Amish origins have enriched life for Kendell Beiler ’25.
Amish origins have enriched life for Kendell Beiler ’25.

Embracing Amish Roots

by Kendell Beiler ’25

Both of my parents have Amish backgrounds. In fact, my father actually grew up Amish and received his eight years of Amish education in a one-room schoolhouse.

My mother, on the other hand, wasn’t as “plain” as my dad was and earned a diploma from a Mennonite high school. As a result of my parents’ upbringing, Amish culture has had a large influence on my life and has affected me in positive and negative ways.

I credit my Amish background for giving me my work ethic. The Amish are very hard workers and extremely efficient when it comes to literally any trade. All one needs to do to experience this is to witness a barn frolic. Entire barns can be put up within a week when several hard-working Amish workers are on the job. I carry this same mindset and apply it to the work that I do.

The Amish also value family and community. This can be seen in the way that they willingly give their time to help a neighbor. Family is one of the most important things in my life, and I am forever grateful for the blessing of growing up the way I did.

On the other hand, having an Amish background has also proven to be difficult. A negative trait of the Amish is that they do not value education as much as the rest of the world does. Amish students are educated until the eighth grade, and then it’s off to work.

I’ve experienced the effects of this firsthand in the way that I’ve been raised. As I was growing up, my parents always pushed me to do well in school. This was easy during elementary and middle school when the course material wasn’t that hard. However, as I began taking more and more advanced classes in high school, things became more difficult. My parents and siblings were no longer able to help me understand my coursework. And I can’t blame them; they’ve never had a reason to take AP physics or calculus. Throughout high school I’ve had to work harder than the average student to learn and retain information — another example of my Amish work ethic shining through.

The whole process of applying to college has been a difficult and strenuous experience, as I will be the first in my immediate family to pursue a higher education. Despite the challenges, I have never thought of my Amish background as a handicap. I hold myself to high standards and am extremely proud of my academic achievements. My Amish background has shaped me into the person I am today and has helped pave the way for my future.

Kendell Beiler ’25 is a mechanical engineering major from Peach Bottom, Pa.