During College Week, we want to spotlight several members of the Class of 2021 including Katelyn Warner, who has attended The First Academy since the 9th Grade.
What were the reasons you or your parents chose The First Academy?
My brother and I were very involved in the decision and after shadowing I knew I wanted to be here. But even more than that, many people from where we used to live kept pointing towards this school and it just felt like this is where God wanted us.
Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
I have served as Upper school President, Varsity Lacrosse Captain for 3 years, on the team for 4 and I earned the most improved award and leadership award. I’ve been in the band for 3 years and was the Band President this past year. We won 1st place overall in a National Competition. I serve as an Arnold Palmer Hospital volunteer and First Baptist Orlando drummer. I’m a member of Comfort Club, Royal Steel band, Rolling Royals, National Honor Society, National Science Honors Society, Royal Ambassadors, Mu Alpha Theta, Chaplain, Varsity Basketball, Royal Concert Band, TFA Chapel Band, Latin Honors Society, STEM club, and also served as a Royal-Thon volunteer, Snowball Express volunteer, earned AP scholar with distinction, the UPenn Book award, and Top 5 GPA.
Which colleges are you planning to apply to or have you applied to thus far?
I have applied to 8 colleges, but I also applied for and have recently won a 4 year national ROTC scholarship that allows me to choose full tuition at 1 of the three universities I had listed being interested in. My three options are Florida State University, DePaul University in Chicago, and Columbia University in New York City.
What do you plan to study in college and what are your long-term career goals?
I plan to study either biology, psychology, or neuroscience in college on a Pre-med track. Through ROTC I would be able to join the military as at least an officer and pursue a career in the military medical core.
Who are some of your favorite TFA teachers, and why?
It is so hard to list my favorite teacher as every teacher I have had at TFA has impacted my life in different ways. Mr. Snyder has helped me grow my leadership abilities and pushed me out of my comfort zone every year which has grown me not only as a musician but also as a person. Mrs. Markowitz taught me to love math and encourages me constantly. Mr. Hensley taught me to be curious and to always learn more. Ms. Pierre showed me to turn on a light when the sun won’t shine. All of my English teachers have taught me to think critically and have been there for me by pouring into me inside and outside of the classroom. No matter the subject, grade level, or difficulty my teachers have found ways to help me become a better person every time I walk into the classroom.
In one sentence, what did being a student at The First Academy mean to you?
To me being a TFA student means to go above and beyond while growing alongside and serving those around you.
How has TFA made a difference in, or impacted your life?
At TFA I have been able to grow not only academically but also in my faith and my relationships. I have had amazing teachers and friends that I know will always be there for me. I feel like this school is a place where students are encouraged and lifted up because of the welcoming atmosphere and the way the faculty is intentional in connecting with each student.
Do you feel that The First Academy has prepared you for life after graduation?
Yes with all the APs and extracurriculars I feel like I have been well prepared for college.
What is your favorite memory at TFA?
My favorite memories at TFA would have to be Friday night football games. As a part of the marching band, those games were always the highlight of my week. Everyone would come, we would dress up in face paint for different themes, drumline would bang on the stadium. It was the most fun I had in high school.
How have you grown in your walk with Christ since coming to TFA?
Before I came to TFA I probably was what you would call a lukewarm Christian. I knew everything about the Bible and God but it was just something I grew up with. I think the major turning point for me was when I found a group of girls at TFA who really knew who Jesus was personally. They would open up to each other and talk about how God is moving in their life and I just wanted that. And then summer of freshman year I decided that I didn’t want to be passive anymore. After that I was actively seeking to grow in my faith and teachers like Coach Oliver’s, Ms. Pierre’s, and Mrs. Crawford to name a few have been very encouraging for me and my walk with the Lord. Even though those teachers don’t teach a “Bible class” they still love the Lord and show that love to their students on a daily basis.
What was one spiritual insight you gained at TFA that has impacted your life the most?
The biggest impact on my walk with Jesus was the constant exposure to people who genuinely love the Lord which caused them to spread the joy that comes with that to everyone around them.
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?
To me love is being present and reaching out to people no matter the obstacle. This year especially it has been very hard to connect with people and loving others has been so crucial. I have learned that the little things like a wave in the hall way or a friendly text can be exactly what someone else needed that day.