Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Night with the Graduating Class of Boston Trinity Academy

Last night I had the privilege of delivering the commencement address at Boston Trinity Academy, a private college preparatory school in Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood.  If you live in Boston or are interested in new and innovative approaches to Christian education, you should be aware of what is happening at Boston Trinity.

The school was founded in 2002 by a group of Christians connected with the historic Park Street Church.  Frank Guerra, the school's headmaster, comes to Boston Trinity after more than twenty years of teaching at Roxbury Latin School.  Judy Oulund, the chair of the history department, came to Boston Trinity a few years ago after thirty-four years of teaching European history at The Stony Brook School on Long Island.  Tim Belk, the very thoughtful and engaged assistant headmaster, also has Stony Brook School connections.  The history department is truly impressive for a prep school.  Mike Milway, who has a Ph.D from the University of Arizona where he studied under Reformation scholar Heiko Oberman, teaches in the department.after stints at Wellesley and Tufts.

But what is more impressive about this school is its commitment to the city of Boston and the larger world. The school merges first-rate academics (every member of the graduating class is headed to college, many of them at some of the best universities in the country) with Christian faith and an ethic of social justice.  Boston Trinity is a wonderful example of the kind of "cosmopolitan rootedness" I wrote about in The Way of Improvement Leads Home.  The school is rooted in Boston, but engaged with the world.  Next week students and faculty members are headed to Nepal to work with a local community development NGO.

The graduates of Boston Trinity did not need inspiration from me last night.  They have already been inspired by the excellent faculty.  Having said that, I tried to get them to think about the ways that they have been shaped by a distinctly American narrative and I offered an alternative narrative of success and happiness drawn from St. Paul and the teachings of Jesus.

Thanks to Judy Oulund for inviting me to speak, to Judy and Tim and Sara Belk for some excellent post-ceremony conversation, and to Cicily Shaw for getting me to Boston and taking care of me during my visit.