SA 2012 — A Memoir

(started May 17, 2012 and finished today)

Thank You, Jesus, for this year,
Thank You for my beloved class.
We have shared our joys and fears.
These nine months have gone too fast!

Kerryn, my dear preschool reject,
You’ve been with me from day one.
God has blessed me more than I could expect;
These years have been such crazy fun!
Alex, bosom buddy, friend,
Thank you for your loyalty.
This year will not be the end
‘Cause we’re both going to NWC!
Sarah, Washington calls to you
and who am I to say something else?
I will definitely miss you, too;
Remember the trip to Wisconsin Dells?
Tabs, you bring life to any group,
especially Philosophy with DanD.
How in the world will I stay in the loop
Without you there to always inform me?
Abbey, pretty Tinker-bell princess,
I love your pens and sticker books.
Vicky, luscious golden locks,
How attractive are your sexy looks!
Kiersten, running motorcycle-fanatic,
Be careful driving in the big, wide world.
And dear Sydney, miss word-smith,
Someday your book I might hold!
Taylor, the sanity in our hurricane,
thank you for your entertainment.
Schwy, whoops, I won’t call you that again,
Though your reaction to me reveals your amusement.
Heather, dear, I always know
That with you I can be crazy and wild.
Steph, my tan cheerleader friend,
I’ll never remember you as boring or mild!
Laura, plant and environment advocate,
Your style never fails to be
New and funky, colorful and cute,
Sometimes fancy, but always unique!

As I come to the end of this poem,
I’m overcome by thankfulness
For knowing you all and loving you much;
Father God, thank You. I’ve been SO blessed!!

Class of 2012 — I graduated!


I graduated from Schaeffer Academy on the Twenty-fifth of May, 2012 at seven-thiry in the evening. WOW. It still feels unreal, and I’ve already had almost a week of summer and already finished my graduation party.

The whole commencement was just surreal; I remember so many years of attending graduation, but didn’t realize how quickly it would come! I was so excited, yet sad because I will really miss Schaeffer and its beloved community. I will miss my wonderful teachers who go over and beyond the expectations in every way. They truly encouraged my hunger and love of learning and challenged me in just the right ways to cause me to love it even more! I can’t imagine not having Mr. D for Philosophy… play-do with Plato was so much fun! Or Mr. H for Lit. this past year… I’ve had so much fun learning and growing through their guidance. I can’t WAIT to go to NWC, but I will really miss SA.

My excitement only escalated when I found out I’d get to give a speech! I tied for Salutatorian with the girl who originally was Salutatorian. I wasn’t expecting that at all, so it was a big surprise and blessing from Abba. I have Him, my family, and my amazing teachers, along with my awesome classmates, to thank for that! I could never have done it by myself.

After the ceremony and reception, my classmates and I went on a limo for dessert at Sontes! yummm… 🙂 We had such a great time together as a class. As much as we were “stuck” together, I will definitely miss them all.

I love you, Schaeffer Academy!!

Salutatorian Address – Class of 2012

Andrea Joy Petersen

Commencement 2012 — Salutatory Address

Wow. Friends, this night is finally here! I’ve been picturing this day as a far-off imagination, not as a closely-approaching reality. I know that you all have been anticipating this, too, and while it may be with some hesitance and disbelief that we sit here tonight, it is also with great excitement and joy that we move on to new adventures and places. Before we get too carried away with future plans, though, I want to take a few moments to reflect on what we’re taking away from our many years at Schaeffer. The school focuses on Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. I’d like to take a look at some of the ways we’ve grown in these permanent things over the years.

Truth. We have grown up learning the truth of God’s Word through Scripture memorization, Bible stories and skits we performed in grade school, dressing up and presenting the armor of God in 5th grade, and so much more. I don’t know about some of you, but I know that I can still remember Psalm 23 from memorizing it in Mrs. Hanson’s 1st grade class.

We have also learned the truth of community and close friendships. As a class, about 64% of us have been together since Kindergarten, and all of us have been here for High School. We have learned how important it is to stick with each other, even if it may not be the easiest thing to do. During those crazy middle school years filled with flying pens, Stephanie’s pranks, Vicky and Kiersten’s plan for world domination, and the book of Leviticus, we managed not to get into too much trouble while still having a LOT of fun. We’ve persevered through many a finals week by studying at Panera, encouraged each other during long days of tests, and even worked swiftly together with Alex’s organization to pull off buying and filling all of those cups for our senior prank, which turned out pretty well and definitely surprised everyone!

We have learned how to seek and pursue truth in every area of life, especially this year in Philosophy. Mr. Daugherty’s classes never failed to leave us thinking, whether it be writing about how we know we exist or learning about Plato’s forms while we played with play-do and cookie cutters. We were always reminded at Schaeffer that truth conforms to God and His character, which makes it objective. This is very important for us to remember as we enter the bigger world where many people may try to convince us otherwise.

Beauty. We see beauty everywhere at Schaeffer Academy! The amazing artwork created by our peers that adorns the walls which we walk everyday is a unique aspect of our school that not many others get to experience. Two of us, Taylor and Laura, even have artwork joining the permanent art gallery this year. Our building is beautifully clean and tidy, thanks to the Whateleys, other maintenance staff, and our student council activity to clean the school as a community yesterday. We have learned how to look at the world the way God does in Mr. Arant’s class when we “moved from God’s Word to God’s World.” We hear beauty, be it listening to little kids practicing for choir as we pass the music room, hearing Sarah rehearse her solo for the coffee concert, catching the strains of fifth graders reciting their latest poetry in the classroom down the hall, or playing in the band, jazz band, or strings together. We even taste beauty, from Mrs. Lee’s brownie bake-off competition to trying each other’s pizza day desserts (especially your cheesecake, Abbey).

We have learned that beauty is not just what we personally think is good or nice, but what is lovely and admirable in God’s sight, which is of infinitely higher value. We have learned that, as much as most of us love to dress up and look pretty, God looks at our hearts and sees us as so much more beautiful than we may feel, fancy clothes or not, because He made us to be His.

Goodness. So many things about Schaeffer have been good for us! From difficult Lewis pre-calculus tests to Mr. Hunderfund’s discussions (and Tabitha’s entertaining comments in them!), we have been stretched outside of our comforts zones and challenged to grow. We have been taught that working hard and completing a difficult assignment can be a very rewarding experience. We have learned values such as integrity and honesty when Mr. Phillips asks us on tests if we completed the assigned reading. We have learned school spirit through great turn-outs to sports games and cheering our teams on, with the help of the cheerleaders and Lion mascot, of course. We have learned responsibility through the demerit system, as much as we may dislike it. It teaches us that everything has a consequence, for good or for bad, and that we will reap what we sow from our actions. We have learned from Mr. Harris and Mrs. Phillips the value of knowing our history, be it the history of our country, our school, or our identity in Christ. We have learned by wearing uniforms the value of looking within others for their identity, not for how they dress. As much as I know we will MISS them, our uniforms have played a small role in allowing us to focus on the wonderful and good things about each other without getting distracted by one another’s clothing. We have learned on sports teams the importance of unity. Winning may be fun and more exciting, but the community we have experienced through hard practices has been seen clearly in the teamwork displayed by Elizabeth, Heather, and the basketball team passing and shooting a basket or Kerryn, Sydney, and the rest of the soccer team’s dribbling to score a goal.

Schaeffer is such a blessing because as a K-12 school, we get to witness not only each other grow over the many years we’ve been together, but watch the younger students grow and mature, too. We have the honor of being role models for the elementary kids as they watch us in the halls, outside at PE or on the playground, and between classes. We have the privilege to influence their lives. I remember how much we loved our book buddies and gift buddies when we were younger, and I can only imagine how much the little kids love watching us around school.

These are only a few of hundreds of ways we have learned what Truth, Beauty, and Goodness mean. I am sure in the next few years we will appreciate even more the values our teachers have instilled in us and the huge gift our families have given us in this classical, Christian education. As we move our separate ways and pursue the things that God has made us to enjoy, let us not forget what God has blessed us with here at Schaeffer Academy. Through the good and the bad just remember: “Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it appears to be.”

ARC Grad Night Speech (Notes) — Class of 2012

  • Good evening seniors, parents, and friends! It is so good to see you all here, seniors, whether I’ve known you for 13 years or we have just met tonight. When Billy asked me to share parting words with you, I was so excited to be able to encourage you in this next big chapter of life. I asked Billy, “So how long do I have?” and he told me, “Oh, 5 minutes.” WOW. Okay….. let’s just say that I had been thinking a LITTLE longer than that because I had so much to say to you all! I have so many memories with you guys and so many things I wanted to remind you of as we continue on this scary and adventure-filled journey called life. I did, however, decide on what I most wanted to impart to you because I think these few things should be most important to all of us as disciples of Christ. Alright, here it goes…
  1. Make it a PRIORITY to find a church body and get involved! Christ is coming back for His BODY, not individuals. If we aren’t connected with other believers, we can’t be held accountable in the ways God designed, and thus we are succeptible to error and temptation much more easily. Christian college or not, we will grow in the way God created us to grow by being a part of a diverse (age-wise and culture-wise) body of believers. Research the churches in the area of your college if you’re moving away before getting there the first week to see where you may want to visit. Look for a place where you not only will grow, but where you can also serve. Using your gifts to edify the church is a high calling! Though you may not realize it, the church needs you. The church is Christ’s Bride and if we are not a part of His bride, we cannot have the kind of relationship with Him that He so eagerly desires to have with us!
  2. ENGAGE in the world! Look around you to see where God is working and ask Him how you can join what His people are already doing wherever you may be, or ask Him how you may be the innovator in His work! Part of knowing Who God is and what He is doing involves knowing how He has worked in the past. To know that, we can read Scripture, His Story of humanity and how He is working in and through His people. We can also read accounts of what God has done (and is doing) in His people in the time since Scripture.  We can read biographies of missionaries, autobiographies, blogs, magazine articles… the list goes on and on, and so much of this is very readily available to us — thank you, technology! These books may not be inspired, God-breathed, but they can still teach us more about Who God is and how He has worked with His people. Another great way to become informed about God’s involvement is to ask others around you! Sharing your story of how God is working in and through you, and hearing about others’ journeys of life and faith not only teaches you, but builds a relationship with the other person and could even be the beginning of a life-long friendship.
  3. Start off well — begin college or work by living the way you want to live the rest of your life. These next few years will be hugely instrumental in shaping the way we think, act, interact, and spend our time in the decades to come. If you will be moving away from home, NOW is the time to form habits that you want to keep in the distant future. These decisions could impact future generations, because they could effect marriage, friendships, and children in the long run. Be intentional about how you spend your time and with whom you spend your time.
  4. Have an OPEN heart and mind. God may have something CRAZY in store for you! I know that He will work in mighty ways through each of you, some of which I may have a better idea of than others, but you have to give Him the opportunity to do that first. Oftentimes our ideas of what WE want to do for God can conflict with, and maybe even oppose completely, what GOD wants to do with US. Be flexible and moldable during this time of huge growth and change to allow the Holy Spirit’s work in your life. He may show you great things that He wants you to do for Him and may completely transform the picture of your future. You may plan to do one thing, but God wants you to do something vastly different. Be willing to let Him use you where HE wants you, not just where you want to be. Be available to be used by the One who knows what He made you to do and who He made you to be! Let Him take control of you, for He is a LOT wiser than we are, and what a comfort THAT is. God has greater things in mind for each of us than we could EVER begin to fathom. I don’t know about you, but I would rather be a part of that crazy adventure ride than try to build my own, which won’t end up to be nearly as exciting or fulfilling.
  • Well, we’ve come to the end of the things I was eager to share with you. If senioritis got the best of you and you missed everything else I said, hear me out on this last one. You were created to enjoy God and love Him. He LOVES you…. SO much. He watches over your every thought and action. He knows you better than you can ever know yourself, and I pray that is a comfort to you. Whether you are excited and thrilled, or terrified and freaking out about ending this chapter and beginning the next one, He will never leave you. Take comfort in Christ.

And finally, as Pastor Reggie never failed to ask, “Have I told y’all yet today that I love you? I love you guys!”

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