I always knew that there was something unique about Caldwell Academy. When I first heard about Caldwell, I was attending eighth grade at a public middle school. A girl on my soccer team invited me to a birthday party and her Caldwell friends were the nicest people I had ever met. Immediately after the party, I went home and begged my parents to sign me up.
When I look back on my first week, I remember instantly feeling at peace with my decision to leave public school. Everything about Caldwell was different. The uniform policy was such a relief because I no longer had to stress about deciding what to wear each morning. I also realized that the rigorous academics meant that I needed to quickly adjust my study habits. However, the biggest change was the amount of prayer and Christian discussion taking place in class. It was refreshing to realize that my new teachers genuinely cared about me and my walk with Christ. This encouraged me to work harder and develop the tools needed to be successful far beyond high school.
Caldwell prepared me well for the future by providing an amazing academic and Christian foundation. One of my favorite memories from high school was having my classmates come over to prepare our humanities oral exam essay responses. I remember the first time I stood up in front of the class to present my 3-5 minute response; I was visibly shaking. But I soon got over my fear of public speaking because I practiced it so often in my classes. To this day, I can still recite 1 Corinthians 13 that we memorized in Mrs. Liebmann’s class. Although these presentations and oral exams required a lot of preparation in high school, I walked away with the tools needed to be successful in college.
I graduated from Caldwell in 2016 and moved 18 hours away to attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas. I was learning how to live on my own, make new friends, and balance my time. But amidst all of that change, I am so grateful that I did not have to learn how to study, write, or speak publicly. My new college friends couldn’t understand how I was able to study so efficiently and sleep well the night before an exam. I even saw a college classmate pass out during a presentation! I realized that my education at Caldwell was the difference between my college peers and me. I never had to feel the stress of a college essay or speech because I tackled Caldwell’s 20-page thesis! Caldwell provided me with all of the skills and experiences needed for academic success.
More importantly, though, the relationships I formed at Caldwell strengthened my walk with Christ and prepared me for spiritual success. The most essential tool that I received from Caldwell is the power of prayer. When the time came to apply to colleges, I was completely undecided. I applied to twelve different schools. After touring Baylor, I recognized the strong Christian environment that reminded me of Caldwell. I knew that God was calling me to Baylor, but I did not have the courage to move halfway across the U.S. to attend college. Many teachers, specifically Mrs. Founds, prayed for me and encouraged me to listen to God. Without the wisdom and prayer from my teachers at Caldwell, my life today would look very different.
Caldwell taught me the importance of praying about all decisions, serving others, and communicating God’s truth. I have the best memories from the Caldwell retreats, where we would leave feeling closer to God and one another. In addition, the Caldwell service days and volunteer hours helped instill a love for service that I carried with me to college. During my freshman year, I started a free after-school program in Waco to teach underprivileged children about Jesus while helping them with their homework. I learned from Caldwell that it was important to do more with my time in college than simply attend class and football games. I balanced my time between studying, spending time with friends, volunteering at church, and working at Magnolia Market.
I graduated from Baylor in May and started working as an Account Manager for Dell Technologies. Caldwell prepared me to effectively communicate, articulate my ideas, and overall perform well in my current role. I am so grateful for the long-lasting relationships with my high school friends and teachers. I am even more thankful that my parents made the investment for my brother and me to receive the benefits of a classical Christian education. Caldwell has made an incredible impact on my life, and I pray that it continues to be a blessing in the lives of every student who attends.