Written by Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School

As we enter the month of April every year, I begin to think about graduation. I think about the hearts and minds of our seniors as they finish up their time at The First Academy and prepare to take on new challenges. I pray that the three-fold cord that has been woven between the church, the school, and the home will remain intact as we send our Christian leaders out into the world each May. Recently, the parents of a few of our alumni reached out to me to share how their TFA graduates are making a difference in their communities. It was a blessing to me to know that our alumni are doing great things after leaving TFA. I hope it will be a blessing to you as well, whether you are a parent of a rising first-grade student or a graduating senior.

Brittany Smith graduated from The First Academy in 2015 and is currently a sophomore at Princeton University. She has had all A’s this semester and was part of the Princeton Volleyball team, who won the Ivy League Championships and went on to participate in the NCAA Championships. Her politics professor asked her to attend his graduate level course this semester, even though she is only in the second year of her undergraduate degree.

Matt Hey graduated from TFA in 2014. He is a junior at The University of Florida with a major in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology. His minor is in Disabilities in Society and he is Pre-Med. Matt has been chosen as the 2017-2018 University Scholar for the College of Medicine and was awarded Anderson Scholar Status in the fall of 2016. As a research assistant at the McKnight Brain Institute, he was chosen to present their research paper at a conference in Singapore. The paper was awarded Magna Cum Laude status. They are in the process of preparing to present their research in Paris in 2018.

Both of these academic accolades are wonderful, but what really struck me was what the parents shared with me about their choice to send their children to TFA and how because of that choice, their kids choose character before career and wisdom beyond scholarship on a daily basis. Brittany recently shared her testimony at an Athletes-in-Action meeting. She said, “Nothing in this world – sports, academics, social status – will ever fulfill you or give you the validation your heart truly desires, only God can do that.” Matt is involved with Dance Marathon for Kappa Sigma to benefit Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. He is a volunteer at Shands Medical Center and was chosen for a peer counseling program to help those with significant or terminal diagnoses.

Brittany and Matt’s parents told me that they are, of course, proud of the accomplishments of their children; but they are most proud of their strong convictions and passion to spread to Word of the love of Jesus Christ. To them, there was no better choice than The First Academy. They said, “There is a peace that comes with doing everything you can to help prepare your child for what happens after their high school graduation and that includes sending your child to The First Academy.”

I am so proud to call these fine young women and young man TFA alumni, and I look forward to what the class of 2017 will accomplish in the years ahead of them.

You can read more about the Portrait of a Graduate HERE