Alumni Night 2020


Amelia Academy Alumni Night was held on Friday, February 7.  Nearly 40 alumni were in attendance.  They enjoyed refreshments in the alumni lounge, hosted by Debra Adams with Commonwealth Realty, a member of the Academy’s class of 1983.  

AA in the News 2.3.20


The Amelia Academy Patriots hosted Brunswick Academy on Tuesday, January 28th.  The Patriots are 10-0 in the Virginia Commonwealth Conference and 12 – 4 overall.  Pictured is senior Ryan Anderson taking a three point shot during Tuesday’s conference win.  

The Amelia Academy junior varsity team hosted Brunswick Academy on Tuesday night. Pictured is  Cameron Morris looking to find the open man.  The Patriots lost this contest 63-64.

Freshman Jon-Colin Palmer brings the ball down the court during the JV Patriots 63 – 64 loss to Brunswick  Academy.

Junior Jalen Booker scores two more points against Brunswick Academy on Tuesday night.  The Patriots defeated their VCC opponent.   

Senior Kevin Hodonou passes the ball during the Amelia Academy Patriots win against Brunswick Academy on Tuesday.             

Elise Jones Chapel Talk


“I’m here to share my story and tell you how I became the person you all see here today,” said Elise Jones at the beginning of her Chapel Talk, delivered on Jan. 29. What followed was a profile of strength and courage in the face of a daily struggle. Elise said that some people would be surprised to learn that she has anxiety and depression. “I seem like a happy girl to you,” she said. Internally, Elise has coped with the mental illness that almost took her life.

“It all started in ninth grade,” she said. Her friends pulled away from her, and Elise was left devastated by the abandonment. Transferring to Amelia Academy provided a respite and a fresh start. However, over the summer, she said that her depression grew worse, and she began to self-harm. “My mom found out, and I was admitted to the hospital,” she said. “Luckily, I got some medication, and they set me up with a therapist.”

This experience was the beginning of many more therapy sessions and medications to combat her severe depression. After homeschool for the first semester, Elise returned to Amelia Academy for the second semester of her sophomore year. Near the end of that year, on May 5, 2018, she said, “the unthinkable happened” when he attempted to commit suicide. Her parents found Elise, and she was med-flighted to VCU Health Center, where she remained for nearly two weeks. 

She described waking up to the sound of a heart monitor with IV needles and a tube in her throat. Later, her parents filled in the details because she had no memory of that day. After she went home, Elise said her life returned to a normal routine. However, her depression remained, and she chose homeschool for her junior year. That Christmas, Elise was hospitalized again and continued to struggle with anxiety and depression.

With her senior year approaching, Elise decided to return to the Academy. “So, here I am now,” she said, “giving this speech that I’ve always wanted to give since I knew it was required.” Admitting to the difficulty of her condition, she said that, each time she succumbs to her depression, “God pulls me through.” She also expressed gratitude for the support from her family and friends. 

  Reaching out to another person represents the first step to overcoming mental illness, Elise said. “Also, know you are not alone,” she added. “Things get better . . . if you seek help.”

With a goal of becoming a counselor or therapist, Elise wants to help people like her who suffer from mental illness. In the meantime, she said, “I hope to make a difference in this world by sharing my story.”

Rodney L. Taylor, Head of School, echoed this sentiment in his remarks. “The strength and resiliency shown by Elise is incredible. We hope and pray that her message and eventual career will be helpful to others.” 

As a student at Amelia Academy, Elise has achieved an excellent academic record, earning high grades in spite of difficult times through the years. Representing the Academy, she has competed and placed in the Association of Virginia Academies Forensics event. 

Attending her Chapel Talk were her parents, Tamara and Frank Jones, along with her half-brother, Christopher Jones. 

AA in the News 1.27.20


Amelia Academy students in kindergarten through the fourth grade celebrated their “100th”day of school on Wednesday, January 22nd. Fourth graders Jeremiah Bollinger, Jacob Ratliff, Levi Borum, Carson Roberts complete the station where 100 cups were stacked.

Grace Mimms transformed herself into a 100 year old woman.

Amelia Academy students in Mrs. Charlotte Cervarich’s second grade class recently completed a lesson on Native American shelters.  Students, with help from their parents, could construct a tepee, longhouse or an adobe structure.  Left to right- Connor Lane, Harper Garza, Markus Parks and Aiden Flippin proudly exhibit their projects.

The Amelia Academy JV girls basketball team hosted Southampton Academy on Friday, January 17th. The team played hard but lost 42 – 33. Pictured is sophomore Sarah Reynolds grabbing a jump ball.

Sophomore Madison Borum brings the ball down the court while seventh grader Macy Barnard waits to assist in the JV game with Southampton.  The girls lost 33 – 42.

Eighth grader Kyle Anderson drives to the basket during Thursday’s game with Blessed Sacrament Huguenot. The junior varsity lost 61 – 49.

Quinton Dagner scores another two points for the Amelia Academy Patriots during their 61 – 49 loss.

Amelia Academy junior Greg Harris goes in for two more points when the Amelia Academy Patriots defeated Blessed Sacrament Huguenot on Thursday night.

Amelia Academy patriots Brogan Foy and Jolin Fox get back on defense when the Patriots defeated Blessed Sacrament Huguenot 61 – 49.

Amelia Academy basketball pictures by Haylee Huddleston.

Lower school pictures by Sarah Pomfrey, Madison Barnard, Lexi Easter, Kellie Banks and Ryan Anderson.

Madison Barnard Chapel Talk


For many years, the students in Mrs. Faeth’s English classes have created paper stars on the first day of school. On the back of the star, students write their dreams, and the decorated stars are displayed in the classroom all year. In the opening of her Chapel Talk, senior Madison Barnard referenced her star. “I wrote, ‘To be living a life I chose, not one that I settled for,’” she said. 

Her life thus far has been filled with opportunities and great experiences, andfun. Her “close-knit family” has been partly responsible. “When we’re all together, it’s anything but boring,” she said. Time spent with her family “shelling beans on the porch or hanging around a campground every weekend” have been more than just fun. She has learned many life lessons along the way.

“They’ve taught me the values of honesty and hard work . . . to be bold in everything .  . . and tough,” she said. She expressed her appreciation for their support, particularly her Dad’s “front porch” talks, during which he emphasized a strong work ethic and pride in a job well done. “He would talk about work,” she said, “and [tell us], ‘making money ain’t always fun, but it’s hard to have fun without some money.” 

Her family has shown her the importance of ambition and having fun but also the value of contentment. This lesson came from her PawPaw, who passed away last year. She saw a Facebook post about him that read, in part, “I never saw him when he didn’t have a smile . . . he was satisfied with the things he had in life and never seemed to long for fancy things . . . good, plain, friendly, country folk like you are getting harder to find and even harder to replace.”

Following his example, Madison said that she has learned to know the value of watching the sunset or spending time with friends.

Seeking out new experiences represents another facet of Madison’s life. The opportunities at the Academy have been wide-ranging. She has served in several positions as an officer of the Student Government Organization (SGO). “[This school] has also given me the opportunity to spend part of my school day on a horse, and I’ve been able to help win several volleyball and basketball championships.” she said.

Other valued experiences in her life have involved time spent on the water during weekends at Buggs Island Lake. “When I was four years old, I got behind a boat on my first set of trainer skis,” she said. She went on to achieve a 360 degree turn on a kneeboard and learned wakeboarding and slalom skiing, her favorite. There were scrapes and bumps along the way, including “face-planting the water at over thirty miles an hour,” she said. Most of all, she values the fun she has had, along with meeting “some of the most important people in my life.”

Her days are busy, to say the least. Madison moves seamlessly from school to sports practice, a job, and everything in between. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, she wants to experience everything she can. “God gave me legs that work, and you can bet that I’m going to use them,” she said. She wants her life to be filled with adventure and never dull. “I don’t want to go through the motions . . . and I want stories to tell,” she said.

After college, she imagines many different options for her life. She doesn’t know where she will be going, but she promised her audience that it will not be boring.

Madison has served in a variety of leadership positions as a student at the Academy. She is currently serving her second year as SGO president and also was secretary and reporter in previous years. As SGO president, she has organized the annual 9/11 Never Forget program, as well as Spirit Week and other school events. 

She has earned academic recognition through her membership in the National Honor Society and the Beta Club.. 

As a student-athlete and leader, she has been captain of the varsity volleyball and softball teams and also played varsity basketball. Madison has been named All-Conference and All-Academic for volleyball in the VCC (Virginia Colonial Conference) as well as tournament Most Valuable Player. Last fall, she was named the VCC Player of the Year for volleyball.

 Attending her Chapel Talk were her parents, Sharon and Gregory Barnard, along with her sister Macy, an Academy seventh-grader. Other special guests included her grandparents Grace Ann Easter and Carroll and Mary Barnard, and friend Corbett Bowman.