During College Week, we want to spotlight several members of the Class of 2021 including Adrian Karam, who has attended The First Academy since the 1st Grade.
What were the reasons you or your parents chose The First Academy?
My parents wanted me at a school that valued both Christianity and academics. TFA was the perfect combination of the two.
Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
Most notably, I’m one of the two Student Body Presidents for the Upper School. It’s been a particular honor for me to serve in that role; it’s helped me become a better servant and improve my relationships with my classmates. Other than that, I’ve also been apart of Quizbowl, which is a Jeopardy Style sport against other schools, and served as a Chaplain.
Which colleges are you planning to apply to or have you applied to thus far?
I’m planning to attend the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor! Still, I’ve also applied to UNC-Chapel Hill, Yale, Duke, University of Georgia, UF, Alabama, George Washington University, Boston College, Clemson, University of Virginia, and Samford.
What do you plan to study in college and what are your long-term career goals?
I plan to study either Politics or Economics and hopefully attend Law School after college to either be a Criminal Defense Lawyer or Constitutional Lawyer. My dream would be to serve as a US Senator and help with Drug Reform.
Who are some of your favorite TFA teachers, and why?
There are so many wonderful teachers at TFA, but three stand out to me above the rest. First is Mr. Harrison. Not only is he a great teacher, but I feel like I can talk to him about anything. He understands many things about people my age that I think our parents or other adults don’t understand. Another teacher who comes to mind is Mr. Manning, who challenges us every day to think and pray about unreached people in the world. He’s helped me care more about people I never really thought about. The teacher that has had the most influence on me as a student was Mrs. Wasylik. I remember dealing with some personal issues my Freshman year. She did her best to encourage me and help me academically when I was very unmotivated.
In one sentence, what did being a student at The First Academy mean to you?
Being a student here meant investing in relationships with peers and teachers that have helped me improve my spiritual life.
How has TFA made a difference in, or impacted your life?
I’ll always remember TFA as one of the “giant impactors” in my life. The friendships I’ve built in this school have given me new perspectives on life and have shaped me into a better person.
Do you feel that The First Academy has prepared you for life after graduation?
I think in certain aspects it has. Classes such as Apologetics have helped me build a defense for my faith. I’m also grateful for certain teachers that have encouraged me to be apart of Christian organizations in college.
What is your favorite memory at TFA?
The first week of remote learning during the COVID pandemic was my favorite. It was the most inspiring week of my life. We’d make group chats for specific classes to surprise teachers. For example, we all brought our pets during class to surprise Ms. Damron. During the 12 years I’ve attended TFA, I had never seen our grade more united.
How have you grown in your walk with Christ since coming to TFA?
Before high school, I wasn’t very open about my personal life at all. It caused me to only think of all the bad things and made me feel alone. Because of that, I stopped caring about Christianity and wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with God. High School changed everything. The teachers and certain students helped me open up and be honest about many personal issues and have given me solid advice on how to tackle them. It was evident that God was in their life, and it caused me to want to pursue a relationship with Him around the middle of my Sophomore year.
What was one spiritual insight you gained at TFA that has impacted your life the most?
I think TFA has taught me the importance of serving the poor. It starts in lower school with the Haiti Shoeboxes. In high school, we have retreats at the beginning of the school year that help the poor in our community. I know I’m leaving TFA with a heart for people in need.
What does the school year them, “Greatest of These is Love,” mean to you and how have you incorporated in your day-to-day life this year?
It means that above all else, we are supposed to love others first. I’ve incorporated that into my life by listening to others more.