“Make new friends and keep the old; One is silver and the other gold,” are lyrics from an old song. Hannah King expressed this sentiment in her Chapel Talk, delivered on March 6. She has pursued experiences that led to new friendships over the past year. Hannah has come to value the differing viewpoints and backgrounds of these friends. Just as important, however, are the family relationships and life-long friendships that have sustained her.
Referring to the high school experience as a “roller coaster,” Hannah expressed appreciation to the teachers and friends who have helped her. “Thank you for helping me recognize that good can come from adversity and for helping me through the hardships,” she said.
The important role of her family support has been foremost and essential, Hannah said. “Their love is unconditional,” she said. Without being judgmental, she said that her family have encouraged and even pushed her when needed. “I didn’t have to win first place or be the best player. I just have to be me,” she said.
Hannah also paid a special tribute to her younger sisters, Emily and Julia. “They make me want to be a better person,” she said. She holds herself accountable to them as a role model and hopes they will learn from her mistakes. “I know that they love and appreciate me, especially since I am their Uber driver each day,” she joked.
A lifelong friend, Cassie Brenner, has had almost as great a role as a family member. “Our moms were great friends so, of course, we had to be best friends.” They were in the church nursery together as babies and remain friends today.
Another friendship was developed after a chance meeting at the Virginia Girls State convention last summer. “We might have said two words to each other the whole week,” Hannah said of her contact with a fellow attendee, Skylar Brement. However, through social media, the two later reconnected and have become good friends.
Other new friendships emerged when Hannah attended a summer program at Flagler University in St. Augustine, Florida. Just making the decision to participate required overcoming “pointless anxiety” about being alone far from home. “When I do take the chance, it always turns out to be amazing, and my experience at Flagler was no different,” she said.
As the participants got to know each other, Hannah connected with a group whose interests and opinions were widely varied. They formed a bond that has remained strong. “I loved how, even though we had different backgrounds, we could talk and participate in thought-provoking discussions.”
Hannah expressed a sense of accomplishment in overcoming her fear of attending the Flagler summer program. “I would never have met these amazing and diverse people who are now some of my closest friends,” she said. She advised her fellow students to do the things that frighten them. “Gain the strength and confidence that you can by just having faith. Just like I have, you have the people to support you” she said.
As a student at the Academy, Hannah has been recognized for her academic excellence. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Beta Club. In addition, she has participated in the Association of Virginia Academies (AVA) Scholastic Bowl and Forensics competitions. She was a member of the team representing the Academy at the Model United Nations. As a student-athlete, Hannah has played junior varsity basketball and volleyball and varsity volleyball.
Attending her Chapel Talk were her mother, Alison King and her father, Nathan King, along with her sisters Julia and Emily and cousin Grace Wilson. Also present were her grandparents, Gail and Ron Wilson and Teka and Buddy King. Other guests included her friends Cassie Brenner and Skylar Brement.
Amelia Academy hosted the AVA Middle School Forensics meet on Thursday, March 7th. The following Amelia Academy students participated in this event. First row: Mr. Jacob Draper (sponsor), Summer Carter, Molly Lane, Julia King and Jaxon Baldwin. Second row: Amanda Carwile, Mikayla Anderson, Macy Barnard, Brooke Anderson, Bobbie Fletcher, Hardy McMillion, Emily King, Molly McMillian. Third row: Nick Flippin, Cole Duncan, Chase Thomas, Calvin Allen, Kyle Anderson, and Isaac Gilman. (not pictured Curtis Ison and Brooke Hazzard.)
Head of School Mr. Rodney Taylor presents Molly Lane with her second place certificate for fifth grade girl’s monologue. On Thursday Amelia Academy hosted the AVA middle School Forensics meet.
Amelia Academy senior Willjay Steger receives The Richmond Times Dispatch Student Athlete of the Month Award from Director of Student Affairs Mrs. Angela Anderson and statistician Ms Leah Ray. Willjay was nominated for this award by Ms. Ray.
“Education is the key to success,” said Jamal Grant in his Chapel Talk, delivered on February 27. In fact, it was this realization that led Jamal to Amelia Academy last year. “When I came to the Academy,” he said, “the classes were smaller, and all the teachers were engaged with us.”
Playing basketball has been a primary goal of Jamal’s life. “All I have ever wanted to do was play basketball,” he said. However, he acknowledged that he needs a “backup plan.”
Throughout his experiences in high school, Jamal has focused on success in sports. However, he has also tried new things. “If you don’t know what you want to do,” he said, “you just have to try something new and see if it fits for you.”
His mother has also been there to offer support and direction. Before Jamal came to the Academy, she encouraged him to take HVAC certification courses that would lead to a career. And, last year, she relented when Jamal wanted to transfer. Since then, he has put even greater emphasis on his academic pursuits. “I realized I had to challenge myself,” he said.
As he has put a greater emphasis on his education, Jamal has enjoyed a sense of accomplishment. “I like to work hard in my classes because I want to be successful,” he said.
For Jamal, a happy life involves pursuing a good education. The knowledge gained through education provides opportunities to find a vocation. “Once you find what you enjoy, everything will go well,” he said. Jamal also said that education helps us learn from the past mistakes of others in history.
For the past two seasons of basketball, Jamal has been a member of the varsity team. This year, he was named Player of the Year in the Virginia Colonial Conference (VCC). He was named VCC All-Conference and made the first team All-tournament.
Jamal looks forward to attending college and continuing his education next fall.
While other students in Amelia were exchanging Valentine greetings, Amelia Academy’s Junior Beta Club made the trek to Hampton Roads for the State’s Junior Beta Convention.
Eight AA Patriots attended, accompanied by their faculty advisor. They acquitted themselves well in both group and individual competitions.
Kyle Anderson brought home a second place award in Visual Arts (woodworking). He entered a handmade treasure chest, carved from a log that he hollowed out, sanded and stained and to which he added leather hinges and a belt-like latch. The chest qualified Kyle to go onto compete at the national level in Oklahoma later this year.
The team was in Hampton overnight. In addition to Kyle, the team was comprised of Emily King, Jaxon Baldwin, Curtis Ison, Amanda Carwile, Macy Barnard, Emma Humphrey and Barit McMillian.
Students competed individually in unique categories. Emily competed in painting; Amanda in photography; Jaxon in digital arts; Emma in creative writing.
Curtis competed in performing arts, accompanying himself on the guitar as he sang. Barit competed in a visual arts category using recycled materials by entering a whimsical sculpture of her dog using a soda bottle. Macy competed in language arts by taking a written test.
The group competitions included a Quiz Bowl in which Amanda, Macy, Jaxon and Emily competed. Kyle, Emma and Barit participated in a Group Engineering competition where they built a tower using pre-selected materials.
“This was a wonderful experience for our Junior Beta Club—a time for each student to shine and work together in fun competitions while representing Amelia Academy at the State level. We are proud of them all,” commented AA Faculty Advisor, Angela Anderson.
“I have made many friends and learned many things,” said Tyler Gough in his Chapel Talk, delivered on February 13. Speaking about his fourteen years at Amelia Academy, he said that he has taken advantage of opportunities, such as attending the Precision Machinist program at John Tyler Community College while also taking core classes at the Academy.
The importance of friendships was the subject of his speech. He shared stories of antics with Wilbert Allen going back to Lower School. “It all started in first grade,” he said when he was assigned a seat beside Wilbert. He also paid a tribute to newer friends and classmates WillJay Steger and Jamal Grant for their influence on his life.
Tyler and his friends have always been able to end up laughing through the good times. “Some things in life are not really worth doing unless there is a friend there to enjoy the moment,” he said. He also emphasized the importance of having friends during difficult situations. “Your friends should be there for you when you’re going through hard times,” he said.
Family friendships have been a mainstay of Tyler’s life. “One of my best friends is my Dad,” he said. “A few things we like to do together are hunting, going to drag races, and working on cars.”
Another important friendship in his life was with his grandfather, Papa Thea, who passed away in 2010. “He was one of my best friends, and I miss him all the time,” said Tyler. He and Papa Thea spent time working in the garden, cutting grass, and fishing. They had a lot of fun together.
“He taught me a lot of life lessons,” Tyler said. From his Papa Thea, he learned “right from wrong, and how to be dependable and do for others.”
His Pape Thea’s passing made Tyler realize that friendships should never be taken for granted. He told his fellow students to appreciate their friends and “look out for them and help them if they need it.”
Based on his experience, he encouraged students to pursue hard work without becoming discouraged. “As soon as you get discouraged, you will not be able to accomplish what you are capable of doing,” he said.
As a student at the Academy, Tyler has been involved in a variety of programs. He is a member of the National Honor Society and has played sports, including varsity baseball.
Attending his Chapel Talk were his parents Robin and Daryl Gough, along with his sister Brett, a 2016 Academy graduate. Other family members present included his uncle, Clarke Gough, his aunt, Debbie Weaver, and cousins, Alan and Avery Gough.