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E pectations The

The College Magazine of New Saint Andrews

Accidental Revival

Photo by Peter Røise

He didn’t mean to start a national classical Christian education renaissance 20 years ago. It just happened.

Omni cui multum datum est, multum quaeretur ab eo.

Leading Thoughts

College News

The future of classical Christian NSA grad program adds writing, fifth-year option education begins at college C

hanges to the graduate degrees at New Saint Andrews College will make the master’s level programs more accessible to both current and prospective students and add a literary flair. The College’s M.A. in Trinitarian Theology and Culture underwent the most significant changes, with the addition of creative writing and literature components. Now known as the “M.A. in Theology and Letters,” the two-year program was trimmed from the previously-required 45-credits to the industry standard 32. Additionally, seniors in NSA’s undergraduate B.A. program will be able to earn credits toward their M.A. degree, creating the possibility of attaining both a B.A. and M.A. in just five years. The new graduate course pricing, for both the modified M.A. program and the College’s M.St. and Graduate Certificate in Classical Christian Studies will be $450 per credit. To inquire about the College’s graduate programs, contact John Sawyer at (208) 882-1566, or e-mail

By Roy Atwood classical Christian revival was already obvious 20 years ago when Senior Fellow Douglas Wilson wrote Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning. When New Saint Andrews College began in 1994, the Association of Classical and Christian Schools had not yet been organized. Today with more than 200 ACCS schools across North America, the need for qualified classically educated Christian teachers is more acute and than ever. New Saint Andrews has been blessed with students from ACCS schools and classically focused home schools from every corner of the globe. Our graduates with their bachelor’s in classical liberal arts and Master’s in Classical Christian Studies can now be found teaching from Washington state to Florida, from the Mid-Atlantic states to California and at many points across the heartland. Our classically educated alumni have served Christ in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The College has been blessed to play a small but strategic role in the global revival of classical Christian education, but there is much, much more to be done. Classical Christian colleges are and will be strategic to the long-term growth and health of classical Christian schools. The College’s undergraduate and graduate programs not only produce more classically educated parents and teachers, but strengthen our churches and communities with those who have been nurtured to maturity in the paideia of the Lord. To meet one of the greatest challenges our new generation of classical Christian schools face today, we need New Saint Andrews and more classical Christian colleges like her to graduate the next generation of classically educated teachers. The future of classical Christian education begins at college.

Roy Alden Atwood, Ph.D. President

Spring 2011 • Volume 5, Number 1 Roy Alden Atwood, Ph.D. PRESIDENT



PHOTOGRAPHY: As credited

Bob Hieronymus EDITOR Hannah K. Grieser DESIGNER

LATIN The Latin phrase on the front cover means “To whom much is given, much is required.” Higher Expectations is published once or twice a year as funds permit by New Saint Andrews College.

Copyright © 2011 New Saint Andrews College. All rights reserved. Material may not be reprinted without prior approval of the editor. Telephone: (208) 882-1566 Fax: (208) 882-4293 E-mail address: New Saint Andrews College 405 S. Main, P.O. Box 9025 Moscow, Idaho 83843

Mark Driscoll to speak at Credenda/Agenda conference during Celebratio


Photo by John Keatley

Photo by Mark LaMoreaux


ne of the greatest challenges our new generation of classical Christian schools has faced from the beginning has been to provide an education few of us—their teachers— have received ourselves. In one respect, we should be grateful the problem endures. The Lord has blessed classical Christian schools with such phenomenal growth that the demand for qualified teachers still outstrips the supply. However, the challenge to find classically educated Christian teachers remains, in part, because many school administrators have insufficient time, opportunity, or resources to reflect on the strategic importance of the classical Christian college for the future of their schools. However, if classical Christian education reform does not extend beyond the secondary level, then every classical Christian school may face downward curricular and pedagogical pressures from their non-classically educated teachers who default toward the dominant secular paradigm of their college learning. If classical Christian colleges do not keep pace with the growth of classical Christian schools, then within two or three generations, classical Christian schools may have few teachers or administrators who can remember why they once stressed the Trivium or taught Latin. Few may be able to distinguish the original reformational vision of their classical Christian school founders from the tony secular prep school goal of getting their graduates into the best neo-pagan universities in the land. Unless God is very gracious, our schools may be neither classical nor Christian. Students (and schools), after all, become like their teachers (Lk. 6:40). The need to prepare the next generation of educators at the post-secondary level for carrying on the

elebratio-goers need to mark September 15-18 on their calendars and then prepare to be overwhelmed. In addition to the usual lineup of opportunities for visitors to take part in the life of the College—attending classes and enjoying Moscow’s engaging and entertaining Christian Mark Driscoll college community— Celebratio attendees this year can register to attend the Credenda/Agenda Fall Conference featuring Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll and attend pre-conference seminars for ministers and women. On top of that, visitors can hear Dr. Peter Leithart and observe the ARIHE Symposium panel discussion on Pedagogy for Royalty (see related story). And yes, there’s still the dance, concert, live music, science camp, college tours, coffee, downtown dining, the farmer’s market, the county fair, Sunday morning worship, and the 1,000-person church picnic! It’s fun for the whole family. Did we mention it’s free? Some events not sponsored by the College have an admission fee, like the Credenda/Agenda Fall Conference and the Latah County Fair. Plan now to come to college for the weekend, September 15-18! Please register online at www. so we can plan for your attendance.

NSA to host nation’s reformed colleges and universities

Welcome Weekend to mark NSA’s fall start up


y the second week in August, the College will be in full swing this year, with a “week zero” line-up of activities capped off with a “Welcome Weekend” Convocation and All-College Picnic on Saturday, August 13. The freshman Prologus, orientation boot camp of sorts, runs Tuesday through Thursday, August 9-11, the Reforming Business Workshop starts Wednesday, August 10, and concludes Friday, August 12, as incoming freshmen and other returning students file in for registration and all-class orientation activities begin. The Convocation will be at 10 a.m. at the Moscow Church of the Nazarene. Information about the picnic and other Welcome Weekend activities will be announced on the Colleges website ( and to student families.

TRACS: NSA reaccredited, Atwood named to Commission


ew Saint Andrews College earned high marks in its re-accreditation bid last fall, earning the 10-year nod of approval from its accrediting organization—the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). In addition, Dr. Roy Atwood, President and Senior Fellow at New Saint Andrews College, was elected to serve as a TRACS Commissioner. Atwood’s initial appointment is for one year. President Atwood has served in his current position of leadership at New Saint Andrews since 2000. His 32-years of higher education experience includes teaching and administrative duties at Gonzaga University and the University of Idaho. Atwood has also been a Fulbright Scholar twice, with teaching and research appointments at Warsaw University, Poland, in 1991, and Potchefstroom University, South Africa, in 1998. He received a B.A. in Philosophy from Dordt College (Iowa), a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, and a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Iowa. TRACS, a national accrediting body for Christian colleges and universities, is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.


residents from ten of the nation’s reformed colleges and universities will be at New Saint Andrews College this fall for the Association of Reformed Institutions of Higher Education’s annual conference. In addition to the presidents’ meeting, the two-day conference includes a symposium entitled “Pedagogy for Royalty.” Forty scholars from member institutions are expected to attend the conference, which begins Thursday night, September 15, and concludes Saturday, September 17. ARIHE is an association of ten institutions in the Reformed and Presbyterian Christian tradition. In addition to NSA, they include, Calvin College, Covenant College, Geneva College, Redeemer University College, The King’s University College, Dordt College, Providence Christian College, Trinity Christian College, and the Institute for Christian Studies.

Merkle returns, Sawyer and Blakey join staff Ben Merkle

Christa Blakey

John Sawyer

N.D. Wilson to address graduating seniors


he College’s Fellow of Literature and best-selling author, N.D. Wilson, will be the featured speaker at New Saint Andrews’ 2011 Commencement, Thursday, May 12, at the Moscow Church of the Nazarene at 7 p.m. Wilson, the author of the children’s trilogy, 100 Cupboards (published by Random House), will address the 37 graduates at the College’s 14th Commencement event. Wilson first gained international attention with an essay entitled N.D. Wilson “Father Brown Fakes the Shroud.” Multiple media outlets featured the essay, including Discovery Channel News, ABC’s World News Tonight, the BBC, Good Morning America, Der Spiegel and even The Daily Show. More recently, National Geographic Television produced and aired a one hour special focusing on Wilson and the Shroud. As for his fiction, the best-selling 100 Cupboards trilogy is now in almost thirty countries and garnered Wilson a recent appearance on The Today Show. A film version of the first book is currently in development. Wilson is also a headliner for the College’s “Three Days in the Wordsmithy” writer’s workshop this summer, June 28-July 2, at New Saint Andrews. For more information on the workshop, go to

NSA and Korea’s Kosin University sign pact


ew Saint Andrews welcomed one returning faculty member and two new employees to the College this year. Mr. Ben Merkle (ABD, Oxford) returns as the Director of Student Affairs and continues as a Fellow at the College. He is in the final year of his Ph.D. program at Oxford. Mr. John Sawyer and NSA alumna Christa Blakey also joined the College. Sawyer, a long-time advocate of Classical Christian education, joined the College as the Director of Student Recruitment after 33 years at the University of Idaho. Blakey, a 2008 NSA grad, is the College’s Recruitment/ Administrative Assistant.

President Roy Atwood with Kosin University President Sung Soo Kim (center).


ew Saint Andrews College President Roy Atwood was an invited guest speaker to Kosin University in Busan, Korea in October. While there, Kosin’s President Sung Soo Kim and President Atwood signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote academic cooperation, conferences, academic exchanges and expanded relations between the two institutions. The agreement opens the way for New Saint Andrews and Kosin to develop student and faculty exchanges and other joint efforts promoting Presbyterian and Reformed higher education. Kosin University is one of the largest Reformed institutions in the world, with several international campuses and a medical school.

Higher Expectations • Spring 2011 3

The Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning at

20 Before New Saint Andrews College Senior Fellow and founding board member Douglas

Wilson became the author of dozens of books on the family, or gained notoriety as a reformed

pastor and theologian or became a champion for the Christian faith against prominent antitheist Christopher Hitchens, he was a dad Photo by Peter Røise

looking for a better way to educate his children. What he “re-discovered” started a resurgence of classical Christian education in private Christian schools and home schools across the country. Douglas Wilson, NSA Senior Fellow and Founding Trustee

4 Expectations

Higher •

Cover Story

By Tina McClure


ancy Wilson couldn’t picture it. Douglas Wilson recalled that their daughter was only a toddler when his wife proclaimed she just couldn’t see handing Bekah over to a stranger in the public school system and saying, “Here she is, educate her.” Back then they had few options in Moscow, Idaho, so they began looking for alternatives and praying. “I told her we would have something in place by the time Bekah started kindergarten,” Doug Wilson said. That promise to his wife more than 30 years ago evolved into Logos, a thriving classical Christian school. Ten years later, Wilson wrote Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education, using Logos as a model. That led to the formation of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), which in turn helped develop and support similar schools throughout the United States. “I’ve always believed God does big things, but I didn’t know how big and how fast,” Wilson said. “It was the right idea at the right time.” Wilson, 57, a minister of Christ Church in Moscow and one of the founders of New Saint Andrews College, helped found Logos School using an educational model from an article he read in National Review in the early 1970s. The magazine would periodically reprint a 1947 essay by Dorothy Sayers titled, “The Lost Tools of Learning.” “At the time, I filed it under, ‘huh,’” he said, smiling. Recalling that essay, he said, was essential. “I was excited to find something I could try,” Wilson said, explaining that Sayers’ approach was to bring back an ancient foundation of education called the Trivium—grammar, logic and rhetoric. Sayers had the insight to match these three phases of learning to the three phases of development in children. It pairs these stages with ages, although the exact age for each phase may be determined according to the individual school. For example, children in kindergarten through sixth grade have a keen ability to memorize and so, frequently, this grammar stage includes chants, songs or rhythmic verse to ingest a tremendous amount of information. Young people become argumentative around

grades seven and eight which fits nicely with logic, or drawing conclusions from facts. The last stage of rhetoric emphasizes a high school student’s ability to speak, write and communicate in a clear and persuasive way. Wilson and two other parents took information from Sayers’ essay and plotted a course fueled by a lot of prayer and caffeine. “God doesn’t steer parked cars,” Wilson said. “If you are hun­ gry to know the truth, you will be steered.” True to Wilson’s word, Logos School opened with 19 students in 1981, when his daughter entered kindergarten. It has since celebrated nearly 400 graduates and three times as many students who have filled the desks over the years. Logos Principal Tom Garfield, who has been with the school since its inception, said looking back he doesn’t know how many lives have been touched. “But we don’t get to do it over again—we only get one shot at it, and so we take it pretty seriously,” Garfield said. “(The students) are getting an education and a look at the world I never got.” Thirty years later, he said his charge is to define the school every day. “We don’t have a pattern to go by,” he said. “We’re 30 years old and still learning.” Now parents who attended Logos as children, are sending their own children to school there. “That is a vote of confidence for us, but now (the parents) hold our feet to the fire,” he said. “It’s like they are saying, ‘We trust you with what you gave us, now we expect more for our children.’ If we had any laurels we sure can’t rest on them. The school is a living, breathing, growing, organic, entity.”

“At the time we were not trying to join any movement; we were simply trying to be good parents.”

Parent-driven reform It’s been 20 years since Wilson published his book and about 40,000 copies have been sold. At the time, Logos had 10 years under its belt and the Wilsons had two more children, Nathan and Rachel. As Wilson wrote in his book, “one of the first surprises was discovering that we were part of a national movement toward private education. But at the time we were not trying to join any movement; we were simply trying to be good parents.” That was key to understanding the book, he said.

“This is a book about education, but it is not written by a professional educator … I am writing this book as a parent—an involved parent. I am writing to parents who would like to be involved in the education of their children and to parents who already are involved, but who want to be more effective. What does it take? It takes a lot more than you think and a lot less than you think.” The book examined the failures of modern secular education. It also covered issues regarding Christian and classical education and used examples of Logos in many instances. It gave a good example of how the Trivium works and that it is successful. Ron Lee, a former president and current member of the board of directors for Schaeffer Academy in Rochester, Minn., said their school was one of the charter schools in the ACCS. “After 18 years on this journey into classical Christian education I am only more convinced of its value and necessity,” said Lee, whose four children graduated from Schaeffer Academy. “I regularly hear from parents of our alumni that it was worth the cost and sacrifice to them. As a parent, I wholeheartedly agree. As a board member, I am grateful and humbled.” The ACCS was established because of interest generated by Wilson’s book. The idea for an organization had its inception with the first conference in 1993 by Wilson and teachers and administrators at Logos for those wanting to start their own schools around the

Higher Expectations • Spring 2011 5

Photo Courtesy of Logos School

Cover Story

In its first year, Logos School enrolled 17 students—including Doug and Nancy Wilson’s daugher Bekah (front left). This 1981 photo includes Superintendent Tom Garfield (back right).

country. Planners realized they needed an organization to handle the sheer volume of people interested in classical Christian education and the ACCS was officially formed in 1995. “We had people calling every day—there were thousands of questions,” Garfield, said, adding that it was difficult enough to chart new waters in running Logos, so development of the ACCS was vital. Garfield is a permanent member of the ACCS board. Lee, who serves on the ACCS board, said Wilson’s book struck a chord with many families in the Christian community who wanted something different for their child’s education but could not put a finger on it. “The content of Doug’s book resonated with many of those families and gave them the inspiration and necessary direction to point the way,” Lee said. Don Post, vice chairman and permanent member of the ACCS board who has been the headmaster for 10 years at Tall Oaks Classical School in New Castle, Del., attended one of the original conferences. “I was committed to Christian education but never liked what was out there at the time,” Post said. “As soon as I read (Wilson’s) book, I knew that’s what I wanted.” Post’s work helped establish the Covenant School in Huntington, W.Va., as well. “A lot of people don’t want to be pioneers,” he said. “We are growing when other Christian schools aren’t— that’s the grace of God. Our students are lifelong learners and our teachers are lifelong learners. This is something more than just getting a high school degree and finding a college.”

6 Higher Expectations • Spring 2011

Post said he is depending on those lifelong learners to lead the way some day. “My principal and I always say we are not qualified for what we are doing, we are just trying to educate a new class of kids to come along who will graduate and take over the school so we can actually get somewhere,” he said. “We are in the baby stages. We are trying to recover something we haven’t had in a long time. We are still in the beginning and still have a long way to go. We are not there.” Patch Blakey, executive director of ACCS, agreed there is a lot of work to do. He said it’s amazing to look back on Sayers’ essay, which included her thought that people might dismiss her theory and call her a “reactionary, romantic, medievalist, or whatever tag comes first to hand.” “I think she’d be awestruck if she knew what was going on today as a result of that essay,” he said. The mission of the ACCS is clear, Blakey said. It’s to promote, establish and equip schools committed to a classical education that integrates a Christian worldview grounded in the Bible. “We have to understand what we think and why we think it today and process that through the lens of the Scriptures,” he said. “We want to train our kids so

they are fully equipped. When they do graduate in the world they are foot soldiers or tanks for Christ. They can think clearly, evaluate (if something is) truth or not, and graciously respond to it with the truth.” Blakey’s four children are all Logos graduates. He and wife Deb left Norfolk, Va. and a 23-year career in the Navy to move to Moscow in the summer of 1995 so their children could attend Logos. “Not only did my wife and I think the education our children received at Logos was outstanding, our kids thought so as well,” Blakey said. When Blakey was hired as the executive director of ACCS in 1996 there were 46 schools. Today there are more than 34,000 students in its 229 schools and that includes several colleges and a few overseas schools. ACCS is working on a strategic plan to “vastly broaden its impact in the world.” Wilson predicts the current public school system will not exist at the opening of the 22nd century. Public education will experience a major transformation and hence classical Christian education will not be competing against the same school system. There will be a more level playing field, Wilson said. In order for classical Christian education to continue to prosper, he would like to see existing schools raise the bar of education. He also would like to see a brick and mortar ACCS type school available for virtually every parent in America. “I’d like to see one within driving distance of 90 percent of people in the country,” Wilson said. “I can’t say it’s absolutely for everybody, but I can say it should be available to everybody.” In order to achieve this, he said, it means a significant success on the part of the graduates of existing schools. “People notice mojo,” Wilson said, quoting Proverbs 22:29, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings.” It was this very mojo, that gave Bruce Williams, chairman of the ACCS board and headmaster of The Oaks Classical Christian Academy in Spokane, Wash., the push he needed to explore classical Christian education for his children. It occurred when he was the vice president for Northwest Basketball Camps based in Spokane. He interviewed nearly 700 students over the years to compile teams for overseas tours. One student in particular stood out. Nate Wilson, Wilson’s son, was a 15-year-old who answered his questions differently. He read “The Iliad” instead of Stephen King. He talked passionately about what it meant to be a Christian instead of passing it off as the job of his pastor. “When we got done with the interview, God was working in my heart,” Williams said. He and his wife Susan chose home schooling as an option for their children, and she had been involved

“I’d like to see an ACCS school within driving distance of 90 percent of people in the country.”

Cover Story in teacher training courses offered by Logos School during the summers. Susan was doing the lion’s share of the work, but Williams said he became convicted to be more responsible for his children’s education. Williams spoke with Douglas Wilson about moving to Moscow to enroll their children in Logos or even commuting. But Wilson had different plans. “Doug said you ought to start a school,” Williams said. “‘No way,’ I told him. I said there were plenty of Christian schools in Spokane. But he said, ‘Not like this.’ This is a different product. A different way of educating.’ “I say this to people, ‘I think God has a great sense of humor.’ Putting me at this desk is comical,” said Williams, who has been the headmaster since The Oaks opened 15 years ago. “My kids passed me in the seventh grade—they blew me out of the water.”

Always seeking to improve Permanent board member Rick Hall said the ACCS has come a long way in how it views its goal and mission. “We do have high goals and standards for our schools, which should never be compromised,” he said. “However, even within our association, not all schools look alike. Thanks be to God! Even within our unity of purpose, there is diversity.” Hall, a father of four, has worked in the banking industry for 32 years and is a founding member of Westminster Academy in Memphis, Tenn. He is a permanent member of both the school and ACCS boards. He said the ACCS is beginning to encourage a better understanding of what a true classical Christian education looks like. “We forget sometimes how much we don’t understand and think that the way we do it is the only way,” Hall said. “Our schools are only just beginning to recover what was lost. We need to continue to press on and realize we can learn from those who may not think just like us. Truth is truth wherever it is found. We all have a lot to learn and we need to continue to encourage not only the start of new schools, but the growth in understanding in existing schools.” Marlin Detweiler, 54, said he was “crazy enough” to start two schools, The Geneva School in Winter Park, Fla., and Veritas Academy in Leola, Penn. Detweiler and his wife Laurie also founded and own Veritas Press, which specializes in materials for classical education in Christian schools and home schools. They also started Veritas Press Scholar’s Academy, which features classical Christian courses online. Detweiler, a founding ACCS board member, said it all

ACCS Schools by State 10 2 3

2 2




1 5

1 2

11 6


3 5

2 28

5 1


1 4

3 10



2 16



16 4

ACCS Schools By State 1-3 4-6 7-9 10-14 15 or more



2 11

3 12


Source: The Association of Classical Christian Schools

The Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS) has member schools in 41 states and four foreign countries. At present there are 229 ACCS schools.

began by reading the pages of Wilson’s book and today Veritas Press is doing business worldwide. “It’s been a wild ride,” he said. “I hold on for dear life sometimes. Everybody wants their children to have a good education. When we read Doug Wilson’s book, I always knew there was a better way to do this for and with our children. I said, ‘Now I know what it looks like.’” “One of the signs of successful parenting is being jealous of the children you raised,” said Detweiler, father of four sons. “It’s fun to see not only my children, but other children who are far more articulate, thoughtful and far more mature in their Christian faith, to see them realizing more of their potential that God has given them.” Detweiler said the constant challenge is that it takes hard work. “Society wants a quick fix and quick results,” Detweiler said. “Good education is a marathon. It is a significant commitment to a lot of hard work—good work, enjoyable work, but difficult work in order to reap the benefits that I think are pleasing to God and uses the abilities He has given us.” He said he is optimistic about where classical Christian education is headed and the role ACCS will play in that future.

“But there are a lot of ways to drive a car in a ditch,” he said. “All good things come from God and come through humility, appreciation, gratitude and recognizing where they came from. Longevity comes from a proper fear of God and a proper sense of gratitude for God.” Wilson agreed. “If we are doing everything for the glory of God, which is a higher motivation, it should get us a higher result,” he said. The product so far, is almost mind boggling, Wilson said. He and wife Nancy were invited to speak at a home-school convention last year in Cincinnati. They browsed the displays and looked at all the classical Christian material available, which was virtually non-existent when they started Logos. As he passed the vendors, he noted they probably had no idea the reason they were there was in large part a result of his book. “That is liberating,” he said, with a smile. “I hope 200 years from now I will be found snug in some scholar’s footnote.”

Tina McClure is a wife and mother, and former city editor and writer for the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

Editor’s Note: Ten years after writing Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, among his many other books, Douglas Wilson wrote an updated and expanded edition: The Case for Classical Christian Education. It’s another must-read for those interested in classical Christian education.

Higher Expectations • Spring 2011 7

Alumni Profile

Classical Christian education: The next generation By Tina McClure the Association of Classical and Christian Schools based in Moscow, Idaho. Blakey put Harkin in contact with a reformed Baptist church with an empty education wing. “Patch providentially put us together,” said Harkin, who works full-time in his father-inlaw’s defense contracting business, but is the chairman of the school board. What came out of that meeting is not the typical classical Christian school, but one that fits the needs of the area. It still uses the Trivium, but simply focuses on the core tools of learning. The school began in 2007 and now has 30 students. It uses a half-day model with a “meat and potatoes” approach. “We don’t have a fine arts program, a robust music program or sports,” Harkin said. “We just build the core tools we think a child needs to be well educated.” The half-day model allows for review work at home during the second half of the school day, and the goal is to keep the parents involved. “This is a model that fits our commuTrinitas Christian School in Pensacola, Fla., has looked to NSA and the Moscow community to nity,” Harkin said, adding that the half-day find teachers and staff with experience in classical Christian education. (Back row, left to right) model keeps tuition low. Justin Hughes, Kenneth Trotter (school superintendent), Joshua Gibbs, Stephen Long, (front row, left to right) Brittney Hartke and Kathryn Long. “It was exciting but extremely painful (to start the school),” Harkin said. “I he book looked ominous and Michael Harkin education teachers, administrators and those helping used all my leadership training from the Marine Corp, all my academic training from NSA and all had already missed a week of classes at New to start new schools around the country. Saint Andrews College. “I naively assumed that when I had kids of my own my business training from my MBA. And still it The thousand pages awaiting him in Saint Augus- I would just enroll them in a local classical Chris- was very challenging because you are working with real parents, who have real tine’s “The City of God,” gave him cause for concern. tian school or start my own concerns and real demands, “I hadn’t read a book more than 200 or 300 pages school. How hard can it be?” a staff that needs to be in my life,” Harkin said. “I was already behind and you he said. “I dream big, but I trained, kids with character know at NSA you can’t get behind.” don’t always count the costs.” problems and my own famPage by page, and class by class, Harkin, then 24, He met quite a bit of reily to manage.” persevered as one of the original five students at NSA sistance as he sought to get a when it opened its doors in 1994. school off the ground. “To say (attending NSA) was life changing is too trite “Part of it was that I was rinitas Christian a phrase to describe what it was for me,” said Harkin. not from the area and was School in Pensacola, Fla., began with He graduated in 1999, became a Marine officer, not someone they trusted,” married Ashley, the women of his dreams, and helped he said. “But part of it was that public schools were a similar number of students. establish Tidewater Classical Academy, a classical very deeply entrenched within the community. When I Kenneth V. Trotter, the founding administrator of the looked for a building, I even had pastors say they would school, said they started in August 1999 with 27 students Christian school in Virginia Beach, Va. Harkin is also a father of three, aptly naming his not support anything that would be critical of the pub- in a “small, kind, but struggling church.” youngest son Austin—the medieval nickname for lic school system. Out West it’s a little more open on It was established as a private, Christ-centered school these issues. In the East, public schools are considered committed to providing a classical and Biblically based Augustine. critical to the fabric of the whole community.” education to Christian families. “It all comes full circle,” he said chuckling. Harkin is one of many NSA graduates now carThe real breakthrough, he said, came when he got Today, the school has grown to nearly 200 students rying on as the next generation of classical Christian in contact with Patch Blakey, the executive director of and has its own facility.


“...You cannot give that which you do not already have.”

8 Higher Expectations • Spring 2011


Alumni Profile The idea of now employing the “next generation” of teachers is important because they understand that learning involves more than the transfer of information, he said. “There appears to be a deeper level of maturity in teachers who have been trained classically,” Trotter said. In the past three years, Trinitas has hired three NSA graduates as well as two other staff members from the Moscow community with a background in classical Christian education. “It has been said that you cannot give that which you do not already have … a thought clearly understood by any Christian school administrator or teacher,” Trotter said. “Therefore, as we grow our staff with the ‘next generation,’ of classical Christian school employees, even support staff, we find they have what the non-classically trained teacher/administrator does not have: providing a richer understanding of the school’s mission and vision; a more defined purpose in the classroom, and a better understanding of the respective classical stage, those tools of grammar, logic and rhetoric.” Trotter said the difference is not in what is being taught. He said it is the way or the manner in which it is being taught. “It is teaching with a soul,” he said.


Daniel Petry, a 2010 graduate of NSA’s Classical Christian Studies master’s program, aniel Petry, 38, a non-traditional student and his family. He teaches at Veritas Academy in Leola, Penn. who graduated in spring 2010, likes to consider himself part of the next generation and Petry started NSA’s two-year program in August can teach our children well, then the church can have a understands how this “soul” can make a difference. 2008. Much of the work he completed at NSA was good impact on culture. I recognize the value of (NSA’s Petry was the first student to complete a master of long distance, however he would come to Moscow program) and I’m a better teacher because of it.” studies in classical Christian studies at NSA. three times a year to complete eight-hour-a-day classes “There is a tremendous amount of work at NSA,” for five days at a time. eeing the second generation step up as teachers he said. “When you learn a lot there is a tendency to and administrators is important because experiThis was a lot of commitment for their family, beget puffed up with pride. You don’t see that with the cause while he completed the program, wife Jennifer, ence can make all the difference. instructors at NSA. They’re humble people who under- a music teacher, did double duty when it came to As Harkin watches Tidewater Classical Academy stand their place before God and they find their signifi- caring for and and home schooling their six adopted change, grow and become refined, the blessing is to cance in Him rather than children, most of whom see all his children enrolled at the school with amazing in their knowledge. That is have physical and mental staff in place. passed on to the students.” “It’s been great to see the families that have come disabilities. Petry began teaching in A few months after alongside us and have put their monies and time and 1999 at a classical Christian graduating from NSA’s energy into it,” he said. “Now I get to see the kingdom school in Connecticut and master’s program he was of God growing just like I dreamed.” in 2006 moved to MaryIt’s very humbling, he said. offered a job at Veritas land where he took over Academy in Leola, Penn., “I see real change in parents and kids—I’m chang7th and 8th grade classes where he now teaches ing,” Harkin said. “It does all come back to the promat St. Stephens Classical third grade. ises of God and His grace to us. At the end of the Christian Academy. “It’s been a while since day there is really nothing else to rest in. NSA really I’ve gotten to teach the opened the window to God Himself. I love, and will “As a classical Chrisyounger kids and it’s forever be thankful for NSA, for Doug Wilson, for tian teacher I didn’t have been a lot of fun,” Petry Dr. (Roy) Atwood, for Doug Jones, and all the rest of that sort of education and said. “(NSA) was benefi- the staff, but more important than them, I saw Christ most of my preparation as cial because there are very through them. I was a very melancholic, depressed, a teacher was through self few other programs like grumpy young man. And I can honestly say my perstudy,” he said. “I felt I this that teach these sorts sonality changed in a good way by the things I learned needed to fill in the holes, of subjects from a Chris- out there. It was not without pain, but it was all pain holes I didn’t even know NSA Alumnus Michael Harkin started tian worldview from for a purpose. And that’s everything.” I had. I wanted to learn Tidewater Classical Academy in Virginia people who understand from people who had been Beach, Va. the cultural impact that teaching this for a while. I needed this sort of training to be the best sort of educating our children well can have,” Petry said. “I Tina McClure is a wife and mother, and former city want kids to have a better education than I did. If we editor and writer for the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. teacher I could.”


Higher Expectations • Spring 2011 9

Class Notes

Alumni far and near ————— 2000 —————

Annie and Louisa Joy McIntosh

Annie (LaMoreaux) McIntosh and her husband Jonathan welcomed a fourth girl, Louisa Joy, six pounds even, on February 15th, 2011. She joins her sisters Emma, Beatrice, and Violet.

————— 2001 ————— Joshua and Sara (Ramsey, 2004) Appel evened out their brood with a second boy on January 6, 2011. Giles John David weighed 8.5 lbs. and was 22 inches long. Blaise, Ella, and Merry Blythe are all very pleased with him.

Mark and Carolyn Wilson

Carolyn (Garfield) Wilson is now living out various literary dreams by residing in England with her husband. She got married August 2010 to an Irish fellow and they are living in Bristol, England, where he teaches math. Happily, they are not all that far (in American terms) from Brooke (Wilson) Newman and her husband, who live in Cambridge and they meet up in London when they can! She enjoys exploring her new country and introducing her British friends to some good ol’ American cooking. She particularly had fun celebrating Thanksgiving in Cambridge and explaining why precisely, this is a holiday in the States! Natali (Miller) Monnette: see 2006

Allison Steinberg

Almanor, CA) this year, and teaches Latin and Rhetoric. With a group from St. Andrew’s and Good Shepherd Episcopal School, from Tyler, TX, she traveled to the British Isles this past spring.

Isaac Mahar is married to Lydia Mahar (formerly a Shade) and has four daughters now: Alaina (7), Katrina (5), Lillian (2), and Violet (7 months). He works as a LT in U.S. Coast Guard, stationed in Houston, TX. He manages two marine inspections offices on the Houston ship channel. He also acts as the command’s Drug and Alcohol Representative (CDAR), keeping fellow Coasties out of trouble. Isaac wasn’t deployed for the big oil spill in the gulf, but many of the Houston personnel were, putting a strain on resources. Other than work, Isaac enjoys biking, swimming, running, and kayaking with family and friends whenever possible. Peter Moore graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.) in 2006 and is now in his fifth year pastoring the English congregation of China Grace Christian Church in Blue Bell, PA. Bethany (Ackley) Nielson: see 2007 Kristen (Johnson) Telling: see 2008

————— 2004 ————— Sara (Ramsey) Appel: see 2001

Beth Crawford and family

Beth (Covington) Crawford lives in Missoula, MT, with husband Taylor and two sons.

10 Higher Expectations • Spring 2011

church, and 90-year-old house. They have a permanent guest room, so if you’re ever planning a trip to D.C. they say “call us! we’d love to for you stay with us!” Unless God calls them elsewhere, the Johnsons feel very settled in their neighborhood and look forward to many years in D.C.”

Amaanda Keyes

Amaanda Keyes lives in Spokane where she works as an Operating Room Nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center. She works with vascular surgeons and she loves it! Jerry and Jennie (Church) Owen welcomed their third, Helen Victoria Owen in July. George (6) and Cecilia (3) are big fans!

————— 2003 —————

————— 2002 ————— Jayson Grieser and his wife Hannah completed their home grown basketball team on November 26, 2011, with the birth of their fifth son, Liam Quentin. Allison Steinberg became Administrative Dean of St. Andrew’s Academy (Lake

The second, Jasper Benjamin, was born March 26, 2010. A third Crawford baby should appear in September, 2011. Aaron and Katy (Wolff) Cummings live in Palo Alto, CA. Aaron works as a nurse at a sub-acute rehab facility in nearby Los Altos, and Katy manages their home, looking after Israel (6), Caroline (5), and Noah (3). Josiah and Shannon (Visser) Helsel are having a crazy good time in Boise, ID. Josiah is using his MBA (Boise State University, 2008) at Zona Health, attacking the persistent stinker high blood pressure with non-medicinal treatment. Shannon tackles her persistent stinkers, Will (2008) and Eva (2009), with hugs, kisses, and plenty of tickles.

Josiah and Shannon Helsel

————— 2005 —————

Peggy (Ayers) Hiett currently reside in Reeds Springs, MO. Her husband, Blake, is working for a natural gas company in nearby Branson. They have two children, Nancy Mae (2) and Robert (9 months). They are expecting their third around the first of October.

Nathan and Elizabeth Banek

Erika and Justin Johnson

Erika (Ridgeway) Johnson and husband, Justin, live and work in downtown Wash­ington D.C.; and enjoy how city life and small-town life can be pretty similar. Erika had pursued her interest in graphic design, and was the Communications and Events Coordinator for the urban center church at which they met and married (March 31, 2007), Grace DC (http:// She is blessed to now be a fulltime homemaker with their daughter, Pearl (b. Sept 2, 2009), while Justin works on Capitol Hill and is finishing off an MA in National Security & Strategic Warfare at the Naval War College. Erika still does some communications consulting on the side, but mostly focuses on their community,

Elizabeth (Shade) Banek and Nathan Banek are enjoying the Texas warmth and love having three children: Abigail (4), Elliot (2), and Katherine (10 months). God is helping them to tear down those idols of a “good day’s work” and a “good night’s rest”.

Joe and Jen Carlson

Joe and Jen (Freeman) Carlson, California natives, enjoy condo life in Scotts Valley, a sunny pinpoint of a town 10 minutes from the

Class Notes Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Joe continues to direct the operations for Lulu Carpenters, a local four-store coffee-roasting company, and exhort caffeine addicts to stay strong in 2011. Jen maintains administrative authority within the borders of the church office (and slightly beyond). Together they find themselves elbow-deep in the miscellanies of their narrative and thank God for His story-writing power. Erin C. (Thompson) Csoboth and husband Chip live in central California. Chip is a major in the Air Force and Erin stays home to take care of their 17 month old son Charlie. Charlie enjoys hitting all his milestones early and getting into things. Isaac Grauke works at a software company in Moscow, but he’d rather be a professional chicken farmer, bow hunter or gardener. He and his wife Katie, and their three kids, Gus, Evie and Max, are tipi enthusiasts and consider their lodge a home away from home. On the weekends, they enjoy farmer’s markets, hiking and cruising Costco for free samples.

pel of the Cross Anglican Church, where Jason works as the Sexton. Brendan O’Donnell aspires to be a gentleman farmer, but at this point is neither. To make money, he taps on a keyboard at Populi, where his business card (if he had one) would read, “Writer.” In between keystrokes, he daydreams about compost, growing tomatoes, raising chickens, and keeping pigs, things which he actually does in real life, weather permitting. He also raises children, of which there are three —Flannery (5), Huckleberry (1+), and Atticus (brand-new!)—all of whom call his wife of six years, Sharon, mother. The parents and children attend Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow where Brendan serves as a deacon.

Rose and David Spears

Isaac Grauke Family

Elizabeth (Harrell) Harmon, husband Caleb, and son Owen (b. November 24, 2009) live in Michigan and attend Christ Church of Livingston County. Elizabeth and Caleb look forward to celebrating their five-year anniversary this July! Bethany Hoyt lives in Tyler, TX, where she is currently a self-employed graphic designer and general jack-of-all-trades. Abby (Reed) Johnson and husband Mat have two children, Eleanor and Elias, and are looking forward to moving back to the U.S. in the summer of 2011 after 6 years in Costa Rica. Mat has completed his Master’s in second languages and cultures, and is hoping to continue his secondary teaching after the move. Their aim is to relocate to Kansas City, home to Abby’s family. All are excited to be closer to friends and family once more! Nicole de Martimprey married Jason Staniger in April of 2010 and they are expecting their first child at the end of April 2011. They are currently sojourning in a land not their own (Dallas, TX) until Nicole completes her clinical requirements for becoming a Certified Professional Midwife. The Stanigers worship with Cha-

Rose (Lortz) Spears married David Spears in December of 2009 and they were blessed with two twin boys, Adam and Oliver, in November of 2010. At the beginning of 2011 they purchased their first home in Oregon City, Oregon. When she’s not taking care of the twins, Rose keeps busy with writing fiction. Her first historical novel, I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince, was published in 2009. She is currently at work on a new novel, Road from the West, set during the First Crusade.

————— 2006 —————

Lisa (Jackson) Bowen: see 2010

Robin Harris

Robin Harris stays busy working as a nanny for three babies (not all at the same time!). She also helps out with children’s music at her church, works on various writing projects, and enjoys spending time with her family. She attends Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Raleigh, NC. Kate (Ditton) Henreckson: see 2008 Brad Littlejohn and his wife Rachel (Benton, 2008) live in beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland, with their toddler son Soren. Brad is a Ph.D student in Theological Ethics at the University of Edinburgh, where he is researching the relationship of natural law and Scripture in late Reformation politics. He is also editing a series of critical editions of the works of the “Mercersburg Theology,” and writing compulsively whenever Soren gives him leave to. Otto and Bethany (Ackley, 2003) Nielson live in Moscow with their son Bredon “little chef” Oswald, who will be three years old in August. Otto is working his way through the culinary world as a sous chef; Bethany teaches elementary art at Logos School, and a lot of other things to Bredon. Bredon and Bethany enjoy drawing and ice cream together; Otto & Bredon like snappy hats and computer games in their spare time. Brooke (Wilson) Newman now lives in Cambridge, England, where her husband Daniel is training to be a minister in the Church of England. Their son Caedmon was born in June of 2010.

————— 2008 —————

Natali, Jess, and Eve Monnette

Jess and Natali (Miller, 2001) Monnette are settled in Wenatchee, WA. Jess is practicing law with the firm Monnette & Cawley, P.S. Natali enjoys being a homemaker, writer of Latin textbooks, and Latin tutor. Their daughter Eve is almost 2 and they are expecting their second daughter in July.

————— 2007 ————— The Daniel and Amy Bakken family has grown again. They now have three boys— John, Patrick and Isaiah.

niece!), friends, or training for some half marathon (because the full took the tar out of her). Ellis Eifert is in his third and last year of law school at Regent Law School, and plans to graduate in May. He and his wife Lizabeth “Hope” (Littlejohn) have a little boy now, Broadus (Brody) Eifert. Hope is at home with Brody and fills the time with him and reading about nutrition while she knits. Ellis is planning on taking the Washington bar in July. Frank and Sandy (Suttle) Ewert make their home in Langley, BC. This past year they welcomed a daughter, Jeannie, into the family. Sarah Halverson resides in Seattle and married Ryan Chaney in March. Davey and Kate (Ditton, 2007) Henreckson reside in South Bend, IN, where Davey is in his second year of the masters’ program in moral theology at Notre Dame. Kate is teaching one morning a week at a classical homeschool co-op, and their son David Gregory is now 18 months old. Rachel (Benton) Littlejohn: see 2007 Jesse Sumpter is currently working on finishing a master’s degree in Classical Christian Studies at New Saint Andrews. Jesse has been teaching for six years. Currently, he teaches Latin at Logos School in Moscow, ID, and Greek and Omnibus 5 at Veritas Academy Scholars Online. Jesse and his wife, Kate, have been married for

Gabe and Kristen Telling

three years and live in Moscow. Gabe and Kristen (Johnson, 2003) Telling have moved to Floyd County, VA, where they intend to stay and someday have some land to farm. They now have two little people, Richard (2 1/2) and Gina (8 mos.). Gabriel does construction and occasionally preaches. Kristen stays home with the kids and enjoys various creative pursuits.

————— 2009 —————

Christa Blakey

Christa Blakey is blessed to be back at her old alma mater, NSA, surrounded by fantastic students and working with the best of colleagues as their college assistant recruiter and administrative assistant. When not at work, you can find her hanging out with her family (and new

Allie Bradley is loving life in Moscow and enjoying a variety of activities such as teaching music privately (Cantica Nova Music Studio), at Logos School (Grades K-4), and for Christ Church (Schola Cantorum). Recently certified by Handwriting University, she now has a side business called TraitTracks Handwriting Analysis through which she teaches handwriting analysis, does personal analyses, and specializes in personality and behavior. Her “spare time” is filled with singing, reading, acting, and spending fun times with her

Higher Expectations • Spring 2011 11

Student Profile

Class Notes

Non-traditional students are all in the family

family and friends. She finally fulfilled a life-long wish to travel to England/Ireland this past summer! Julie Burns lives in Victor, MT, and works as an assistant to a local lady ranch owner. She also tutors for a program called Classical Conversations. Christine (Ditton) Cohen lives with

By Tina McClure The Douglases

Joel and Christine Cohen

her husband Joel and their daughter Lucy Rose (b. October 15, 2010) in Eugene, Oregon, where Joel works at Moss Adams and Christine stays at home and admires Lucy. Kelsey (Rathbun) Grauke married Jeremiah Grauke of Moscow, ID, in January and is starting her own business, Kelsey Grauke Interiors, as a certified interior designer. Ryan and Courtney (Wright, 2010) Handermann are currently residing in Boise, ID. Ryan teaches high school Latin at The Ambrose School. They’re expecting a baby in the middle of May! Robert and Erin (Shryer) Lisenby recently completed a six-month apprenticeship on a Vermont dairy. They have moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains using their liberal arts education to milk seven Jerseys for their cow share program at Sweet Land Farm. Kathryn (Frazier) Long married Stephen Long on July 31, 2010, and moved to Pensacola, FL, where the two of them teach at Trinitas Christian School. They enjoy having the Hugheses as their neighbors! Kathryn and Stephen are expecting a baby at the end of August.

————— 2010 ————— C.J. Bowen married Lisa (Jackson, 2007) on March 13, 2010. Margaret “Maggie” Joy Bowen was born on January 5, 2011. C.J. is attending Greyfriars Hall in Moscow, working at Canon Press, and teaching New Testament at Logos School. In addition to being Maggie’s mother, Lisa works at home part-time for EMSI. The couple resides in Moscow, ID. Gwen Burrow works part-time at a law firm in Moscow, grades freshman rhetoric at NSA, and teaches several writing/rhetoric/literature classes to local home-schoolers. On top of singing in the Christ Church choir and babysitting her nephews, she writes as much as she can. Kelsey Clemans enjoys teaching excitable fourth graders, discussing Roman History with 10th

graders, and helping coach the Mock Trial team at The River Academy in Wenatchee, WA. Nate and Leah Douglas now live in Fort Worth, TX, with little four month old Anthony (Andy). Nate works on the legal details of the oil business. Courtney (Wright) Handermann: see 2009 Ruth Hoffmann is currently teaching fifth grade at Regents Academy in Nacogdoches, TX. She has also been pursuing voice lessons, spending weekends out at the stables sharpening her horsemanship skills, and continually buying and reading far too many fascinating books. Her students are currently begging her to teach them Greek.

Ruth Hoffmann

Allegra Miller works in Spokane, teaching at her alma mater, The Oaks Classical Christian Academy. She teaches the wee ones (K and 1st) to sing and read music, and the older ones (5th and 7th-10th) to speak and read Latin. Katie Travis lives in Fallon, NV, and works at Logos Christian Academy where she teaches third and fourth grade Latin. She is also pursuing a degree in Fine Arts at a local community college. She plans to return to Moscow in June 2011 to marry Steven Sitler and attend the University of Idaho next fall to continue her studies in the Fine Arts (specializing in graphic design). Lindsey Whear is currently living in Kentucky with her family, teaching the seventh grade to one extraordinary 13 year-old girl, working as the Front Office Coordinator for the local Care Net Pregnancy Center, and planning her summer wedding.

Informational items listed in Class Notes are supplied by the graduates. Please send your information updates and photographs for publication here and online, along with current contact information, to

12 Higher Expectations • Spring 2011

2011 grad Desmond Jones and his wife, Heidi, will return to their British Columbia home to build community.


eidi Jones’ harmonies blended perfectly with husband Des. Warm turkey pot pie awaited the conclusion of the “Doxology,” as they bowed heads and held hands with their three children, thanking God for the lunchtime meal. It’s been three and a half years since Des left a solid job at an oil company in Fort St. John, British Columbia, to come to Moscow and study at New Saint Andrews College. The number of hands around the dinner table have since multiplied to include Simon, 3; Andrew 2; and 6-monthold Abbey, who just discovered the joys of feeding herself. “Most of his co-workers thought he was crazy,” Heidi said. “His decision just didn’t make sense to someone on the outside. The biggest ‘gulp’ moment was going to his boss and saying, ‘I’m quitting.’”

Student Profile Some thought NSA meant he was going into the ministry and several people at his job even wondered if Des might “preach on TV and have his own show.” It was difficult for Des to describe the reasoning behind selling their home and leaving the small Canadian town 1,000 miles north of Moscow. “It was not so much to get a different career,” Des said. “It meant enrichment for us and our family and to give more to our kids in home schooling. (Beyond the classroom) it meant seeing what is going on with active Christian culture, soaking up some of that and trying to plant that at home. NSA was a good way of doing all these things. What we experienced was a lot richer than just school.” So when May graduation rolls around, Des, 34, and his family will return home. But what Des has achieved goes far beyond his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from NSA. He and his wife are looking to make a difference in the future of that town and the education of their children. “As far as we know, we have a few like-minded families with a vision of one day having a classical Christian school there,” Des said. It might start with a home schooling cooperative. Des may re-enter the oil industry, but already has a request to teach Latin in their home-schooling circles and has been asked to be an elder in a new Reformed church that was started. “We live in a place where a lot of people want to move away,” he said. “It’s easy to go somewhere else for culture, but we see this (an education from NSA) as a way to live there, raise our kids there.” “Die there,” injects Heidi. “And invest in our church and family and community, “Des said. “This is a long-term thing and hopefully will benefit our children and their children.” One thing that made being so far from home easier for the Jones,’ was meeting and befriending the Toebben family.


eth Toebben, a 31-year-old non-traditional student, wife Sarahjoy and their son Emeth moved to Moscow from Lawrence, Kan., in the summer of 2007 so Seth could study at NSA. Like the Joneses they added to their family, sons Matthias and Fyodor. “The Joneses have been a great added blessing to our time in Moscow and at NSA, and have lived up to their name to always show me who we need to keep up with,” Toebben said. “But that shouldn’t surprise anyone thinking about coming to NSA. In our God’s right hand are pleasures forevermore, why wouldn’t He have brought such good people for us to grow and live with these four years? He’s in the business of knitting his body together, and we feel so fitted/ knitted/sewn.” Toebben said he found out about NSA while helping a friend research graduate schools. He asked him what he liked about the program and pointed Toebben to the NSA catalog. “So I read it and found an understanding on life and education that immediately resonated with what I

was about,” he said. “I still have the copy that I printed off to read. In its margins are many notes that relay my excitement. … I started to read the catalog simply trying to help my friend navigate the decision of graduate school, but finished with a desire to attend NSA myself.”

Toebben said Wilson was telling the class that NSA and the church communities don’t want to pump out cookie-cutter Christians of the type of stagnant Christianity that isn’t effective for the kingdom. “He said that they wanted Christians in Moscow, and to go out from Moscow, who were vibrant, salty,

Seth and SarahJoy Toebben, from Lawrence, Kans., enjoy time at Bucer’s coffeehouse pub in downtown Moscow. Seth will graduate in May.

At the time, Toebben was a bookstore manager of a Christian-oriented bookstore, fine art gallery and coffee shop, but the owner was considering closing the business. “So with my job up in the air, and not having another plan in mind, I approached my parents who had always said they would pay for me to go to college—though when you are 28, married and have a son, you think the opportunity has probably passed—and was glad to hear that they still would.” Like Des Jones, Seth will also graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. But unlike the Jones family, the Toebbens will remain in Moscow and wait for God’s direction. He said regardless of where God leads them, his time at NSA has been invaluable. He said there have been many moments he will never forget and recalls something his teacher Nate Wilson told his rhetoric class.

culturally engaging, radical, different, kinda crazy. He went on and on, and at his very high point, no longer able to contain the witness of my spirit within, I leaped up from my chair with a big ‘hey, heeeeey!’ to the eruption of the class, and as one student said later with great joy, to the silencing of Mr. Nate Wilson. I was pleased on multiple counts. You can say the whole thing was incarnational.” Toebben said the work being done here is intentional, thoughtful and of a true faith working itself out through love. “I trust what the Lord has taught me,” Toebben said. “And how He has grown me through my time at NSA and in Moscow will remain with me wherever I go forever—and I mean forever.”

“It was not so much to get a different career. It meant enrichment for us and our family and to give more to our kids.”

Tina McClure is a wife and mother, and former city editor and writer for the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

Higher Expectations • Spring 2011 13

Lasting Thoughts

Why Education Matters (And Higher Education Matters Even More) By Douglas Wilson


Photo by Mark LaMoreaux

henever we have done something for a long time, it is easy to forget why we are doing it. And soon after we have forgotten, the people in charge of the institutions for doing whatever it is begin to adopt the pragmatic notion that we should obviously be doing tomorrow whatever it was we were doing yesterday, only with more money and more administrative staff. But that kind of inexorable bloat is not a vision for education. It is the way of all flesh, not the way of wisdom. The crisis we see today in the world of education, both at the K–12 level, and with our colleges and universities, is a crisis that has come directly from a loss of vision. And that loss of vision is directly related to our culture’s loss of God and His Word. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Prov. 29:18). This verse is often quoted, only with the idea of “vision” being entirely vacuous. We think that if someone has grand ideas, that must count as vision. Douglas Wilson is a Founding Trustee and Senior If he gives inspirational Fellow of Theology at New Saint Andrews College. talks while gesticulating with his hands, there must be vision in there somewhere. But the second half of the proverb pairs the loss of vision with the loss of the law of God. We are creatures, and God thought it was important that He teach us how to think. As we learn from Him how to think, we are to teach our children to do the same (Dt. 6:4-9). As they grow up, assuming their station as responsible believing adults, they are to do the same thing with their children (Prov. 17:6). This is true education—the grace of God extended across generations. Considered in this way, education is necessarily teleological. Education drives somewhere. Education is a road trip. If we are handing off to the next generation true knowledge of how they should conduct themselves throughout the course of their lives, in order to do this successfully, we have to know how to conduct ourselves throughout the course of our own lives. If we are Christians, then we should be ordering our lives in accordance with the Word of God. This means, if we are Christians, that education must of necessity be Christian as well. How can you train your kids to remember the whole point if you are studiously avoiding the whole point?

So education is not simply a data-dump. Education is far more than simply treating the brains of the students as repositories for the technical information that we have piled up somewhere at Behemoth State University. Education is insinuation into the ways of God. True education shapes a person, and in order for it to be true Christian education, that shape has to be the form of Christ. If a young person goes off to college, and immediately veers into a pattern of life that no Christian parent could ever biblically approve, then that educational process is failing. The parents are failing, the college is failing, and the students are failing— regardless of GPA, and despite how much resume fodder has been accumulated. It may be a spectacular fail, as with a student apostatizing at a state college, or it may be a (comparatively) minor fail, as when a student at a Christian school veers off into an abuse of Christian liberty— falling into grunge, smoking cigarettes, drinking too much, and watching grainy films with esoteric subtitles until two in the morning. A faithful Christian college is not a place where success is automatically assured. At New Saint Andrews College, I have seen a number of students fail in just this way. As Chesterton observes somewhere, Satan fell by the force of gravity, and there is no place where such failure becomes impossible. The problem is when parents and the college acquiesce in such failures, or help them along. As one writer has recently observed, education is as much about formation as it is about information. And if education is formation, then we have to pay attention to the form that comes out. Charles Spurgeon tells the joke of the father who paid large amounts of money for his son’s education, and all he could do at the end of that process was echo the words of Aaron. “I put the gold in, and out came this calf!” It is the responsibility of Christian parents, as well as the responsibility of the students themselves, to embrace the responsibility of each child growing up into a responsible, educated Christian, one fully capable of dealing with anything the unbelieving world throws at him. Different students get to that place at different times, but no Christian young person should be turned out into the world before they have been fully prepared to deal with what they will encounter there. This means that, while Christian college is not an absolute necessity for all, in many cases, it is far more necessary than many assume.

The crisis in education today comes from a loss of vision.

14 Higher Expectations • Spring 2011

Higher Expectations • Spring 2010 15

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New Saint Andrews College magazine, Spring 2011