Senior Thesis

A capstone academic and spiritual project

One of the seminal components of The First Academy’s mission is to create Christian leaders, and the school has pursued this goal impressively. Every year, we successfully lead numerous students to accept Christ as their savior, conduct mission trips around the world, perform service in our own community, and exhibit the Living Curriculum through our teachers. However, true leadership is not complete without intellectual acuity. Jesus himself instructed us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). The very fact that God created us in his image means that he endowed us with powerful brains that can, and should, be used logically to demonstrate in the fallen world his might and presence.

It is with the intention of driving academic excellence even further that The First Academy has instituted the Senior Thesis, a capstone project that all students must complete during their 12th grade year. This interdisciplinary research project revolves around one central question: Where do you see God? Students choose a seemingly secular topic to research and in a scholarly manner articulate and defend how God’s hands are evident. After an intensive year of work, the final products for this project include a college-level research paper and presentation, with the top students receiving college scholarships and cash prizes for their success.

Yet this process is not limited to just senior year. TFA starts teaching its students at an early age how to perceive signs of God’s fingerprints in every component of the world around us, and to defend their view from would-be naysayers. This intellectualism and intentionality is integrated across all disciplines from third grade up as yet another representation of God’s omnipresence. The two principle goals of this extension focus on two elements:

  • General revelation. God shows us parts of Himself in everything we do and say. How is God evident here (in this project/assignment/book) specifically?
  • Know thine enemy. What would you say to those who disagree? Who say that you are wrong, or that looking for God in this way doesn’t matter or is just a coincidence?

By incorporating these ideas into assignments throughout the curriculum, the point will be powerfully and indelibly made that God touches every component of the world in a tangible way. The Senior Thesis project stands as powerful testament that the mission statement of The First Academy is powerfully driving its academic excellence.

2022 Senior Thesis Competition

You can watch the most recent senior thesis competition presented on April 12, 2022.

Presentation Winners
The First Academy proudly recognizes the past winners of the Dr. Stephen D. Whitaker Senior Thesis Best Presentation:

  • 2012 – Kali Kupp
  • 2013 – Amy Oldham
  • 2014 – Jimmy Nugent
  • 2015 – Ethan Bilhime
  • 2016 – Jake Haskell
  • 2017 – Jaclynn Kelly
  • 2018 – Amelia Starcher
  • 2019 – Cooper Billsborough
  • 2020 – Cole Toenges
  • 2021 – Kinsey Campbell
  • 2022 – Hannah Brady

Writing Winners
The First Academy proudly recognizes the past winners of the Dr. Stephen D. Whitaker Senior Thesis Best Writing:

  • 2015 – Abigail Starcher
  • 2016 – Jennifer Walker
  • 2017 – Bailey Higgins
  • 2018 – Lindsey Morrow
  • 2019 – Cooper Billsborough
  • 2020 – Skyler Miller
  • 2021 – Nicole Maddox
  • 2022 – Johnson Laguerre

Writing Center

The First Academy is thrilled to provide resources that strengthen students’ writing skills. For more information on The Writing Center or to schedule a meeting with Writing Center Director Amanda Whitaker, please click here.