First up is Adam McDowell, who, by all calculations, has been here the longest. We call him a “lifer.” He came to our campus as a preschool student in 2001, moved on to Kindergarten in 2002, and had so much fun he did it again in 2003. (It was actually due to a late start his first time around.) His favorite memory of UFCA is the Junior Trip to Charleston. He enjoyed that time of bonding with his class mates. What will he miss the most about UFCA? His lunch table crew and all the chats they’ve had. When asked how UFCA has prepared him for life, he said that math class has been the most influential, which makes sense because his parents are our math-whiz teachers here. He has actually had his dad as his math teacher since 7th grade. He says he didn’t really try before then, but his dad caught him up by having him do math packets at home in his problem areas. After graduation, Adam wants to attend CPCC to get his basic courses out of the way, and then he’ll decide on a major. He thought about being a math major, but has since resolved not to. He’s wide open to the possibilities, but becoming an orthodontist or a lawyer are both in the back of his mind. Like I said, wide open. Whatever he does, I know he’ll do it with his calm, even-keeled personality.
The second senior we’re highlighting is Mark Abraham, who started in 2002 in preschool and joined Adam in Kindergarten in 2003. He is another “lifer” in this senior class. His favorite UFCA memory is a tie between the 7th grade musical “A Year with Frog and Toad,” in which he made his theatre debut, and his 12th grade theatre production “Don’t Say No to the USO,” in which he had one of the lead roles. He, of course, can name every theatre production in the years between those, as well! How has UFCA prepared him for life? It’s given him lots of experiences to prepare him academically for college and socially for the work world. Being in a small class, and relating to his classmates, has helped him learn how to get along with his co-workers. As far as his future plans, he plans to study at Wingate University to be a physician’s assistant, and will either minor or perhaps double major in music. What will he miss the most? It has to be the Fine Arts Department. Many students who participated in the No Drama Theatre Company will be graduating this year along with Mark. He’ll also miss Mr. Meyer, who is by far his favorite teacher, and also the most relatable.
Please allow me to continue bragging on our UFCA seniors. Our next soon-to-be-graduate is Katie Allen. She is also a “lifer,” who, except for a brief stint away during two years of middle school, has been here since Kindergarten. Her favorite memory? Naptime. But when I explained that I meant beyond kindergarten, she immediately referred to the Friday night performance of “Don’t Say No to the USO.” It was the final theatrical show in which she and several of her fellow seniors would participate, and the farewell bow that night she called “powerful and emotional.” When asked about how UFCA has prepared her for life, she talked about her future plans to act, direct and write, and pointed to Mrs. Robinson and (once again!) Mr. Meyer for sparking her creativity and teaching her how to express herself both on the stage and on the page. Katie dreams of starting an acting troupe of like-minded people and writing books. When asked about the thing she’d miss the most about UFCA, she talked about the great environment, teachers who care, and the fact that most of the students got along with each other.
Michael Tilson is an almost “lifer,” which means he’s been here since first grade. Mrs. Cortez was his teacher, and he had her dad, Mr. Fitz, for his P.E. classes, his favorite class. He remembers Mr. Fitz as tough but fun. How has UFCA prepared him for life? Mostly via the spiritual training he has received through the Bible classes every year and the chapel services every week. His future plans? He plans to go into aeronautical engineering and one day design his own airplanes. He’d like to own a company that does just that, and when Michael sets his mind to do something, you can almost guarantee he’ll succeed. He became interested in planes at the age of four. He flew radio-controlled planes when he was in elementary school and was designing and building his own model planes and drones as a middle schooler. In high school, he started taking flying lessons when he was 15 years old. It took him two years to complete the program but this past summer, at the age of 17, he got his pilot’s license. How many 17-year-olds can say that? When asked what he will miss the most about UFCA, Michael says it would be the caring teachers and the friends he has made over the years.
The next senior that we’d like to spotlight is Will Adams, who became a Falcon in fourth grade. Will has two favorite memories from his time at UFCA: the first is playing “Commando” and glow-in-the-dark Capture the Flag at the fall retreat held at Camp Cedar Cliff, and the second is this year’s Homecoming—for which Will was on the Homecoming Court, and at which our varsity Falcons defeated Carmel Christian. (He also was crowned Homecoming King, by the way!) When asked how United Faith has prepared him for life after high school, he replied “UFCA has prepared me by strengthening my faith and spirituality. It has also allowed me to build strong relationships with friends and teachers.” The thing he’ll miss the most is the small, supportive network of friends and teachers here. Will’s plans for the future include attending either UNCC or UNCW next year to study Information Technology or Business.
Our next upcoming graduate is Parker Robinson, who came to UFCA in fifth grade. Parker feels that UFCA has given him opportunities to build relationships and expand his musical abilities, which he plans to utilize in the future as he attends college and majors in music. He hopes to use that major in a career as a music teacher or worship leader. He has participated in the No Drama Theatre Company for five years, where he has shined both as an actor and a musician, as he played his violin for several roles. What will he miss the most about UFCA? His friends, Praise Band and Theatre, and all the fine arts and sporting events. By the way, Parker went on a tour of Liberty University recently and auditioned with the Dean of Strings, and he was accepted on the spot!
Our next senior to highlight is Andrew Norton. Andrew came to UFCA in 8th grade. Over the years, he’s made some great memories, but his favorite is the Homecoming game senior year, at which UFCA defeated Carmel Christian. What will he miss the most? His best buds, fun at sporting events, and great memories. Andrew was our unofficial “Spirit Section President” for athletic events, helping to choose themes for game nights, and always coming out decked head-to-toe in the chosen theme. When asked how UFCA has prepared him for life, he said that it provided him with a great education and great advice on life and faith while also teaching him life lessons. His future plans include attending the University of Tennessee to major in sports management.
Alex Elmore is the next senior in the spotlight. Alex joined the class his freshman year. He feels that UFCA has prepared him for life by teaching him how to be a more focused individual. He told us that “the best thing about UFCA is my friends and the teachers.” His favorite United Faith memory is the Junior Trip to Charleston, SC. He especially remembers Patriot’s Point and touring the battleship Yorktown and the submarine Clamagore and shopping on Market Street. He will miss his teachers and classmates the most. His plans for the future are to attend college (he has not yet decided which campus he will grace with his presence) and get a degree in finance.
Our next senior to spotlight is Shannon Bradley. Shannon joined the class in 7th grade. When asked how UFCA has prepared her for life, she replied, “UFCA has taught me not to be afraid to branch out and try new things. The life lessons such as mindfulness and patience that came with UFCA volleyball and the nervousness and thrill that came with performing on the NDTC all helped me have a positive outlook on life.” Her favorite two memories? Winning the conference volleyball championship against Statesville Christian in their gym, and taking her final bow as Gladys Brooks in “Don’t Say No to the USO.” She’ll miss having her mom as her volleyball coach and Mrs. Robinson as her theatre teacher. Shannon plans to study musical theatre or theatre performance at Winthrop University.
The next senior we’re celebrating is Kamryn Massey. Kamryn came to UFCA in 2011, also in 7th grade. Her favorite United Faith memory is tubing behind the speed boat during the senior class day at Camp Lurecrest. When asked what she’ll miss the most about UFCA, she said that she’ll miss spending time with friends and the different fun activities they’ve had together. Kamryn feels that UFCA has prepared her for life by helping her make sure that she follows God, no matter what happens in the future. Her future looks bright, as she plans to go to college and major in criminal justice with the goal of becoming a criminologist.
The next senior on our list of highlights is Mr. Clay Tepper. Clay came to United Faith in 2013, in the fall of his ninth grade year. His favorite memory so far was the junior class trip to Charleston, South Carolina, but he’s sure that the upcoming senior trip will be even better. Of course, it will! When asked how UFCA has prepared him for life, he said that it has prepared him to make better friendships and helped him to discover who he is. The best thing about UFCA (and the thing he’ll miss the most) is definitely Praise Band due to how much it has helped him and influenced his growth in musical ability, which is pretty amazing. He plans to attend Central Piedmont Community College in the fall and eventually get into the music industry in the area of music production.
Gerard Wade is our next senior to brag upon. Gerard also came to UFCA as a freshman. When asked what he’ll miss the most after graduation, he said, “I will miss all the teachers and staff here at UFCA because everyone here has really helped me on this journey and made it a wonderful experience.” He feels that United Faith has prepared him for life in teaching that relationships with God and people are important factors for success in life. His favorite memories from UFCA are the junior class trip to Charleston and the senior class retreat to Camp Lurecrest. He loves his class and feels that they bond the most outside of the classroom. His plans for the future are to take a year off to focus on his health then earn an Associate’s degree at Central Piedmont Community College. He hopes to then transfer to an arts and design college and major in fashion design.
Our next senior in the spotlight is Progress Ime. Progress joined the class in her freshman year. Her favorite memories from her four years at UFCA include spending time with the volleyball team during their annual beach trips and beating Statesville Christian to become the 2016 SPAA Conference champions. She feels that UFCA has prepared her for life by showing her the right way to approach teachers for help, a skill she can put to good use in college. UFCA has also helped her to become spiritually aware of other worldviews and equipped her to handle various situations out in the world. She’ll miss playing volleyball competitively and all the wonderful relationships she’s formed with students and teachers. Her future plans include attending college and majoring in biochemistry or pre-dentistry and pursuing a career in the dental field.
Austin Styles is the next senior we’d like to showcase. Austin also came to United Faith in his freshman year. One of his favorite memories was the junior trip. He really enjoyed shopping at the market in Charleston, taking the carriage ride around the city, and touring the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown at Patriot’s Point. He loved the chance to hang with his friends and build their relationships. He feels that UFCA has prepared him for life after high school because it has given him an education which allows him to pursue his college goals. UFCA was also a help to him when he went through a difficult time in his life. What will he miss the most about United Faith? His best buds, the great teachers and staff, and all the fun times he had. His plans for the future are to attend UNC Pembroke then have a career in the armed forces.
The next senior we’d like to brag on is Heyi Xu. Heyi came to United Faith in 9th grade. She is the first of the international students we’ll spotlight in the senior class. Heyi is from China and has been active in bringing cultural awareness to the UFCA students. She organized an International Student Cultural club, and invited all our American students to come to the meetings, which often included ethnic foods and music. Heyi said that UFCA has prepared her for life by introducing her to Jesus and providing her with a family that she knows she can count on. Her favorite memories of UFCA include all the times her class met with their lower school buddies. In fact, seeing all the lower school students in the hallways is what she’ll miss the most when she leaves our school. Her future plans include going to Penn State, becoming a banker, and making a lot of money.
Our next upcoming graduate is Karl McGuire. Karl joined the class in 10th grade and made friends very quickly. His favorite memory from his time at United Faith is practicing and working hard for months on the baseball team in order to break a two-year losing streak. When asked how UFCA has prepared him for life, Karl said, “UFCA has taught me how Christianity and education work together, and how to continue being a Christian in college with all the adversity.” Karl will miss the people at UFCA the most. He said, “My friends, the teachers, and the staff are all the kindest people I know.” His plans for the future are to get his degree in Computer Science and start his own software company.
Nicole Goulet is our next senior in the spotlight. Nicole came to UFCA her junior year. Her time here has been impactful, though, because she told us “I think I’m going to miss the teachers and students I met here the most. Even though I’ve only attended UFCA for 2 years, it feels like it’s been longer because I’ve gotten to grow and soon graduate with all my friends.” Her favorite memory at UFCA was the junior trip to Charleston because the class grew closer together, smiling and laughing during the whole trip. She feels that UFCA has prepared her for life by showing her how to be accepting and loving to others while still standing strong in her faith. After graduation, Nicole plans to work in the textile industry as a designer, or perhaps do something fun and creative such as painting or making her own art.
The next senior we’d like to brag on is Xinrui Li. Xinrui, who chose the American name Sunny, is another of our international students from China. Sunny joined her classmates at United Faith in 11th grade. Her favorite memories from UFCA are preparing for and performing in the Spring Showcase with the high school choreography class and the Senior Appreciation Night for the volleyball team. When asked what she’ll miss the most about UFCA, she said she will miss her big family here, because the senior class might never be all together again after graduation. She feels that UFCA has prepared her for life by leading her to God, who teaches her to love, forgive, and know people. After graduation, Sunny plans to attend the University of Delaware and then either find a job in the U.S. or return to China to be close to her family.
The next senior of whom we’re very proud is Rachael Gritsay. She started at United Faith in the 3rd grade. She has two siblings who attend UFCA and one who is not yet of school age. When asked about her favorite memory at UFCA, there were four that tied for first place: acting on stage with the No Drama Theatre Company for the first time, Homecoming 2017, winning Spirit Week her sophomore year, and playing on the girls’ varsity soccer team. One of my favorite memories is watching her play the Queen Mommy in the middle school production of “Cool Suit,” a re-telling of the famous classic story “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” How has UFCA prepared her for life? She says it has taught her that everyone has a purpose and a plan for which God created them. She has big plans for the future—she wants to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. She certainly has the brains for that. What will she miss the most about UFCA? She will definitely miss all her friends and being part of the theatre program.
Our next graduate is Brittany Polburn, who started here in TK with Mrs. Sandra Alwerdt, and attended through the beginning of her fifth grade year. She did a brief stint in the public school system, and then returned here for her final two high school years. One of her favorite memories is the final bow on the Friday night presentation of “Don’t Say No to the USO,” the fall 2016 high school theatre production. Another of her favorite memories dates back to fourth grade, when several students in the grade ahead of her helped her through a difficult situation. When asked how UFCA has prepared her for life, she said it has allowed her to meet people that she can talk to and get advice from even beyond graduation. She feels that teachers here are flexible and will work with students to help them get their best possible grades. In fact, one of the things she’ll miss the most about UFCA is the faculty and staff. She has been accepted to all five schools to which she has applied, but has not made her final decision yet. Wherever she goes, Brittany would like to major in music because she feels like God has given her a gift for singing.
Jinyu Yang is the next senior on our list of upcoming graduates. Jinyu came to United Faith at the beginning of his junior year. He is the third of our senior international students, and he also comes from China. Jinyu feels that his time at UFCA has prepared him for life after high school because it opened up the world of Christianity to him. His favorite memories of UFCA were the senior day at retreat in the mountains and the exciting homecoming game this year. When we asked him what he’ll miss the most after leaving United Faith, he said that he’ll miss our Guidance Counselor Mrs. Wilkerson and the seniors’ off-campus lunch privilege on Thursdays. Jinyu plans to attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and earn an engineering degree.
MacKenzie Chewning is the first of the seniors who joined the class at the beginning of their senior year. When asked how her time at UFCA has prepared her for life after high school, MacKenzie said that she has learned how to stand up for her faith when people insult it and how to respond to people with doubts. Her favorite memory of UFCA is the Homecoming basketball game versus Carmel because it was exciting and fun to spend time with her class cheering for the Falcons. What will MacKenzie miss the most when she graduates? The small classes and flexible teachers who prepared her well. Her future plans include attending Liberty University where she’ll study Elementary Education with the goal of becoming a third grade teacher.
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