Elizabeth O.

I was lucky enough to spend my entire elementary education at Imago.  I can still remember walking into Miss A's 1st grade classroom on orientation night with my 3-pack of tissues thinking that this was the coolest place I had ever seen. The friends that I would come to make in that classroom are those that I have kept to this day. Imago set the standard not only for my education, but for how I would conduct myself throughout high school and college.

I graduated in 2006 with a class of 12 of my closest friends. We had survived everything together from Mrs. Hintze's Medieval Feast (twice) to memorizing Lessons & Carols songs in record time. After Imago I went to Nashoba Regional High School where I suddenly became a small fish in a big pond. I took comfort in the fact that I knew who I was academically and I felt prepared to tackle any assignment that was handed to me. I think the best thing I learned at Imago which I took even to college with me was the ability to take notes. Miss Dey showed us how to take diligent and effective notes that were sure to give us an A. I can't remember how many times I was thankful for that when I was in classes with teachers who spoke fast and piled on the reading assignments.

I always felt that I had a special bond with Imago. While I was there, my brother was also a student a few grades above me, and my sister and two cousins were in the grades below me. My aunt worked there in the office along with my older sister.  My grandfather had also started teaching math there at the time! (And still is!) I spent 8 years surrounded by my blood family as well as my school family. By the time we graduated in 2006, my classmates and I were as close as any family could be.

After high school I attended Gordon College where I received my bachelor’s in Psychology and Neuroscience. I participated in the Orientation Staff for Gordon after my freshman year, and competed on their swim team my senior year. I currently work as an office administrator/bookkeeper for my brother-in-law’s business and hope to start working on a degree in business this coming year!

Johnpatrick M.

I was fortunate to spend two years in Ms. Aronson’s pre-1st and 1st grade program and eventually graduated from Imago’s 8th grade in 1999. It took a lot of effort on my parents’ part to keep me (and my sister, Emily) in Imago for the duration since my Dad was active-duty military throughout our elementary-school years. They believed in the education and environment that Mss. Dey and Ward provided, and I know that all these years later they feel that their faith was well-placed. And I concur! Of course, I can’t take any credit for the tough choices my parents made.

Like several other Imago alums, I received my high school education at the Stony Brook school on Long Island, an exciting four years that were reminiscent of the boarding school stories we concocted in Ms. Hintze’s English class as a pastime. After graduating (alongside another Imago alumnus, Jared Kaijala) I spent some time at Gordon College, and a semester here and there until I graduated from University of Maryland Baltimore County with a degree in Psychology.

I’ve gotten a lot of use out of my Psychology degree; my first job out of college was working as a Research Assistant at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Later, I studied Law and Education at University of Maryland, worked as a legal researcher and taught high school English in the Baltimore City Public School System before I took my current position as a Research Health Science Specialist with Veterans Affairs. It’s been especially fascinating and sobering to transition from work focused on solving the problems of warfighters in the field during my time at Walter Reed to the concerns of Veterans, many of whom are psychological and physical casualties of those campaigns. I’m confronted with their sacrifice on a daily basis. The VA providers I work with routinely go above and beyond in providing care to some of the most complex patients of any healthcare system in the country. It’s an inspiring place to work, even when the task of caring for our aging and wounded seems insurmountable. In order to be a better research collaborator and have more opportunities for independent research I anticipate studying Biostatistics at University at Buffalo in the near future.

By far the best thing about moving to Buffalo was meeting a young medical student named Candace Okupski. The first thing that attracted me to her was her taste in books (honestly!), including an appreciation for many Imago staples. Two people that’ve spent years internalizing the writings of CS Lewis will recognize each other in an instant. Candace and I married less than a year ago and we live in a little 19th century home on the West Side of Buffalo that we’re constantly repairing. I’m proud to say that she’s now finishing up her last year of residency (internal medicine) and will be a fellow of infectious disease at University at Buffalo in 2016. We have two lovely cats named Fyodor and Yaki Mandu.

My former teachers and peers will probably remember that I was always falling apart at the seams as a young boy with severe hemophilia. Well, one of the benefits of being stuck in bed is you develop a number of hobbies: reading, for one. Before I married Candace and gained the benefit of her keen eye for design, books were the only decorations in my apartment. Also, during a year of intense treatments for hemophilia complications in college that robbed me of my (previously abundant) appetite I found I could only stomach food I cooked myself. Thus began a fascination with cooking that persists, and I’m the head chef for our little household. I can do wonders with legumes and a pressure cooker! Over the past seven years or so, my board game collection has been competing with my books for shelf space. No matter what condition I find myself in, I’m always up for competing strategically with my friends or engaging in some escapism with my wife involving efficiently managing a little cardboard farm. If it’s not already obvious, I’ve got the collector’s bug, and I’ve also accumulated cabinets of whiskies from around the world. I’m part of a local group that organizes tastings and talks on the topic of whiskey distilling. My sympathy for animals is always looking for an outlet. Right now that takes the shape of finding homes for stray and surrendered cats with a local shelter.

I’m going to surprise my former teachers with this one, but out of many excellent Imago memories I’m going with the drama program. Mandatory participation in the annual Reformation plays (and musicals) was exactly what I needed as a shy and introverted child. I would have died before admitting I enjoyed it at the time, but if I had been given the option to opt out I wouldn’t have the memories of coming together with my school family to present the foundational stories of our church and the timeless stories of American musical theatre. I even ended up missing this thing I gave every outward impression of hating when I went off to high school and with no one to remind me that I hated it I ended up participating in every play I could. Being pushed onto the stage set off a chain of events that made me a more well-adjusted and empathetic person than I would have become if left to my own devices to practice geometry or memorize facts about insects and planets. Also, bringing up Reformation plays to the uninitiated is a great conversation starter.

Runner-up memory goes to Mrs. Goulding’s 7th grade informal logic class. One of the most useful courses of instruction I’ve ever received. Honestly, I think about something that has its roots in that classroom every day.

Please, if you know any Veterans in crisis, give them the number for the Veterans’ Crisis Line (https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/) 1-800-273-8255.

Great Books for Children~ part 1

Welcome! Over the next few weeks we will be publishing a series of book recommendations tailored to specific age groups. Today, in part 1, we are delighted to share a list of Picture Books, Story Books and Beginning Readers. Enjoy! Feel free to leave your additions to our tried and true list in the comments, we love to hear from you!

Picture Books, Story Books, Beginning Readers

Aesop’s Fables

Beauty and the Beast.  Retold and illustrated by Jan Brett.

Betsy-Tacy.  Maud Hart Lovelace.

Book of Greek Myths.  Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire.

Charlotte’s Web.  E.B.White.

The Children’s Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy, Padriac Colum.

Clancy’s Coat.  Eve Bunting.

The Clown of God.  Tomie dePaola.

Dogger.  Shirley Hughes.

The Door in the Wall.  Marguerite De Angeli.

The Emperor and the Kite.  Jane Yolen.

How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story.  Eve Bunting.

John Henry, An American Legend.  Ezra Jack Keats.

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie.  Peter and Connie Roop.

The Little Engine That Could.  Watty Piper.

Little House in the Big Woods.  Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The Little Match Girl.  Hans Christian Andersen.

Magical Hands.  Marjorie Barker.

Marta and the Nazis.  Frances Cavanah.

The Princess and the Goblin.  George MacDonald.

A Tale of Three Wishes.  Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Thy Friend, Obadiah.  Brinton Turkle.

When I Was Young in the Mountains.  Cynthia Rylant.

Yonder.  Tony Johnston.

Bev "Miss A." Aronson~ A walk down memory lane

As we continue our 35th anniversary series highlighting the alumni of Imago, the opportunity to also feature one of the School's most notable teachers could not be missed.  It is with great joy that we present the lovely history of Bev Aronson, Imago's esteemed first teacher!

Bev.lastdayradiation.jpg

Preface:   
When I got to the end of what I wanted to relate in this brief “history”, I went back to the beginning for a read through to see if there were any glaring errors.  I did find some, but mostly what I could see is how the omniscient, sovereign Lord “groomed” me over the years so I would be ready to begin with Imago at just the appointed time.  Amazingly awesome!
___________________________________________________________

When I entered first grade back in the dark ages of 1946 (age 5, definitely not recommended) I fell in love with my teacher, Miss Morey, and I said to my friend one day at recess, “When I grow up I want to be a first grade teacher.” So, when I was a senior in high school, I knew that the right thing to do was to apply to what was, back then, the BEST teacher college in the country, known then as Framingham State Teacher’s College, an “all girls” college at that time and dedicated exclusively to training teachers for elementary school.  Superintendents as far away as California would come to interview senior students to teach in their schools.  I ended up accepting a position offered to me to teach FIRST grade in the Medfield Public Schools here in Massachusetts; the principal told me that the main reason they asked me to come teach in Medfield was because, during the interview, I said, “I wouldn’t consider teaching anything else but FIRST grade!”, and, according to the principal, it was very rare to have someone say that.

I spent 5 years teaching in Medfield, and it was a great opportunity to hone my teaching skills because the principal, dear Mrs. Washburn, really understood young children and what they needed.  She ran a “tight” ship with a loving approach, and she paired all new first year teachers with an experienced teacher so we “newbies” could be encouraged and mentored throughout that first year.  There were six first grades in the school so there was lots of interaction and helpful cooperation amongst the teachers.

During the summers of my time in the Medfield Public Schools I worked at a Christian camp for inner city kids, Camp Chilaven.  There were Haven clubs in several key areas of Boston, and the kids could earn a free week at camp by memorizing Bible verses.  It was at this camp that I made lifelong friends and was challenged about the possibility of missionary work -- in what capacity, where, or for how long I did not know, but I did know that I would need some training, so during my fifth year in Medfield I applied to Moody Bible Institute for a one year course as a “special student”.

It was at Moody, during a missionary conference, that I learned of the need for teachers on the mission field, and one of the missionaries told me of a school in the Philippines called Faith Academy, a school (grades K-12) for the children of missionaries working in the far eastern countries.  I applied in April of that year of study and heard back that they needed a FIRST grade teacher for two years beginning that July.  If I wanted to accept the position I needed to be affiliated with a mission, so I applied to the same mission of the missionary who told me about Faith Academy. (The application was like a final exam in theology so I was thankful for the training I had received at Moody.)  I was accepted by the mission and at Faith Academy.  This was mid-May by that time, and I had to be in the Philippines at the school in July (different school schedule from ours).  Marvelously the Lord worked out every detail: passport; visa; support money; travel arrangements!  My time at Faith Academy extended from two years to four – more life-long friends, wonderful experiences, and lots of memories (including earthquakes and typhoons, and the Central Luzon Floods).

When I returned to the States, I sent out many applications to various towns searching for a teaching position, but with no success because there were so many applicants for any available opening, unlike when I graduated from college and towns everywhere were crying for teachers; so I ventured into the business world.  I missed my teaching, but I loved walking out the door at the end of each work day without a bag of more work to do at home.

Several years went by (years of missing teaching, in spite of all the work involved) when, one evening in late July of 1981, a friend telephoned to tell me that a new Christian school was going to open in Acton come September and that I should go to an open house they were having later that week to learn more.  

What do you think of when you hear the words “Open House”?  -- My thoughts exactly, but that was not the case.  Upon arrival at the lovely school building in a wooded area, I was directed by the custodian to walk down a windowed hallway and up a few steps to the next level.  There I found three empty rooms with boxes shoved in the corner of one of the rooms and three people standing in the middle of the room engaged in conversation.  I was sure I was in the wrong place!  I said, “Excuse me, I am trying to find the Open House for the Imago School.”  They assured me I was in the right place.  Right place? I wasn’t sure at all!  One of the women broke off from the group of three and greeted me (my first conversation with Linny Dey).  After listening to her talk about the vision for Imago and seeing the sparkle in her eyes, I moved from wondering if I were in the right place to knowing that I was, especially when the conversation involved C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, L’Abri, and their association with Francis Schaeffer! Before I left that afternoon I asked for an application and filled it out as soon as I got home. (By the way, they had me study for two weeks at Southborough L’Abri one summer in our beginning days so I could get the “flavor”. I loved it!)  

At my interview, three chairs (for Miss Dey, Miss Ward, and me) had been added to the middle of the room previously described.  It was unusual as interviews go because we just chatted – about my life, their background, and more about their vision for the school -- and about my teaching experience to that point and what I thought it meant to be a Christian and how that could that be involved in education.  Then they asked me if I thought I could handle teaching three grades in the same classroom.  I answered that it would mean a lot of lesson plans, but it could be done; I told them about having a class of 30 first-graders in the Philippines with such a wide spread of abilities in that class that I divided them into 5 groups and just moved from group to group teaching while keeping all the groups constructively occupied, so I thought I could handle 3 grades.  Perhaps that answer is why they hired me, I don’t know, but I ended up with grades 1-3 and two children in each grade.  Miss Dey taught grades 4-6, and, according to Robby White, one of my first-graders, “Miss Ward swept the floor.” (The only time he saw her was at lunch – we all ate together back then.  Oh, by the way, you might still catch Miss Ward sweeping the floors amongst other things around the edges – she has a servant’s heart!)

From mid-August, when I applied to Imago, there wasn’t much time to get those three empty rooms ready to begin school right after Labor Day.  Miss Dey and I went dumpster-diving outside the building where the three rooms were, knowing that the town had just closed that school in June.  We found lots of perfectly good books to use in our classrooms.  (Imago’s history curriculum is based on many of the books we got out of that dumpster.)  Another school in the town had bought new desks and chairs for some of their classrooms, and we were able to get their cast-off, but perfectly good furniture, for our classrooms.  Since they were going to throw them away, we took way more than we needed (thinking of growth for Imago).  Most of that furniture is still in use today.

That first year we started all ready, right after Labor Day, with 13 children; I got another first-grader in October, so 7 for me and 7 for Miss Dey. Those were happy, busy days of feeling our way along.  Miss Dey and I were very involved with our various grade levels, and Miss Ward more with the organizational details along with teaching a science class and gym.  She had a bit more time to “hover” over my doings, but following an after school chat one day early on in that first year, I convinced her that I knew what I was doing, and she left me ever after that to “do my thing”.  It was so freeing to be trusted like that!

There were lots of field trips that year (everybody piled into two cars before the days of belting and state regulations) – trips into Boston to the museums, also to Worcester for exploring the Higgins Armory, and many afternoon walks around Walden Pond.  It was also the year of FIRSTS: the first Orientation Night; the first Reformation Play; the first Thanksgiving Feast; the first Lessons and Carols; and the first Beach Day (at the ocean).  There wasn’t a first Graduation until two years later when Karen Beers Augusta was our first graduate.

After a few years, Acton reclaimed their building, so we moved to another town-abandoned school building in Littleton.  What a lot of work getting that building ready!  After a few years, Littleton reclaimed that building for their library and town offices, and Imago moved to Maynard and its current location in a former parochial school building.  I think it was when we moved to Maynard that I finally got to teach just one grade entirely of darling first-graders.  That was it each year (except for becoming the primary grades supervisor and writing curriculum) until my retirement in June of 2007.  But, as it turned out, I only partially retired because Miss Ward called a month later and asked if I would teach part time, which I did in various capacities until 2014 when recuperating from brain surgery took very much longer than I expected, resulting in a whole school year missed.  Thankfully, I am able this school year to help around the edges each Friday morning.  It keeps me young at heart working with my Imago “darlings”! 

The Imago School is a very special school, and it has been a blessing from God to be a part of its educating so many “darlings” over these past 34+ years!  I love you all so much! … And, I so appreciate the dear friends I have made at Imago over these years, friends who are more like family!

P.S. – I couldn’t resist! --
“Remember, remember the 5th of November!” (Guy Fawkes and me …)
This year it’s #74.

Open Houses at Imago!

Visit our classrooms in session this Thursday, November 5 from 9-Noon to see what makes Imago wonderful and unique.

Additionally, we will be holding evening and weekend hours on Thursday the 5th from 6-8pm as well as Sunday, November 8 from 2-4pm. 

All of our Open House hours will be staffed with tour guides and administrators able to answer your questions and provide information about our programs.

For more information please feel free to call the School at 978-897-0549. 

We look forward to your visit! 

Denise K.

I began Imago in the pre-first program and was one of the few who had the opportunity to be part of the Imago High School. I graduated from the Imago school in 2002.    After receiving my high school diploma from Imago, I attended Regis College where I majored in Psychology and graduated in 2007. Shortly after that I married my husband, Benjamin.  I was also blessed to receive the role of step mother to his two children.   God and my growing love for children led me to work at Nashoba Learning Group, an out of district school placement for children on the autism spectrum.  At Nashoba I had the pleasure to teach a number of great individuals and was given a heart for those with disabilities. At the end of my seven years working at Nashoba Learning Group I started to pursue a masters in Special Education, Applied Behavior Analysis at Bay Path University which I am still currently working on. In addition to studying, my husband and I have been blessed with two little girls, making our family a family of six. We also have many pets and raise chickens, turkeys, goats and a pig.  We enjoy being outdoors, hiking, kayaking and spending time together.  

Recently I have been overwhelmingly blessed to take on a position as the Kindergarten teacher at the Imago School. This has been such a blessing for a multitude of reasons.  To start with, Imago is such a truly unique and precious find. There is no place like Imago.  Looking back I am truly grateful for receiving an education there. The things that stood out to me the most were the Christ like love all the teachers displayed in their own unique ways to all of their students and passion for teaching all things good, beautiful and true. This model, all wrapped in faith, taught me many important lessons for life.  Hard work, persistence and determination are essential.

 Another blessing that has come from this new venture is that my daughter has the opportunity to attend this great school. Having her in an environment where she is surrounded by love and that is centered in faith, rich in the classics and all things good, beautiful and true is more than I could ask for.  Academic excellence while building strong character is another attribute of an Imago education that I admire. Lastly, I value the emphasis on teaching children to think logically and critically rather than just teaching rote facts.  

There are so many memories I have of Imago but one of my favorite memories was the Thanksgiving feasts where we would all dress up as pilgrims and Indians and the entire school would spend time together. Imago was a crucial part of my life as a child and helped shaped me into the person I am today.  I am so happy to be back home at Imago and contribute to others being able to have an Imago education. 

Benjamin

Benjamin is a recent graduate of Imago who is currently a home schooled 10th grader enjoying a broad range of academic and recreational pursuits. Like all of our alumni, we are so thrilled to hear about his love of learning and, more poignantly, his love of passing on those skills to others.

Benjamin graduated in 2014 and has used his brief time since 8th grade to study for and pass 5 AP exams(with scores of 5 on ALL!) as well as study 5 foreign languages including Classical Hebrew and Mandarin. He has continued his study for Latin and has twice scored 100% on the National Latin exam. In his spare time he enjoys tutoring 2 Chinese speaking students in English.

Benjamin plays several instruments including the bagpipe and the natural horn bugle. He puts these and other skills to use when participating in reenactments as a redcoat and in serving as a living history interpreter for the Minuteman National Park.

At home, Benjamin is an active participant in household work and chores as well as joyfully participating in the care of his 8 year old brother who has Down Syndrome. Benjamin credits his time at Imago with increasing his social confidence and group skills; his parents were thrilled to see him transform from a shy, hesitant participant in early school plays to a confident male lead as he reached the Upper School. Both they and Benjamin were grateful for the athletic opportunities, including soccer with Coach Cushing that afforded him the chance to be an enthusiastic team member while broadening his horizons through sportsmanship. His experience singing with Imago has also carried over to his life after 8th grade as he now makes a point of learning bass parts to songs his family sings in church.

A favorite recent experience of Ben’s has been putting to use his education in language and phonetics, fostered by teachers at Imago, that already allows him to earn a wage as a tutor. His work with younger students learning English has been doubly rewarding!

Emily P.

I began my years at imago in the pre-first program, and over the years I moved with the school from Shattuck Street in Littleton to St. Bridgets’s in Maynard. I graduated from 8th grade at Imago, and went on to join in the pilot program for the Imago Upper School. I, along with a few other classmates, welcomed this new chapter in our lives. Imago exceeded our expectations; instilling in us a renewed desire to learn, and offering us challenges for which I will always be grateful. I left Imago to attend Trivium, where I graduated in 2003. I went on to study biology as a pre-med major at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, MI where I met my husband, Jake while we were playing collegiate soccer. I transferred to Norwich University in VT to attend nursing school, where I graduated in 2007 with a BSN. After graduation I travelled back to Massachusetts with my husband, where he served as an officer recruiter for the Marine Corps in Amherst. We are currently stationed at The Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Lexington, KY, where we have been for the past two and a half years. We have travelled a great deal over the past few years, and this spring we will be making our 8thmove together as we head back to Quantico, VA with the Marine Corps. We have been through several lengthy deployments, which have brought their own set of challenges and rewards; the latest was particularly unique as I welcomed our third son while Jake was in Afghanistan. We have four children, three sons and a daughter, who are remarkably resilient, hilarious, earnest individuals. As a military family we have had the opportunity to travel, to make incredible friends from all over the world, and to be a part of various units and a military family that is unmatched in its closeness.  We look forward to what the next move and the next duty station can offer for us and our family, and in return what we can do to serve our community wherever that may be.

 

Throughout my years at Imago I was blessed to be a part of a community that espoused not only great knowledge and education for the mind, but for the soul as well. The care that each and every teacher took to show us in very deliberate ways that our spiritual lives were intertwined with our education was invaluable. I am grateful for each painstakingly well thought out lesson that helped to form my thinking as well as my faith. I learned what it means to serve and to lead with quiet humility from the same teachers who introduced me to phonics, Shakespeare and the Periodic Table. There were many service and leadership opportunities including mentoring younger students, cleaning blackboards, and at one point, coaching soccer. These opportunities allowed me to invest energy and creativity into my inherent skillset and furnished me with a deep desire to use these skills throughout my life and within my various vocations; as mother, wife, nurse, and military spouse. Imago inspired me towards a life of service and leadership.  The Imago community inspired me to have a backbone, to be courageous, and to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” We were given the opportunity to stretch ourselves and to go beyond ourselves to serve, cherish and honor others and their lives. Out of my many Imago memories, I am especially grateful for the chapel speakers.  I remember hearing from those individuals who made it their life’s work to go where it was hard, to do what was hard, to speak, and teach and pray and love that which was hard. I will always remember those speakers; the missionaries, the pastors, the professionals, and the parents who valued us as children so much that they would take time out of their lives and schedules to honor us with their presence; stating with their presence that our existence and our education were paramount. We were, and continue to be blessed to be surrounded by those individuals within the Imago community who, with every fiber of their being, instill worth in others by speaking their existence in light of The Creator.

As a Marine wife and a mother of four, I look back on my foundational time at Imago not only to reminisce about Reformation plays,  jog-a-thons, Myan temples dripping with painted blood, or insect collections (which still grace the walls of the Henrickson house), but also to serve as a reminder of my roots. No matter where I go or what I am called upon to do, I always have the voices of the Imago community in my head and in my heart.

Bethany T.

I entered Imago in fourth grade and remember immediately being surrounded by a new group of welcoming friends- I was even invited for play dates before school started. Coming from a public school setting to a private school with only seven students in my class could have been seen as a drastic change. Instead, I was warmly welcomed.  I remember appreciating the individual and small group attention as well as the friendly environment, coupled with high expectations for both behavior and academics.

I graduated from Imago in 1998 after having spent five years there, from grades 4 through 8.  I then attended Nashoba Regional High School. I remember being shocked the first week of school at how students were actually talking when their teachers were teaching! I also remember being naively prideful of my abilities- that I had already written research papers at Imago; I was able to go right into Latin 2 and sophomore English and could write a well-developed paper with ease.  This talent, however, all came at an enormous cost. I will never forget painstakingly taking notes for research papers on individual index cards and compiling a research paper made out of hundreds of these sentences. It goes without saying that Imago incredibly prepared me for my further education.  

Because of Imago’s introduction to the Arts, I also became immediately involved in Nashoba’s drama program and student government. I was elected president of my class for three years. I attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie New York and received my bachelors in Psychology and teaching certificates in Elementary Education and Moderate Disabilities. From there, I received my Masters’ in Literacy and Language from Framingham State.  Right after college, I was hired by the Town of Billerica and I have been here ever since. For the first four years, I was a special education teacher for grades K-3, and have been a fourth grade teacher for the past 6 years.

I carry the same tradition that Mrs. Hoffrage introduced me to and read my students The Indian in the Cupboard every year. I always loved read-aloud time, especially as she changed her voice for each character and knew that would be something I would carry on. Some of my favorite memories were the “grand conversations” held around the table in fourth grade when Mrs. Hoffrage discussed our stories with us. Mrs. Beals’ condensation science experiments where we mixed rock salt and ice water and waited for the results and, unknowingly, killed all the bulbs the school custodian had just planted outside; dressing up as Charlemagne in my coat of arms;  finding Miss Ward’s clothes in a bathroom during Winterfest and documenting the evidence with our Polaroid camera (I may still have the picture); practicing for Lessons and Carols and making sure I rang the bell with perfect timing; eating maple syrup and pickles on snow;  the week long 7th and 8th grade trips to New York and Washington D.C. where my love for LesMiserables started- How lucky we were to have these trips!

Imago fostered in me a love of learning which has grown into a passion for educating the next generation of students who walk through my classroom doors. Because of Imago I have lifelong friends and cherished memories. For these, among countless other things, I am always grateful.

*administrative edit: Imago is proud to share Bethany's accomplishment as a prize winning educator here:  http://billerica.wickedlocal.com/article/20140425/News/140427440

As the Deer pants for the water- 9/30/15

Here at Imago we treasure the opportunity to start each day with chapel, a chance to pray together and sing praises to our Lord. Some of the most common memories among our graduates, both recent and of long ago, are these chapel songs- our "Heartsongs" that join us together in a community of faith long after our Imago years are past. Below you'll see a video taken for alumni Johnpatrick Marr of one of his favorite chapel praises. If you have a Heartsong request feel free to ask! We are thrilled to make this precious time available for your own memory and those of your children!

Anna C.

IMG_8493 - Copy.JPG

I graduated from Imago in 1995. My entire elementary education took place at Imago in the Shattuck Street location. My time at Imago was happy, joyful, fun, and full of goodness. I have so many wonderful memories of Imago that it is difficult to pick out just a few. I recall enthusiastically performing in the Reformation play and the musical each year. I remember competing with Nate Daman for the math chair in 8th grade (and not winning it!). I remember the estimation jar, poetry memorization and nature walks in fourth grade. Fifth grade brought on the enjoyable challenge of achieving an A grade in Miss Dey's history tests. I remember watching the lessons being written in chalk on the board and learning to take proper notes. 

After Imago I attended Trivium school for three years, graduating in 1998. Imago had prepared me for high school to such an extent that I skipped freshman year. In my senior year, I studied independently and went to Indonesia with a former Imago, missionary family to help tutor their two youngest children. It took me several years to find my direction after graduation and in this time I worked, attended a six month DTS with YWAM, and thought about at least three or four different career paths! When I finally did settle down, I studied for a degree in International Business, Finance, and Economics. I graduated from The University of Manchester in England in 2005 with a first class degree. After graduation, I was offered a place at the University of Cambridge to study for a Masters degree in Economics. This coincided with becoming engaged to be married to the wonderful Benjamin Cooper. So, instead of further academic study, Ben and I were married in October of 2005 and I went on to work at a hedge fund in London as an investment analyst on a high yield trading desk. 

 I have been fortunate enough to live in England for nearly 14 consecutive years. Ben and I have been blessed with two daughters, Grace and Maggie. We currently live in the English countryside in the county of Wiltshire. The beauty of the countryside will always amaze me. There is something truly wonderful about the way the passage of the seasons is marked in the changing fields of linseed and wheat. After so many years in England, I have acquired a British passport and a British accent much to the amusement of my long standing Imago friends! 

I gave up full time work in London when my eldest, Grace, was born. Life is full and rewarding. As a stay at home mother, I am able to indulge my interests in gardening, cooking, interior design, and country pursuits. My love of academic learning still lingers, however. From time to time, I contemplate going back to school for graduate study. I attribute this love of learning to my years at Imago. 

I now appreciate how unique Imago was and still is as a school. The small class sizes fostered friendships that I still treasure today. One great childhood friend became my sister-in-law. Another great friendship is now 30 years strong and more like family. My time at Imago was rich and fulfilling. Imago certainly taught me how to think well, to write analytically, to coherently argue a point. At no point in my education afterwards did I encounter as fine a teacher and thinker as Miss Dey. So much of what I learned at Imago carried me all the way through university. Imago was not only academically rich. Imago also instilled in me a love of things greater than myself. Imago was filled with teachers and students who loved and appreciated great artists, writers, composers, and thinkers. In showing its students the great works of the past, children were encouraged and inspired to broaden their horizons. Perhaps most importantly, Imago was filled with teachers who loved the goodness and beauty of God and who sought to share this with the children. My love of Imago can be summed up in two memories: Lessons & Carols and Miss Dey's history tests.

Five Temptations for Classical, Christian Education

The reproduced article below is taken from a November, 2012 issue of First Things Magazine

The reproduced article below is taken from a November, 2012 issue of First Things Magazine

Having taught at a classical Christian school for five years and followed the classical Christian education movement for some years prior, I have come to believe that it is the best approach to K-12 education available today.

Due to its understanding of education as the reshaping of a child’s soul (in contrast to “discovery” models of education, for example), the method tends to develop thinkers defined by who they are instead of workers defined by what they do. Its focus on the Great Conversation gives students respect for history and helps them see themselves as contributors to that conversation. Unlike inward-facing fundamentalist approaches to education, this movement does not shy away from the world, but instead teaches students to interact thoughtfully with contemporary culture.

Classical Christian schools do these and many other things well, and consequently their numbers, acceptance, and influence are on the rise. However, as this form of education comes of age, it needs to be wary of certain temptations. Five specific cautions come to mind.

The first temptation is to overemphasize mistaken notions of success. The bigger our schools grow, the more respected a faculty we attract, the better we implement a Trivium-based curriculum, and the more accomplished our graduates become, the more we will be tempted to slip into something of a prep school mentality. Staff members and families begin to think of their school as an elite academic institution, one that produces a better “product” (by whatever measure) than others in the area.

In contrast to a more “successful” classical Christian school, less established schools may feel inferior because they lack the appearance or reputation of other schools. They might yearn for the facilities and programs that they see as their ticket to being an elite school: “If only we had . . . ” It is easy for any educator to mistake the trappings of education for education itself.

The history of the movement demonstrates that amazing things can be done despite want, but as our schools grow richer, the temptation grows to consider these things the keys to success. Buildings, labs, athletics, the best materials, and other tangible things are good and helpful (and probably even necessary), but they can become the same kind of covetous idolatry that Israel displayed when it asked God for a king. Our focus must always be on the one thing that actually determines our success—God’s power and promises.

Mistaken notions of success are best revealed by our attitude toward our graduates. When they are prominent and successful, we hold them up as evidence that our school is prominent and successful. We must be doing something right, the argument goes. But when graduates fall short of our expectations, we feel the need to explain them away: They failed because of family influences, they had spent years in public schools, they had a weak church background, etc.

The reality is that our students are like our own children. Parents know that even if they do everything in their power to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, whether or not the children ultimately have genuine Christian faith is beyond our control. Likewise, teachers can guide students toward God, but only the work of the Holy Spirit in their souls can make them into the kind of Christ-honoring graduates that we would like to produce.

Instead of lifting up our best students as proof that we are doing things “the right way,” our response to their success should be gratitude. God be praised for his work in the lives of these students, in many cases despite our flaws. Rather than feeling ashamed of less successful students, we should pray that the seeds once planted would come to life by God’s grace. The idea that they are evidence of our failure reveals an errant and unhealthy understanding of success.

The second temptation is to believe that academic rigor plus disciplined behavior equals a good education. It is easy for a classical Christian school to become known more for its uniforms, homework expectations, strictness, and the like, than for its gracious, loving environment. Yet we ought not treat education like a simple input-output situation, in which the right learning environment can program our students to be Christians. While students do need high expectations for their work and conduct, focusing on order becomes hazardous when it overtakes the joy of experiencing God’s grace. When this happens, students may learn to jump through the hoops, obey the rules, do the right things, but they do not learn to love God and others. That is moralism, the worst enemy of true Christianity.

Creating a truly gracious classroom is much harder than creating an orderly classroom. It is a challenge that requires spiritual preparation far beyond classroom management techniques. But the only Christian education is a thoroughly gracious education. It sounds so basic, but it remains true: Without God’s grace, we can only produce narcissists who are more focused on their own successes and failures than on the eternal reality of God’s love for his people.

The third temptation is to rely on ourselves rather than on God’s work in the hearts of students. It is easy for classical Christian schools to feel like we have the moral high ground in the midst of a fallen culture. After all, anyone who seeks out such a school believes it to be superior to other systems, especially secular ones. But the people of Israel are warned to not trust in their own goodness; it is not because of their own virtue that they will conquer the land.

The same is true for our schools. We will not successfully overhaul the education system just because we have the right methodology. Education cannot be reduced to a formula, even if the formula is a good one. Education is ultimately God’s work in the soul of a child, and forgetting that fact leads some educators to feel inadequate. We err frequently, do things for the wrong motives, misjudge students academically and spiritually, and fall short of the glory of God.

Focusing too much on our educational methods will lead us to despair. Self-assessment can easily leave us feeling either too strong or too weak. We praise our own accomplishments, and we feel inadequate based on what qualifications we lack. Whether our response is overconfidence or despair, anything but faith in God’s power and promises is idolatry. Our strength is from the Lord and not ourselves; He will accomplish his ends despite both our strengths and our weaknesses. We must remind ourselves, if God is not blessing our work as educators, then no measure of training, skill, or finances can overcome that. But if He is blessing our labors by changing our students’ lives, then nothing can overcome that either.

The fourth temptation is to neglect the Word of God. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, classical Christian schools need to integrate the Bible into our entire curriculum. Some in these education circles criticize other Christian schools for having what amounts to a secular curriculum with a Bible class on the side. The complaint is that this approach functionally teaches a secular-sacred divide that undermines real Christian faith and practice.

While this complaint has merit in many cases, we need to take care lest our schools fall into the same pit. Unless we carefully integrate biblical education throughout the entire curriculum, across every subject and grade, it would be very easy for our graduates to know more about Achilles and Dante than Abraham and David. The Word of God is our source for God’s wisdom; without it we only have the wisdom of man.

The final temptation is to assume that a classical Christian school will automatically influence a student more than the broader culture. We should pay careful attention to our students’ long-term goals, for they most clearly reveal the depth of the culture’s influence. Students tend toward materialistic goals because that is what they learn from the culture around them. Overcoming the intrusion of materialism into our schools is probably the biggest obstacle a Christian educator faces.

Students are humans, and humans are perpetual factories of idols. Every student brings some variety of idolatry into the classroom. The most common and most subversive idols are divine gifts that become valued above God himself: intelligence, finances, skills, moral goodness, even a good Christian education.

Although this kind of culture conflict is a problem for Christian education of every variety, it might be a more striking problem in classical schools because of the expectation that our graduates will be uniquely equipped to stand against the world and change the culture. That said, classical Christian education is perhaps also uniquely capable of addressing the conflict because it defines education in terms of the health of a student’s soul rather than the strength of a student’s skills.

The primary job of every Christian educator, regardless of grade level or subject matter, is to shape the heart. We should begin by warning students about the subtleties of pride in both its forms, arrogance and despair. We must teach them to think less of their own abilities and more of God’s. It will be difficult, but it is even more central to the goals of classical Christian teaching than the Trivium or the Great Books. The only way we can accomplish our task as educators is to demonstrate with our own lives that a truly successful life is one in which God is glorified for His faithfulness and love regardless of our personal performance.

Brian Douglas lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife, son, and two daughters. He teaches at The Ambrose School (a classical Christian school), is an adjunct professor at Boise State University, and serves as an elder at All Saints Presbyterian Church (PCA).