Marriage and Family

The Secret Ingredient in an Outstanding High School Education!

2014-05-20 21.20.33What is the secret ingredient in an outstanding high school education?

Could it be cutting edge academic, athletic and fine arts facilities? A curriculum loaded with options comparable to a small college? Maybe it’s a large student body that creates intense competition in the classroom, on the sports field and in the auditorium? Or the ability for students to specialize in a particular academic pursuit, sport, or fine arts discipline? Maybe the secret ingredient is as simple as parental involvement or small class sizes?

Now based on our four children’s experience, I can say with certainty, that most of these ingredients aren’t necessary to create a life transforming education. I also now believe it’s likely that some of these ingredients can actually stand in the way of one.

So then what is the secret ingredient? To answer that question, take a look at the above photo of our school’s conference and regional men’s and women’s 4×400 championship teams. They represent the secret ingredient. But to see this ingredient you need to know a bit about these eight students.

There are:

  • 5 seniors, 2 juniors and a sophomore
  • Six 4 sport athletes and one 5 sport athlete
  • The valedictorian and salutatorian of the senior class
  • Leads in the school plays and musicals
  • 7 students (with the other next year) who participated in an overseas mission experience
  • Members of the:
    • School band and choir
    • State runner-up Quiz Bowl Team
    • MHSAA Student Advisory Council
    • Student Council
    • National Honor Society (6 students)

Now do you see the secret ingredient? It’s the ability for students to participate, in a meaningful way, in a wide range of life developing activities both inside and outside the classroom. As a result these eight students and their class mates will graduate as well-rounded, versatile people prepared to enter an ever-changing, complex world and to be a  difference maker in it.

But what about getting into those top-tier colleges and universities? Well these seniors received acceptance into and will be attending nationally acclaimed colleges and universities. There is no doubt, because of all of their educational opportunities, these seniors were able to create impressive and persuasive college applications.

And here’s the real secret –the only kind of school that creates the opportunity to participate in a wide range of life developing activities, and to do so within the context of a small, supportive community of facility, staff, coaches, parents and families – is a small school.

And this is what our four children have experienced in their education at Northern Michigan Christian School. We have no doubt their diverse educational experience, combined with the people  and community who provided it, have set them up not only to be successful in their careers but to be difference makers in the world. .


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