October 5, 2013 at 1:00 AM
South Plainfield, NJ - This past Sunday September 29, was a great day for Central New Jersey. South Plainfield Mayor Matthew Anesh helped cut the ribbon marking the opening of Trivium Academy of New Jersey, the first Classical Christian School in Central New Jersey. TANJ marks the realization of a 20 year dream of its co-founder, Joanne Pacotti. Nearly 20 years earlier, Mrs. Pacotti was looking for a way to supplement the education of her grandchildren when she stumbled upon the Classical Christian education movement. At the time there were a precious few schools in the country, the movement was finding its footing in the budding home school network. Mrs. Pacotti would ply her grandchildren on the way to and from school each day - singing the history songs in the car, drilling Latin verbs, and reciting grammar chants. She saw the immediate dividends it paid, especially with her granddaughter, whose reluctance eventually gave way to a love of logical thinking and rhetoric when she joined her school's debate team. For many years Mrs. Pacotti tried to implement a classical approach in her grandchildren's private Christian school. She taught Latin in the elementary school, sponsored the debate team, spoke to administrators, and even joined the board of directors. It never took hold in that school, for one reason or another, and when her granddaughter graduated, Mrs. Pacotti almost abandoned her dream. Several years later, still clinging to this desire, the Lord prepared the way for a new school. Mark Stanton, a dear friend and colleague of Mrs. Pacotti, driven by his own desire to build a school rooted in Christian worldview, but without the unwieldy entrenched bureaucracies that typify established private schools. He wanted to, "do it the right way." Mr. Stanton is a trained educator with nearly fifteen years experience in educational leadership and he is a candidate for an Ed.D at Rutgers University. Mrs. Pacotti now had a partner, one with the knowledge and experience necessary to accomplish her dream. Together they formed Trivium Academy LLC in March 2012. Soon thereafter, Agatha Yang, John Baehr, and Bill Fennelly heard their vision, saw their plan, and joined them to form the first Board of Directors. Now a full certified 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, Trivium Academy serves South Plainfield and the surrounding communities of Middlesex, Union, and Somerset counties.
Since the time when Mrs. Pacotti had first discovered Classical Christian Education the movement has grown exponentially. What was once an idea that encompassed two schools and a small home school network has grown to include over 2800 schools and climbing nationwide. Classical methodology stems from a desire to not simply teach students, but to equip them with the necessary tools and desire to become lifelong learners. Today many schools, both public and private, Christian and secular, are forced to rely on continually increasing standardized test scores to maintain funding and prestige. Classical schools let the results speak for themselves - and these results can speak! For they are not found on a piece of paper, a bar graph, or some statistical matrix. These results are young men and women who can articulate their ideas, present them, defend them and persuade others with them. These results do not forget what they learned in school, because they've been taught how to think and how to learn, and that process never ends. For the classical student, life is a never-ending classroom. Trivium Academy of New Jersey is proud to be the first of its kind in east central New Jersey.