What Beth Litwiller Swantz (’81) loves the most about IMS is the connection between the teachers and the students. She described it in one word, COMMUNITY; the idea of an interdependent organism that supports and builds off one another with all levels and layers intertwined.
Beth felt IMS prepared her well for college and beyond stating, “I was ready to experience a larger world with confidence because of the opportunities that IMS gave me. Because it is a small, intimate place you get to try things that you wouldn’t try in a larger school; that helped give me the courage to try things in the larger world beyond high school.” One of these things Beth also attributes to IMS is it was the place where she learned what it meant to be an educator [not just a teacher] an educator. She learned from the models of Bill Eash and Phil Bedsworth to value each student for who they were. She learned about openness and care and how to share a story through everyday connections with students and coworkers and classroom content. She learned that teaching the skills and the stuff in a textbook is only a tiny part of what a true educator does. Ultimately she said, “At IMS she learned what she wanted to be when she grew up!”
Beth was active in drama and cheerleading and some of her favorite classes were Choir and Bible. She mentioned one of her favorite memories was being on Choir Tour as a senior. The feeling she got from being part of something truly special and sharing her talents and passion with others was something she’ll never forget.
And what would she tell a family considering IMS for themselves? Beth said, “Small is good! It means there is focus on the details and the relationships. There aren’t very many cracks for people to get lost in and instead teachers and staff really SEE the students. That is priceless!”