Looking Back, Paying it Forward 7

We asked a few of the schools in our area what notable milestones they hit last year on campus and what priority they will put on community service in the 2016-17 school year.

Pinecrest  Academy

Milestones: Pinecrest Academy welcomed Fr. David Steffy, LC, as new President in January 2016. The Varsity Football team won its first region championship; the 67-member Class of 2016 garnered $4,214,334 in scholarship awards and acceptances from 75 colleges and universities, and boasted 36 Zell Miller scholars and two National Merit Scholarship Finalists; the Middle School sent a student to the Oratorical World Championship and witnessed its Boys Soccer team clinch its third consecutive NAML Championship; and two Pinecrest alumni were drafted by professional sports teams.

Reach Out:  One of the pillars of a Pinecrest Academy education is Apostolic Formation. Apostolic Formation simply means “generosity of self to Christ” and provides students at the private PreK3-12 Catholic school in Forsyth County the opportunity to discern Christ’s call, embrace that call, and bring others to know Him as well. Beginning in PreK3, Pinecrest students participate in service projects in the local community and beyond. From making PB&J’s for the homeless, to visiting the elderly in nursing homes, to participating in missions, a typical Pinecrest student graduates as a servant leader eager to make a difference. Each senior class gets to finish their Pinecrest career by participating in a tradition begun by the first graduating Class of 2007. As with previous classes, the Class of 2017 will embark on an annual Senior Mission Trip to Nicaragua, to serve the poorest of the poor. While in Nicaragua, these missionaries host a carnival, care for children in orphanages, a mental hospital and a local school, work with prisoners, distribute food, clothing and other goods to local villages, and help to build classrooms and churches. This life-changing event is one of the highlights of senior year at Pinecrest Academy, and supports the school’s mission, to form Christian leaders who will transform society.

Wesleyan School

Milestones: Wesleyan School created six new bus shuttles to Suwanee/Duluth, Johns Creek, Roswell, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs/Brookhaven, and Decatur/Stone Mountain. “My sincere hope is that by offering bus service to current and prospective families we will be taking one more step to partner with parents in an effort to make life less complicated,” said Headmaster Chris Cleveland. “Wesleyan cannot solve the problem of our over-scheduled and busy culture, but we have to be the type of place that takes a stand for our families and contributes to the solution side of the issue.”

Reach Out: Wesleyan’s motto – JOY: Jesus, Others, Yourself – is lived out each year through outreach both locally and around the world. It is a fundamental part of the Wesleyan School experience for all K-12 students.  Starting in kindergarten, students participate in local outreach projects to serve multiple organizations including Atlanta Youth Academy, North Fulton Community Charities, Norcross Cooperative Ministry, and Good Samaritan Health Center to name a few.  Older students participate in similar outreach projects along with annual mission trips. Each year nearly 200 students and staff head across the globe and work together to develop spiritual leadership, cultivate a Biblical world view, and serve communities in areas like the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bulgaria, Atlanta, and Tennessee. Mission trips for the 2016-2017 school year will be unveiled in the fall.

Woodward Academy

Milestones: Woodward Academy launched an innovative and wide-ranging new Global Connections program to provide even greater global opportunities for our students. Woodward’s program is unique in that it takes a holistic approach—combining opportunities for study abroad with homestay programs for international students, sister school relationships, and language certification for students. Woodward is the first school in the nation to implement the International Certification testing program for Upper School students in five languages. During Spring Break 2016, a group of 24 Upper School students traveled to Cuba. During this historic trip, students experienced the country after more than 50 years of communism, repression, and economic isolation.

Reach Out:  Upper School students devote more than 5,000 hours to service projects annually. Three annual service projects including a canned food drive benefiting the Atlanta Community Food Bank, fundraiser for The Terranova School, our sister school in Zambia, Africa and A walk-a-thon to benefit our neighborhood Jesse Draper Boys & Girls Club. Last year Woodward alone donated 23,000 pounds of food and $19,000 to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Since 1997, the Academy also has donated $500,000 to the Jesse Draper Boys & Girls Club and in the last 10 years has raised $225,000 for Terranova.

(Note: Many public schools and some private schools couldn’t be reached for comment at press time, but we would love to hear from them throughout the year. Email the editor at SCollins@LifestylePubs.com with updates, news and event photos)