The transition to a new place ranks high on the list of most stressful life events. This process can be even more daunting for a rising junior in high school. That’s what Julia Huddleston faced last year when she transferred to Amelia Academy. However, the transition was made easier by three friends who helped her make the adjustment. Julia paid a tribute to friendship in her Chapel Talk, delivered on February 6.
In expressing what her “small circle of friends” have done for her, Julia said, “They have helped me work through difficult situations . . . they have taught me to be a better person.” Her friends also gave her the confidence to be herself. She has tried to do the same for them because, “that’s what friends do for each other,” she said.
Julia shared a few of the memories she will carry with her. She and her friend Ryan Anderson went to prom last year. He also surprised her with concert tickets on her eighteenth birthday. “Whenever I need someone to confide in or simply just need a laugh, Ryan has always been there,” Julia said.
She credited her friend Noah DeJesus with helping her become “a stronger and more humble person.” They have shared good and challenging times but have remained friends. “One of my favorite memories is Noah taking me to Logan’s to see the cows,” she said. This small act can turn around a bad day, she added.
Finally, Julia spoke about her friends Trey Capps, a 2017 Academy alumnus. “Trey is one of the funniest and most caring persons I know,” she said. “He has taught me that it is okay to be silly and always be myself.” Trey has been like an older brother, and Julia spoke about the fun times they have had.
All three young men helped her adjust to a new school, but their influence has extended far beyond the transition. Julia credited her three friends with creating fun memories and having a “giant impact” on her life. Pledging never to take them for granted, Julia hopes they will all remain close in the future.
As a student at the Academy, Julia has been a member of the varsity softball team. She and her siblings, Haylee and Macon, have also been active in various Academy programs over the past year.
Students in Mrs. Mary Rose Leader’s preschool class at Amelia Academy celebrated their one-hundred days of school on Thursday, January 31st. Pictured left to right (kneeling) is Caleb Peterson, Zayvion Jones, Jackson Jones, and Bronson Ashman. Pictured left to right (standing) is Carsyn Dunford, Levi Sutton, Levi Barrett, Brayden Wright, Hollis Reames, Jackson Jarck, and Jeb Keiter.
Amelia Academy preschool students, Carsyn Dunford and Caleb Peterson, dressed up as 100-year-old people in celebration of their one-hundred days of school. Carsyn and Caleb are students in Mrs. Mary Rose Leder’s class at Amelia Academy. (Preschool pictures by Lexi Easter and Sarah Pomphrey)
Having written two other speeches, Randy Brady wrote a third one that he delivered on January 23. He explained that his anxiety about giving the speech, a requirement for graduation, made him second-guess his first two topics. That’s when he decided to speak about the very thing – anxiety – that was keeping him from finishing his speech.
Randy explained that anxiety is a physical response to “prepare for a situation that your body sees as intense.” And, Randy is not alone in his struggle with anxiety. Quoting the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, he said that 40 million Americans have anxiety or related disorders that include panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Randy offered several ways that he has discovered to lessen the negative impacts of anxiety. “Try to cut out foods and beverages such as coffee. . . which can raise all your emotions including anxiety.” Avoiding too much sugar and starch that increase blood sugar can help reduce anxiety.
Randy said that foods such as blueberries can help “lower the hormones for stress.” Foods rich in Vitamin D, B, and E, such as almonds, eggs, and salmon also help.
Going outside for exercise offers another positive way to deal with stress. “Sleeping is a very good way of dealing with anxiety,” Randy said, “as long as you don’t do it in class,” he added.
Even though there are many good modifications that can lower stress, Randy said that dealing with the source might be the solution. “Find out what you’re anxious about and face it,” he said. “You are not going to accomplish anything by running away from it.”
What has helped Randy the most is realizing that anxiety is a part of life. There is no escaping negative emotions all the time. “It’s something we have to experience as human beings.”
Even though Randy doesn’t want to be overwhelmed by anxiety, he has come to appreciate its role in his life. “I wouldn’t want to be without it,” he said. “It’s the thing that makes us double-check what we might have done wrong. It is what prevents us from getting into bad situations . . . and motivates us to do things.”
Randy has been a student at the Academy since pre-kindergarten. In his introduction, Rodney Taylor, Head of School, spoke about Randy’s perseverance during adversity as the harbinger of a successful future.
Randy’s grandmother, Virginia Brady, attended his chapel talk.
The second grade class at Amelia Academy collected items for pets from the Lower School students during the holidays. Donations included food, toys, and other supplies for the Amelia County Animal Shelter. The class, along with their teacher, Charlotte Cervarich, presented the donations to Kirstin Krueger and Jessica Easter from the Animal Shelter on Tuesday, December 18. Ms. Krueger and Ms. Easter visited with the second-graders and brought a puppy named Angel, recently rescued by the Shelter.
Choosing to remain positive in whatever situation arises in life can change a school, a community, and even the world. This was the subject of Samantha Breuscher’s chapel talk, delivered on January 9 at Amelia Academy.
Samantha came to the Academy two years ago after homeschool. “I’d been homeschooled my whole life, and I’d only ever daydreamed about going to a high school like most teenagers.” One of the first things she noticed about school was that many students didn’t seem to want to be there. However, in “non-negotiable situations” like this, she said, people can choose to be positive.
Quoting Sir Winston Churchill, Samantha said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big different.” By choosing to remain positive, she said that students can impact their own lives for the better. They can also improve the environment of the school. “Positivity is as easy (or as hard) as you make it to be,” she said. In her own life, Samantha said that it has not always been easy, but she has worked hard to remain positive. She credited her parents with instilling this value in her from a young age. She has also had friends who have been a positive influence. She mentioned Brianna Hailey whom she considers more a sister than a friend.
Two friends and fellow classmates, Amari Hicks and Kelly Flippin, made her transition to the Academy a positive experience. “When I first started going to school, I was the definition of awkward,” she said. The adjustment from homeschool to the Academy was a challenge, but she chose not to focus on the difficulty.
“Instead, I focused on the fact that going to the Academy would not only prepare me for college but help me out socially with meeting new people and making new friends,” she said. One of those new friends has been Ellie Taylor, a classmate who enrolled last year.
How does a student remain positive amid the cynicism and worldliness that seems to permeate teen life? Samantha’s answer is “gratefulness and contentedness.” The decision to remain content, no matter the situation, can help create a positive outlook. The habit of being grateful involves seeking out the good aspects of any situation. Both of these pursuits “can benefit you and others around you,” Samantha told her fellow students.
This attitude can also apply to relationships, particularly when conflict arises. Samantha encouraged everyone to realize that many difficult situations arise from a misunderstanding. “Try and see things from their perspective, and take all things into account when figuring them out,” she said. “When you make the switch from pessimism to optimism . . . the state of being content and happy becomes more achievable.”
Over the past two years, Samantha has been active in a number of programs at the Academy. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Beta Club. She has also been a member of the Audio-visual club. She has been a class officer and served as team manager for the volleyball team.
Attending Samantha’s chapel talk were her mother, Amy Breuscher, along with her aunt and uncle Luke and Tanya Glanzman. Also present were Tyler and Brooke Glanzman, and friends Allison Jervis and John Bollinger.