NWC, Here I Come! 25 Days Left…

Wow, it feels like this summer has flown by, and yet… and yet I can’t wait for move-in day and classes to start! I know that college will be different and exciting, fun and challenging, and new and stimulating. I know that college will mean growth and I want it to mean maturity and depth in Christ. I have so many expectations for myself in college, and yet I don’t want to hinder what mysterious, exciting things God has in store for me by having too many expectations. My prayer is that I would be open, above all, to what He wants of me, for me, and from me.
As I write lists, shop, and gather everything that I’ll be taking with me physically and mentally, I prepare myself for the things I will be leaving behind physically and relationally. I am a little nervous for what this particular step holds, for this means leaving friends and family behind and stepping out into a place in which I have never previously been. It’s not that I am afraid to make new friends — in fact, quite the opposite — I can’t wait to make some amazing friends, probably some that I’ll keep for the rest of my life!! I am simply beginning to recognize the depth of what I will be leaving here, in distance, though not in spirit.
I am leaving Schaeffer Academy. It isn’t just a school. It’s a beautiful group of people that upholds one another, prays for one another, lives together, shares with one another, teaches one another, and learns from each other. I grew SO much at SA, and not just because I attended Kindergarten through 12th grade there. I learned things from my teachers, in class and through example, that I never expected to learn in a school setting. I made friendships with teachers, peers, younger students, and other adults that I thank God for and I pray that can be sustained even despite the distance.
I am leaving Honors Choirs of SE MN. They have been my choir family for 9 years now; I am so blessed to have been a part of such a dynamic, lively, musical group of people. I learned so much about music and life from the Nelsons, Mr. Strommen-Campbell, Mr. Culloton, and Mr. Johnson. In Honors Choirs I discovered how much I thrive on the life You have given through music, God, and how I might fit into Your creation through music.
I am leaving Autumn Ridge Church, at least for now. Specifically in the youth ministries, we experienced very much change in my time there as a Middle and High Schooler. I began building a strong foundation through Josh Mulvihill’s leadership, grew in His love and grace through Reggie’s guidance, and have been challenged to live out my foundation and growth through Billy and the interns, Brandon, Cameron, and Alli since they’ve been here. Not only did the leadership change in this area, but also in our youth worship ministry. Diane Ackerman stepped down from her many years of guidance and support and Karl Bristol stepped in. Then Karl’s family suddenly grew! And we have now had two of the interns working alongside us. Through these many changes, though, God has taught me so much about perseverance, patience, and grace. Patience isn’t just tolerance, but long-suffering with someone as they grow, struggle, and work through whatever it may be. Patience means loving them through Christ no matter how they treat me or how many times they sin against me. ARC youth have given me a glimpse of what it means to stick together as a body even through struggle and change.
I am leaving Crossroads, my first experience with the music community outside of school and HC. I made some great friends here whose company I will miss dearly. I encountered true Christian community at Crossroads and I will not forget what I learned about integrity, honesty, openness, and friendship.
Jesus dealt with change, too, and He knows how hard it can be. He knew how hard it was to leave those He loved. He knew what it was to start over. He had to leave His Father, in a sense, to come be with us, born as a baby. He had to leave His disciples when He returned to be with His Father. He had to leave Mary and His brothers. He had to leave all others to die alone. BUT He triumphed over death so that we might never be alone. This is my comfort as I leave home to encounter and experience all that God has in store for me. Not only do I know that He has a great plan for me, but I also have the assurance that I will NEVER be alone. He is ALWAYS with me. Always. Now isn’t something to thank Him for and a reason to worship Him!? Jesus, I’m ready!! I’m ready for August 24, 2012!!! 🙂

Questions, Questions… “Make College Count” Reflections #4

Question #4: Who ARE you?

(in decreasing order of importance 🙂 )

  • A daughter of Abba ❤
  • A disciple of Christ
  • An Image-bearer of God
  • A member in the fellowship, part of the body of Christ
  • A missionary in the trip called LIFE
  • An American
  • A Minnesotan
  • A Rochesterite (not for long! Soon I’ll be a St Paul-er 😉 )
  • A musician — singer, guitarist, pianist, theorist, composer, coke-bottleist 🙂
  • A Schaefferite
  • An Autumn Ridger and Oasis attendee
  • A Petersen
  • A Woman
  • A Farmers’ Market Vendor/Sargent’s Employee
  • A good student/hard worker (according to my dad)

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.”

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