A reflection written in May 2018, a few days before graduation:
One afternoon I was sitting at my kitchen table when my parents received a phone call that would change my life forever. There was an open spot in the seventh grade class at Cary Christian School, a private school they had enrolled me in earlier that summer against my will. All I knew about Cary Christian was that they prayed a lot, the classes were hard, and they had to wear the ugliest uniforms ever. I cried for days because that meant leaving behind some of my best friends at my old school and having to start all over. I had to call all my friends to tell them I wasn’t coming back and hear them cry on the other line, which didn’t make me feel any better about leaving them. The tears continued, especially a week before my first day, when I had to go out and buy one of those ugly uniforms for myself. I hated these uniforms, and more importantly, I hated Cary Christian.
My first day of seventh grade was one I will never forget: it was awful. While everyone was kind to me, I still missed all my old friends and everything I was used to. I came home more upset than ever, begging my parents to let me go back to my old school. I felt like I was trapped in a bubble and I couldn’t get out. I reluctantly went to school for the rest of the week, feeling defeated and hopeless. My parents kept telling me that one day I would thank them, but at the time I didn’t see how I would ever be able to do that. They were asking me to leave the only place I had ever known, full of people I was already accustomed to. How could things ever get better? But today, today is the day I thank them.
As I continued my middle school and high school education at Cary Christian, it became more of a home than my old school ever could have, with teachers and staff that are now like a second family to me. I was able to grow in not only knowledge, but also in faith. I was able to form Christ-centered relationships with people. For the first time, I saw God in a place other than church. I saw Him in my school. Cary Christian has allowed me to make so many priceless memories and form irreplaceable friendships. I’ve cried here (in case you haven’t realized yet, I cry a lot), I’ve laughed here, I’ve worshipped here, I’ve prayed here, I’ve grown up here. There have been so many late night football games spent on the playground with my best friends, and so many crowded basketball games where I’ve screamed to the top of my lungs (for our team, of course).
I’m not going to lie. There have been times that I have been stressed, because Cary Christian is difficult. But I was always able to meet with my teachers and talk with them about this stress. The teachers love every single one of their students so immensely, and when we’re hurting, they’re hurting too. They are always willing to work with us and help us if we just talk to them. Never in my life have I felt so loved by a group of people.
I am writing this paper with a heavy but full heart during my last days of senior year. I can say without hesitation that I love every single one of my classmates, and I have confidence in their abilities to change the world for the better. I am so lucky to have grown up with such beautiful, smart, Jesus-loving people, and I am so excited to see where God leads them in the next chapters of their lives. I am so thankful that my parents sent me here, I am so thankful for my friends and teachers, and I am so thankful to call this place my home.
Sydney Kerchner graduated from Cary Christian School in 2018. She currently attends North Carolina State University.