A second home is how Paul Berry described Amelia Academy in his Chapel Talk, delivered on April 3. This is partly because his mother is the Academy’s librarian and siblings attended the Academy. However, Paul said that the Academy is also where he “developed a strong work ethic and learned how humor is important in school and life.”
The teachers have also made the Academy feel like a second home for Paul. His teachers know him well; many have known him since he was young. “I don’t feel uncomfortable when I ask a question,” he said. “The teachers listen to my opinion.”
Paul began learning the value of hard work at home watching his parents work. He also had chores to complete at home and a job for his neighbor. These experiences led to a summer job at the Academy last year. “I worked hard helping Mr. Williams (the Academy’s custodian) clean the school from top to bottom.”
Paul said that he was glad to have a job and earn money. However, by the end of the summer, he said, “I realized it was not about the money. It was about working hard to make the school look good for next year.”
Beginning at a young age, Paul recognized the value of laughter throughout his life. As a five-year-old, he enjoyed making people laugh by repeating the jokes from shows such as “I Love Lucy,” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” This led to reading joke books and sharing laughter with his family and friends.
More recently, Paul has become known for his in-depth knowledge of movies and film-making. He enjoys comedies, of course, but also watches other genres, including action and thriller movies. “I like to watch the behind-the-scenes programs because the actors talk about the stunts they did and other experiences,” Paul said.
He has also learned that acting is very hard work with multi-faceted requirements of the actors, such as practicing stunts, learning the script, and working well with the director and actors. “I think for the actors this hard work is about entertaining people more than making money,” he said.
As a student at the Academy, Paul has been a member of the audio-visual club and participated in the Association of Virginia Academies (AVA) Forensics competition. He also was a drummer with the Academy’s Pipe and Drum Corp. In his introductory remarks, Rodney L. Taylor, Head of School, described the young man known at the Academy for his helpful and generous attitude. “He is a student that faculty and staff can count on when something needs to be done. He will always volunteer to help with projects and does them well.”
Attending his Chapel Talk were Paul’s parents, Karen and Chip Berry. Mrs. Berry has been a member of the faculty and the librarian for 21 years.