“First-Generation Amish” Definition
When Torah says that she’s the first first-generation Amish person to graduate from the Ivy League, she’s referring specifically to individuals who were raised only traditional Amish and personally escaped/left the Church.
New Order Amish, Beachy Amish, Amish Mennonite, etc. do not fall under this definition. That’s not to invalidate or dismiss the accomplishments of those who were raised within those churches, but because Torah was raised only Amish, she can’t speak on what the rules, disadvantages, challenges, and unique cultures are for groups who spun off from the Amish.
The label “Old Order” to refer to what the general public understands as simply “Amish”––or most often thinks of when they hear or see things about the Amish––was invented by others, not us.
It’s important to understand that the traditional Amish Church does not allow us children to go to school beyond the 8th grade and that the education we do receive is very rudimentary and restricted (e.g., we’re not allowed to learn about subjects such as science). Most of us (99%?) attend one-room schoolhouses taught by Amish teachers who themselves haven’t received an education beyond the Amish 8th grade.
We traditional Amish also do not speak English fluently. It’s our second language, and we’re generally not allowed to communicate in English among ourselves. I.e., English is to be spoken only in school (to learn the language), when communicating with non-Amish speakers, and when communicating via writing (Amish as a language is traditionally only spoken, not written, and we do not communicate fluently in English).
Apply for The Amish Descendant Scholarship Fund
The Amish Descendant Scholarship Fund (ADSF) was founded by Amish escapee Emma Miller to provide financial assistance and support to those coming from an Amish upbringing who have decided to pursue a higher education. Since the Amish only study to the 8th grade, it’s challenging for those who leave the community to resume their studies and we hope to offer a helping hand along the way.
NOTE: ADSF is separate from AHF and the “Apply” link will take you to ADSF’s site. If you are eligible for a scholarship but have questions about the process (or going to college in general), please send a note to Torah via the Contact page. She would love to share her experiences and help you understand what to expect and how to prepare.
Rare Amish College Graduates
Emma Miller was born and raised Amish and left the Church. She has a BA in International Economics and an MSc in Economics and Finance.
Naomi Kramer was born and raised Amish and left the Church. She graduated with her nursing degree from Goshen College in Indiana.
Saloma Miller Furlong was born and raised Amish and left the Church. She graduated from Smith College in 2007.