Amelia Academy

photoAA Senior Allison J. Delivers Chapel Talk

2018, March 12 – Living a moral lifestyle is not easy, but the decision to live by God’s word is immensely rewarding, said Allison J. in her Chapel Talk, delivered on March 7. She said that character encompasses the “mental and moral qualities distinctive to a person.”

Allison acknowledged that there are many factors that make up a person’s character, but she said that it involves a choice as well. “We can create our character through our morals, our friendships, and by helping others,” she said. The first step involves setting boundaries that guide actions. “What you do and what you don’t do says a lot about who you are as a person,” she told her audience.

From a young age, Allison said that she decided she would not follow the crowd to avoid being left out. “I wanted to do what I knew was right for myself . . . if my conscience didn’t agree with what other people were doing, I would do my own thing,” she said.

She has been required to make sacrifices, and she has found herself in conflict at times. She said that it can sometimes prove difficult to “think about if I’m pleasing God or not.” When a person makes the right choice, despite the challenge, Allison said that “God will eventually bless you and will help you build a good character.”

Other people notice when we live a moral lifestyle, said Allison. She has found that the respect of others arises from self-respect. “You’ll attract people who want to live that same lifestyle, and you’ll have a lasting impression on people who recognize you’re proud to be your true self,” she said.

The friendships Allison has developed are helping her “be the best person I can be.” This was not always the case, and she had to distance herself from people who did not share her goals. Allison emphasized the importance of seeking out friends who “respect your boundaries and your feelings.”

Living to please God while surrounded by good friends led Allison to seek an opportunity to help others. Last summer, she decided to work as a lifeguard, despite wondering if she was ready for such a responsibility. “Thinking about having others’ lives in my hands and having people look to me for help in a crisis was nerve-wracking,” she said.

Over the summer, she did find herself in just such a moment when a young girl was struggling in the water. “She was surrounded by her friends and was drowning, but no one noticed her,” Allison said. She swam to the girl and helped her to safety on the shore. “The girl and her family were so grateful,” she said. Even though Allison said she was just doing her job, the experience was also character-building.

In reflecting on the near-tragic outcome, Allison said she realized that friends cannot help us unless we ask. “If you’re drowning in a situation in life,” she said, “don’t quietly keep your head above water; yell out to your friends; pray to God to come save you . . . if you see someone in need of help, don’t hesitate to jump in the water to save them.”

During her years as a student at Amelia Academy, Allison has been known for her service and helping others. Teachers and coaches are quick to credit her for the hard work she does. Allison is a member of the National Honor Society and the Beta Club. She has received awards in the Association of Virginia Academies (AVA) forensics competition. Allison has worked with the mascot cheerleading program and served as manager of the girls' basketball team last year.

Attending her chapel talk were her parents, Tracy and William J., her twin sister Elizabeth, and brother Jordan D. Also present were her grandmothers, Jane J. and Pat G. Special guests included her friends, Tyler G., Rachel A., Gillian C., and John B.

Guests and members of the senior class attended a reception following the Chapel Talk program.