class sizes and variety of teaching styles I encountered at FLA, a number of the faculty became personal mentors. They took an interest in my personal life, creating an environment that allowed me flourish. Arriving at university, I could do more than just write well. For instance, I immediately entered the most rigorous track of math courses. Last year I graduated from Stanford with a degree in Mathematics with Honors, an honorable distinction given to a minority of graduates.
  2. a passion for service: The same faculty that taught me in the classroom at FLA were involved in leading student service activities, varying from small programs in the community to a twelve day service trip to Latin America I participated in one spring break. This cultivated in me an integrated view of education and service and inspired me throughout college to continue to put my knowledge into action through a variety of volunteer activities in the local community and abroad.
  3. practical work experience: All four years of high school I had a part time job. For instance, one summer I worked with my school’s grounds and maintenance crew. Working to financially support my education taught me responsibility and broke down my false notions of entitlement.
  4. a Christian worldview: In both FLA’s science and humanities classes I learned to evaluate information with a Christian worldview. In one class we studied the French Revolution from a secular perspective, then evaluated it in light of Biblical teaching. In college, not only did this help me to understand information within the context of the Biblical narrative, but it also enabled me to critically evaluate and intelligently respond to the many ideas and theories expressed.
  5. a knowledge of Christ: Most importantly, FLA’s Christian students and teachers, along with religious programs and classes, allowed me to grow in my relationship with Christ. In college, I was shocked to discover how many of the students were searching for purpose and, devoid of satisfaction, entered into destructive habits and relationships. I discovered FLA equipped me to share the joy and freedom found only in a relationship with Christ.