At what grade level did you start at The First Academy?
I started attending The First Academy in 8th Grade.
What were the reasons you or your parents chose The First Academy?
My parents and I chose The First Academy because we loved not only the academic rigor TFA had to offer but also the heart of the teachers and faculty and the rare community that can be found here at TFA. The passion of so many teachers for their students is so evident, not just for learning within the bounds of a classroom, but equipping students for what they will face in the real world. Weekly chapels and Bible classes were also a large pull factor for us as well.
Are you involved in extracurricular activities? If so, what are they and have you received awards in these activities? (These can be affiliated with TFA or outside of school)
I am the Captain of the Edward’s House, a Mentor Group Leader, the Big 5 Officer of Communications, and the Editor of Content for our Yearbook. Occasionally, you can also find me singing/playing guitar for Middle School Chapel band and outside of school. I also play guitar and sing in the Praise Team at my church and lead our Youth Ministry’s Student Leadership Team.
Which colleges have you applied to and which ones have you be accepted to thus far? (Please include if you have made a decision to attend a certain college next year)
Duke University, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Emory University, Rollins College, and the University of Florida. I have yet to hear back from all of these schools except for Duke, and therefore have not yet decided on a school.
What do you plan to study in college and what are your long-term career goals?
I plan to study Medicine in college. Long-term, I have still yet to figure out what that will look like in a very specific sense, but I hope to use my role in the field of Medicine to glorify Him, by using it as a platform for the Gospel to go forth, here and to the ends of the earth.
Have you received any college scholarships? If so, which ones? (Or, which ones are your currently nominated for)
I am currently nominated for the 2016-2017 Joshua Expeditions Outstanding SBACS Scholars Awards Program and expect to receive Bright Futures if I choose to attend a college in Florida.
Who is/are your favorite TFA teacher(s), and why? (Teachers can be K4-12)
My goodness. This is definitely a difficult question because I have had so many wonderful teachers here at TFA. I think if I had to pick, two of my favorite teachers would have to be Mrs. Requejo and Ms. Damron. Mrs. Requejo was my science teacher in 8th Grade, my first year at TFA. As a young person transitioning to an entirely new school and environment where I knew no one was certainly distressing and intimidating at times, but having a teacher like Mrs. Requejo certainly made that transition much easier. I remember looking forward to her class each day, not only because she herself was engaging, funny, and passionate about science, but also because she melded each of those pieces of herself into her lessons. 4-5 years later, I still remember things I learned in that class and used it quite extensively in high school classes like Chemistry and even on the SAT. Ms. Damron also combined her sense of humor and love of history into preparing us so well for our AP exam at the end of the year. Ultimately, these two teachers are my favorites because they have taught me about more than just science or history. I see they both cared (and still care) for me as an individual and desired for me not to just grow in knowledge, but in character and ultimately in knowing Jesus. Whether they know it or not, they have both taught me lessons about life worth its weight in gold. They have shaped how and why I live and lead, ultimately that God may be glorified in and through my life.
How has TFA made a difference in, or impacted your life?
TFA has made a difference in my life in the community it has given to me. Talking to friends who attend other public schools and even various private schools, it is evident it is difficult for them to find friends within their schools who will sharpen them and encourage them in their walks with the Lord. For myself, I think that is far from the truth as I have been a part of the same Bible Study the past couple years and through my years at TFA have found such great sisters in Christ at school who run this race alongside me, intercede on my behalf, remind me of the Gospel, and challenge me to love Jesus more.
How do you feel that The First Academy has prepared you for life after graduation?
I feel that in various regards, TFA has prepared me for life after graduation. In an academic sense, I feel extremely prepared to tackle college-level courses after having taken various AP level course offered at TFA with some wonderful teachers who have taught the content of each course, but also challenged me to take ownership over my own learning. I think it’s that kind of ownership that will prove to be invaluable as I go to college. Bible classes have also certainly deepened my understanding of God’s word, making independent Bible study even sweeter and impactful in my spiritual growth. Most importantly, the lessons I have learned from friends and teachers have shown me the value of meaningful relationships in my spiritual life and is another lesson I will carry with me as I enter a new season of my life after graduating!
What does it mean to you to be a The First Academy alumnus?
I cannot believe I will be graduating in only a few short months, but I think it is such an honor to be able to say that I will have graduated from an institution like TFA. I think it certainly means that I have been equipped, not just with knowledge and to think critically and intelligently, but also as a Christ-centered leader who can go wherever He may call to impact the world.
To view our previous spotlight on Jessica Meena, click HERE