Will & Jessica
Will and Jessica graduated together in 2008 and married soon after college. Sarah and Emily Morrel (Will’s sisters) and Michelle Lewandowski (Jessica’s sister) also graduated from CCS together in 2010. In high school, Will served as Student Body President, and Jessica was involved in the varsity soccer team.
Life update written by Jessica:
After graduating from CCS, I went to Elon University and majored in Elementary Education. Will went to UNC and majored in Biology. Right after college, on June 15, 2012, we got married (see proposal story below) and moved to San Francisco, where Will attended the University of California at San Francisco for medical school. While we were there, I taught at 4th and 5th grade at a private school. Currently, we live in Tennessee, where Will is doing his residency at Vanderbilt and I am teaching 3rd grade at a public school.
Proposal story written by Will:
I spent Easter weekend of 2011 at the beach with Jessica and her family. Well, part of it anyway. We got to Holden Beach on Thursday night and I had to leave promptly on Saturday morning to “get back for the charity cul-de-sac yard sale.” I started the car and all 12 horses under the hood of my Honda Civic roared to life. Jessica walked over to say goodbye looking rather disappointed. Am I sure I can’t stay for another day? At least for lunch? “No,” I assured her. I couldn’t.
So I left. And drove directly to Cary where I had some ring shopping to do. Little did Jessica know how much her happiness depended on my errands that day.
When the ring was finally ready a few weeks later, I picked it up from the store, took it home, and buried it in my sock drawer. I made reservations for dinner that Friday at the Carolina Inn, got our families and a few friends together for an engagement party, and created an elaborate web of lies to trick Jessica into going. Normally an incredibly astute lie detector, Jessica fell for my story all too easily. I worried she had figured the whole thing out.
Half an hour before dinner, we parked at the Carolina Inn and took a walk across campus “pick up a check from the Foundation that a super nice employee was staying late in order to give me.” I won’t lie, I was nervous. I had carefully hidden the ring box in my jacket and hung the jacket on a hanger in the backseat so Jessica wouldn’t notice the bulging pocket. As we walked across campus, I held her hand with in a vice-like grip so she wouldn’t be tempted to hug me and bump into the box.
As we approached UNC’s iconic Old Well, I deftly maneuvered the conversation in the direction of our relationship. I waxed eloquently on the past few years we had spent together, how wonderful they had been—and then I was interrupted.
“Oooh, Will. I saw this crazy video today of a firetruck that got T-boned by an out-of-control driver. Everything went up in flames!” Jessica said, evidently nervous and making a last-ditch effort to avoid a proposal.
“Really? Wow, that’s crazy.” I replied, and then I recovered, “So anyways these past few years have been the best of my life…”
From that point, I managed to keep a vice-like grip on both Jessica’s hand and the conversation. We reached the Old Well and I stopped Jess. She caught her breath and I froze for a moment, not hesitant but excited. I dropped to one knee, fumbled for the ring in my pocket, posed an eloquently worded but only vaguely remembered proposal of marriage, and waited for her to say “yes.” She claims to have done this, but I didn’t catch it amidst her tears and gasps. We got a round of applause from some jealous people across the street, enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Carolina Inn, listened to a mix tape of our favorite “couples songs,” and then celebrated with our friends and family. The whole thing went off better than I could have hoped!
Meghan attended CCS from kindergarten to 12th grade. She still keeps in touch with her CCS friends and was the bridesmaid in Anne Montgomery and Josiah Keilson’s wedding (both 2012 graduates) and a singer in Will Jackson’s wedding (2009 graduate).
I work freelance as a social media and network marketing assistant for members of Beachbody LLC, which is a fitness and nutrition company based on California. During the summer of 2014, I attended a two-month creative arts and discipleship school called the 18 Inch Journey. This school radically changed my life, the way I create, and the way I relate to the Lord. After spending a summer at this school, I finished my senior year of college at ASU and went back to the 18 Inch Journey to complete their six-month discipleship program, which focused on diving deep into creativity through music, writing, dance, and art classes, as well as utilizing many other creative avenues. After my Phase Two school, I spent a month traveling through England. I got to see so much of the country, and was able to visit Paris for a few days. I then spent a week in NYC with my cousin. Once I returned home to Cary, I found out I had been invited back to the 18 Inch Journey to serve as a marketing and graphic design intern. I moved back there in February 2016 and served as an intern until December 2016. At the beginning of 2017, I spent a month traveling through California on the Pacific Coast Highway. Since then, I have been in the Raleigh/Cary area working freelance as a social media and network marketing assistant. I work from my computer and spend most of my days in coffee shops around town.
Reflection on CCS:
I have so many fond memories from my time at CCS. I went there from kindergarten to 12th grade, so I have spent the majority of my life under its covering. Some of those I still consider my dearest friends are those I met at CCS. I loved having such a stable community and friend group during my childhood. Deep gratitude fills my heart for the knowledge instilled in me, from Theology to Rhetoric to Literature. I learned more about the Bible there than I ever did in church. I don’t know many Christians my age who have read the Bible cover to cover multiple times in their life, let alone learned Greek and translated passages from the book of John from their original language to English.
I think a classical Christian education, a rich church environment and open and honest parenting is an ideal way to raise a child. I would love for my kids to have the experiences, knowledge, and friendships I had through CCS growing up.
Tyler attended CCS for 10 years, helped start the CCS lacrosse team, and was involved in soccer, golf, and football.
Since CCS, I have gotten married to the girl of my dreams. (Her name is Sarah). I started a business selling supplements on Amazon, eBay, and a Shopify. We also had a baby girl, Kylie Rose Cross, who was born on Good Friday—March 25, 2016! I also received my Biowork Pharmaceutical Certification, and my first job for three years was at Biogen Idec (top biopharmaceutical manufacturing company). I then went to the Police Academy, managed a gym in Holly Springs, and now I am currently working in Apex as a Sales Account Executive at ChannelAdvisor selling eCommerce software!
Reflection on CCS:
CCS was a big part of my life growing up. The biggest thing I took away from CCS was the relationships and experiences I got there. CCS definitely prepared me well for college. I feel as though there was a smooth transition into college academics from CCS. Spiritually, the Senior Service Practicum trip helped accelerate my faith before college.
Audrey Stephenson Dion (’05): CCS was an excellent all-around experience for me, even in the first graduating class when everything was still being figured out. The influence of the staff and teachers, (and the high behavioral expectations), made for a very positive experience. During my time, we went from two church campuses, to an interim campus (both without any athletic facilities), to the beautiful new campus in my senior year. But my time in campus limbo taught me that the people in the building, and their love and commitment to the school’s vision, are far more important than the facilities themselves.
Amybeth Armstrong Kline (’06): As a CCS teacher and alumna, I’ve seen two very different versions of the same school. The version I remember had some great teachers, but it was small. But, I also remember a place where I felt like I belonged, and where I had role models who pushed me to be great. Our teachers invested in us over a number of years, so it felt extra hard to say goodbye when graduation came.
Kelsey Duncan Griffin (’08): Went there from 6th grade on—the one thing that I enjoyed the most was that my class was so small, and I got to develop relationships that will last 10 years down the road and probably my whole life. The Christian foundation has also guided my life in a different direction. If I hadn’t had that, I could have gone a different direction. The amount of attention we got from our teachers was something that we’ll never get from anywhere else
Will Jacobsen (’09): I think one of the best things about CCS is how close you get to your fellow classmates. I still see friends I made at CCS on a regular basis, and the fact that we have all been friends for 12+ years makes me certain that we will be friends for life.
Lily Wilson Wilmoth (’10): I was most definitely prepared for college. Experiencing an education founded in the Trivium and Quadrivium and Christian mentorship from my teachers helped me make wise choices when I left home. It is key to find the right people with whom to become friends, and think not merely about appearances, but about how every choice will affect our life and walk with the Lord. In such an unnatural environment as a college campus—where newly free teenagers are living all together in a dormitory, wisdom is an important protection.
Katrina Wertz Kanode (’11): I loved the community; now, looking back, thinking about the relationships I made while attending from 3rd grade to senior year, I still draw on; to be honest with you, it was the foundation and groundwork for learning how people with different backgrounds and personalities can work together, live together, and study together.
Lindsey Simpkins (’13): I made some of my best friends there! I will always remember running around the halls of CCS with those people who felt like an extension of my family during that stage of life. I have been in the weddings of someone of my best friends that I met at CCS, and I will always be grateful to CCS for that. It challenged me to think critically and articulate myself clearly.
Hannah Hudson (’14): CCS taught me how to ask questions well, and that curiosity both inside and outside the classroom are important. Another lesson CCS taught me was how to take responsibility for my work and do it excellently, because ultimately we are not performing for man or grades, but submitting our work to the Lord. A work ethic that is excellent reflects the excellence of our Father in Heaven.
Colin Rudd (’15:) I’d explain my experience as a one of growth. CCS taught me how to be a man of God and how to be a critical thinker. It taught me the beauty of dedicating my life to God’s plans and utilizing the unique gifts He has given me.
Micaelah Scott (’15): I feel like I’m being dramatic, but I seriously think not a day has gone by where I don’t have some kind of flashback to a discussion session from Apologetics or Literature class. There were so many raw truths there that I had no real grasp on then but hold on to constantly now. I remember feeling pushed just enough academically to feel accomplished when I did well and encouraged when I did poorly.
Sarah Insko (’16): I definitely believe a classical Christian education is the best way to educate children. It’s the only kind of education that teaches kids to think for themselves, to make disciples of others, and to still hold learning and knowledge in such high esteem. As Christians, we want to surround ourselves with godly people who agree in a common purpose.