The first day in a new school feels difficult for anyone. This has been especially true for Ellie Taylor, who attended three schools in four years. It’s just as hard to “get used to a place and then leave,” she said. This experience was the subject of Ellie’s chapel talk, the first delivered by Amelia Academy’s class of 2019.
The chapel talk, a program launched under the direction of former headmaster James D. Grizzard in 2007, is a requirement for graduation and a milestone of each senior’s year.
Ellie arrived at Amelia Academy last year and said she found “the right place” when she entered her junior year. “Here I finally feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be,” she said.
This was not always the case. At the end of the eighth grade, Ellie was given the news from her father that she would be changing schools. Her parents decided that she would switch schools during the last nine weeks. Ellie said the change was abrupt and difficult. However, she now realizes that her parents made the necessary decision for her. “They did what was best for me,” she said. And she was grateful for the loyalty of her friend, Madison Dooley, with whom she remains friends today.
Knowing no one at her new school, Ellie said she did the only thing she knew to do. “I started talking to people to try and find some friends.” She found another true friend and worked hard to adjust.
At the end of her tenth-grade year, Ellie found herself in the same situation again. She was being moved to a new school after “getting used to a place and finding a true friend.” Over the summer, her parents began looking for another school. Even though she felt unsettled, Ellie said she “can’t thank them [her parents] enough. . . they did what was best for me.”
Amelia Academy proved to be the right place. She made friends with whom she has “life-long connections.” Ellie is known for her success academically and as a distinguished voice in the senior class, said Rodney Taylor, Head of School. Last spring, Ellie was elected Vice-President of the Student Government Organization by her fellow students. She played varsity softball last spring and was named all-conference in the Virginia Colonial Conference (VCC). Ellie also played varsity volleyball this year.
Finding the right fit at Amelia Academy has proved immensely rewarding for Ellie. It was unexpected in the beginning, but she trusted her parents’ decision. Ellie urged her fellow students to cultivate that same trust in their parents, guardians, or true friends. “When they do something you don’t agree with or make decisions you don’t like, please know that it’s in your best interest,” she said. “They care about you, and they want what’s best for you.”
Attending her chapel talk were her parents, Jennifer and Bobby Taylor, and her friend Madison Dooley. Also present were several friends from the AA class of 2018 – Gillian Coleman, Allison Jervis, and John Bollinger, all students at Longwood University.
On Saturday, November 3, the Lady Patriots volleyball team went on a 7-1 run to end their regular season and conference tournament, becoming the Virginia Commonwealth Conference Volleyball Tournament Cham pions. They out-scored Kenston Forest School in the championship game in straight sets (3-0). "Perseverance is the greatest test of character, and that is what we did; we persevered together,” said Coach Jason Morris.
The Lady Patriots championship team members are (standing, l to r): Madison Bo., Emma A., Lina L., Lexi E., Kelly F., Amari H., Catarina S., and Mikayla S. Kneeling (l to r): Jade N., Sarah R., Ellie T., Laura S., Madison Ba., Coach Jason Morris, Manager Kellie B.
Amelia Academy dedicated their new playground, Patriots at Play, on October 26. The playground dedication was led by Academy moms and faculty members Jesse Roberts and Jennifer Hayghe. They gave a joint speech on the history of the project. Jason Morris, a member of the AA faculty, led the lower school in prayer to end the dedication.
Almost two years ago, Roberts and Hayghe formed a committee to raise funds to purchase new equipment. They identified a need for a colorful, fun, and safe place for all kids to exercise daily.
The committee researched equipment and costs and selected two basic designs. "the more expensive set was our ideal, even though it seemed out of reach. But we were reminded to 'set our sights high' and lo and behold! The more expensive set went on sale. And we were blessed," said Roberts. In six short months, they'd managed to raise over $20,000, enough to seal the deal.
"The impressive thing about this beyond the sheer magnitude of the amount is that so many people donated to the effort. Parents, alums, friends, local businesses, and the children themselves, came together to contritbute to this effort," said Hayghe.
The entrance to the playground is the colorful Patriots at Play archway, adorned with hand-painted ceramic tiles purchased by donors.
The play structure arrived in July 2017 and "looked like a giant Lego set," said Roberts, who was the project forewoman for the construction. "all those myriad pieces actually did fit together and we got it all assembled for our kids to enjoy by the first day of school last year."
Now, the archway - it has been a work in progress. "Every time we thought we were set, we ran into a setback. Even the weather conspired against us with all the constant rain," said Hayghe.
In the end, on another rainy day in October, it finally came together with the help of a lot of people, a lot of ingenuity, and a lot of dedication.
Amelia Academy honored their Senior volleyball players during the Senior Night game versus Tidewater Academy on Thursday, October 25th. The Lady Patriots won this game in three sets, bumping them up to 2nd place in their conference.
The six senior volleyball players were recognized for their contributions on the volleyball court. Those seniors of the Amelia Academy Varsity Volleyball Team were Catarina S., Amari H., Mikayla S., Laura S., Kelly F., and Ellie T. They are posing underneath their Senior Banner after their win over Tidewater Academy.
On Thursday, October 11, Amelia Academy held induction ceremonies for the National Beta Club and the National Junior Beta Club. The National Beta Club is the largest independent, non-profit, educational youth organization in America.
Three Amelia Academy students were inducted into the National Beta Club. Pictured from left to right are Brogan F., Brent C., and Jade N.
Four sixth-grade students were inducted into the National Junior Beta Club. Pictured from left to right are Jaxon B., Curtis I., Macy B., and Emily K.