From early on, Maria Palmer, a recent graduate of the Classical Christian Academy in Rathdrum knew that she wanted to do something that could impact people’s lives.
She just wasn’t sure what form that something would take. After attending public school and being home-schooled by her grandparents, she was enrolled at Classical Christian. Then, that path she was looking for was made evident.
“I wasn’t sure whether that was going to be doing something overseas or doing a missionary thing or what, but in 10th grade I think it was, I just really realized how much I love classical education,” Palmer said. “I saw how much of an impact the teachers at my school had on me. And I just wanted to emulate those people, and I figured the best way to emulate them was to do what they do.”
Palmer was born in Anchorage, Alaska, but moved to Newman Lake with her grandparents at the age of 4, what she says was the best birthday present possible.
“They’re amazing people and I love them,” Palmer said. “So they’ve been the main players in getting me where I am.”
In the future, she hopes to become a high school literature teacher due to her love of literature and learning.
For her senior thesis project, Palmer wrote about the dialectical unity of God’s transcendence and imminence, which she then had to present and defend in front of a board of judges.
She chose this topic because she wanted to better understand God.
“I understand things through an academic light, a lot of the time, and a poetic one, but I just get lit up by academic stuff,” she said. “And so, when I was looking at a topic to pick I wanted it to be one that I would get really invested in and would learn a lot [for] myself.”
Last year, Palmer competed at nationals in Washington, D.C., for the Poetry Out Loud competition, an arts education program. Students are selected from each school to attend their state competition and then compete in recitation. She recited “Adam’s Curse” by William Butler Yeats and “Oranges,” by Roisin Kelly.
Although she fell short at nationals, Faulkner was just proud to have been there.
“I love poetry, I love memorizing it, I love writing it,” Palmer said. “… It was incredible to come from such a small school and then just be able to represent it at nationals.”
“Every accomplishment I owe to God,” Palmer said. “So everything that I’ve done is credited to him.”
The 18-year old has plans to study at New Saint Andrews, a private classical Christian college established by Christ Church, in Moscow, Idaho. The small school with fewer than 150 undergraduates, all study to receive either an associate of arts or bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts and culture.
A small school will be no shock for Palmer, as her graduating high school class is a total of seven people.
But this small learning environment allowed for Palmer to build close relationships with her teachers, like Phil Thompson.
Thompson has taught Maria over the last six years at Classical Christian and applauds her great capability of understanding.
“A lot of students will learn material, but she understands the material and can take the concepts, to a different level,” Thompson said. “And compare that concept with other concepts, you know, other literature and books and ideas. And that’s really made her exceptional in that area.”
Outside of her studies, Thompson has continuously been struck by her character.
“She’s had bumps in the road like everybody but, she has genuine empathy for others,” Thompson said. “And that really shows in her actions, caring for others and in service projects and helping around, I can always tell that her intentionality is authentic.”
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