by Margaret Walker
Westminster Academy has been my home for the past thirteen years. Throughout these thirteen years, I have had more opportunities than I possibly could have had anywhere else. One reason I have been able to be involved in a variety of activities is because of the size of the school. Students do not have to put all their eggs in one basket at Westminster. If students wish, they can be involved in sports, choir, the House system, Mock Trial, and whatever else they want to do at one time. Also since we are relatively small, we can foster growth in a tight knit community that deeply cares and knows one another. This is why these thirteen years have been so precious to me. No one is just a face in a crowd or just a name on an attendance sheet. Each student is known by their peers and known by their teachers. For me, Westminster teachers have been the ones to teach me to love that which is worth loving. They constantly encourage me in my studies and push me to stretch my mind in ways I did not think possible.
What is amazing about Westminster is that students not only have relationships with their peers and teachers but also with students younger and older than they are. For the past two years, I have had the privilege of being in charge of one of my favorite events at Westminster that enables cohesion to occur in the school community. It is called Secret Santa. Around Christmastime, this is an event where every Upper School student is given a Lower School buddy to whom he/she writes anonymous letters, signing them as, “Your Secret Santa.” Lower School buddies eagerly anticipate receiving these letters and writing back, asking hints about who their anonymous Upper School buddy is. At last, the big day arrives, and all the Secret Santa buddies reveal who they are to the Lower School students. They get to spend an afternoon eating lunch, decorating Christmas cookies, making crafts, opening presents, taking pictures, playing games, and maybe even having a nerf gun war together, if they are lucky. Secret Santa day brings me so much joy, and it is amazing to see students, young and old, enjoying fellowship and fun with one another.
I have had the opportunity to lead the whole school in events such as Secret Santa, but I have also enjoyed participating and leading other activities and events at Westminster. For example, I have been a part of the House system into which the entire Upper School is divided. With my House, Athanasius, we get to compete against other Houses and use each of our various talents to better the House, and that is what makes the House system so neat. At Westminster, I have also had the opportunity to be on the Mock Trial team as a witness, as well as play basketball and volleyball. I love that at Westminster, you do not have to choose one thing to participate in, especially if you have various interests. For instance, I am able to lead the Leadership Council and be Class President without having to drop my commitments to the Volleyball and Mock Trial teams. At Westminster, you can also be on committees such as the yearbook, field day, service project, or spirit committee. You can play sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, track, swimming, or cross-country, and you can participate also in a writing competition called Wordsmith, Youth in Government, or chess club.
Westminster provided me with many opportunities that I might not have had anywhere else. It holds a very special place in my heart, and I am the person I am today because of the huge impact it had on my life. I am forever grateful for the friendships that I built, the teachers that poured into my life, and the administration that faithfully leads our school. After going to Westminster for thirteen years and being involved in and leading different aspects of the school, I truly believe that it is the education for a lifetime.