Building good character and attaining knowledge require the support of the people in our lives. Many of them -- both family and teachers -- sat before Ryan Anderson as he presented his Chapel Talk on March 4. The character of a person may be revealed in a first impression, he said. “My parents have always taught me to be kind and treat others the way I want to be treated, no matter what.”
Ryan said that his parents were his first teachers. “They instilled in me the importance of always doing what is right, no matter what,” he said. They helped him learn the value of building mutual trust in his relationships. His parents also provided a spiritual foundation for Ryan’s life. He knows that God has a plan for him.
His mom has helped him stay on the “straight and narrow” path, and Ryan said his dad set an example of “hard work and dedication.” He also learned the importance of supporting the school and community. He said his brother Kyle is his best friend. And, Ryan expressed gratitude to his grandparents for their love and support. In the good times spent with them, Ryan said he has learned “the importance of family, hard work, and doing my best.”
Learning these values does not always come easily, said Ryan. Education is a process, he added. “A good student is someone who is willing to learn anything . . . to further themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually inside or outside of a classroom.” He encouraged his fellow students to appreciate the lessons they are learning from their teachers. Quoting motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, he said, “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”
Ryan has watched his mother’s dedication in planning lessons for her courses at the Academy. He knows that his teachers “want to make sure we have the skills and knowledge we need to succeed in life.” As he approaches graduation and reflects on his education, Ryan gave credit to his Academy teachers, especially the late Walter Duncan, his third-grade teacher and Rodney Taylor, Head of School.
“Mr. Duncan was a very influential teacher and friend,” Ryan said. He remembers that Mr. Duncan believed in him and “made me feel like a person who had a bright future.” Wanting to help his students succeed, Mr. Duncan also taught the value of friendship and gratitude for time well spent.
Ryan paid tribute to Mr. Taylor’s influential role in his life, from his morning greeting to his advice and guidance through the years. “I know I can depend on Mr. Taylor,” Ryan said, “and I hope he knows he can depend on me.”
In recognition of the support from his family and school, Ryan said that he will “help others the way you have helped me.” By trusting in God, Ryan said that he will find the purpose and direction he needs.
Encouraging his fellow students to never stop learning, Ryan reminded them that their character reflects who they are. In this way, they will be led “to value life and help others when you can along the way.”
As a student at the Academy since pre-school, Ryan has followed the example of his father and extended family who have supported Amelia Academy since its founding. He has volunteered for numerous Academy events and programs. In addition, Ryan has spent many hours helping ensure that athletic fields are prepared for competition. As an athlete, he has played basketball and baseball at both the junior varsity and varsity levels. He was also a member of the cross country team.
Attending Ryan’s Chapel Talk were his parents, Angela and Kelly Anderson, along with his brother Kyle. His grandmother, Christine Anderson, and grandparents, Calvin and Mary Anne Smith, were also present. Other guests included his aunt, Mary Catherine Piland, and cousin, Alex Piland, and his aunts, Lori Anderson and Shane Dowdy.