Every month we compile a list of students doing great things across the River Region. We have so many talented students in our area. River Region Parents joins with their families and schools to celebrate their achievements!
Churchill’s New Location- Same Commitment to Students
Churchill Academy, Inc. is excited to announce our new location for the 2023-2024 school year! For the up-coming school year, we will be located in two local churches – Taylor Road Baptist Church (1685 Taylor Road) for our lower school, K-8th grade and First Christian Church (1705 Taylor Road) for our upper school, 9th-12th grade. We are so appreciative to these congregations for assisting us in housing our school. Our building was sold last winter, leaving parents and educators diligently working to secure a new location and to convert the school to a non-profit. Churchill Academy continues to be a member of AISA and is accredited by Cognia-SACS. Visit our website: https://www.churchillacademyinc.org/
Please contact one of our administrators if you have questions about the school or application process.
Saint James Trojan Josephine Foshee Named 2023 IEA Hunt Seat National Champion
Saint James freshman Josephine Foshee has been named as the 2023 Interscholastic Equestrian Association Hunt Seat National Champion. Josephine represented the Varsity Trojans Equestrian Team at the 2023 IEA Hunt Seat National Finals in Tryon, North Carolina.
Josephine was competing in the 2 ft. Hunt Seat division. In order to compete in Nationals, Josephine had to accrue enough points in the regular season and Zones. Her first-place finish at Zones secured her spot at the National Finals.
Saint James School is proud to be the only school in Alabama to support an Equestrian Team for its student body. Congratulations to Josephine on this incredible accomplishment!
Macon East Rising Senior Attends Alabama Girls State
Rising senior, Anna Watson represented Macon East Academy at this year’s Alabama Girls State event at Troy University recently. Alabama Girls State is a week-long, fun-filled, hands-on learning opportunity for some of the best and brightest young women in the State of Alabama. Sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA), Alabama Girls State is a premier youth leadership program which offers a one-of-a-kind experience to its delegates.
Anna was a member of the Senate and the Federalist Party at Alabama Girls State where she campaigned for the office of county commissioner. Anna looks back on her experience at Girls State “It is a wonderful experience because I got to meet people from all over the state and hear thoughts and ideas different from my own. I made connections with people I would otherwise never encounter.” Selection as a delegate for Alabama Girls State is an honor, and the experience that Anna had through this prestigious program will shape her as a leader at Macon East and in her future endeavors.
ECA Names Mr. and Miss ECA
Evangel Christian Academy recently named the school’s 2023 Mr. and Miss ECA during the High School Awards Day ceremony. Jazni Lewis and Jordan Sharp were chosen for this distinguished honor. The two seniors were chosen by the faculty and student body. Jazni and Jordan were chosen because of their Christian testimonies as well as their academic and leadership skills.
Rising MA Senior Participates in Boys State
Rising Montgomery Academy senior Mason Kim participated in the annual Boys State experience at Troy University. Mason served as a House representative and County revenue commissioner for the week.
“It was a great honor to represent our school and serve as a House representative and County revenue commissioner.”
Alabama Boys State is one of the highest honors granted to Alabama students. Students from across the state are chosen based on their demonstration of leadership, hard work, strong morals, and motivation in school and community activities. At Boys State, student delegates will find the opportunity to build new friendships, participate in a mock government, and hear from and meet a diverse array of Alabama leaders such as Congressmen, state elected officials, business leaders, and civic leaders.
Summative and Formative Assessments Applies to Staff Too at TEA Academy
Summative assessment is an important part of the learning cycle, and ultimate performance only comes with excellent preparation. Therefore, as TEA Academy prepares for the upcoming school year, they have conducted their Summative Assessments as a school and team, and they are ready for their everyday Formative Assessment challenges.
According to Dr. Maggie McElroy-Washington, the principal and CEO of TEA Academy, says all staff must be committed to going that extra mile if they expect the student to be committed to learning. As educators we must provide quality services to the students, which means teaching and helping every student to be successful, keeping in compliance with the continuous improvement plan as an accredited school. Team TEA commitment is to provide quality education to all students…Because They Matter!
Macon East Cheer Squads Attend UCA Camp
Macon East Academy’s Junior Varsity and Varsity cheer squads recently attended UCA’s cheerleading camp for AISA schools. The annual camp held at Troy University offered an exciting week of learning new material and stunts for the upcoming season as well as evaluations from the staff and end of the week competitions. Senior Kaiden Byrom was selected as an AISA All-Star and will represent Macon East at the all-star football and basketball games. Alexis Davis received UCA’s coveted “Pin It Forward” honors from the camp staff for leadership, spirit, and motivation. Three Macon East Varsity cheerleaders (Kacy Rutland, Kaiden Byrom, and Alexis Davis) were selected as UCA All-American Cheerleaders. Macon East’s Varsity was awarded 2nd place for cheer and 3rd place for sideline on the last day of the camp. Both our Varsity and Junior Varsity squads received blue superior ribbons all week and were awarded Top Banana. The Top Banana is awarded to the teams at camp that demonstrate qualities of leadership, spirit, and the overall ability to work hard while still having a blast! Our JV Squad was awarded 1st place in camp dance and 4th place in sideline. Bella Ann Spires was selected as an UCA All-American and was a Jump-Off finalist. Alumnus Rai Pritchett and Summer Kyser both worked with the squads and joined them at Troy University for great leadership and such a fun cheerleading camp. The Macon East cheerleaders are looking forward to cheering on the Knights during the upcoming football season.
TEA Academy, Inc. Planning For a Successful Year!
TEA Academy, Inc. staff and Board Member Leon Allen met to discuss the 2023-2024 school term. The meeting focused on successful school initiatives, the accreditation, staff professional development, recruiting efforts, enrollment, and preparation for a successful year. TEA is committed to the development of the whole student; therefore, orientation with parents and students will be held prior to the beginning of school to discuss the strategic plan for the upcoming year. An enriching technological approach, biblical principles, and intervention meeting strategies with diverse assessments will be the building blocks for a continuous and successful school year as we move forward. TEA Academy will continue to embrace and adhere to its motto: “Taking an Extra Step Towards Educational Excellence.”
ECA Senior Class Graduates
Evangel Christian Academy recently held its graduation ceremony for the class of 2023. Family members, faculty and friends gathered together to mark this milestone in the students’ lives. Pastor Michael Rippy, senior pastor of Evangel Church and president of ECA, addressed the students and their guests. During the ceremony a video presentation was shown highlighting each graduate’s life. After the video, the graduates presented roses to their parents. The Valedictorian for the graduating class was Sarah Paterson and the Salutatorian was Cyrek Smith.
Saint James School Performing Arts Performs You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown
The Saint James School Performing Arts Department produced its annual spring musical on April 20-23, 2023. This year the show was You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. This production is based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, additional dialogue by Michael Mayer, and additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa.
The Saint James show was directed by Lonny Harrison with musical direction by Dr. Sallye York.
The show featured many well-known Peanuts scenes. Students from elementary, middle, and high schools combined their talents to make an incredible show! Live musical accompaniment was provided by Dr. Sally York on piano, Mr. Andy Martin on percussion, and senior Selina Sun on clarinet.
Leading roles included Austin Oh as Charlie Brown, Jimmie Thompson as Snoopy, Lizzy Dickens as Lucy, Mary Ann Coon as Sally, Alex McIlwain as Schroeder, Jacob McNally as Linus, and Abigail Roark as Peppermint Patty. Other student roles included Eva Light as Violet Gray, Matilda Butner as Matilda, TJ Vance as Franklin, Zachary Rains as Pig Pen, MaryEllis
Killough as Frieda, Nathaniel Sherbine as Shermy and Jaxon Mason as Roy. The Peanuts Gang Included Vara York, Maddy Stuart, Kinsley Barber, Evelyn Bond, Arin Oh, John Wilson McDowell, Joy Seo, Ae’riel Hooks, Sarah Elizabeth Phillips, Bethany Stanton, Sadie York, Cecilia York, and Amley Hooks.
Stage manager Lily Everett oversaw the student crews and production. Saint James students also worked the production as backstage crew, publicity, sound crew, house crew, lighting, and costumes. Set design was created by senior Caroline Gregory with the assistance of the Saint James School Tech Theater classes.
Saint James School Performing Arts Department produces three shows a year. These shows allow students from all division levels to participate and experience the fun of live theater as part of the Saint James School whole child education.
Saint James School Students Take Home StateTech Awards
Saint James School is proud to announce that many of its students have received awards in various technology fairs that they entered. The ACTE State Tech Fair and AISA Tech Fair are excellent ways for students interested in a variety of technology skills to show what they can do.
From high school, the following students were awarded for their participation in the ACTE Tech Fair at the State level. In Level 5, Alex Ruona won 2nd Place in Individual Programming; Alex An placed 1st in Hardware Modification; Brooke Bender was awarded 2nd Place Website Design; and Selina Sun won 1st Place in Multimedia. In Level 4, Stella Kim won 1st Place in Multimedia.
At the middle school Level of the ACTE Tech Fair, a number of students also were rewarded for their hard work. At Level 2, Molly Phillips won 1st place in Audio, Yeriel Kim placed 1st in Multimedia, and Emerson Weeks placed 1st in Video Production. Matilda Butner and Sean Woessner won 1st place in Digital Games. Aileen Mulligan placed 2nd in Robotics. In Level 3, Aidan Saldanha won 1st place in Video Production.
In the AISA Tech Fair High School Division, Liam Seo placed 1st in Programming, and Jaxon Mason placed 2nd in Programming.
Saint James School is so proud of the hard work and dedication of these students and their teachers. Saint James School offers technology classes at all division levels.
ACA Bass Fishing Team Wins State Two Years in a Row
ACA’s Bass Fishing Team are back-to-back ASABFA Classic High School Tournament Champions and 3rd place Team of the Year! We are so proud of this team and all of their hard work and dedication. We are blessed to be a part of a great Christian school like Alabama Christian Academy and thankful to represent them! Thank you to our Coach Randy Gardner for your hard work, guidance, and dedication to this team. Under his leadership three of our boats headed to the 2023 Bassmaster High School National Championship on Lake Hartwell at the end of July.
Congrats to Hayes Finch and JT Lamberth on their 2nd place finish which double qualified them for the National Championship! Congrats to Alexander Costanza and Kade Brannen on their 4th place finish which qualified them for the National Championship!
Congrats to Ethen Gardner and Hayes Boyd on their 24th place finish! They moved up almost 40 places from Day 1, which helped clinch our Classic Team Win. They are also qualified for the National Championship for their 2nd place angler of the year finish in the ASABFA Three River Throwdown.
MA Athletes Selected AHSAA South All-Stars
Congratulations to our outstanding student-athletes, Win Berry (soccer), William Hall (golf), Madison Yi (soccer), Mae Mae Voltz (tennis) and John Allen Lachney (soccer), who were selected as part of this year’s AHSAA South All-Star Rosters!
Saint James School Students Earn Global Seal of Biliteracy
Saint James School is proud to announce that five of its high school students have earned the Global Seal of Biliteracy. This means they have reached proficiency in both English and Spanish. They tested in Spanish for reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Sean Duong, Veronika Kocian, Brea Ledford, Rylee Richardson, and Cora Wojak have earned the Global Seal of Biliteracy. All five of these students received Functional Fluency status. These students are taught by Mrs. Rhea Grate and completed Spanish 3. Saint James offers Spanish classes at multiple division levels.
According to The Global Biliteracy Seal website, “In a global society where intercultural communication has become increasingly important, the Global Seal provides a unique and recognizable certification of language skills. The Global Seal of Biliteracy provides a universally consistent and inclusive micro-credential to increase opportunity for bilinguals from middle school through adulthood. It is our hope that those with language proficiency will credential their skills at one of our three certification levels and then continue to grow their skills in order to ‘Level Up’.”
Bridge Builders of Alabama Holds Junior and Senior Summer Conferences
Bridge Builders of Alabama held its annual youth leadership conferences during the month of June. During the week of June 12-14, Junior Conference was held, and Senior Conference happened on June 19-21. Students from public schools, private schools, home schools, and parochial schools learned leadership skills and communication skills which will enable them to learn to value each other’s differences and work as a team. Bridge Builders offers the only free of charge leadership training of this type to the youth of the River Region.
The first day of each 3-day long conference was held on the campus of Saint James School. Students were able to get to know each other in teams. Bridge Builder Facilitators worked with the students as they tackled a variety of activities focusing on team-building exercises, leadership development, and helping students learn things about each other and ways to work together better. Day 2 activities were held at The Lab located on Dexter Avenue. Mr. Richard Bradford of Renasant Bank and a Bridge Builders Board member spoke on handling money responsibly, how to handle checking accounts, savings, and money investment. This workshop gave insight into real world skills. That afternoon the students enjoyed discussions focusing on STEM projects led by Mr. Zachary Lewis. The final day was based out of St. John’s Episcopal Church from which students ventured to the Equal Justice Initiative Memorial and Museum. The discussions that took place after these visits were integral to the understanding of race relations and history. Executive Director Ellen Farmer said, “Both the Junior and Senior conferences this year were very powerful. The students were eager to learn and connect with their peers. It was a beautiful thing to watch students from all different backgrounds come together and build lasting relationships with each other. I always tell them ‘the youth of today are the leaders of their future’ in hopes to help them understand the importance of a leader and making a positive difference in the world today.”
Bridge Builders Alabama was founded in 2007. At the beginning of the program, the students committed to a two-year program. The focus was, and is, teaching skills such as civic responsibility, critical thinking, trust, problem solving, communication, conflict resolution, human relations, and leadership. The first graduating class of students was in 2009, including students from Booker T. Washington Magnet, Brewbaker Technology Magnet, Carver High School, Jefferson Davis High School, Montgomery Academy, Montgomery Catholic School, Revelation Missionary Baptist, Robert E. Lee High School, Saint James School, Sidney Lanier High School, St. Jude Academy, and United Christian Church. In 2018, the Bridge Builders Board adjusted the program to two one-year programs. Students can participate in one year or both years during their junior and senior years.
Moving forward into the school year, the students will be responsible for required hours of community service offered through the year. The students will get to choose from a number of non-profits that need help in the River Region.
MA Girls Volleyball Team Earns Academic Award
Congratulations to The Montgomery Academy’s 2022-23 Varsity Girls Volleyball squad and their leader, Coach Julie Gordon, on their recent recognition by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for excellence in the classroom! The team earned the USMC/AVCA Team Academic Award for maintaining a year-long grade-point average of at least 3.3 (on a 4.0 scale). Additionally, the Eagles Volleyball Team achieved placement on the Team Academic Honor Roll, signifying that the program is in the top 20% of GPAs in their division.
Trinity Fourth Graders Create Alabama’s State Cookie
Curriculum, collaboration, and a unique K3-12 campus created a recipe for sweet success. Fourth graders in Trinity School`s Alabama History classes took a routine trip to the library and with the help of Media Center Specialist Keeli Osmer, embarked on a memorable journey of discovery, researching Alabama’s state symbols for the oldest and most unusual to include in a multimedia presentation for class. It quickly became clear that Alabama did not have a state cookie, and a new and exciting mission was launched!
The fourth grade classes started baking, hoping to create a recipe that embodied the state of Alabama. The class taste-tested twenty four different recipes, evaluating them not only on taste, which was very important, but also on the ingredients. From there the Alabama Yellowhammer Cookie was born!
Thank you for the hard work of the Trinity Presbyterian School fourth grade classes who supported the vote of the Yellowhammer cookie, submitted by fellow 4th grader Mary Claire Cook, as the winning recipe. The commitment of the five seniors: Julia Bennett, Hudson Cornett, Luke Harrison, Russell Powell, and Margaret Roby, was instrumental.
Alabama House of Representative member Reed Ingram and Senator Will Barfoot partnered with the students and sponsored House Bill 421. The bill passed unanimously through both the House of Representatives and the Senate. On Friday, June 2, 2023, Alabama Governor, Kay Ivey, signed House Bill 421 into law which officially made the Yellowhammer Cookie the state cookie of Alabama. “Sweet Home Alabama just officially got a little sweeter!” Ivey said after signing the bill into law.
ACA Hosted Amazing Summer Camps
ACA had several different camps on campus this year! Besides the amazing Camp Eagle and Nest Camp, we added two weeks of science camps, a musical theater camp and several different sports camps. Science camp was a hit! Students were busy digging for dinosaurs, squishy circuits, ice cream in a bag, kitchen chemistry and other fun experiments. At musical theater camp students learned several different musical numbers and did a performance at the end of it. All of the sports camps were a hit, and the kids had a blast learning new drills. Every year it is such a fun experience for the kids to be able to come to campus and spend time with these coaches and teachers outside of the classroom setting.
New Athletic Director at Montgomery Academy
The Montgomery Academy is pleased to announce the appointment of Wright Ward as Athletic Director, effective July 1, 2023. Coach Ward’s appointment was the result of a national search that took into consideration input from The Montgomery Academy school community including students, parents, faculty and coaches. Coach Ward comes to MA from Randolph School in Huntsville, AL where he has served as the Associate Director of Athletics since 2017.
Coach Ward began his teaching and coaching career in 2008 at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA as the Athletic Office Administrative Assistant, Varsity Boys Basketball Coach and Assistant Football Coach. He helped lead the Westminster Varsity Boys Basketball team to playoff appearances in 2009, 2010 and 2013. In 2013, Coach Ward moved to Randolph School where he taught History, was the chair of the Middle School Physical Education department, and coached boys and girls basketball and football at both the Middle School and Varsity levels.
Coach Ward graduated from Furman University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and received his Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Georgia.
“I am thrilled to welcome Wright Ward and his family to the MA community,” said Head of School John McWilliams. “As a teacher, coach and as athletic administrator, Wright has extensive experience in outstanding independent schools in Alabama and Georgia, and it is clear that he understands the vital role that interscholastic athletics play in supporting our mission as a school of developing leaders. I look forward to working with him as we continue our ‘pursuit of excellence’ at MA.”
“My family and I couldn’t be more excited to be joining Montgomery Academy!” said Ward. “From the moment I set foot on campus, I could tell it was a special place and that feeling continued to grow as I met more and more of the MA community, including parents, faculty and staff, and most importantly, the students. We can’t wait to get there, and are proud to say ‘Go Eagles!’”
MA Rising Senior Attends Alabama Girls State
Sarah Kate Ingram, a rising senior at The Montgomery Academy, attended the 2023 edition of Alabama Girls State as MA’s appointed representative.
“Attending Alabama Girls State at Troy University was an amazing experience!! I was able to meet some of the most accomplished girls from all over the state. Upon arrival, we were assigned to cities and also divided into two fictitious political parties for elections. I was assigned to the city of Yellowhammer and was a part of the Federalist political party. We got to see first-hand how the election process takes place and how political parties work from the inside. At our Federalist party caucus meetings, we set our party platform that served as the basis for election speeches. Each city elected a Mayor that held meetings each night. There were also numerous statewide offices up for election. We heard speeches from girls in our party and then elected a Federalist representative who went on to run against the Nationalist Party representative. Interspersed among speeches and elections, we heard from many speakers including Senator Katie Britt and Governor Kay Ivey, who are both Girls State Alumni. In addition, most afternoons were spent debating and passing bills. The days were long but filled with countless memories of wonderful experiences and new friendships. I am forever thankful for my week at Girls State.”
Alabama Girls State is a week-long, fun-filled, hands-on learning opportunity for some of the best and brightest young women in the State of Alabama. Sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA), Alabama Girls State is a premier youth leadership program that offers a one-of-a-kind experience to its delegates.