Upper School Student Life

Life as a High School Royal.

Upper School Royals

For more information on life as an Upper School Royal, click below.


Upper School Chapel

The First Academy’s Upper School Chapel partners with the First Orlando youth ministry to deliver a unique, exciting worship experience. Our high priority on academics is balanced with developing the spiritual life for each student; we strive to help students develop a Christian worldview by giving them a chance to put these ideas and values to practice here on campus, throughout our community, and around the world.

Based on Matthew 5:14-16, students are given opportunities to become Chaplains through the Student Leadership process and assist in planning, organizing and implementing weekly small group meetings. Student-led worship and discipleship groups help challenge students to grow more in their walk with Christ. Chapel band auditions are held in the spring semester of each school year. It is TFA’s mission to prepare students for life as Christian leaders.

Each Thursday throughout the school year, Upper School Chapel creates opportunities for students to speak to their peers, faculty to pour into students, and guest speakers to come and share their stories with students. Upper School Chapel takes place on Thursday mornings at 9:30 am at First Orlando’s Language Ministry Center. Parents are welcome to attend chapel. 

Upper School Clubs & Events

The Upper School offers several field trips and events throughout the school year, in addition to a variety of Student Leadership & Student Life opportunities that engage students from academics, athletics, fine arts, and beyond.

The Upper School student body is led by three senior Presidents who work with more than 50 junior and senior committee leaders. The committees include:

  • Chaplains
  • Comfort Club
  • Dance Marathon
  • Environmental
  • Fine Arts
  • Royal Ambassadors
  • Outreach
  • Student Life

Across the committees, more than 150 students work together planning student events like Homecoming, Dance Marathon, Chapel, Worship nights, service projects, and much more. Each committee is led by juniors and senior leaders.

Early in the spring semester applications go out for the following year’s Student Leadership system. Interested students should keep an out for email notifications as well as additional announcements.

Masterworks Challenge

When TFA students head off to college, they are going to encounter some of the greatest works ever written by ancient writers like Plato, Aristotle, and Confucius; classic plays by Shakespeare and Ibsen; modern classics by Hemingway, Austen, and Orwell. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a head start?

That is why TFA’s Masterworks Challenge was created. Every semester, one key work is selected to explore in a college seminar-style atmosphere. The voluntary program allows students to not only enjoy some of the best works of literature and philosophy ever written but also better prepare for the types of college classes that they will experience. Students who participate in the program also receive recognition at graduation for their participation.

There are two meetings required to participate. At the first meeting, students hear about the background of the work and any other pertinent information needed to understand it. Then, participants read the work on their own. Two months later, the group meets again to discuss the work together before each student completes a paper. By participating, students receive the benefit of broadened cultural awareness, practice with college-level literary analysis, and writing enhancement.

Global Scholars

The First Academy offers a unique opportunity for Upper School students to enrich their academic studies by traveling to pertinent sites and exploring the presence and influence of Christianity throughout human culture. Partnering with the Christian travel company Joshua Expeditions, this program offers a safe, engaging, and spiritually enriching experience for students. Participants will have the chance to earn elective credit, delve into required readings and seminar-style discussions, embark on a transformative travel experience, and culminate their journey with a reflective paper and presentation. This program is limited to Upper School students, with registration priority given to rising 12th-grade students, followed by rising 11th and 10th-grade students based on availability each year.

The Global Scholars Program offers a transformative opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of Christianity’s impact on human culture while exploring relevant historical and cultural sites. With a blend of academic rigor, spiritual exploration, and experiential learning, this program promises to be a memorable and rewarding experience for all participants.

The Upper School offers unique opportunities for students to participate in a variety of student lead clubs.

Upper School Honor Societies & Academic Clubs

  • International Thespian Society
  • Model UN
  • Mu Alpha Theta
  • National Chinese Honor Society
  • National Art Honor Society
  • National History Scholars Society
  • National Honor Society
  • National Latin Honor Society
  • Quill & Scroll International Honor Society
  • Quiz Bowl Academic Club
  • Science National Honor Society
  • Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica
  • Tri-M Music Honor Society

Upper School Student-Led Clubs

Students in the Upper School have the opportunity to participate in various field trips, dances and social events throughout their time at TFA, be it service, sport, or educationally based.

Dances include:

Trips include:

  • Senior Retreat
  • Senior Ski Trip
  • New York City Media Arts Trip
  • Passion Conference Trip

Please watch your email for information on these opportunities and directions on how to participate.

Each Fall TFA hosts Homecoming festivities that include a parade, king and queen coronation, a Homecoming football game and tailgate, spirit week, and powder-puff football game. The week is a whirl of color and fun. Students participate in the parade, cheer on their peers in class competitions and pep rallies, as well as many more homecoming theme-specific activities.

If you are an alumnus of TFA, please come and join us. Check out the school calendar to see when this year’s festivities are scheduled and plan on coming out to renew old friendships and make new ones.

Events Include:

  • Pep Rallies
  • Fashion Show
  • Hall Decorating
  • Themed Days
  • Parade
  • Carnival
  • Football Game and Coronation
  • Homecoming Dance

Download the Homecoming Packet | Purchase Homecoming Dance Tickets

Senior Year is filled with traditions and life-long memories at The First Academy, including:

Senior Retreat

Each year seniors begin the school year with a multi-day retreat. This retreat is designed to strengthen the bonds of friendship within the class and focus them on their last year of secondary education. One of our goals is to begin to prepare students for college in earnest. This retreat allows the seniors to set the tone for their class and, in leading by example, for the school. It is a great time of renewal, focus, and fellowship for our seniors.

Breckenridge Ski Trip

This yearly trip is available to seniors and represents the final class trip of their secondary educational experience. For the last several years the destination has been Breckenridge, Colorado, which represents a radically different atmosphere for the Florida student. While the focus is on fun, year in and year out, this trip pulls students out of their comfort zone and, for many, provides an opportunity to accomplish things they never possible. It is a confidence-builder as seniors look ahead to the remaining few weeks before graduation and then to college beyond.

Senior Events Calendar

For a complete list of senior year events, including Senior Recharge and Lunches, subscribe to the Upper School Calendar.

Academic Advising & College Application Process

Senior Photos & Yearbook

Seniors are required to submit the following photos by Friday, September 30.

  • Formal Photo (taken at DSP’s Studio)
  • Informal (Casual) Photo
  • Kindergarten Photo
  • Baby Photo

Senior Thesis

One of the seminal components of The First Academy’s mission is to create Christian leaders, and the school has pursued this goal impressively, which culminates senior year through the Senior Thesis paper and presentation.