Change is imminent for the class of 2019 as the date of graduation approaches. Elena Easter addressed this aspect of life in her Chapel Talk, delivered on May 8. Delivering the Chapel Talk speech had not been part of her senior year plans last summer as she prepared for her senior year at Love Covenant School.
Learning that the school she had attended since kindergarten would not be offering high school classes meant that Elena would attend a new school for her senior year. And, the news came two weeks before school would have started. That was when her parents decided on the Academy for her and her brother. “I wasn’t very excited about it at first,” Elena admitted. “And, I definitely didn’t want anything to change, but change can be important.”
Anxious about starting a new school for her senior year, Elena was concerned about the adjustment to a larger school. Admitting that the Academy is considered a small school, Elena said that her school was even smaller. Her senior class would have had only one other student. Once she arrived at the Academy and found out about the requirement for presenting a speech to the entire school, Elena said she was even more daunted. “I’m extremely quiet and really shy,” she said, “and I have been very nervous about giving this speech.”
Another difficulty was leaving her friends, especially Emily Huitz, her good friend since the two were in seventh grade. “We were both socially awkward,” Elena said of their first meeting. They soon became friends, however, and remain close today. “We still annoy each other to no end, act stupid around each other, and love one another for the mess we are,” she said.
Last fall, Elena found herself appreciative of the change she had been forced to make. “I’ve gotten to know some awesome people that I hope I will stay friends with in the future,” she said. Elena also realized that “changes happen but you can grow from them.”
Elena thanked her parents for helping her through this experience and many others. “My parents have always been there for me, and I can’t thank them enough,” she said. She referred to her mom as “the smartest person I’ve ever met.” She also said that her mom has been a role model for her in caring for other people.
Elena said her dad is “one of my best friends.” Always willing to hear about her problems and search for a solution, he also “finds a way to make [her] laugh.” Her dad has taught her to accept changes in life, such as the one Elena has faced this year. However, he told her not to let go of the good people in her life.
“My dad also told me that ‘God puts people in your life for a reason Sometimes, it’s to show you things, and sometimes it’s to learn something about yourself,’” she shared. This has been true for Elena as she has made changes in her own life. For the future, she said that life’s journey can be navigated successfully while remaining true to ourselves.
Attending Elena’s Chapel Talk were her parents, Kathy and Graham Easter, along with her brother, David. Her grandparents, Sandra and Dave Negaard and Sherry and Mike Phelps, were in attendance. Also present was her friend Emily Huitz.
Trying new things can be daunting, especially for those who are quiet and reserved, said Kelly Flippin in her Chapel Talk, delivered on May 1. Admittedly a shy person, Kelly nevertheless persevered and took advantage of opportunities.
Kelly asserted that being quiet can have advantages. For instance, she said that “quiet people are natural learners; their curiosity drives them to learn.” At the same time, Kelly admitted that sometimes quiet people, including herself, can be “chronic over-thinkers.” For Kelly, getting past her fear of trying new things meant that she had to take a leap of faith.
“Trying new things can sometimes be scary . . . [and] out of your comfort zone,” she said. Without a guarantee of success, it can be easier not to try. Kelly described three times in her life when she “overcame my fear and shyness.”
The first instance was playing volleyball, a sport she has come to love. In Middle School, the thought of playing made her extremely nervous. “I knew nothing about the sport . . . but that’s part of what trying new things is all about, not worrying about failing and just going for it.” That’s exactly what Kelly did and, with the help of coaches and other players, she learned the game. “My confidence increased,” she said, “and I continued to play each year.”
While most of her fellow teens look forward to driving, Kelly dreaded the experience. “Most kids can’t wait to get their license,” she said, “but, honestly, I could not have cared less.” With her parents’ encouragement, she was able to overcome her fear. Last year, she spent the required hours driving with Mont Linkenauger, a member of the Academy faculty certified for behind-the-wheel instruction. “I was worried,” Kelly said. “While driving with Mr. Link, I almost hit a tree.” Despite this experience, Kelly said that he helped her “become a better, more confident driver.”
Some new things in life come more easily, and such was the case for Kelly when she began baking. What would eventually become her chosen career began with the offer to help with Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago. “I wanted to help Mom with Thanksgiving dinner; she told me to make pumpkin pie.” She did and found that she loved baking. “Unlike playing volleyball or driving, I didn’t need much practice with [baking]; it just came naturally,” Kelly said.
Despite her innate reserve and quiet temperament, Kelly has accomplished many things as a student at Amelia Academy. She has participated in the Association of Virginia Academies (AVA) forensics competition for the past three years. In addition, she has been a member of the junior varsity and varsity volleyball teams as well as the varsity softball team.
Attending her Chapel Talk were her mother Virginia Flippin and her grandparents, Shirley and Tommy Flippin.
On Thursday, May 2ndthe Amelia Academy softball team played their last home game of the season. Before the game three seniors were recognized for their dedication to the game. Pictured left to right: Ellie Taylor with her grandmother Mrs. Dixie Taylor and her father Mr. Bobby Taylor, Mikayla Stables with friend, and Laura Smith with her nephew Colt Flippin.
Amelia Academy senior baseball player Tyler Gough was recognized before the final home game of the season. Accompanying Tyler is his parents Mr. Daryl Gough and Mrs. Robin Gough and Sister Miss Brett Gough. Not present for senior night was Will Jay Steger and Wilbert Allen.
Amelia Academy short stop Tyler Gough makes the throw to first during the Patriots’ win over Tidewater Academy on Thursday, May 1st.
Sophomore Alex Webb was the starting pitcher for the Amelia Academy Patriots on Thursday. The Patriots defeated Tidewater Academy 9-8 in this VCC game.
Amelia Academy junior D’monte ‘ Moseley scores 1 of the Patriots 9 runs in their home win Thursday over Tidewater Academy.
Amelia Academy third baseman Laura Smith makes the tag at third during the Patriots’ 6-3 loss to Tidewater Academy on Thursday.
Senior pitcher Mikayla Stables throws another strike for the Amelia Academy Patriots during their loss Thursday to Tidewater Academy.
After bidding on and winning an auction for an opportunity to be "Headmaster for the Day", on Tuesday, May 1, Cole Duncan was in charge, With great seriousness, Cole helped load and unload students from buses, walked the halls, and even helped change the sign in front of the school.
Animals have a positive influence on their humans, as evidenced by numerous studies that show pet owners are more content, healthier, and live longer. The experience of owning animals has definitely had this impact on Laura Smith’s life. She spoke about her animals and their role in her life in her Chapel Talk, delivered on April 24.
Laura has been surrounded by animals on her family farm all her life. However, during a difficult time in her life, she learned just how important her own animals would become.
On track for college with memberships in the National Honor Society and Beta Club at Amelia County High School, Laura got a part-time job once she could drive. After convincing her parents that she could pay for a dog with her earnings, she found an “adorable little fur ball” of an Australian Shepherd puppy and brought him home. Rambo became her best friend and would help see her through a difficult time.
As a junior at the High School, Laura was given more free time when two study hall periods meant she could leave early. “Some of you might be thinking, ‘that would be awesome,’” she said, “but only if I had used my time wisely.” Instead, Laura made mistakes and lost the trust of her parents.
It was during this time that her dog, Rambo, and her horses provided the opportunity for Laura to regain that trust and navigate a school transfer to Amelia Academy for her senior year.
With her free time curtailed, Laura started spending more time with her horses. “I went to the Amelia [riding] ring one day and met a woman named Ashley Messer who was also riding.” Weekends became a time for going to rodeos with Ashley and her son. “She taught me everything from horses to life lessons,” Laura said.
This year, Laura continues riding horses and competing in barrel racing events. She also joined the Amelia Academy Equestrian Program for her senior year. And, Rambo remains by her side. “Rambo and I do everything together now, from riding horses to mowing grass, and eating ice cream,” she said.
The love and support of family and friends have helped Laura become the person she is today. However, the animals have helped shape her life and provide the inspiration for her vocation. Next fall, Laura will attend Bridgewater College where she looks forward to pursuing degrees in business and equine studies.
As a student at the Academy this year, Laura has played volleyball and softball. She was elected vice-president of the senior class.
Attending Laura’s Chapel Talk were her parents, Tanya and David Smith, both Academy alumni, along with her sister Jacquelyn, a 2016 Academy graduate. Her grandparents Shirley and Tommy Flippin were in attendance. Another special guest was her friend and mentor, Ms. Messer.