Celebrating with Ashley

Written By: Dr. Steve D. Whitaker, Head of School


If you missed Homecoming at The First Academy last week, you missed one of our proudest moments. It wasn’t the win to capture the District Championship that will long be remembered. It wasn’t the picture perfect weather or the pageantry of the event that people are still talking about. It was something even more special.

Six years ago, a quiet little girl with Down syndrome named Ashley Strube was enrolled at The First Academy along with her twin sister, Lindsey. Over the years she has loved others selflessly, brightened others’ day repeatedly, and made us a better school in so many ways.

Several weeks ago, the Class of 2015 nominated Ashley as one of their Homecoming Court representatives. What she didn’t know was that when the private ballots for King and Queen were counted this week, she would be the winner.

The results were sealed in an envelope. Only a few of us knew the results and we could hardly contain our excitement. The members of the court were dressed in their finest and the public address announcer read off the names of the couples as they walked onto the field. The moment was simply perfect. With her parents and friends watching close by, Ashley was crowned Homecoming Queen.

While the news is often dominated by stories of troubled teens and violence in schools, this story speaks to what’s best about a school community like The First Academy. A place where we love the way Jesus loved, care for one another as Scripture teaches, and celebrate the beauty within each student. Last night was one of TFA’s proudest moments. It was a memory I will treasure for a lifetime. Ashley has blessed our lives far more than we have blessed hers. Congratulations to the 2014 Homecoming Queen, Ms. Ashley Strube.

The attached link from Jon Busdeker with the Orlando Sentinel tells the story in a short video:



Steve D. Whitaker, Ph. D
Head of School



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