I don’t think there are many places in the country like Boston Trinity Academy (BTA).
Located in the Hyde Park section of Boston, BTA is:
- A very strong private school (grades 6-12) that consistently sends its graduates to some of the top colleges and universities in the country.
- A school with a faculty loaded with Ph.Ds and M.A.s who are deeply committed to excellence in the humanities and liberal arts.
- A school with a strong sense of mission rooted in a broad and generous evangelical Christian faith and the integration of faith and learning.
- A school with a diverse urban student population that is 34% white, 30% black, 19% Asian, and 10% Hispanic.
This blend of academic excellence, Christian commitment, and racial and ethnic diversity makes BTA unique. More people need to know what is happening at this school!
In May 2014, I delivered the commencement address at BTA. Yesterday, I was back in Boston to help the school launch its 2018 J-Term week. Each January, BTA spends an entire week exploring a particular place in the world. This year the theme was “Rural America.” Students enrolled in special seminars with titles like:
“Jug Bands of the Early Southern United States”
“Poverty and Opportunity in Appalachia”
“Rust Belt Realities”
“Life at the Border”
“Black Odyssey: The Great Migration & African American Rural Narratives”
“Wampanoag and Eastern Woodlands Nations”
“Musical History of Appalachia: Roots and Rhythms”
“Race, Reconciliation, Awareness: The Rural Urban Divide”
“Environmental Issues Across the American Farmland.”
Students also spend time during J-Term working on projects related to rural America. In my wanderings through the classrooms I saw students working on Amish quilts, playing Jazz music, studying literary narratives of rural America, and exploring rural America through popular culture.
From the moment I entered the building at 7:30am on Tuesday morning I felt the energy of students fully engaged in their education. Frankly, I was a bit jealous that my own girls could not attend a school like this.
I was there to help BTA kick off its J-Term with a plenary chapel talk on rural America. (I will post my 15-minute talk later today–stay tuned). I also taught two seminars on the history of rural America. Throughout the day, I participated in conversations about my forthcoming book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump and my 2011 book Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction.
In Fall 2017, American history teacher Dr. Mike Milway assigned Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? to his senior students. The students spent five or six class periods dissecting my argument and their Fall exam required them to write a 2-hour book review. Needless to say, they knew the text very well and challenged me with a variety of questions and critiques. I was flattered, exhilarated, humbled, and frankly in awe of the their level of engagement.
Thanks so much to Frank Guerra, Tim Belk, Judy Oulund, and especially Terri Elliott-Hart for bringing me to BTA! (And it was also great to meet math teacher Shelby Haras, a member of the Messiah College class of 2013!).