"My time at St. Herman’s inspired me as a scholar, a laborer, and a servant of Jesus Christ."
“You read Shakespeare in elementary school? You made butter in science class? You had 4 people in your graduating class? You learned how to lead Divine services as part of the school curriculum?” I have gotten countless comments such as these when I tell people about my experience attending St. Herman’s School. But the important thing about each of these comments is not how surprised people are by my elementary and middle school educational experience, but that each one of these responses represents an integral part of what St. Herman’s School gave me and continues to give all of its students).
The first of these is a classical education. From my earliest years I was exposed to great literature. Instead of fearing Shakespeare’s complicated language like so many students do today when it first appears on their desks in high school, I learned to appreciate the universal themes and ideas that he addresses once you get through his foreign writing style. Sure, I did not understand everything that I was reading but by being exposed to the classics, I learned to ask questions and to challenge myself rather than having someone dumb down what I was hearing so that I could do it all on my own. I also learned what good writing sounds like and that has greatly impacted my ability to express myself in words today.The next invaluable thing that St. Herman’s offered me was the chance to participate in a variety of creative activities and learn important life skills. While at St. Herman’s I had the opportunity to make practical items such as bookshelves, vests, quilts, butter, bread and countless other items that we take for granted when we buy them in the store, but that people always used to make themselves. We also got the opportunity to learn a variety of musical instruments, different styles of dancing, and countless forms of art. Because of the size of the classes and the flexibility in the schedule, we had the chance to benefit from the wealth of knowledge that our parents and other parishioners possess.
Another influential aspect of St. Herman’s school was the size of the school. By having such small classes, I received a hands on and individualized education. My teachers worked one-on-one to explain, encourage, and challenge me. I could work at whatever level I was at in each of my subjects and therefore my education was exactly specific to me. My teachers also knew me as a person, not just a student, and cared about my character as well as my grades. They pushed me to become a better person, not just a student. Their encouragement made me value the adults in my life and the wisdom they could provide me with.
The most beneficial thing that St. Herman’s gave me, however, was a spiritual education. While I received an intensive classical education, learned invaluable life skills, and developed my character, I also learned about God and the Orthodox faith. The teachers provided us with role models for our lives as Orthodox Christians by reading to us daily from the lives of the Saints. They instructed us in how to live moral, blameless, Christian lives by reading to us from Holy Scripture. They taught us how to make Prosphora, lead various Divine Services, and countless other skills so that we could more fully participate in the Orthodox Christian life.
While I valued my time at St. Herman’s while I was there, I had no idea the lasting impact this education would have on my life. My time at St. Herman’s inspired me as a scholar, a laborer, and a servant of Jesus Christ.
Stephanie graduated from St. Herman’s School in June 2000. She then attended Lexington Christian Academy (’04) and Gordon College (’08 - Summa Cum Laude). She is currently teaching high school English at Westford Academy.