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A Look Back: Guidance, Growth, and Gratitude

Jul 7, 2022 | Lily Thomas, WCA Class of 2022

It was August of 2009. The king of pop, Michael Jackson, had passed away earlier that summer. The cost of a gallon of gas was $2.73. People were ditching their Blackberries for an iPhone 3, and in case you were wondering, the Browns were on their way to another losing record, finishing with only five wins. Some things never change.

2009 was also the year that many members of the class of 2022 started their journey at Westside Christian Academy. At that time little did we know that we would get to spend the next thirteen years at WCA. Over the years, as more students entered our class, we laughed together, cried together, and became like family. We stand here today grateful. Grateful to God. Grateful for our parents who sent us to this wonderful school. Grateful for the teachers who taught us how to learn well while loving us well every day. Grateful for the hard work that got us here. And grateful for the friendships and memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.

Back in 2009 Michael Jackson provided music that brought joy to many people and gave all music listeners a spring in their step. Here at WCA, there have been many joyful times that have also given us a spring in our steps to encourage us to keep going. Throughout our years, Westside Christian has had many traditions and fun activities that we always looked forward to. One of these is Field Day, a fun-filled day of student teamwork and competition. Arguably one of the greatest games during Field Day was the jello toss. Many of our dads would sign up for this game because they got to eat jello, but they probably ended up getting twenty different illnesses afterwards. Watching our dads catch jello in their mouths and quickly spit it out in the trash was comical to us all. Throughout the years many of our moms created holiday parties with fun games. In one of those games, we had to put Vaseline on our noses and move cotton balls into cups. Needless to say, we learned quickly how creative moms can be. These events and parties our parents helped organize are just one example of how much they cared for us. So thank you to all of our parents who provided us with a classical Christian education because of the love you share with us. We will be grateful for the rest of our lives. Without you, we wouldn’t be who we are today. We can look back at these memories, thankful for the activities that gave us a spring in our steps.

As the gas price changed through these years, understanding how to be wise stewards of resources, both time and money, has been something we’ve learned to do here at WCA. As first grade students we practiced spelling. We would all write as neatly as possible so that we could get one single Skittle the next morning on our desk from the master of stewarding resources, Mrs. Wicks. Who knew one skittle can make such a big impact? On a brisk third grade field trip aboard the Good Time II, we drank hot chocolate as we looked out at Cleveland. Apparently sweets were a major form of motivation for our class. We were able to see the stewardship of our teachers—both in the classroom and outside of it. Our teachers at WCA taught us how to use our time wisely. Throughout every year we were reminded to “finish well.” Though we occasionally wished we didn’t have certain assignments, our teachers instilled in us a work ethic like no other. They probably saw more in us than at times we saw in ourselves. We are grateful that we learned how to be wise stewards of our resources, time, and money through the encouragement of our teachers.

During our years at Westside Christian, even though Apple products exploded into this world, inside the walls of WCA we were blessed to have face to face interactions. We learned to communicate with classmates and friends verbally to further strengthen relationships as God intended, especially on our class trips to Washington D.C. and Charleston, South Carolina. In a constantly noisy charter bus ride on our way to Washington D.C., our relationships definitely grew. A special thanks to the teacher and parent chaperones on that trip! In Charleston it was a little different. As our flights there and back were canceled, we prayed and worked together. We even got to witness one of our chaperones praying over a ticket agent whose father was fighting cancer. These trips were tremendous bonding opportunities for our class.

At WCA, we also communicated in thesis presentations, Practicum, house competitions, Compass Groups, and Humanities Days, but many memories that definitely gave us communication skills were in the great books that we read. Some of the core books included Shakespeare plays, but perhaps the greatest part of reading Shakespeare was getting to see Mr. Sasser’s unknown skill of acting while saying with his booming voice, full of inflection: “Fair is foul and foul is fair!” from Macbeth. Our teachers are truly unlike any others. They deeply care for us as individuals and our walk with the Lord. In addition to being brilliantly minded, our teachers have been comforting and accessible to talk to whenever we had something on our minds. They’ve taught us truth, given us wisdom, and have loved us well. Thank you to all of our incredible teachers, who have taught us how to communicate and made our experience at WCA a joy.

Lastly, even though the Browns have yet to make it to the Super Bowl, the WCA class of 2022 is victorious. We have overcome many things by God’s blessings. There was a pandemic that didn’t allow us to physically be at school for half of our sophomore year. We have faced illness and injury and lost family members. But by God’s love, He has upheld us with His righteous hand. The Lord has blessed us with memories we will never forget, friendships we will never let go, and a strong faith that will never leave us. In Him, we have been victorious!

Today is May 20, 2022. The king of pop, Michael Jackson, is still being played around the world. The cost of a gallon of gas is sadly around $4.25. People are now purchasing the iPhone 13, and the Browns still haven’t made it to the Super Bowl, not surprised. Just as the times have changed throughout the past thirteen years, so has the growth of our senior class. God has blessed us with true friendships, godly teachers, and faithful parents. To the class of 2022, the day has finally come where we will walk out the doors of Westside Christian Academy. So may we go off to the next chapter of our lives with God-fearing hearts, wisdom-filled minds, appreciation for our parents, and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Thank you