INDOWS SUMMER 2018
CELEBRATING MS. HEPPERT’S RETIREMENT THE JOINERS: THREE GENERATIONS STRONG WHY STEM EDUCATION? START COLLEGE RIGHT AWAY OR TAKE A GAP YEAR? VISIT US ONLINE AT WSA.NET
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LEARNING MINDS, LIVING FAITH WINDOWS MAGAZINE
Published for alumni, family, and friends of Westminster Schools of Augusta 3067 Wheeler Road Augusta, GA 30909 706.731.5260 | wsa.net Westminster seeks to glorify God by providing an excellent education that equips students to live extraordinary lives for Jesus Christ.
2017-18 ADMINISTRATION Brian Case Head of School Mike Freace Upper School Principal Tracy Lutz Middle School Principal Sue Ames Lower School Principal Andrew Bryan Athletic Director Carrie Brigham Director of Admissions Andy Lee Director of Advancement Windows Editor, Design & Layout: Dawna Houston Contributing photographers: Kim Barfield, Abigayle Kelly ’18, Michael Iwama, Cynthia Kucela, Amy Owen, Virginia Shelley, Katherine Smith, Kristen Wolf, and Carter Koenig Photography. Special thanks to contributing writers: Haley Barinowski ’12, Bronson Tharpe ’19, Brielle Smith ’15, and Rhonda Barinowski Cover: Elliott Shaver is using one of the Lower School’s Lego Boost kits to build and code with Vernie the Robot. Elliott will be in second grade in the fall.
he Westminster difference begins with dedicated, inspiring teachers and coaches that seek to bring glory to God by preparing minds to live out faith in a challenging world. Step on our campus during a regular school day and you’ll see faith-infused learning happening everywhere: in the classroom, during academic club periods, on the athletic fields, in chapel, during advisory periods, and in the fine arts arena. And you’ll also find ambitious students in all grade levels who have a love for learning, are compelled to learn outside of their comfort zone, and strive for excellence in all endeavors. Take, for example, our fourth graders. I am so impressed by the creativity and ingenuity of these students every time I attend the annual Invention Convention. Held in February, this signature project and event begins with a study of famous inventors and entrepreneurs, and then challenges each student to conceptualize an invention to address a real-world problem. The culminating activity is a demonstration and display of their innovative work in a convention-like setting. From special shoe warmers to magnetic pencils, to pet food that can be safely consumed by dogs and cats, students demonstrate their inventions in front of family members and teachers. Last fall, Patrick Joiner, a rising sixth grader, was invited to appear on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” during their GE Fallonventions segment to share his Rake Hands 5,000 invention. As Invention Convention challenges minds to imagine and think critically, projects like this also prepare students for the 21st century workforce. Another example is our division-specific leadership programs where students prepare for the challenges of leading others. In the Middle School, the leadership program is the training ground for students to learn how to serve others and work together. During a recent Middle School chapel, while the student body waited for worship to begin, an eighth grade leader stood unprompted before her peers and shared her interpretation of a worship song by applying it to her life. The audience was silent as the young lady boldly professed her faith and led the assembly in prayer. Chapel is not just an everyday event at Westminster, but an arena to instill the truth of God’s word and witness the results of the gospel in the lives of students. As Westminster students excel in the classroom, they also develop their minds and live out their faith through the challenges of competition and performance in the Upper School. This year’s senior class set the bar high with eight student-athletes signing college scholarships. In addition, this year’s Girls Varsity Basketball team accomplished more than any other girls basketball team by winning their first Region Championship and competing in the Final Four state basketball tournament. On top of that, the Boys Varsity Soccer team won their fifth consecutive state championship, an accomplishment never before attained by any GISA team! The 2017-18 school year also showcased two award-winning drama productions and several highly rated individual performances at the GISA State Literary competition. Also, for the first time, a Westminster student was recognized with a National Silver Medal for her artwork, “Rabbit Refreshments” in the annual Scholastic Writing and Arts Award competition, one of the highest honors a high school student can receive in the arts. Westminster’s impressive senior class had their minds, bodies, and spirits challenged in myriad ways. Their faithful presence will be missed at Westminster, but each one, armed with the gospel message, will carry it with them wherever the Lord takes them next. After 46 years of committed, focused, mission-driven leadership from administrators, teachers, and coaches, the value of a Westminster education still stands true. Westminster continues to prepare students for some of the nation’s best colleges and universities, but more importantly, produces graduates that are mentally and spiritually ready to make a positive impact on the world around them. There is no doubt that Westminster is sending out students prepared and ready to make an impact in the of name Jesus Christ.
Brian Case Head of School
2 Q&A with the New Upper School Principal 4 Celebrating Ms. Heppert’s Retirement 6 The Joiners: Three Generations Strong 8 Why STEM Education?
22 A Look Inside AP Studio Art
26 Finishing Well: Leaving a Christ-centered Legacy
38 Start College Right Away or Take a Gap Year?
Brandon Smith, a four-year starter of the Varsity Boys Soccer team, set the school’s goalkeeper record, “Goals Against Average,” during his freshman year and has held the record ever since.
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Q A & FEATURE
BY BRONSON THARPE ‘19
n late February, Head of School Brian Case announced the appointment of Mrs. Cindy Bramhall ’01 as the new Upper School principal beginning July 1. She succeeds Mike Freace who is leaving Westminster to answer God’s call to full-time ministry with Missionary Athletes International in Charlotte, North Carolina. “As a current teacher and an alumna from the Class of 2001, Mrs. Bramhall has a love for the school and a solid understanding of our mission. She brings with her school-wide experience, enthusiasm, and a strong commitment to Christian education,” said Mr. Case. “She is well-known in the community, is active at her church, First Presbyterian Church of Augusta, and has been a true leader in the school over the past seven years. I look forward to working with her in her new role at Westminster.” I had the privilege of interviewing Mrs. Bramhall about her new position. Through this interview, she demonstrates a clear passion for working through the lives of Westminster students by connecting a Christian worldview to a superb college-prep education. The following are edited excerpts from our conversation. Q What are you passionate about professionally? A I love that we integrate a Christian worldview into our curriculum. That’s one of the areas that I’m passionate about— how we can do that in a meaningful way and how we can get students to see everything through the lens of Christianity. How is a math class different when taught with a Christian worldview? Or a language, like in my Latin class? I love that we have the opportunity to point everything back to an omnipotent Creator.
Also, I like to encourage people to do their best. Whether it’s students, teachers, or colleagues— we all want to do our best— ultimately, because we want it to be for the glory of God. We hold ourselves to this standard of excellence because that’s how God has made us. I’m passionate about helping people to meet their potential, whatever that may be. I want to help them find that niche to which God has called them: what are their gifts and how can they use them for His glory? Q How do you evaluate success? A In general, I think if you have grown and improved, then there is some level of success there. To measure success, it is important to set goals for yourself in each new endeavor, which is another way that you can evaluate how you’re doing. In a school setting, I don’t think that success is only evaluated by the grades you make. It’s more of the progress, the growth and development that come alongside, learning, and the attitude with which you achieve those goals. Q So would you say that “general success” and “academic success” are similar in the way that you gauge them? A I think they are very similar. Whether it is general success or academic success, I tend to focus on growth and development instead of just the end result. In the classroom, I like to focus on whether we are gaining skills, whether we are growing, whether we are better today than we were yesterday. I think these ideas apply to academic as well as general success.
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Mrs. Bramhall taught in the Middle School at Westminster for the past seven years. She has served as 7th grade academic dean and has provided leadership outside of the classroom as a Middle School Bible study leader and cheerleading coach. Prior to teaching at Westminster, she established the Latin programs at Hillcrest High School and North Augusta High School. A Westminster graduate and National Merit Scholar, Mrs. Bramhall earned a Bachelor of Arts in Greek and Latin from Furman University, graduating summa cum laude.
Q What will it be like to transfer from middle to high school? A I think there will be different… issues [laughs.] It will be interesting for the students, because I’ve known and taught most of them as middle schoolers, and now they’ve matured as high schoolers. Literally, some of them have grown about a foot! I am looking forward to getting to know the student body again and seeing what the Lord has done in their lives. There’s also a different kind of pressure that comes with high school, because now everything counts and students are looking towards college and the future. Everything seems a little bit more serious, like every decision you make has the potential to affect your future in a major way. The maturity level is also different; students are grappling with their faith and making it their own, figuring out where they fit in the world, etc. It’s just a broader scheme of issues. I’m excited to build deeper relationships with these older students and help them navigate through some of their decisions. Q You said that the programs here are similar to when you were a student. In what ways do you think the school has changed? A Over the years we have added programs and given students more opportunities for learning, leadership, service, and exploring their talents. Technology has also changed many aspects of the school, both in how we teach and communicate. I am excited to see the 1:World program extend into the Upper School this coming year. Also, some of the logistics have changed: there are new
buildings, a separate middle school, a different schedule, a wonderful lunch program. Also, football! When I was here we didn’t have football, so I cheered for soccer. Looking back, that was kind of weird [laughs]. I also love that we have the Portrait of a Graduate document to detail what the end goal is. Having that end goal in mind has helped focus and refine how and why we do the things that we do and has made us even stronger. Q How do you think your experience as a former student will impact your job as the new Upper School principal? A It’s a unique perspective, because I went to school here. Granted it was a while ago. Having gone through pretty much the same program and experience that students are going through now helps me understand the specific struggles students have at Westminster: feeling overwhelmed by the workload, feeling pressure to get into a certain college, feeling like you do not have time to do all the things you want or need to do. Having shared those same feelings will help me problem-solve and think through some of the scenarios that students have, hopefully to alleviate some of that pressure. I will be able to say to them, “I know where you’re coming from, because I took 9 AP classes, played multiple sports and sang in the Chorale, etc., so I get it.” Students feel this huge weight of pressure to be perfect or not make any mistakes, which is something I can relate to. I can also assure students that the process is worth it, because now I am on the other side of it and can see the many invaluable ways that Westminster prepared me both for college and life.
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CELEBRATING MS. HEPPERT’S RETIREMENT BY VIVIAN HORNSBY, ART TEACHER
arlier this year, I had the opportunity to talk with Ms. Mary Donnan Heppert about what it has been like to teach for over a quarter of a century at Westminster. I also wanted to know where she gets her inspiration. Affectionately known as “MD” to her closest friends, she retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year, her 29th as the art teacher in the Lower School. Ms. Heppert leaves behind a rich legacy. She has opened a world of imagination and endless creativity to not only students, but to all who visit and work at Westminster. When you walk through the corridors in Pamplin Hall, art is a living, breathing part of the Lower School, much of it because of her passion. She transformed an empty classroom and the hallways into a museum of vibrant colors and patterns that extend to every bulletin board and wall throughout the building. Ms. Heppert said she discovered her love of art in second grade. During reading time Ms. Heppert would eagerly seek out books with the best illustrations. She chose her books based on drawings and not the stories. She laughingly recalls that she was already an image snob at age 7. Her grandmother, also an artist, planted the seed of creativity and the Holy Spirit fed it, growing it into what it is today. Ms. Heppert describes herself as a child of God and seeks His guidance in every part of her life. Because she believes she is a co-teacher with the Lord, she relies on Him to direct her as she creates new lessons, asking Him each day, “What shall You have me teach?” The Lord brings people to Westminster in the most fascinating ways. Ms. Heppert came to Augusta for the first time with a college friend one summer. Finding herself drawn to the area and First Presbyterian Church of Augusta, she decided to stay. For nine years she taught at Augusta Christian before teaching at Westminster. It was her roommate, the Lower School PE teacher Westminster, who told her about an opening for a fifth grade teacher. When she applied, she was told by the former headmaster, Matt Gossage, that the position had already been filled. But, there was a position open for an art teacher. However, because Ms. Heppert’s first experience with teaching art was in a public middle school with 600 students and a $100 budget for the year, she had vowed never to teach art again. “I came to realize that God has a sense of humor, and His sovereignty reigns forever. After praying about it, my heart became alive with the thought of teaching a subject I am so passionate about, and the thought of integrating math, science, and history with the expressive nature of a creative God thrilled me,” she said. She was offered the job the very next day.
“She has taught me much about art, children, and helped strengthen my faith in God.” —Rebecca Pittman
Twenty-nine years later, Ms. Heppert’s room is filled with images from floor to ceiling, spilling onto the windows and out the door. This is where creation happens. “There is a joy of making things with your hands,” she said.
“I have always looked up to her for her confidence and for not being ashamed to talk about the Lord.” —Caroline Campbell ‘19 4 | WINDOWS • SUMMER 2018
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“ The number of students who have taken a seat on the large carpet in her room are too many to count. Ms. Heppert teaches how God’s glory and grace is exemplified through artists who have been studied over the centuries. Students have been carried to far away places, such as Italy and Africa, and to medieval times and present day to learn about art history and techniques. When you visit her classroom, Ms. Heppert allows you to see how the Holy Spirit moves through artists’ lives, even in their sufferings, to create beautiful images that have inspired artists of every age. How many of you remember your carpet-time lessons and the world of art in Ms. Heppert’s class?
placed the desire for artistic self-expression into every human race, making art the international language of truth and beauty. “You don’t have to speak the same language to communicate, and there is a desire to be creative whether or not you know God. His fingerprints are all over the world,” she said.
and emboldens the young. She is a sister in Christ and a Christian artist in her teachings, in her thoughts, in the way she speaks, and through her service.
Finally, Ms. Heppert has been my guiding light and endless supporter for 12 years. Without her faith and prayers, I would not have come to Westminster. It was she who Westminster’s achievements in art stem encouraged me to apply for my current from the foundation Ms. Heppert has built job and anchored me in my gift as an art over nearly three decades. Students have teacher. The story of how God led me here is nothing short of a miracle, one which I readily share when given the opportunity. I could not be more blessed by the way God joined our paths, and I know she has traveled with many of you on your paths as well. She is my dear friend and art sister, my prayer warrior Caroline Cain ‘14 and spiritual advisor, and an inspiration for me to become the best version of myself. won over 2,000 awards locally, statewide, and nationally thanks to her guidance. She Ms. Mary Donnan Heppert’s legacy of is also well-known and respected in the truth, beauty, and excellence will remain Augusta art community. with me and with many in the Westminster community always. Ms. Heppert’s gifts go well beyond building the arts program at Westminster. She is A NOTE OF THANKS FROM MS. HEPPERT: a spiritual warrior who lovingly fears the Thank you to the multitudes of parents who Lord and leads people to salvation. She volunteered as art helpers over the years, and has spent years serving with International especially Rebecca Pittman and Danielle Link, hosting families and decorating for Durrell, two faithful volunteers who have been international banquets. She has taught a constant help in the art room for several years. Bible studies and given devotions that inspire others. She cares for the elderly
“[Her] class was my favorite part of school...a group of my friends and I spent most of our 5th grade recess periods in the art room working on projects or cleaning art brushes just because we liked being there so much; she used to call us her ‘Art Angels.’” --
After receiving a B.A. in Art from James Madison University and before she started teaching full time, Ms. Heppert spent 16 months working with missionary friends in South Korea. This is one of nine mission trips in which she has participated in various parts of the world. She also has taken several art history trips, traveling with a class to places like London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Florence, Munich, Rome, and, well, just about all of the amazing places many only dream of visiting. With every visit, she spends time appreciating how God has
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THE JOINERS: THREE GENERATIONS STRONG BY HALEY BARINOWSKI ‘12
ot long after she started teaching at Westminster, Julia Joiner was invited to participate in a class fundraising challenge night during which she and two other women would spend the night in a tent near the front of Westminster’s campus. She jumped in The Joiners pictured from left to right: (Front row) Patrick ’25, Cassie ’24, Allison ’21; wholeheartedly. Her enthusiasm was an (Back Row) Brad Jr. ’22, Brian ’96, Rusty, Julia, Laura Lee ’92, and Brad ’92. early indicator of how she and her family would embrace this community (and be embraced in return for years to come.) joy to share my faith across the curriculum,” she said. “I often told them that the Bible is your basic instructions before leaving Earth.” The Joiners credit the Lord with leading them to Westminster. In Each week, she gave her students an index card with a Bible verse of 1990, Julia and her husband Rusty moved to Augusta for Rusty’s the week, equipping them with a ring full of wisdom to take with job. After finding First Presbyterian Church, Rusty discovered them at the end of the year – and a resource that turned out to be a Westminster while driving around Augusta. Not long after that, he valuable source of encouragement for her when she battled cancer met Matt Gossage, who was the headmaster at the time. The two in 2017. The way she lived out her faith in the classroom came back developed a friendship, and the Joiners decided Westminster was to her during that difficult season when floods of former students the right school for their family. At the time, Julia was teaching reached out to her, revealing the impact she had in their lives. kindergarten at another school in Augusta, but was able to join her sons at Westminster three years later as a teacher. Julia discovered the environment at Westminster to be the perfect fit as a parent and as a teacher. She praises the hospitality she received, Over her 24 years of teaching third grade, Julia became a wellrecalling the times when friends in the Westminster community known and well-loved presence on the campus. As class after class took her to her sons’ away games because job changes required of “Joiner boys and girls” passed through Rusty to move to St. Simons temporarily. her room, she taught them not only She found that the teachers loved and the necessary academic lessons, but also supported the students, and the students important truths about how to have fun. were eager to work hard when they knew She maintained that her students were their teachers cared about them. “Whether children first, making laughter and fun a you’re an artist, scholar, or athlete, crucial part of her teaching philosophy. Westminster is accepting and wants you to experience whatever you want to do,” she For example, each January, she turned said. a routine binder clean-out into her infamous “Paper Snowball Fight,” and The inviting atmosphere is exactly what on Wednesdays, she often gave extra drew Julia’s son Brad back to his alma time on regular math drills in honor mater. When the Joiner family first moved of “Hump Day.” She turned classroom to Augusta in 1990, Brad jumped into responsibilities and errands into highly the Westminster community quickly, coveted assignments, and she was even but before he even enrolled, he met a Brad Joiner, right, accepting an award at the known to participate in her students’ Westminster student who would be an Middle School Honors Night in May from Mr. antics – including presiding as judge over Evan English. important part of his story – his future wife a student-initiated trial to determine Laura Lee Rihl. Both Brad and Laura Lee whether a certain classmate said a certain word too often. graduated in 1992, and after marriage and life took them elsewhere, they returned to Augusta in 2013. Brad now teaches history at As she emphasized the importance of fun, she also reinforced Westminster, and the couple has three children enrolled– Cassie seeking the Lord as the ultimate source of guidance. “It was such a (Class of 2024), Brad, Jr. (Class of 2022), and Alli (Class of 2021).
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Both Brad and Laura Lee agreed that Westminster’s academic preparation allowed them to be far ahead of their classmates when they entered college, but the training they received didn’t stop there. “I believe that one of the biggest lessons that I took away was confidence that I can have in my faith,” Brad said. “The reasonableness of Christianity combined with its inherent compassion for others was not only explicitly taught but modeled by teachers that really knew their subjects and cared about me.”
Bee and has also enjoyed playing multiple sports. Alli speaks highly of the friends she has found at Westminster and of how kind her teachers have been to her. Patrick has also experienced some exciting opportunities at Westminster. Because of his 4th grade project for the Invention Convention, Patrick was selected to join two other students from the nation on the “GE Fallonvention” segment on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” where he demonstrated the function of his “Rake Hands 5000” and received a check from General Electric as a reward for his invention.
“Patrick has benefited greatly from the opportunities that Westminster has provided him - obviously the Patrick Joiner during his appearance on “The “By the time I graduated, I was special appearance on the Tonight Show, but also Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” comfortable in my faith and participating in plays, sports and art competitions,” well prepared to remain firm Brian said. “When you combine these aspects with in my relationship with Christ in the midst of a variety of other the preeminence of Christ, Westminster is special.” world views,” Laura Lee said. “Because Westminster maintained excellence in both academic and Christian standards, I was able Like many other Westminster families, the Joiners have not only to meet a much more secular world (science, dance, and theater) soaked up all that is offered, but also have poured back into the understanding the reasonableness of Christianity so that my faith school over multiple generations. Westminster is better because of would not be shaken. Having this firm foundation has allowed families like this who embrace and invest in the school’s mission. me to bear witness that a Christian can be strong in faith and also Many thanks to the Joiners for their special role in the Westminster compassionate, intelligent, and logical.” community! Brad’s brother Brian was not far behind them in school, graduating in 1996. “The one thing that I feel Westminster offered me was the opportunity to try many different activities as a student,” he said. “From sports to fine arts, there were many opportunities available to me at Westminster that I might not have had the opportunity to explore somewhere else. These opportunities have helped me to be a wellCassie Joiner in “Mary Poppins.” rounded adult.” Westminster was so impactful, in fact, that Brian’s son Patrick, who starts Middle School in the fall, is following in his footsteps. “What drew me to Westminster as a parent is the fact that Patrick would be going to a school where the teachers are believers, who would love Patrick as their mission, pray for him and love him sacrificially,” Brian said. Patrick and his cousins are experiencing just that. Carrying on the legacy of their parents and grandparents, the third generation of Joiners is making the most of their Westminster experience. In addition to her academics, Cassie has also been involved in the one-act play and the spring musical. In all her endeavors, she feels that her teachers have been loving and caring and have encouraged her to be centered on Christ. Brad, Jr. had the chance to participate in the Georgia National Geographic State
Laura Lee ’92 and Allison Joiner painting a set for “Mary Poppins.”
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WHY STEM EDUCATION?
In the fall, students in the Upper school formed a robotics team, and named their team, the West Tech Sentinels. 8 | WINDOWS â€¢ SUMMER 2018
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WHY STEM? Consider these facts: • According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM jobs have doubled in proportion to all jobs since the industrial revolution, and those who have STEM degrees have higher incomes, even in non-STEM careers. • Occupations with the fastest growth and highest needs such as biomedical engineers, network systems administrators, data communications analysts, and medical scientists, all call for degrees in STEM fields. • The Obama Administration felt strongly enough to make STEM education a priority with the president’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign. • Our current administration recently called for a boost of $200 million a year to make STEM a greater priority for the Department of Education.
WHAT IS STEM? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. You may see it referred to more recently as STEAM, the “A” added to represent art. The goal of STEM education in schools across the globe is to equip young people with the necessary skills and backgrounds to succeed in the future workforce. STEM education is a cross-curricular approach to learning in which students apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts to real-world problems or situations and design potential solutions. For example, NASA plans to set foot on Mars in the next 20 years, and driverless cars are already being tested on the road. We’ve had the warmest decade on record worldwide and the Baby Boomer generation is aging. According to the Smithsonian Science Education center, China’s energy consumption grew by 134 percent over the last decade and will continue to grow, placing more demand on global energy. The next generation will be responsible for making informed decisions about these issues and more, making STEM education critical for success.
ADVANCING STEM AT WESTMINSTER We are off to a solid start to advance STEM initiatives in our curriculum with the launching of the 1:World program in the Middle School, which we featured in an article in the fall 2017 issue of Windows. Launched in August 2017, the 1:World program provides each student in grades six through eight with a MacBook Air to be used at home and school to enhance their learning experience. Teachers received training before the school year to effectively integrate the use of this new tool into their classes. The program was very successful and will not only continue in our Middle School, but will be expanded to grades nine and 10 in the fall and to grades 11 and 12 in the 2019-20 school year. With our Strategic Plan and the Vision for Technology Use Statement as guides, the 1:World program is designed to help students develop the 21st century skills they will need to be successful in the future. The laptops are great tools for the STEM initiatives we have planned in the Middle and Upper School because the devices equip students with a way to nurture their curiosity
through research and allow them to engage with experts around the world. It also fosters efficient collaboration and idea sharing with the outside world through digital media. In that same issue of Windows, we also mentioned a partnership with the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) to begin integrating more STEM and computer science units seamlessly across the curriculum. Teachers in all three divisions participated in training with NICERC in the fall and many have utilized parts of the NICERC curriculum for special project-based learning activities throughout this past school year. In June, several of our teachers participated in the annual Education Discovery Forum for K-12 teachers that was held in Augusta. Sponsored by NICERC, the three-day conference focused on the 21st century learning environment and the importance of introducing the concept of “cyber” into all disciplines. In a recent article in The Augusta Chronicle, Nancy Limauro, Homeland Security’s deputy branch chief of cyber education and awareness said, “Experts predict 1.8 million cybersecurity jobs by 2020. Many of those jobs will be in ‘critical systems’ such as water utilities, which are increasingly becoming a target. To help secure these systems, we need to get the advantage to the defenders.” CSRA officials are projecting over 8,500 people will move to this area by 2020 as a result of the Army relocating its Cyber Command at Fort Gordon. Cyber will continue to be an extremely important industry in our immediate community and in the nation at-large for years to come. Although we are confident that some of our graduates will go on to excel in the world of cyber and cybersecurity, the aim of a Westminster education has not changed. We remain committed to preparing our students to live extraordinary lives for Christ in whatever field they choose to pursue. The world will need creative problem solvers who are armed with a biblical worldview to help navigate ethical and legal frameworks for issues not only related to cyber, but in all fields. And, we believe that STEM education is one way that we can prepare our students to succeed wherever God calls them. STEM education is already intertwined into our curriculum throughout all three divisions. Here are some examples: During the 2017-18 school year, each teacher in the Lower School developed a STEAM/STEM unit to ensure that students in every grade level were exposed to STEM learning. In December, students in the Lower School participated in STEM Day during which all grade levels participated in ageappropriate STEM activities. Toymakers, architects, engineers, and snow-makers filled every classroom and were engaged in various activities including making toys out of regular household objects and building bridges out of gum drops and toothpicks that could withstand a maximum weight load. One class designed catapults to see who could launch cotton balls and marshmallows the farthest. Another made three dimensional snowflakes out of copy paper using just scissors and glue sticks. If a student’s first design was unsuccessful, they were given the opportunity to take what they learned and try again with a new design and additional materials to help shape and modify their design.
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“Students are coming to class with computer skills learned at home, but need the critical thinking skills and grit required to keep them working on a problem until it is solved.” The students were challenged to design a self-propelled space rover using just ordinary materials from an office supply closet— cardboard, masking tape, rubber bands of various sizes, paper clips, straws and pencils.
In lieu of end of semester exams in December, sixth grade students worked on a NICERC STEM project. Middle School Principal Tracy Lutz worked with Kendra Sue Finch to develop a week-long STEM project for sixth graders to complete in lieu of semester exams last December. The project was an adapted NICERC unit that required students to go through the engineering process to meet a real-world need. Each group was assigned a different country with geographical and political challenges and tasked to design a container to safely air drop supplies. To complete the project, students engaged in all four areas of STEM, working with content that exceeded many sixth grade learning standards. They learned about lift and drag, potential and kinetic energy, and about the geography and the political situation in the country where their refugees were stranded. The students were thrilled when the Augusta Fire Department showed on the final day to assist with the air drop from their ladder truck. Mrs. Shaw’s eighth grade physical science class and Mr. Greiner’s seventh grade earth science class participated in the Savannah River Site (SRS) Teach-in Program with three SRS engineers, including Westminster parent Bill Jeffords. The Teach-in program is an annual outreach program by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions that fosters student interest in STEM fields and provides a broader understanding of the field of engineering, primarily to students in seventh grade. This was the first year Westminster participated in the program.
“I loved that the activity the engineers brought made our kids think critically and work together with their peers to solve a problem,” Mrs. Shaw said. “Another part of the presentation that impacted my students was the information on what it takes to be an engineer. The speakers were clear about the requirements needed to get into a strong program and the skills necessary to be successful. I am hopeful that we can have them back next year.” The Robotics team formed in the Upper School in fall 2017 is another example of STEM at Westminster. “We currently participate in the FRC robotics league. This is a well-known league which tasks the students each year with constructing a new robot within six weeks to participate in a specific challenge,” said team advisor Mr. Hoffbauer. “With assistance from mentors who guide them in technical aspects, the students must design, construct, and operate the robot at competitions, leading up to a prestigious world championship. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to obtain work-applicable STEM and business experience. Not only do students have to build and program the machine, but they must also run and manage the financial aspect of the team.” If you’re interested in working with the team, please contact Mr. Hoffbauer at email@example.com. You can also follow the team on Instagram at @wsarobotics.
As part of the teach-in, each of the engineers shared information about their own career experiences and the academic path they had to follow to get to where they are today. They also showed a short clip from “Apollo 13,” in which a team of engineers had to improvise an adapter using only random parts available on the Lunar Module. The scene was a great example of a team working collaboratively to solve a real life-or-death situation.
Seventh grade earth science students design a self-propelled space rover with ordinary office supplies.
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Students in first grade were tasked to build the tallest self-standing tower with only straws and tape.
FUTURE PLANS Although we’ve made significant strides in the past few years, we are excited to share our plans for the 2018-19 school year: • We will expand the 1:World program in grades 9-10. Teachers have prepared through a minimum of 15 training hours to integrate technology in meaningful ways into the Upper School curriculum. • Students may enroll in Westminster’s first online class, Intro to U.S. Government. Developed by Mr. Bell, this class will expose students to the blended learning experiences they will likely face in college. This is a project-based class in which students complete assignments online and meet weekly with the teacher for guidance. • The AP Computer Science Principles class will be offered for the first time starting in August. In this course, students will learn programming through a more creative approach and will utilize technology to propose creative solutions to real-world problems. • Teachers across all three divisions will implement adapted NICERC units into their curriculum as a way to engage students in more Project-Based Learning/STEM-learning experiences. • A semester-long course for sixth graders will be added that combines study skills with STEM projects. • Mr. Ham will teach Computer Science Fundamentals, a new class for students in seventh grade using the NICERC curriculum. This course will be hands-on and project-based, offering a unique computing platform to engage students in an immersive exploration of the breadth of computer science.
• In the Lower School, Technology Innovation Learning Time (TILT), will replace the former Computer course. It will continue to include computer basics, but now incorporates the 4C’s of 21st century learning: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity as a foundation for the new curriculum. Students will use Ozobots, Lego Boost Kits, Wonder Bots, 3D pens, IO Blocks, and more to incorporate these learning objectives. Also new for the 2018-2019 school year is an XYZ Davinci Jr 3D printer that will be used in TILT to create real-world solutions to everyday problems. “Students are coming to class with computer skills learned at home, but need the critical thinking skills and grit required to keep working on a problem until it is solved. That is what this new curriculum will provide,” says Jenni Shaver, the TILT teacher. A good foundation for integrating STEM education into our curriculum has been laid this past year, and we will continue to coordinate and build relationships with external organizations to give our students the best tools available to be successful in college and beyond. While staying true to the vision and mission of the school, the curriculum and the manner of teaching will continue to evolve to reflect the realities of a world tightly intertwined with science, technology, engineering, and math. More than merely reciting facts and mimicking a “method,” there will be an increasing emphasis on developing problem-solving skills while addressing real-world problems. Through the integration of STEM, we hope to develop curious learners and creative problem-solvers who are equipped with the skills they need to live out God’s calling and ensure success beyond Westminster.
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49 GRADUATES RECEIVE DIPLOMAS AT 35TH COMMENCEMENT BY BRIELLE SMITH ‘15
estminster’s 35th Commencement Ceremony was filled with both reflection and passion. Salutatorian Kylie Duckworth began by sharing her appreciation of the “abundance of character and passion” and “diversity in talent and ability” that her classmates have demonstrated over the years. After citing specific memories with her classmates, Kylie said, “We have endured in our faith and in the constant encouragement we have been able to offer each other when the going gets tough. For that, I am so proud of us.”
“I believe it is our duty and our mandated stewardship to will a better world into existence, to create what needs to be created and to reject the idea of an unacceptable tomorrow.”
Kylie reminded her fellow graduates of their potential, referencing the faculty and parents when she said, “All of these people believe you can succeed, that you can make a difference. Each of you has your own uniqueness and talent to liven up this world.” Head of School Brian Case followed with remarks and special thanks to the families and friends of the Class of 2018, the dedicated board of trustees, and the faculty and staff for “their tireless commitment to strong Christian, college preparatory education.” Mr. Case also presented this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award to Dr. Keith Hearon from the Class of 2005. He described him as a
man who “understands very well that he has not arrived, but must always seek improvement while striving to finish all things well.” Dr. Hearon inspired the Class of 2018 with a story from his life about endurance and perseverance through unexpected challenges. He shared the trials from his experience going from a researcher at MIT and a student in MIT’s business school to co-founder of a company, working tirelessly “to invent to survive.” Dr. Hearon reflected on his time at Westminster and shared how his experience as a student here taught him “to compete, to communicate, to fight, to compromise, to win, to lose, and, most importantly, to learn.” In closing, Dr. Hearon shared with the graduates a captivating thought.“I believe it is our duty and our mandated stewardship to will a better world into existence, to create what needs to be created and to reject the idea of an unacceptable tomorrow.” Valedictorian Caroline Vickery gave thanks to everyone who touched the lives of the Class of 2018, especially the faculty for being willing to sacrifice their own time and having a genuine interest in the lives of the students. She took a moment to individually recognize, by name, each of the faculty and staff members who will not be returning to Westminster in the fall. Then she led everyone in applauding them for their contributions to the school. Caroline described her graduating class as “the good class,” recognizing how unique they truly were. She also
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challenged her fellow classmates: “let us strive to be unashamed to live and glorify God,” referring to this year’s school theme. Quoting Galatians 5:13-14, Caroline reminded the Class of 2018 that they are receiving freedom, but must use it as God would see fit. “Let us make the walk humbly but also with excitement, knowing that we have been well-prepared to advance into independence and empowered to live boldly according to the principles rooted in us,” she said in closing.
“How will the world be changed because you are in it?”
Dr. Bill Pearson, associate professor in the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy at Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia, gave the Commencement address. Dr. Pearson and his wife, Elaine, have developed campus ministries at Augusta College, MCG, and the Summer Medical Institute in Latino North Philadelphia. Dr. Pearson also established the Longwood Christian Community at Harvard Medical School, leading global medical education projects in Yemen and India. Dr. Pearson spent his time at the podium deconstructing the trendy notion that “you can change the world” by sharing three theological issues with this common graduation cliché. He then challenged the Class of 2018 to be unstoppable in Jesus’ name and to ask themselves a more probing question: “How will the world be changed because you are in it?” The 49 graduates of 2018 have officially become members of the Westminster alumni family. They have grown into accomplished young men and women, defined by the “Portrait of a Graduate” and equipped to live extraordinary lives for Jesus Christ. May God use your unique passions and gifts to further His kingdom!
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OH, THE PLACES THEY WILL GO! Perry White Barinowski II Augusta University
Bailey Trent Edmonds Augusta University
Mary Brooks Cain* University of North Georgia
Blase Lenwood Emerson Oxford College of Emory University
Heston Herbert Caride Georgia State University Alyssa Souvanchan Carrad* Georgia College Auvia Elizabeth Carter Mercer University Caleb Shaw Case Samford University Elizabeth Ann Cave Georgia College Ken Chen Syracuse University Wanzhao Cheng New York University Ashley Brooke Davis Georgia College Kylie Jordan Duckworth* University of Tennessee, Knoxville Michael Juergen Dukes Augusta University Noah Evan Dyer Augusta University
Hannah Shay Mayo* University of South Carolina, Aiken Luke Thomas McCartney* University of Georgia
Katherine Bell Fulcher University of Georgia
Cale Creighton McLarnon Southern Wesleyan University
Anne Elise Garrison Chapman University
Daniel Mark Newton* University of Georgia
John Christian Gaylor IV Georgia College
Virginia Blake Nichols* Winthrop University
Yuru Ge New York University
Savannah Lynn O’Leary* Georgia State University
Abigail Kathryn Glass Savannah College of Art and Design
Mackenzie Bennett Odom Charleston Southern University
Elizabeth Williams Inman* Georgia Southern University Larkin Ellis Ison III Princeton University Abigayle Elizabeth Kelley Belmont Abbey College Jewitt Scott Kitchens Jr* Georgia Southern University Elizabeth Kathleen Ruth Lynch* University of Georgia
Benjamin Steven Oldham The King’s College Caroline Rebekah Paulk University of Georgia Emma Caroline Pearson Georgia State University
Brandon Michael Shiley Anderson University-SC Mary Elizabeth Sizemore Augusta University Brandon Michael Smith Southern Wesleyan University Lauren Kaylee Spencer Samford University Caroline Elizabeth Vickery* Furman University Emmaline Gray Waller The King’s College Bobbi Erin Wardwell Shorter University Mary Claire Williford* University of Georgia Yuning Xia University of Rochester Keqin Yan University of California, Los Angeles
Charis Anne Puckett University of Georgia
Lizette Marie Zayas Pace University, Westchester Campus
Aubrey Anise Reynolds* Georgia College
Shiyu Zhang Boston University
*Have attended Westminster for 13-15 years. 14 | WINDOWS • SUMMER 2018 VISIT US ONLINE AT WSA.NET
COLLEGE PLANS: Caroline plans to major in Sustainability Science at Furman University. After finishing her degree, she hopes to work for a company to help them operate and source their products in a more sustainable manner.
WHAT SHE VALUES MOST ABOUT WESTMINSTER: “I value the relationships I have formed; I have gotten to know my classmates and teachers so well that I know that I will always have a family at Westminster who supports and encourages me.”
COLLEGE PLANS: Kylie plans to major in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology while playing tennis at the University of Tennessee. She would like to eventually attend medical school and join a surgical program with a concentration in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
WHAT SHE ATTRIBUTES TO HER SUCCESS:
“I had incredible teachers and coaches who saw the very best in me and pushed me to accomplish the things that I have. Without them I would never have believed myself capable of achieving such great things at Westminster.”
ourteen students from the Class of 2018 have been at Westminster since at least 2003 with Jewitt Kitchen enrolled the longest at 15 years. They were all asked to reflect on their time here, having spent almost their entire life together. Here are some of their thoughts:
“What I will miss most is the security of having my friends around me. For 14 years, I’ve been with the same people and next year I will be at school by myself. But even though I will be apart from everyone, I know they are only a call or text away.” —Gini Blake Nichols “If I could change anything, I would make sure to take advantage of the relationships with the teachers at the school. I never really understood how much they care for every student and push us to help us improve until I hit high school. But looking back, I realize that every teacher I have had since TK has been doing that, and I wish I had understood that earlier.” —Aubrey Reynolds “I think the most significant experience at Westminster is that EVERY single one of the teachers I’ve had has gone above and beyond to help me achieve my goals...I could go on for hours about every single one of our teachers...” —Luke McCartney
Front row (left to right): Mary Claire Williford, Savannah O’Leary, Gini Blake Nichols, and Caroline Vickery; Back row (left to right): Luke McCartney, Ellie Lynch, Jewitt Kitchens, Aubrey Reynolds, Daniel Newton, Kylie Duckworth, Katie Bell Fulcher, Mary Cain, Elizabeth Inman, and Alyssa Carrad.
[What I will miss most is ] “...definitely the community. Westminster’s student body has such a positive, Christ-like spirit. The faculty is so caring and always there to help, and you can tell they love what they do. Even though I’ve only attended Westminster, I can tell that its supportive spirit is a rarity among schools, and I will miss it and everyone I’ve come to know when I leave.” —Alyssa Carrad
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END OF YEAR AWARDS
hank you to all of these faculty and staff members who have served Westminster so faithfully. Those who are listed below were recognized at the End of Year Faculty/Staff Breakfast on May 30. In addition, Mike Greiner and Mary Donnan Heppert, retiring faculty, were recognized. Miss Heppert was honored with a Westminster chair for her 29 years of service.
From left to right: Cindy Pantsari, Ashley Shaw, Michele Chiswell
From left to right: Mary Donnan Heppert, Leisa Tebbs, and Vivian Hornsby
From left to right: Elizabeth Meeks and Carrie Brigham
25 YEARS: From left to right: Michael Merwin, Kent Hood,Craig Ham
SERVICE WITH HEART
ervice learning is a big component of a Westminster education. We see it in action in all three divisions, in all grade levels throughout the school year. While there is no community service requirement for graduation, every student completes several hours of community service each school year. In the Upper School, a day is set aside in January for service, Winterim, and student leaders sponsor various projects throughout the school year. Some of the projects this past year include the Michael Cave Blood Drive, a shoe drive for Soles for Souls, and a coin drive that raised $1,800 to build a water well in southern Kenya. In the Middle School, there is a service component during the sixth grade week of Outdoor Classroom. In the past, they have served by picking up trash on the Augusta Canal, helping Hope For Augusta
by planting flowers downtown and talking with the residents, singing and encouraging the residents of nursing homes, and helping Family Promise prepare homes for families in need. The Middle School student leaders also organize a drive for Operation Christmas Child for donations to Samaritan’s Purse, and Club 15:13, whose name is based on John 15:13, encourages first responders throughout the year with prayer, notes, and baked goods. This past school year they also participated in the Upper School’s shoe drive. In the Lower School, service learning is woven into the curriculum. Our fourth grade classes focus on hunger each year and partner with Golden Harvest Food Bank for their service projects. They also memorize and study a theme verse. This year’s verse was 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.” In addition to hosting an annual food drive on campus, they spent a day at the food bank sorting canned foods. Studying the Bible verse helped them to understand that they were not
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TAKING ACTION TO SAVE THE EARTH BY SEAN MCLARNON, SCIENCE TEACHER
he Ecomaniacs Club is the brainchild of rising senior Avelina Lee and her extreme enthusiasm and drive. Less than a week into the school year, Avelina approached me and said, “I want to start a club for the environment. Will you sponsor it?” Since its creation, the club has steadily gained student interest. We ended the year with approximately 40 students who crammed into the bio lab every Tuesday to work on various eco-friendly projects and campaigns to raise environmental awareness on campus. The club focused on four areas this year: composting, gardening, building an aquaponics system, and revamping Westminster’s recycling program. The composting project includes a vermiculture system where earthworms break down food stuff into nitrogen rich compost and a compost pile. Keith Boring and his staff from Flik Dining support the students’ efforts and add food waste from the cafeteria weekly to the compost pile instead of the trash. The composting team supports the gardening division by providing fertilizer
for several different herbs and vegetables. The gardening team has successfully propagated mint and rosemary from seedlings, and the affectionately-named green thumb crews have reaped a solid crop of radishes and green beans from seeds. The garden crew is especially pleased to support their garden with rainwater collected in a special barrel donated by the Garrison family. The club also grows herbs in the aquaponic system, or in layman terms, a customized fish tank with goldfish, made with the utmost ingenuity using things lying around the biology lab (with a few exceptions). The aquaponic system conserves 90 percent more water than traditional gardening by feeding the plants through circulating nutrient rich water. It is also self-sustaining because the nitrogen is fixed from waste from the goldfish. Lastly, the recycling team has revamped the system on campus and collects the recycling weekly. The school now recycles plastics, ink cartridges, cans, and paper products. In addition to all these projects, there is a public relations team who helps to
just sorting cans, but that all things we do for others can be a way of worshiping God. Mrs. Barfield and her Kindergarten class, her “Busy Bees,” focus on kindness and sharing God’s love each year through various projects and memorizing several Bible verses. In the fall 2017 issue of Windows, we included an article about this class sharing kindness to the Augusta Prep fans at a home football game in September. That particular project was the first of many. Later in December they dressed as elves and served breakfast to the families at Ronald McDonald House in Augusta. In February, in addition to their annual Build-a-Bear give away to patients at the Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, they decorated hundreds of hearts for the “Happy Hearts Project” and memorized Proverbs 15:3, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful.” They hid the hearts around the Middle and Upper School campus as reminders that God IS love and to bless those who found them. In the spring, shortly after Augusta Prep’s golf team was involved in a bus accident that seriously injuring their coach, our Kindergartners made a card for Coach Mason and sent hundreds
raise awareness about environmental issues and reports on the clubs projects to show how everyone can help. The Ecomaniacs partnered with SLT this year to especially help raise awareness during Earth Week. This was an opportune time to communicate to the students how we are to be good stewards of the environment, the issues facing that stewardship, and demonstrating how to make a difference. The Ecomaniacs Club has big plans for next year including expanding the aquaponics system and starting a honeybee hive. They continue to fundraise, apply for grants, and accept generous donations that fund practices to help us become more environmentally friendly on campus and foster passion for the environment in the next generation. Please show your support for programs like this making a donation to the Westminster Fund at wsa.net/giving. You can also follow the Ecomaniacs on Instagram (@ecomaniacs_wsa) to see your support in action.
of happy hearts to the Augusta Prep community to remind them of God’s love during a difficult time and that they were being prayed for by our community. Mrs. Barfield said she was overwhelmed by the emails she received from students to thank her class for the hearts. Head of Upper School Andy Gyves at Augusta Prep wrote, “I hope your day is off to an excellent start - mine certainly is, and you and your Busy Bees are the reason why...this expression of support, friendship, and love is so very appreciated by us.” These children proved that God’s love can transcend anything, even our greatest rivalry.
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2018-19 SCHOLARSHIP AWARD WINNERS AQUILLA SMITH & DR. RICHARD N. MOSS MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIPS The Aquilla Smith Memorial Scholarship was established through a gift from the estate of Miss Aquilla Smith, a founding board member of Westminster. Her generous support in earlier years provided the resources necessary for Westminster’s preservation and subsequent growth. Sydney Buchanan Class of 2019
The Dr. Richard N. Moss Memorial Scholarship is presented annually to a rising junior or senior who is interested in science or medicine, is a good student, and has demonstrated a desire to help others. The scholarship was established by the Moss family and friends of Dr. Moss in the medical community who desire to remember him as a caring physician. Selection is determined by the head of school and the science department. Recipient: Sydney Buchanan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jason Buchanan
ELLIOTT EDGARS HAMILTON RIVERS MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Luke Hartenburg Class of 2019
The Elliott Edgars Hamilton Rivers Memorial Scholarship is presented annually to a rising sophomore, junior or senior enrolled at Westminster. The scholarship was established with seed money donated by Elliott’s friends, family, and parents, Mr. and Mrs. Cary Rivers. Through this scholarship, the Rivers family desires to glorify God and remember Elliott as a boy who cultivated his passions for soccer and piano and pursued unabashed friendships. Elliott loved the Lord and approached life with vigor. This scholarship is intended for an established Westminster student who applies himself or herself academically, participates in athletics, and is growing spiritually through active involvement in church. Recipient: Luke Hartenburg, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dale Hartenburg
MATTHEW CLARK MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Lauren Eaddy Class of 2020
The Matthew Clark Memorial Scholarship is presented annually to a rising junior or senior at Westminster. The scholarship was established by the friends and family of Mr. and Mrs. John Clark in memory of their son Matthew. Their desire is to honor God and remember Matthew as a boy who loved life and the Lord. The Clarks have asked that the scholarship be awarded to a junior or senior who applies himself or herself academically, participates in athletics, and is growing spiritually. Recipient: Lauren Eaddy, daughter of Ms. Tiffany Woodberry
BETTY GENE LOVINGOOD SCHOLARSHIP
Nathan Wilson Class of 2030
The Betty Gene Lovingood Scholarship is presented annually to a rising Kindergarten student at Westminster. It was established at Betty Gene Lovingood’s retirement in 1989 in honor of her 15 years of teaching at Westminster. Mrs. Lovingood is known for her love of children and her commitment to preschool youngsters at both Westminster and First Presbyterian Church of Augusta. The Lower School principal and prekindergarten teachers choose the recipient for this scholarship based on Christian witness, academic potential, and general maturity. Recipient: Nathan Wilson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Wilson
MICHAEL J. CAVE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP Michael Joseph Cave was the grandson of Dewey Cave, chairman of the founding board of Westminster. Like his grandfather, he had a radiant smile and loved people. While a student at Westminster, Michael was quick to make a friend and give a word of encouragement. His life made a positive impact on those he encountered. This scholarship is awarded to a student who positively serves and influences the community, sets an example for others, enjoys life, and is industrious. This student is not afraid of hard work, is approachable and sought after. John McCraith Class of 2019
Recipient: John McCraith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick McCraith
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CRISTINA HOPE OLIVER SCHOLARSHIP
Christina Brown Class of 2020
The Cristina Hope Oliver Scholarship was established by the Women in the Church of First Presbyterian Church of Augusta in honor of Cristina Oliver. Mrs. Oliver invested years of her life at Westminster Schools as a mother of two students, college counselor, and a strong supporter of the mission as a Christian, college preparatory school. The recipient of this scholarship is chosen through a competitive essay contest. To be eligible for this scholarship, the student must be a rising junior or senior in good academic standing, of good character, and a member of First Presbyterian Church of Augusta. Recipient: Christina Brown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brown
JOHN W. P. AND CRISTINA HOPE OLIVER SCHOLARSHIP Dr. Oliver was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Augusta for more than 27 years and a founding board member of Westminster Schools, serving throughout his pastorate in Augusta. Both Dr. and Mrs. Oliver labored tirelessly on behalf of Westminster, its mission, its students, and families. The late Mr. J. Bland Goodwin, Elder Emeritus of First Presbyterian Church of Augusta, graciously established this scholarship to honor their love for Westminster and their commitment and sacrifice in service to the school. Hannah Daniel Class of 2021
From the inception of the school, Mr. Goodwin observed Westminster’s faithfulness to its mission. He was impressed to see Westminster graduates serve Christ in college, life, leadership, and service. This scholarship is awarded to a rising student in seventh through 12th grade who demonstrates diligence in coursework; effort beyond the expectations of the teacher; interest and initiative beyond the required course expectations; particular interest and engagement in a field of study; a cooperative and teachable spirit; and is an inspiration and encouragement to others in the pursuit of quality academic inquiry. Recipient: Hannah Daniel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Daniel
ROSEMARY LESTER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP Rosemary Lester was a Middle School English teacher at Westminster who loved the Lord and her students. The Lester family and their friends established this scholarship in her memory and for God’s glory. The scholarship is awarded to a Middle School student who loves literature, applies himself or herself in the English classroom, and is sensitive to spiritual issues. Eli Scott Class of 2022
Recipient: Eli Scott, son of Dr. and Mrs. Daniel Scott
2018 DIPLOMAT AWARD WINNERS The Diplomat Award was established in the spring of 2016 to recognize students who promote cultural exchange between Westminster’s domestic and international students. Students are chosen for this award for enriching the community and the world through cultural interaction and assisting other students in the pursuit of academic, social, and spiritual excellence. International students are selected based on their demonstration of excellence in the areas of leadership, service, improvement in and extensive use of English when communicating with other international students and with domestic students, and extracurricular activities.
Congratulations to the 2018 Diplomat Award winners:
John Wei Class of 2019
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Sean Lee Class of 2021
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AN INSIDE LOOK
AP STUDIO ART
estminster’s Upper School students know that Advanced Placement (AP) courses are the hardest classes. They offer the possibility of college credit for those who pass the exam in May and signal to college admission committees a student’s ambition and commitment. It’s not unusual for a student to take up to four AP courses, despite the demand of the classes. At Westminster, we offer 17 AP courses, one of which is AP Studio Art. AP Studio Art includes three year long options: drawing (which also encompasses painting and printmaking), 2-D design (graphic and digital design; photography) and 3-D design (sculpture and crafts). Students spend their class time in a studio setting, producing 24 pieces of art in one of these areas to complete the course. Unlike the traditional AP subjects, such as history or science, the final grade in AP Studio Art is not determined by a written examination. Instead, students submit portfolios of their work to the College Board for evaluation at the end of the school year. For drawing and 2-D portfolios, for example, students must submit 24 works: 12 in a breadth section, showing a variety of subjects, visual concepts and techniques, and 12 in the concentration section, presenting a unified body of work and ideas, e.g. all water color paintings of humans interacting with their surroundings. Of those 24, five works are highlighted for quality, revealing understanding of concept, composition and execution, and overall accomplishment.
In addition to submitting their portfolios to the College Board, AP art students exhibit their work at an art exhibition in the spring each year. This past school year, the AP Art Show was held at the Jessye Norman School of Arts. The three students in the class, seniors Anne Elise Garrison, Savannah O’Leary, and Emmaline Waller, exhibited their works which concentrated on 2-D design (Emmaline and Anne Elise) and 3-D design (Savannah). “It’s good training for art school,” said Vivian Hornsby, the Upper School AP art teacher, although only approximately 50 percent of students from her program have actually majored in Bachelor of Fine Arts programs in college. “The value of the course goes beyond simple preparation for art school or even learning art at a higher level,” she said. “Because the work load is too large to be completed during class time, students must develop a strong work ethic to get things done on their own time, and they need to budget their time. The students don’t get much done in a 50-minute class, so I keep the art room open late on a regular basis.”
According to Mrs. Hornsby, class time is not just for creating, but also for conversation—brainstorming, critiquing work, learning terms and concepts, and watching presentations. The actual creating of art is often done after school with Mrs. Hornsby or at home. AP Art was first offered at Westminster in the 2010-11 school year. Grace Halverson ’11 encouraged Mrs. Hornsby to begin the program. “I had chosen four AP courses already and was looking for a fifth to fill my schedule, and I didn’t want to take AP Government or Science. Although I was a decent student, the only classes I really enjoyed were French and art. The art room had become my safe room - one of the few places I felt comfortable to be myself. One afternoon while lamenting my scheduling crisis to Mrs. Hornsby, she said, ‘You know there’s AP Art right?’ After discussing it with her, she agreed to see what it would take to get certified to teach it and I had to find students who wanted to take the course. Mrs. Hornsby went through summer training, and in the fall, there were seven us enrolled in AP Art; I could not have been more excited to start a school year.” Jay Hartmann ’12 joined Grace during his junior year as one of the first students to enroll in the inaugural class. “It seemed a natural next step for exploring my interest in art at the time. I hadn’t always been interested in art. I started drawing in middle school as way of managing my attention deficit disorder...In Mrs. Hornsby’s AP class, I really found my passion for art,” said Jay. Emmaline, Anne Elise, and Savannah all echoed what Jay had to say about the challenge of the course. “I learned quickly that art was work and could be rewarding, exhausting, and challenging in ways I had not imagined.” Jay also went on to say, “Last year, I had the privilege of teaching AP art students at two high schools as a part of my Masters of Teaching. There I saw just how much of an impact my AP art courses had on me...I saw many students find their passions, learn to better understand themselves and each other, and grow in ways they had not expected--all in a safe environment that valued their ideas, their perspectives, their struggles and their passions.” AP Studio Art is open to prepared juniors and seniors, and although there are no specific prerequisites to take the course, students must take at least Drawing and Painting or Sculpture, both semesterlong courses at Westminster, and must demonstrate talent, determination, a good work ethic, and passion for the visual arts.
“Where my high school classmates saw art as a hobby, my engineering classmates [at Georgia Tech] saw it as talent...No other class prepared me better for college.” —Grace Halverson ‘11 20 | WINDOWS • SUMMER 2018 VISIT US ONLINE AT WSA.NET
“Last year, I had the privilege of teaching AP art students...I saw just how much of an impact AP art had on me. I saw many students find their passions, learn to better understand themselves and each other, and grow in ways they had not expected.” —Jay Hartmann ‘12 When reflecting on her work over the school year, Anne Elise said, “I’ve been involved with dance for most of my life, and dancers tend to be perfectionists. Art helped me to be not so concerned about perfection, but to focus more on the creative process.” Each student in the class must create at least three or four pieces of art a month including three pieces in the summer prior to the school year to reach 24 pieces. When finished, the portfolio should show a wide range of techniques and ideas, for example drawing should demonstrate an understanding of proportion when drawing the human body or a series of paintings should demonstrate an understanding of color theory. The process of evaluating and scoring all those portfolios is monumental, requiring 120-plus readers — a mix of high school and college art instructors who are divided into small groups who must reach a consensus. They follow a rubric that outlines principles of design and visual elements. Is the artwork interesting and what are the elements that make it so? If not, what’s lacking? The rubric is intended to result in an objective assessment of the work. Mrs. Hornsby said that our students rarely score less than a 4 or 5.
Margaret Daniel ’15 is currently enrolled at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and took AP Studion Art from Mrs. Hornsby as a senior. “I think about my AP art class frequently! The work I created in the class enabled me to get several scholarships at SCAD and laid an incredible foundation for my university studies,” said Margaret. “Mrs. Hornsby was a great mentor who inspired my confidence to think independently and to create confidently as an artist. The rigor of her class prepared me for my foundations classes at SCAD and enabled me to thrive in this highly competitive environment. The different media I gravitated towards in AP remain some of my favorite tools today, and the techniques and jargon I learned have served me well in each class at SCAD,” she said.
“The work I created in the class enabled me to get several scholarships at SCAD and laid an incredible foundation for my university studies.” —Margaret Daniel ‘15
Emmaline said about the class, “There just never seemed to be enough time. And if you’ve never taken an art class, it’s hard. Not so much the work itself, but coming up with ideas and creating something that has meaning.” Grace went to Georgia Tech after graduating from Westminster. “Georgia Tech was kind of a culture shock for me. Where my high school classmates saw art as a hobby, my engineering classmates saw it as talent,” she said. “Because of the high expectations at Tech, I was prepared to struggle a lot. College was a test of endurance: Can you be independent? Can you think for yourself? Can you manage your time wisely? Can you produce results? I was able to survive all of these challenges and come out stronger, and I attribute a lot of it to the work in my AP art course. Unlike other high school courses, art classes are 100% about you, your creativity, your volition, and your work ethic. Your assignments don’t include an analysis of someone else’s work or collaborative lab projects, but rather they are about rising to meet the challenge of creating new art pieces, repeatedly, and putting yourself out there for critique. I was kind of surprised how so many of my college friends who had excellent high school grades struggled with the pressures of deadlines and coming up with original ideas for projects. No other class prepared me better for college,” said Grace.
When asked for what advice they would give to students who are thinking about taking the course, Emmaline and Anne Elise said the following: 1) Go in teachable. You should be open to suggestions because there’s a lot of critiquing in the class, both giving and receiving, 2) Be prepared to spend more time on coursework than any other class, 3) Do it. Don’t hesitate or worry about how much work it is. It’s hard work, but it’s fun and very rewarding and you’ll learn more about yourself than in any other class. This coming fall, • Jay Hartmann ‘12 will begin the MFA in Painting program at Tyler School of Art. You can see his current work at http://jayhartmann.squarespace.com. • Margaret Daniel ‘15 will begin her senior year at SCAD to continue her work towards a BFA in Interior Design. • Grace Halverson ‘11 will return to Georgia Tech for a Masters in Digital Media. • Anne Elise Garrison ‘18 will attend Chapman University and major in dance. • Emmaline Waller ‘18 will attend The King’s College and major in English and history with a minor in philosophy. • Savannah O’Leary ‘18 will attend Georgia State University. She’s not sure what her major will be, but she plans to continue her art in some capacity.
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n late March, following an intense, three-month rehearsal schedule of music, dance, and scene work, the nearly 100-member Mary Poppins cast and crew from grades 7-12 took the stage in Westminster’s Upper School gym to crowds of Disney fans. Adapted from the full-length movie and Broadway show, Mary Poppins moved at a brisk pace, keeping all the key characters, story elements, and most of the musical numbers. Under the experienced direction
of Paul Owen, the cast and crew delivered a spectacular show. Bringing this beloved Disney classic to life was no small feat. The dazzling set, on loan from Augusta Players, and lighting design by Brent Carter, perfectly complemented the rich vocal score, clever choreography, and colorful costumes by Vintage Oolee, all transforming Westminster’s gym into Cherry Tree Lane.
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SUPPORTING THE ARTS The Westminster Friends of Fine Arts (FOFA) organization raises funds and provides support for the Westminster Schools of Augusta Fine Arts programs, which include visual arts, chorus, drama, and literary arts. This allows staff to focus on their teaching and cultivating each student’s God-given talents. This year thanks to the generosity of parents and alums, FOFA contributed to a wide range of initiatives. In addition to untold hours of volunteer work, they raised funds to cover the costs of the following: 1. A stage extension for the spring musical 2. Extra storage for fine arts equipment 3. A xylophone for the Middle School band 4. A computer program to help students learn their instruments better 5. Tracking to hang art in Knox Hall 6. Installation of student sculpture in Rachel’s Garden
Consider becoming a member of FOFA! wsa.net/arts VISIT US ONLINE AT WSA.NET
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O’LEARY TAKES HOME SILVER IN NATIONAL ART CONTEST
very year, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards recognize exceptional students and their creative works, identifying them as the most talented young artists in the nation. This past spring, Westminster was included in their list for the first time for art. Recent graduate Savannah O’Leary ’18 was awarded a National Silver Medal in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards 2018 for her sculpture, “Rabbit Refreshments.” Savannah also received a gold key and honorable mention in the regional awards at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), which led to her moving forward into the national competition. “This is the highest award one of our visual art students has ever received at Westminster. We receive hundreds of local and state awards for our fine arts programs each year, but this new national recognition is noteworthy and speaks volumes about the talent of our students. We are very proud,” said Vivian Hornsby, visual arts teacher in Westminster’s Middle and Upper Schools. Savannah, whose passion is sculpture, said she was surprised when she received the award. “I created the piece as an assignment that required contrasting texture and volume. It’s just a simple tea set that I covered in fur. I thought for sure one of my other works would win.” Savannah was one of three students in Mrs. Hornsby’s AP art class during the 2017-18 school year. “Rabbit Refreshments” was one of 24 pieces of art required to complete the AP course and one of several Savannah entered into the contest.
The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition is rich with notable alumni. Savannah is now part of this group which includes artists such as Andy Warhol and John Baldessari, whose work has influenced the course of art history worldwide, and writers like Sylvia Plath and Joyce Carol Oates, whose writing has changed contemporary literature. Each year, more than 100 visual and literary arts organizations across the country partner to bring the Scholastic Awards to local communities. Teens in grades 7-12 apply in 29 categories of art and writing. Art categories include architecture and industrial design, art portfolio, ceramics and glass, comic art, design, digital art, drawing and illustration, editorial cartoon, fashion, film and animation, future new, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and video game design. More than 350,000 works of art and writing were submitted in this year’s contest and only the top 1 percent were recognized at the national level. Submissions are reviewed by experts in the visual and literary arts, some of whom are past award recipients. Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards were founded in 1923 to recognize the vision, ingenuity and talent of America’s youth. The awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit organization that seeks to identify talented artists and writers and share their works with the world.
CONNECTING WITH YOUTH IN AFGHANISTAN
he Memory Project is a charitable nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as violence, disasters, extreme poverty, neglect, or loss of parents. The portraits are painted from full color photographs provided by the organization. The goal of the project is to help these children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their wellbeing, and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future. For the
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SERVING GOD THROUGH ART
arlier this spring, several of our students in both the Lower and Upper Schools had the opportunity to meet with Mauricio Palacio, a Christian artist from Mexico. Specializing in spiritual and contemporary art, Palacio is also a missionary who creates art intended to prompt conversations about Jesus. While sharing his artwork, Palacio described his journey as an artist and a missionary and how this influences his work. He was originally trained as an architect at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico, and although he enjoyed the work, he was called to the mission field only a few short years after he earned his degree. Initially hesitant to answer God’s call, he has served as a missionary for over 20 years. He lives in Colimo, Mexico, where he and his wife direct a studio and art gallery. He also continues to exhibit his artwork and travels the world teaching seminars and workshops in churches, schools, and universities, and sharing his testimony. Westminster was fortunate to have him as a guest while he was in Augusta to participate in the Bible and Missionary Conference at First Presbyterian Church of Augusta. He completed several artistic expressions during the conference. “I was intrigued by his comments about how his earlier work shows a certain level of control, and how his spiritual works required him to let go and allow God to be part of the creative process,” said Vivian Hornsby, Middle and Upper School art teacher. For example, he painted a complete work during a worship service with an audience in a fixed time frame. Yet in the privacy of
art students who paint the portraits, it’s an opportunity to practice kindness and share the love of Christ as well as put global awareness into action creatively. This spring, nine Upper School students volunteered to participate on behalf of Westminster. This is the second time Westminster has participated in this global outreach.
his studio or home, he works at his own pace. He showed several examples of his work that demonstrate the two different styles. He told the students about a time when he was painting so fast, he unintentionally painted six fingers on Jesus’ hand. Ms. Heppert, Westminster’s recently retired Lower School art teacher, said her third grade art class was captivated by Palacio’s paintings and, particularly by his ability to finish three paintings within the class period. He gave the paintings to Westminster. In the Upper School classes, he showed portraits and still lifes – both realistic and literal, and others more stylized with bold colors and textures, as well as illustrated passages from the Bible and artistic expressions that he created during worship services. He explained how many of his portraits were reproduced from photos he took while on mission trips to impoverished parts of the world, such as Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, and Bosnia, where he said his life radically changed while working with refugees through United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Palacio has presented several exhibitions of his refugee portraits to bring awareness of ethnic division and intolerance throughout the world including in his own native country of Mexico. Palacio explained that his spiritual art is much different than the portraits due to their abstraction, leaving interpretation up to those viewing the art. Although he uses themes throughout the Bible as inspiration for some of his art, forgiveness, for example, what he creates during a worship service is an artistic expression of the Holy Spirit working through him. It was exciting for our students to see how art can be used to serve God and to meet someone who is doing just that.
Upper School students who participated and painted a portrait: Ruth Ann Case, Luke McCartney, Charis Puckett, Anne Elise Garrison, Emma Pearson, Micah Franklin, Thea Fernandez, Olivia Wahl, and Sarah Banta.
Grace Halverson ’11 took the lead this year in organizing the project. In the spring, Westminster received 10 full-page color prints and digital copies of photos of orphans and at-risk youth who live in Afghanistan. Our students finished the portraits in early June. Once the Memory Project receives the portraits, they hand deliver them to the kids and make a video of each delivery to share with all of the student artists involved. Since 2004, the Memory Project has created more than 100,000 portraits for children in 43 countries. Thanks to these Westminster
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LEAVING A CHRIST-CENTERED LEGACY BY ANDREW BRYAN, ATHLETIC DIRECTOR
Westminster’s Varsity Boys Soccer team celebrate their 5th consecutive state championship after defeating Frederica with a score of 1-0 under the leadership of Coach Mike Freace.
GISA Region 4AAA Coach of the Year
GISA State Coach of the Year
Augusta Chronicle Coach of the Year
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fter leading Westminster to nine soccer state championships, 24 soccer region championships, and over 400 wins, Mike Freace coached his final Wildcats game on May 19. It was a bittersweet victory, as the team won its fifth consecutive state championship, and Coach Freace began saying his goodbyes. Last fall he announced that he would be leaving Westminster at the end of the 2017-18 school year to accept a call to fulltime ministry with Missionary Athletes International in Charlotte, North Carolina. Coach Freace has filled many roles during his 17-year tenure at Westminster: teacher, director of student life, athletic director, dean of students, Upper School principal and most recently, Westminster Athletics Hall of Fame inductee. But the role that has remained consistent throughout his time here is soccer coach. It is widely known that he is one of the most respected coaches in the state for high school and club soccer. However, we wanted to take a closer look at his influence on Westminster students both on and off the soccer field. We asked several former players to share how Coach Freace has impacted their lives. Here are some of their comments:
“You will have a lasting legacy at Westminster that far exceeds the trophies you have helped accumulate.”
Elizabeth Huckabee Leslein ’00 “Soccer was such an avenue for me to learn to compete, but also for me to learn character traits that affected my life. I learned how to persevere, how to have self-control, how to compete well, how to take on challenges and obstacles... I knew that you loved soccer and wanted us to do well, but I knew that you [Coach Freace] loved Jesus more and that you wanted us to live for Him and glorify Him with our lives. At the end of the day that was most important.” Matt Farmer ’03 “Certainly it was fun to be on a winning soccer team with such good friends, but playing soccer for Coach Freace was so much more. He is in the business of developing young men, and I felt that deeply during my years playing for him. He took a real interest in my development and provided mentorship on a level no one else ever had before. I will forever be grateful for the way he invested in me, and I am the man I am today, in part, due to his influence.”
GISA Region 4AAA Championships
State 9 GISA Championships
GISA 5 Consecutive State Championships
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“Coach Freace, your actions on and off the field have been a true testament to me about what it means to live for Christ.” Jackson Eubank ’01 “You will have a lasting legacy at Westminster that far exceeds the trophies you have helped accumulate. You have invested in trophies that will last eternallythe lives of your students, players, alumni, and peers.” John Eubank ’03 “The brotherhood among the players and friends I had while at Westminster was valuable at that time, but just as important was the lesson of building a brotherhood, no matter where I found myself...I am really thankful to the Lord for His design of friendship and brotherhood, and I am very thankful to [Coach Freace] for establishing it in my life at an early age.” Will Boyd ’04 “I have learned much about the game from you, but most importantly I have learned so much about Christ through your leadership. Your actions on and off the field have been a true testament to me about what it means to live for Christ.” Mary Beth Hutchins Gombita ’01 “I remember how you led by example and lived a life worthy of the calling of Christ.” Andrew Lehn ’01 “From the beginning he cultivated my love for soccer while emphasizing my character and growth in Christ.”
Coach Freace with captains of the 2018 State Championship soccer team, from left to right: Seniors Cale McLarnon and Brandon Smith, and junior Thomas Drake. Missing: Senior Daniel Newton. Cale has been a member of the team for all five state championships. and hold them accountable in Christian principles. “You embody the ‘Wildcat Way’ on and off the field,” said John Phelan, current parent and board chair. Coach Freace has been an influential leader and role model, impacting the Kingdom and building strong relationships over the years with students, faculty, and families. Former students and players echo his praises. He leaves a Christ-centered legacy and shoes that will be hard to fill. His remarks at his Hall of Fame induction speak volumes about his heart:
“The first line of the Wildcat way states ‘Honor Christ first’ . . . be Christians who just happen to be athletes, not athletes who happen to be Christians. There is a significant difference. We always talk about how the details matter. It really comes down to this . . . put one foot in front of the other, every single day, to the best of your ability. Wake up each morning, and do the little things for Christ with your best effort. Pray. Spend time with God. Love others well. Serve others well. Don’t cut corners. Be a great friend. Do your best. We have always set goals as a team, but most Surrounded by his family, Coach Freace receives a importantly, we have always committed to commemorative soccer ball from Athletic Director actions that we can do every single day to Andrew Bryan to mark his 400th career win at help us grow. Continue (or start) to do that His nine state championships and 24 Westminster. every single day in your life, remembering region championships are just some our team verse that has been our core of his accolades since coaching at Scripture for most of my years at WSA. Psalm 115:1 states ‘Not to Westminster. Despite these outstanding accomplishments, Coach us, Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your Freace will be remembered most for his lasting impact on students. love and faithfulness.’ ” He has been an ardent proponent of the “Wildcat Way,” which Coach Freace, your inspiring leadership will be missed. is used to encourage and challenge Westminster student-athletes Coach Freace started his soccer career at a young age, playing as early as first grade and through high school. After high school he went on to play four years of soccer at Houghton College, where he competed in three national tournaments and won three region and two conference championships. Besides coaching at Westminster, he has coached at Roberts Wesleyan College, where his team competed in two national championships, at Augusta Arsenal Soccer Club, and with the Olympic Development Program.
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History-Making Season for the Lady Cats
he year was 2009, and Greg Wilson had just been hired as the head coach for the Varsity Girls Basketball team at Westminster and was granted a brief meeting with the players before the start of the season.
“What are you known for?” Wilson asked before elaborating further. As many faces seemed to indicate they were confused by the question, he asked “What is it that other schools fear about you when they hear the name ‘Westminster?’” Nina McCallie, who was a rising freshman at the time, answered with confidence, “Soccer!” That response puzzled Wilson, but he vowed to change this. A successful basketball coach for middle school, NJCAA junior college, and NCAA Division II collegiate levels, the only thing missing on Wilson’s resume was a high school victory. “Well, from this point forward, you are going to be feared for excellence in soccer AND basketball,” Wilson told the girls. The team shared a sarcastic chuckle.
a shot to win a region title, it was with this year’s team.” As it turns out, Wilson and Davignon were right. The 2017-18 Lady Wildcats marched into the season with confidence and played like champs, making Wildcat history. “I’m not going to lie,” Wilson said. “I was responsible for eight of those 46 years of futility, and I felt like a 500-pound gorilla was on my back.” Westminster’s Lady Cats would begin to remove Wilson’s gorilla as they defeated John Milledge Academy 46-32 on February 17 for the school’s first-ever GISA Region 4-AAA Region title.
“I coach because it’s an amazing opportunity to impact these incredible kids for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Just three seasons later in 2012, the Westminster Lady Wildcats basketball program played in its first-ever Final Four tournament. Other than that, the program had never enjoyed so much as a region title in 46 years of having a girls basketball program.
“To give some context, I used to be a transactional coach,” he said. “Coach/player relationships were based on performance rather than on unconditional love. You perform for me, and I’ll help you get another playing opportunity beyond this school.”
Fast forward to 2017, when the outlook on the court looked more promising.
Realizing this was not the legacy he desired as a coach, Wilson became a transformational coach with the help of Fellowship of Christian Athletes,
“We felt like this year’s team was our best ever, because we had coached so many of these kids since their 8th grade year,” said Wilson. “My assistant coach, Marianne Davignon, and I spent some time planning over the previous summer, and we felt that if we had
“I had it wrong, just like many parents do,” Wilson continued. “Many parents feel like if you play basketball or another sport for several years, you ought to get some return, like a college scholarship,
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when, really, that’s the wrong approach. After 25 years coaching basketball, I don’t coach for me anymore. I coach because it’s an amazing opportunity to impact these incredible Westminster kids for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” The Lady Wildcats would enter this year’s state tournament as a number one seed in their region, allowing them to serve as a host site for the first round of the tournament. Westminster drew fourth-seeded Bethlehem Christian Academy, who will enter Region 4AAA next year. Westminster raced out to a 34-2 lead in that game and never looked back. “So much emotion fed our effort that night that I’m not sure anyone could have beaten us,” explained Wilson. “It was a special memory. Our fans were incredible!” The following week, Westminster drew number three seed Frederica Academy in the Elite Eight game held at John Milledge Academy. Frederica featured three NCAA Division I prospects. The Lady Wildcats were again successful, pulling out a 37-34 heart-stopper fueled by 21 points, including 4-4 in free throws by senior point guard Ashley Davis. The win catapulted the Lady Cats to the program’s second Final Four berth in 47 years against Holy Spirit Prep. And while Westminster’s season would end at the hands of Holy Spirit 62-57 in overtime at Mercer University, the level of success this team experienced was simply divine! Other benchmarks this season include: • Two 1000-point scorers: Ashley Davis and Bobbi Wardwell, both seniors • Fourth consecutive year as Garden City Classic Tournament champions • 23 straight wins; breaks school record • First Region 4-AAA Tournament Championship • Second GISA AAA Final Four appearance • Undefeated in Region 4AAA regular season and tournament play • Undefeated regular season versus private schools (only regular season losses came to GHSA AAA schools Evans and Lakeside in overtime) “We always set a yearly goal to make great memories for our seniors,” Wilson explained. “But this year, the memories were so special, they will last a lifetime for all of our players, not just the seniors.”
To the girl who wears my jersey,
In honor of the Lady Wildcats’ Final Four appearance, several members of the 2012 Final Four team wrote letters to this year’s team, encouraging them to enjoy the experience and sharing memories of their own Final Four run. The team was deeply touched by their words of encouragement.
“The days you are living are some of the best. .... There are a lot of former players with you in spirit, and I wish I could take the court with you!” —Haley Barinowski ’12
“Love these days, cherish these days and have fun. Play in a way that brings God’s glory.” —Anna Hearon ’12 “You have worked hard all season long, put in tiring hours, and perfected your mistakes. Now it is time to show everyone what you are made of... Remember why you play and who you play for!” —Amber Davis ’12
Indeed, Coach Wilson. Indeed!
1st Region 4AAA
2nd Team to Reach Final
Four in School History
Four-year starter Bobbi Wardwell joins the 1000 point club in February. Athletic Director Andrew Bryan, left, and Coach Wilson, right, congratulate her.
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CAN YOU SAY 3-PEAT? Led by Coach Leisa Tebbs with her husband, Mark Tebbs, the Girls Varsity Tennis team claimed the GISA AAA State Tennis Team Championship with a 3-2 win over Valwood School at John Drew Smith (JDS) Tennis Center in Macon in April. This was the third consecutive State Championship title for these Lady Wildcats. From left to right are Kayla Kucela, McKenna Wiggins, Kaleigh Bakeman, Kylie Duckworth, Michelle Iwama, Brianna Earle, and Lynn Pang. In addition to the team win, Senior Kylie Duckworth captured the GISA AAA State Singles Championship after defeating Madison Price 6-3, 6-3 from William Reid also at JDS in April. She entered the championship as the number one seed after winning the Region AAA Championship title for the third year in a row. This was her second state championship title, following a win as a sophomore. Kylie was also named Girls Tennis Player of the Year by the Augusta Chronicle, was named to the G.A.M.E.S. All-Star Team for Girls Tennis by the Augusta Sports Council, and was recognized by the GISA with the Morris C. Johnson Academic Athlete Award. Kylie will play tennis for the University of Tennessee.
RECORD NUMBER COMMITS TO COLLEGE ATHLETICS
he Class of 2018 had more students sign a letter of intent to play college athletics than any other year. From Princeton to University of Tennessee to Augusta University in our own backyard, we are so proud of the accomplishments of these eight student-athletes. We asked this group to share their experiences playing sports at Westminster. Read below comments from Larkin Ison and Michael Dukes. Larkin Ison: “Coming to Westminster has to be one of the best, life-changing experiences God has blessed me with. I can definitely say I wouldn’t be the person I am today without coming here. Thanks to all my coaches for allowing me the opportunity to flourish in unknown circumstances. The level of genuine trust and true love I received will never be forgotten.” Pictured from left to right: Larkin Ison: football at Princeton, Abigayle Kelly: Michael Dukes: “My favorite memories are those of staying to talk with Coach Ron and Coach O after long cheerleading at Belmont Abbey, Brandon Smith: soccer at Southern Wesleyan practices. We talked about life and its hardships. They University, Kylie Duckworth: tennis at University of Tennessee, Bobbi Wardwell: basketball at Shorter University, Michael Dukes: basketball at Augusta University, told me wonderfully intriguing stories of their own Ashley Davis, basketball at Georgia College, and Cale McLarnon: soccer at Southern adventures that will never cease to inspire me. That is Wesleyan University. what I will miss most of all. However, as this chapter of my life comes to its bittersweet end, I look forward to starting a new chapter as I play in college - as I grow to become a better man in skill, strength, and spirit. Thank you, Westminster, for giving me the opportunity to better myself, my relationship with Christ, and for instilling in me the tools I need to succeed in my college career and beyond.”
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WILDCATS YEAR IN REVIEW
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: ASHLEY DAVIS Ashley participated in basketball, track and soccer this year. In basketball she was named GISA All-Region and All-State, as well as All-Area, All-CSRA, GISA All-Star, and The Augusta Chronicle All-Area Independent Girls Basketball Player of the Year. She was a nominee for the Augusta Sports Council G.A.M.E.S. Awards All-Star Team and helped lead this year’s Girls Varsity Basketball team to their first Region 4AAA Championship and the GISA AAA Final Four Tournament, not to mention, scoring over 1000 points during her basketball career at Westminster. A fouryear member of the Varsity Soccer team, she was named All-Region and AllState and helped lead the team to the GISA Elite Eight tournament. Ashley received a scholarship to play basketball at Georgia College.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: LARKIN ISON III Larkin transferred to Westminster for his junior and senior years and participated in both football and basketball. In basketball, he helped lead the team to a Region 4AAA Championship and a GISA AAA Final Four appearance as a junior. This year he was named All-Area, All-CSRA, and All-Region. Larkin is also a two-year member of the Varsity Football team where he made a huge impact playing on both sides of the ball. He was named GISA All-Region and to the GISA All-Star Football team. Larkin received a scholarship to play football at Princeton University.
3 REGION 4AAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
12 GISA ALL-STATE
Girls Varsity Basketball, Girls Singles Tennis (Kylie Duckworth), Boys Varsity Soccer Boys Varsity Soccer, Girls Varsity Tennis team, Girls Varsity Tennis singles: Kylie Duckworth
• Girls Basketball: Ashley Davis, Bobbi Wardwell • Golf: Lee Baker • Boys Soccer: Thomas Drake, Anders McCallie, Cale McLarnon, Ben Oldham, Brandon Smith • Girls Tennis: Kylie Duckworth • Girls Soccer: Ashley Davis, Caroline Paulk, Lauren Spencer
GISA FINAL FOUR TOURNAMENT
2 GISA STATE COACH OF THE YEAR
3 GISA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Girls Varsity Basketball
GISA ELITE EIGHT
• Girls Tennis: Leisa Tebbs • Boys Soccer: Mike Freace
Girls Varsity Soccer
3 GISA REGION AAA COACH OF THE YEAR
26 GISA ALL-REGION
• Girls Basketball: Greg Wilson • Boys Soccer: Mike Freace • Girls Tennis: Leisa Tebbs
• Baseball: Duncan Crowder, Grant Fuller, Brandon Shiley • Boys Basketball: Larkin Ison • Girls Basketball: Liz Cave, Ashley Davis, Genevieve Waller, Bobbi Wardwell • Football: Larkin Ison, Brandon Shiley • Golf: Lee Baker, Colt Ingram • Boys Soccer: Sam Carter, Thomas Drake, Anders McCallie, Cale McLarnon, Daniel Newton, Ben Oldham, Brandon Smith • Girls Soccer: Ashley Davis, Elizabeth Inman, Tess Newton, Caroline Paulk, Lauren Spencer • Girls Tennis: Kylie Duckworth • Boys Track: Jordan Carlie
8 PLAYING COLLEGE ATHLETICS • Michael Dukes: Basketball, Augusta University • Larkin Ison: Football, Princeton University • Cale McLarnon: Soccer, Southern Wesleyan University • Brandon Smith: Soccer, Southern Wesleyan University • Kylie Duckworth: Tennis, University of Tennessee • Ashley Davis: Basketball, Georgia College • Bobbi Wardwell: Basketball, Shorter University • Abigayle Kelley: Cheerleading, Belmont Abbey College
MORRIS C. JOHNSON GISA ACADEMIC ATHLETE AWARD Congratulations, Kylie Duckworth! In order to qualify for this award, student-athletes must be in the top 10% of his/her senior class, have a cumulative GPA of 3.75 (out of 4.0), have scored at least a 1270 on the SAT or 27 on the ACT, and must letter twice in the sport for which he or she is nominated. Additional weight is given to those student-athletes who participate in Literary, win academic awards and scholarships, or who are named All-Region and All-State. This award is given to only the top ten student-athletes in the state of Georgia each year.
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ALUMNI DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD
DR. KEITH HEARON ‘05
he Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes and honors alumni who have represented Westminster’s mission and core values in their work, in their lives, and in their communities. The 2018 recipient is Dr. Keith Hearon ’05. During Dr. Hearon’s Commencement address he shared the following story about creativity, arrogance, humility, more creativity and determination while working as a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that led to the founding of his own company: In 2012 while halfway through his Ph.D., he received a call from a friend who worked in the corporate office of a fast food company that annually produced nearly 50,000 tons of lemon peels as trash. After his friend asked him to invent a materials solution for it, Dr. Hearon invented a high performance plastic that behaves like plexiglass using citrus peel waste, a material that is now trademarked as “Citrene.” Citrene was patented and named a finalist invention in the 2014 U.S. Collegiate Inventors Competition.
“...my 13 years at Westminster effectively shaped every area of my life, from personal to professional to spiritual [and has] taught me to compete, to communicate, to fight, to compromise, to win, to lose, and, most importantly, to learn.” From 2014-2016 he was, as far as he knew, MIT’s only fast foodsponsored medical device researcher and developed wound healing medical technology made from Citrene, uniquely biocompatible and degradable in the body. By summer 2016 he realized, however, that much more research would be needed to commercialize Citrene in medical markets. He didn’t like doing research and felt ready to start his own business, so he quit his job working in Professor Bob Langer’s lab at MIT and left business school to co-found Poly6. “I left one of the best entrepreneurial research groups on the planet to start a company that had a few pieces of lemon plastic and one issued patent,” said Dr. Hearon.
In March 2018, roughly a year and a half later, Poly6 closed a multimillion dollar investment round and is solving globally important problems in industrial manufacturing. “As I have moved from college to graduate school to founding a company, I have repeatedly found that my 13 years at Westminster effectively shaped every area of my life, from personal to professional to spiritual. Westminster taught me to compete, to communicate, to fight, to compromise, to win, to lose, and, most importantly, to learn.” In early 2013 at the age of 25, Dr. Hearon was preparing to finish his Ph.D. work and crafted his dissertation dedication as follows: “To my parents, Mike and Sandra Hearon, who inspire me to dream; To the faculty at Westminster Schools of Augusta, who taught me how to learn; To refinement through failure and the pursuit of perfection. “Wrapped into this dedication language are three principles that I live by: one, to think beyond what the world believes to be possible, two, to diligently acquire new knowledge throughout one’s life, and three, to acknowledge human limitation in the face of the inevitable perfection that gave rise to our universe,” said Dr. Hearon. “I firmly believe that we each have a chance to shape our futures, one decision at a time. I believe it is our duty and our mandated stewardship to will a better world into existence, to create what needs to be created and to reject the idea of an unacceptable tomorrow.” Well said, Dr. Hearon!
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CLASS NOTES We regularly feature Class Notes in Windows Magazine. Notes are submitted by alumni, and each magazine includes submissions received in the previous months. If a class year is not included, this means alumni from those years did not submit any updates. If you have news you’d like to share with the Westminster community, we’d love to hear from you. Submit your news at wsa.net/alumni or send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proud parents Kathryn Haburchak Brown and her husband Nick, along with big brother Hudson, welcomed Wyatt David Brown on Feb. 1, 2018, at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. The Browns live in Marietta, Georgia, where Kathryn is a marketing manager at LOMA.
Proud parents Logan and John Wallace Hadden welcomed their son, John Wallace Hadden Jr., on March 26.
Joshua Adams graduated magna cum laude from Auburn University’s architecture school. While at Auburn he participated in Rural Studio and Urban Studio. He is a member of Tau Sigma Delta Architecture Honor Society and is also a Design Futures Counsel Scholar.
2004 Laura Turrentine and her husband Jake welcomed Mary Elizabeth Turrentine on Jan. 11, 2018. Luke, age 3 1/2, and Paul, age 2, are proud big brothers. The Turrentines reside in Hickory, North Carolina.
2010 Joseph Coleman graduated magna cum laude this spring with an accounting degree from the University of Georgia. He is returning next fall for a Master in Accounting and, at the same time, plans to take the CPA exam. Prof. Jennifer Jones Rivers `97 mentioned he is the first Westminster student she has taught so far.
2005 Mary Charles Snoddy and her husband Mark welcomed Margaret Hamilton Snoddy on Apr. 5, 2018.
2006 Proud first-time parents Caitlin (Davison) Vinson and her husband Brooks welcomed twins, Margaret Ellis and Charles Sanford, on Jan. 12, 2018. Ellis was born at 12:46 p.m. and Charlie followed at 12:48.
Trey Newton married Megan Elisabeth Smith on Dec. 16, 2017. The groomsmen included Will Newton ’14 and Rob Newton ’16, and classmates David Newton and Michael Goodell. The maid of honor was classmate Morgan Messenger. They are living in Atlanta, where Trey just completed his first year of law school.
2014 Heath Robinson married Ada Bailey on Jan. 6, 2018, at Sacred Heart Cultural Center in Augusta, Georgia. Seth Robinson ’16 and Connor Hearon ’14 along with classmates Akonwi Ngoh, Thomas Mehrhof, and Eric Speese were groomsmen. Heath and Ada live in Cleveland, Ohio, where Heath is working on his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Case Western Reserve.
Will Newton graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Biochemistry in 2017. He is currently serving at Citadel Square Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In August, Will starts medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina.
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2015 David Peltier presented his research at the 2018 University System of Georgia European Union Studies Student/ Faculty Conference at Georgia College in Milledgeville. His research, “Leave or Remain: The Impact of Brexit on the United Kingdom and the European Union,” examined both the short and long term impacts of the important decision on both the UK and EU. A student at Augusta University, David is majoring in political
science and is also working toward certificates in hospitality administration and leadership and professionalism. Michael Almond bumped into Coach Andrew Bryan and the Westminster football coaching staff, Glenn Bell, Steve Ackley, Travis Mitchem, and Brent Whiteleather, while they were attending a football coaches clinic at the University of South Carolina (USC). Michael is a kicker for the USC football team.
ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT ON ELEASE LAYMAN ‘02 BY BRIELLE SMITH ‘15
fter graduating as valedictorian from Westminster and finishing her undergraduate work in classics and religious studies at the University of Virginia, Elease began working for a tutoring and test prep company in Washington, D.C. While she worked there, the company was presented with the opportunity to partner with Westminster to provide test prep services, yet they declined. Although this felt like a closed door, God presented a new opportunity to Elease that led her to establish her own business starting with a test prep partnership with Westminster. Her business later evolved into Layman College Consulting. Seven years later, Elease has partnered with multiple private schools and the Richmond County School System, worked personally with hundreds of students through test prep and college consulting, earned a Certificate in Independent Educational Consulting from University of California, Irvine, and expanded her business to include multiple employees. None of this was in her career plans. It was Craig Johnson, former Upper School principal, who reached out to Elease to take on the partnership with Westminster. She agreed, and beginning in June 2011, she wrote her own SAT test
preparation curriculum and started tutoring Westminster students using Skype. She has been providing test preparation services at Westminster ever since. “I figured I might only get a handful of students that first year, but God blessed me with 25 students, from both Westminster and throughout the CSRA as word of my services spread!” she said. Her business has only grown since that first year. Because of this, she and her husband Matt decided it was a good time for her to quit her tutoring job in D.C. as they were expecting their first child. “Having the freedom to manage my own business on my own time (now she’s a mother of two children) has been such a gift. We’re thankful that the choice was so obvious due to that initial response to my tutoring services,” she said. For Elease, the process of starting her own business was easier than most people experience. She didn’t have to face many of the challenges that often come with starting a small business. She attributes the success of her business to her connection with Westminster. Not only did Westminster’s academic challenge and her teachers’ expectations teach her the skills to manage her academic work in high school, those skills have also served her well as she
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manages her career. Throughout her time as a student at Westminster, Elease was continually encouraged by her teachers and their dedication to the school’s mission to work with excellence for the Lord. “Remembering their dedication inspires me in my career today,” she said. So, what is some advice Elease would like to share with those who are determining their own career paths? She specifically emphasizes the importance of networking with professors, alumni, advisors, and career offices on college campuses, as well as working to enhance communication and interpersonal skills. But more generally (and most importantly!), she urges everyone to remember Colossians 3:17 (a verse Mr. Hood wisely required her Bible class to memorize), which says “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Elease has the experience to know that each student and his or her path to success is unique. So she also has this wisdom to share: “If you can’t do your work for Jesus and give thanks to God while you’re doing it, perhaps it’s time to find a different career path!” Westminster is proud to spotlight Elease’s success, passion, and determination for helping students prepare for the future.
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START COLLEGE RIGHT AWAY OR TAKE A GAP YEAR? Instead of heading off to college after graduating, Lauren Rich ’17 and Emily Rogers ’17 stepped off the academic treadmill, and like a growing number of recent high school graduates in America, took a gap year.
auren Rich became aware of post-graduation opportunities while going through the college application process during her junior year. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but she knew she didn’t want to go to college right after high school. Her urge to travel and participate in more mission-focused activities fueled her search in finding the right opportunity. “I didn’t know enough about myself to even begin to pick a major,” she said. When she initially approached her parents about taking a gap year, her mom Kimberley was open to the idea and wasn’t surprised. However her dad Matt, a faculty member at Westminster, had concerns and reservations about cost and what she would have to show for it at the end of the year. “I’m a traditionalist,” he said. “My expectation is for all of my kids to finish college, whether it be a two- or four-year program. I told her ‘The Lord is going to have to work very hard on my heart to change this.’” Her parents rejected her first proposed gap-year plan, and sent her back to the drawing board to come up with something better, which led her to Impact 360 Institute. Convincing her parents was easier with the second proposal. As her dad said, “To her credit, she had carefully researched the program and articulately shared the benefits of her participating and how they would pay for it, which included her raising part of the funds herself.” It helped her parents to agree, knowing also that the program results in 18 college credits from an accredited university in Tennessee and that the cost of the program, after scholarships and financial aid are applied, is approximately the same as a year of college. Located in Pine Mountain, Georgia, Impact 360 was co-founded by John White and his wife Trudy Cathy White, owner of Chick Fil-A, and has been cultivating leaders who follow Jesus since 2006. Through biblical worldview education, community-based discipleship, leadership coaching, vocational mentoring, and mission opportunities, students are equipped to live as change agents in the world. Impact 360 Institute has three programs, one of which is Impact 360 Fellows, a 9-month experience for high school graduates. As soon as Lauren learned everything she could about the Impact 360 Fellows program, she knew it was exactly what she was looking for.
The Impact 360 Fellows program is a rigorous gap-year experience during which young men and women learn to grow their relationship with God, build intentional community with others, and discern God’s call in their lives. Lauren shared that there are rigorous academics, renowned guest speakers such as JP Moreland; international immersion through a month-long mission trip to Brazil, and leadership training through programs such as SIFAT. Servants in Faith and Technology is non-proft that provides training for Christian leaders and opportunities for people to get involved personally to serve alongside those most in need. Lauren said she especially enjoyed the Christian friendships she made with classmates and how much the program has helped her to grow more confident in her faith and as a leader. “My favorite part of the program was the mission trip to Brazil,” she said. “It was hard at first with the language barrier, but the longer we were there, the easier it was to communicate.” Both her parents expressed great pride in Lauren’s confidence, spiritual growth, and maturity after completing the program. “It was the best decision for her. She’s grown more and gained more valuable experience than she would have in her first year of college, said her father Matt.” This summer Lauren is doing a paid internship with Warren Baptist Church in Augusta and has been accepted to attend Augusta University in the fall. Learn more about Impact 360 Institute at impact360institute.org
mily Rogers spent the first part of her gap year enrolled in a semester-long program with NOLS, a nonprofit, collegeaccredited, global wilderness school that provides programs to develop and train outdoor leaders and equip them with wilderness survival skills. “I started thinking about a gap year during my junior year. I wasn’t excited about going from one classroom experience to another and wasn’t excited about any of the colleges I was accepted to,” Emily said. Her parents got on board early and after researching various gap year programs, landed on NOLS. Emily chose NOLS partly due to her brother’s previous experience with the organization. He, too, had participated in a NOLS program and had a great experience. Her parents didn’t need much persuasion to agree to it. She also chose NOLS because she wanted each day to be uncomfortable, physically and mentally, and wanted “to be faced with my character when outside of my comfort zone,” she said. “I grew up in Augusta, had been at Westminster since fourth grade. I have never even moved!”
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Like Lauren’s parents, Angela and Jerry Rogers were concerned about cost and lost academic momentum. “It helped knowing she’d finish with 19 college credits,” Jerry said. “Also, the skills she learned give her earning potential that we hope she will use during her years in school to offset the cost of the gap year.” One of eight enrolled in the NOLS Wilderness Medicine and Rescue, Emily set out for Wyoming in September. After 30 days of classroom education, practical skills, clinical rotations in an ER, emergency scenarios and a full-scale mock search and rescue, she earned her EMT and Wilderness EMT certifications, and is now qualified to work on an ambulance, or in an outdoor organization or land management agency. Next her group spent 23 days backpacking and training to be outdoor guides while applying their EMT training at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. They worked on canyoneering and rope skills, team building, and survival skills, while challenged with mock injuries and a mock search and rescue. They also camped at Red Rock Canyon and worked on their climbing and rappelling skills. Emily said the weather was perfect, warm enough to sleep under the stars every night, and she loved every minute of it. Then they were challenged to 14 days of winter wilderness survival training in the backcountry in northern Wyoming. On skis with temperatures 10-20 degrees below zero every day, the group traversed Angle Mountain in the Absoraka Range while responding to mock emergency scenarios.
GAP YEAR ADVICE FOR PARENTS
ap years have long been popular in Europe and Australia, and now there’s a growing group of U.S. teens and parents who are jumping aboard the gap-year trend, especially as they’re exposed to more frequent celebrity endorsements and media coverage such as Malia Obama’s gap year as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Spain before starting Harvard or Prince Harry’s time off to help build a clinic in Lesotho, Africa. A number of colleges see the benefit of taking a year off by offering scholarships and fellowships to incoming freshmen who take a gap year. Harvard has long encouraged the practice, and many more colleges are offering gap-year opportunities as the trend continues. Emily wasn’t accepted to the University of Georgia the first time she applied, but was accepted after completing the NOLS program. It’s normal for parents to feel anxious and uncertain about delaying enrollment to college for a gap year. What if my son or daughter doesn’t go on to college? How can we pay for this? Both Emily and Lauren’s parents had similar questions and said although highly successful for these young women, a gap year isn’t for everyone. Lauren’s father shared the following: “This was great for Lauren and
“NOLS took her to a new level of confidence in herself and her leadership abilities...” “It was the best and worst experience of my life,” Emily said. “We were always uncomfortable. When you’re living in the back country, there’s a fine line between euphoria and despair. You’re so close to both, given the challenge of such cold weather. We looked for ways to laugh and make the most of the pain. Out there it was true survival, and you come to terms with having people rely on you as well as relying on others. Self awareness, group awareness, honesty and vulnerability were critical to making it through.” Although it was painful, those 14 days were her favorite part of the experience and did not deter her from choosing Montana as the place to work for the second half of her gap year. “I wanted to continue to challenge myself and go where I knew no one,” she said. She worked as a ski lift operator from January to April, and filled in for the ski patrol when needed, putting to use what she had learned through the NOLS course. She surprised herself by falling in love with both Montana and the cold weather. Emily’s parents expressed that the year couldn’t have gone better and that they have no question that this was the best thing for her. Emily is now confident about the direction her life should take. “NOLS was an outstanding program that took her to a new level of confidence in herself, her leadership abilities, and her respect for nature and people of all ages and experiences. The program stretched her physically and academically. She has made contacts and advocates that will benefit her and open doors that she would never have, if she had gone straight to college. Not to mention she got into UGA after being rejected the first time around,” Jerry said. Learn more about NOLS at nols.edu we are so proud of her. I wish our other daughter would consider the same program, but she’s a different kind of kid. A person needs to be self-motivated to do it, and some experiences can even be more challenging than attending college.” Both families had concerns about cost, having saved for only four years of college, not for an additional fifth year of expenses. Formal gap year programs can be quite costly, however, there are many lowcost options, some of which also provide room and board. Both sets of parents agree that students should take some responsibility for helping to fund the gap-year experience whether it’s working before the year, or utilizing the experience to earn money afterward, like Emily with her EMT certification. They also agreed that students should apply to college, even if the plan is to defer enrollment, just to have a solid plan in place after the gap year is over. Something important to consider is that many gap year programs include college credit, such as Impact 360 and NOLS, and are eligible for financial aid through FAFSA, same as for college. And It’s a matter of doing your research and finding the right program that’s the right fit for the student who’s taking the time off. Families who are interested in a gap year can find a planning guide with gap year research and benefits at GapYearAssociation.org to get you started.
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ANSLEY PANTSARI ‘17: NO LONGER A KNOB BY BRIELLE SMITH ‘15
ave you ever been made to do pushups as a consequence for laughing or smiling too much? Ansley Pantsari ’17 just finished her first year at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and admitted to doing quite a few! Initially, Ansley had planned to attend the University of South Carolina (USC). After having found a roommate at USC, God revealed that He had other plans for her. Ansley said, “My mind was settled [on USC], but my heart was not content. Ultimately, the Lord had placed The Citadel on my heart and guided me in that direction.” Following in her father’s footsteps, a 1996 graduate himself, Ansley enrolled at The Citadel in the fall of 2017. As an incoming student, she was part of the lowest ranking class, called a “knob,”and had to follow strict rules set by the school and the upperclassmen. “Every knob is required to go through a
10-day training period prior to the start of classes during which you learn how to march in platoons, how to wear and prepare all of your uniforms, how your room needs to be set up, basic rifle drill movements, and the general expectations for how you are to perform for the rest of the year,” she said. Along with a strict routine without much free time came the infamous haircut that all freshmen girls must endure. “Throughout the year, the girls had to maintain hair that was three inches at the longest point without touching ears or our shirt collar.”
As she began her freshman year, she was fearful of being unable to keep up with the men in her class, not being tough enough physically or disciplined enough, being singled out because she was female, and most of all, being lonely. However, amidst all of these drastic lifestyle changes, Ansley saw God’s presence so clearly in her life at
“Within the first two weeks of my time here, I felt as though I had gained 30 older
brothers,” she said. “All of my fears of being lonely crumbled away as I found myself surrounded by people that loved me so well despite the challenging environment we faced together.” It was still hard for Ansley to see pictures of her friends at other schools rushing sororities or getting their hair done for formals. “The school had, in a way, stripped me of everything that made me feel girly,” she said. However, Ansley found something uniquely powerful during her freshman year. “Regardless of being stripped of the things I associated with beauty, I felt strong and beautiful in a way I had never felt before. There were times when I felt more beautiful in my dress uniforms than I remember feeling in my prom dresses, because they embodied the strength and fortitude that Christ, through my time at The Citadel, had implemented in me. The sense of strength, beauty, and the reminder that I am precious in His sight came through wearing those uniforms.”
Join us at the Homecoming game as the Wildcats take on Bulloch Academy Details will be emailed and posted on social media about special activities planned throughout the weekend for alumni and families.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 7:30 P.M.
Westminster ^ THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!
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THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
goal of the school’s advancement efforts is to create or build upon opportunities for current families, alumni, grandparents, etc.) to stay connected and support the school. Many of these opportunities are part of the long-standing Westminster traditions. For example, the Homecoming football game is a way to connect alumni with one another and with new campus buildings that they may have only heard about. While impressed by the Knox Hall kitchen and eating area, many alumni love to go back to the “old cafeteria” and reminisce about their days spent in that room. Wildcat Connection is an event that marks the fall season with a raucously fun time on Wheeler Field. Field Day is a high-energy, fun-filled event that draws parents and grandparents to see spirited challenges between “blue” and “white” teams! A few events this year are “updates” of previous traditions. After a successful 10th anniversary auction, a change in format and location guided development of this year’s auction, “Choose Your Own Adventure.” Knox Hall’s cafeteria was transformed into theme tables, a live band created a warm, festive atmosphere, and a covered outdoor patio allowed guests to enjoy the spring weather. One measure of the event’s success was the socializing and fellowship that people enjoyed throughout the evening. And then there are the new initiatives which aim to reach and link people who might not otherwise connect with the school. The first Sporting Clays Shoot was a great success in bringing parents of former students, gun enthusiasts, and church groups out to Pinetucky Gun Club for a morning fun shoot. We hope to make it an annual event.
Initiatives to reach out to the community include making contact with families relocating to work at Fort Gordon. While a trickle of advance personnel are already moving to the CSRA, the majority of the relocations from Virginia and Maryland are scheduled for 2020 and 2021. In those years, over 8,500 people will relocate to work at Fort Gordon, among them 2,500 children. Westminster has representatives regularly attending meetings at Fort Gordon; is one of the pioneering members of the Alliance for Cyber Education; and is one of the private school leaders in the CSRA in integrating cyber/STEM concepts in its curriculum and extracurriculars. All of these initiatives — whether continuation, “updates,” or new — are only possible with your support of prayers, time, and generous giving. Thank you! With gratefulness for your support,
Andy Lee Director of Advancement
FROM THE FINANCE COMMITTEE
t is the Finance Committee’s responsibility to make sure that the school is run in a fiscally responsible and transparent manner that honors God. By following these principles, the committee will strive to reduce debt and keep operating expenses as low as possible so as to live within our means. This task can be a tricky balancing act as we try to grow the school’s enrollment and programs, while moderating tuition increases. Fortunately, we have an excellent business department and a supportive board and administration. Please take a moment to review the key points of interest listed below. • WSA recently received its third clean annual audit by the Cherry Bekaert accounting firm. • Because of the school’s prudent financial management, our cash flow is currently sound, which has allowed us to set aside money in short-term savings without utilizing our line of credit. • We continue to collect outstanding pledges for Knox Hall. Thanks to your generous contributions and a $1,000,000
matching grant, we built this amazing addition on our campus without incurring new debt. • Teachers received a modest, but much-deserved raise. • We are currently exploring new tuition models that will provide more affordability and stabilize tuition increases. All of this good news is a result of the prayers of our community and the solid foundation laid by those who came before us. We would like to remind everyone that helping to grow enrollment is the greatest thing we can all do for the school’s fiscal health. We are all ambassadors for Westminster, so please tell your friends about the amazing opportunities that are available for grades PK3 through 12. There is no other school in the Augusta area that will better prepare your children spiritually and academically for the challenges that await them than Westminster Schools of Augusta.
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WHAT AN ADVENTURE!
enerous donors and supporters gathered in Knox Hall on Saturday, April 28 for the 11th Annual Auction “Choose Your Own Adventure.” Over 25 sponsored tables awaited the attendees, all decorated based on themes ranging from “Tomorrowland” to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to “Rods, Reels, and Rivers.” The table sponsored by Westminster’s Clay Shooting Sports team, “The Hunt Is On,” was voted best decorated table. Thanks to the efforts of many volunteers, including students, and to all who came out to support our largest fundraiser of the year, we raised more than $50,000 to support programs for our students. We’re especially appreciative of our attendees, auction winners, volunteers, donors, sponsors, board members, teacher sponsors and Westminster friends. On behalf of all of our students, faculty and staff who benefit from your generosity, thank you!
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Why We Give... “It truly is a joy to give because we know the money is being used for God’s glory.”
Thayer and Rusty McGahee, Alumni Parents Mary Frances ‘10, Kelly ‘12, and Rebecca ‘14
The McGahees are one of many families who value a Westminster education and show their support by giving to the Westminster Fund. We had children at Westminster from 1996-2014, and could tell many stories of how teachers at Westminster helped our girls academically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. What more could you dream of in a school? We continued to give after they graduated because we believe in this school and its ministry to the children in our community. It truly is a joy to give because we know the money is being used for God’s glory.
Gifts to the Westminster Fund make it possible to: • Deliver challenging and innovative academic programs • Provide premier fine arts, athletics, and extracurricular activities • Offer small class sizes with individualized instruction • Attract and grow a talented and diverse student body through need-based financial assistance
Every gift, whether large or small, makes a difference in our students’ lives. Thank you for giving.
Please give at wsa.net/giving or use the enclosed envelope.
Westminster Fund Forward...Together
GOALSCHOLARSHIP.ORG Thanks to your generous support, your tax credits for 2018 have provided $160K in scholarships for Westminster students.
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