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Class of 2022

Congratulations to the class of 2022! Read about some of their favorite memories at Rockbridge and some of the words of wisdom they have for the other students they leave behind. May the Lord bless their future steps as they move on from our halls but not from our hearts. 

For fun, they were requested to answer the following question: A cereal manufacturing company has gotten word of AMAZING YOU—about-to-graduate senior from Rockbridge Academy! They want to create a brand new cereal in your honor. What would it be called and what kind would it be? Some of their answers are quite creative! 

Luke Northup

Senior thesis title: Wildfires in America

A blessing from Mrs. Keatts: Luke, I admire your humility, kindness, and love for God’s creation. I see a strong desire in you to learn about our environment. You have a gift for observing and appreciating the world around you. As you close your chapter at Rockbridge Academy and move on from its walls, follow the plan that God has mapped out for you. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you” (Jeremiah 29:11-12). Just as God had a plan for the exiles, he has a plan for each one of us to fulfill on this earth. Luke, I will truly miss your smile and our many conversations.

Caleb Marsh

Senior thesis title: Stuck in the Seventh Century: The Link Between Islam and Underdevelopment in the Middle East

A blessing from Dr. Seufert: It’s been a pleasure to teach you these last couple of years. Watching your gifts on regular display and seeing the ways God is shaping you has been enriching and encouraging. Despite your good looks and charisma, you’re kind, humble, and concerned for the good of others. In, by, and through Christ, pursue these things; their presence in you, because of and by Him, is your greatest strength. When I think about naming kids, options are often excluded or commended because of former associations (Paul, for instance). I want you to know that “Caleb” would be a live option. I see and admire your desire and strivings to live a life of genuine godliness, and I trust and pray that God will continue His good work in you to completion. May He richly bless you always and in every way.

Lilly Foley

Senior thesis title: The Clean Air Act of 1970

A blessing from Mrs. Keatts: Lilly, I have sincerely enjoyed watching you grow in your appreciation for God’s creation! I have seen this in biology, chemistry, and your junior and senior thesis topics. I appreciate your desire to continue to study God’s work through meteorology. Hebrews 11:3 states that “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” With your belief in the Lord, you will have a greater understanding of your field of study because without faith, one cannot completely understand science. As you leave Rockbridge Academy, I encourage you to continue to research and discover all that this world has to offer while not losing sight of our Creator.

Zach Sexton

My favorite memories of my time at Rockbridge Academy involve being able to do photography for the school—whether watching the Rockbridge community grow closer together or merely recording an event like the history parade. I enjoyed taking photos of people so that others may see the best part of them with the beauty that God created in them and the wonder of the world they live in.

Rockbridge is such an amazing school, and I cannot thank the school enough for all they have given me in education and social skills both in and out of school. I would specifically like to thank the senior class for teaching me how to interact with people and showing me how things can bring people closer together or lead them farther apart. Whether we were close friends or acquaintances, each person taught me something new and interesting. Community is priceless, and Rockbridge gave me a fantastic one at that.

I would also like to thank Ms. Godfrey in the yearbook elective and Mrs. Fix in the photography elective. Being a photographer played a major role in my growth. Both teachers put me in interesting situations and delegated photography responsibilities. While not always easy, they taught me a lot about techniques of photography and encouraged me in whatever project I did. In the end, both electives gave me the knowledge to perform my skills and provided me with the ability to be confident in my work so that others can rely on me.

As a word of advice, I think confidence is important. Whether in a speech, a production, sports or photography, people are reassured by others who are confident in what they are doing because it gives them security in your skill and knowledge. In theatre, to break character is to break the production. If you are going to act a scene, embarrassing or unusual, you would embarrass yourself more by stopping and being worried about others’ opinions than by performing and holding nothing back, which may even draw your fellow performers that much more into the show. It’s never easy to just be confident, and it will take time and a desire to be confident.

My senior thesis asks, "What is the effect of social media?" In response, my thesis statement argues that social media allows users to create new identities which often have negative consequences.

As for cereal, I would prefer a grain cereal—sort of like cheerios or honeycombs as the base. It would be semi-pervious to milk and made for people who want to be awake and somewhat energized in the morning, more commonly eaten by athletes and 9-5 job workers.

A blessing from Dr. Seufert: Over these last two years, your energetic enthusiasm for life has consistently encouraged me and had me in awe, and I want to thank you for injecting the classroom, hallway chats, intramural sports, photography sessions, and cooking assignments with it. On Friday, January 7, 2022, you used class homework as an opportunity to cook salmon for the first time, and on April 11, 2022, you made me hungry, happy, and worshipful all over again. Thank God for great food and great students. Your genuine engagement in classes has significantly enhanced my teaching experience, and again, I want to thank you. As you move on, my prayer is that Christ will watch over and walk beside you. May you know the joy, peace, and strength that comes from being a son of God. God bless you. It has been a pleasure.

Isabella Mathisen

I remember fondly one of the last days of school in 2021. All of the upper school students took everything out of the Big House (our old campus building). We then had a fun afternoon with frisbee and spoons (which is a card game),  and music played throughout the campus. This day was one of both sadness and happiness. Since I was in kindergarten, our grade has been told that our senior year we would likely be graduating from Belvoir. Although this didn't happen, as we will be graduating from Evergreen instead of Belvior, it still means that we will be saying our goodbyes in a building that completely belongs to Rockbridge. So the day that we moved Rockbridge to Evergreen is one of my favorite memories.

I'm grateful for both of my homeroom teachers: Miss Scheie and Mr. Lawing. I will miss them dearly.

For my senior thesis, I will be defending the following: Christians can accept a Dissociative Identity Disorder diagnosis within the correct understanding and framework.

Please pray for all the senior college decisions. 

A cereal in my honor would be called Almond Butter and Apple Crunch. It would never be available before 9 am, because food should never be eaten before coffee has been had.

A blessing from Miss Godfrey: Isabella, you are a thoughtful and energetic young woman. You bring creativity and a care for beauty to those around you, whether through dance or Yearbook. It has been a pleasure to watch you grow in leadership and responsibility this year, especially as the Senior Editor of the yearbook. It is exciting to watch the book take shape under your guidance and vision. I am also impressed by your flexibility and good spirits in all the re-planning and pivoting as events changed due to COVID. You have not let circumstances steal your joy. I pray that the Lord will be your joy and your hope as you look forward to the future. Keep close to Him and trust in His ways. May you know His everlasting love sustaining you as you step into new adventures.

Josh Phillips

I think some of my favorite memories from Rockbridge are the discussions in and outside the classroom. Talking about absurd hypotheticals, serious theology, inside jokes, current events, and much more made for good times and good friends. One of my favorite moments was this year, when a few friends and I stayed after school for a few hours to just talk. Those discussions are what create relationships, and COVID has shown that those moments of community aren't guaranteed. The discussions in and out of the classroom are places where jokes are made, advice is given and received, and friendships are strengthened. I'd like to thank my grade and my teachers for a genuinely worthwhile time here. Through its ups and downs, I'm grateful to have a group of people who have supported me and taught me how to keep going.

I am thankful for the teachers who have invested so much time and effort into teaching me and for the administration keeping the school running. I am also thankful for my classmates, a community of people I've learned a lot from and had a lot of fun with.   

As a word of advice to those I leave at Rockbridge: The most important thing I've learned is to never give up. It sounds like a rip-off of the Marines or something you'd see on a motivational poster. It might be an overused phrase, but it's still true. There will always be those days when you don't want to get out of bed, fail your math test, forget your lunch, and have a pop quiz on the literature reading you didn't have time to do. Those are the days when it's most important to keep getting up, keep working, and never give up on what you need to do. The best things in life are never the easiest, and if you stop when life gets hard, you'll never enjoy the best of life. For those who still don't believe: don't give up in trying to answer the eternal questions. They're the most important questions you'll ever ask, so don't give up on trying to answer them just because they're hard to understand and a struggle to answer. For those who do believe: don't give up your faith when life goes south. When you're having that awful Monday, never give up. Dark days never last forever.

For my senior thesis, I will be defending the following: Solar power cannot be a primary power supplier for the United States' national power grid.

A cereal made in my honor would be called Elevenses Cereal. While it would look like regular cereal, it would make you feel as if you ate a proper breakfast with bacon, eggs, and waffles. It would be for those of us who appreciate a full meal before lunch but would rather sleep in late than make a full breakfast. I think the Hobbits had the right idea about eating, and a cereal that would make you full like a proper breakfast sounds perfect.

A blessing from Mr. Vaughn: “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6-7) Josh, it has brought me much joy and pleasure to teach you in Great Ideas and Debate. The Lord has blessed you with many intellectual gifts. I have enjoyed seeing these gifts develop over the years in my classes, and I look forward to seeing what you will accomplish during your college years. I am confident that God has many good plans for you if you walk in His will. My prayer is for your continued growth in wisdom and that this wisdom from God would plant deep roots into your heart, so that to know God becomes pleasant to your soul and to walk in His ways becomes a path to rich blessings.

Hannah Skwarek

One awesome memory of my time at Rockbridge was going to Los Angeles with the varsity cross country team! It was such a cool opportunity to run with competitive teams and watch some of the fastest runners in the country. The team also bonded in a unique way through all the highs and lows of the trip. There were a lot of great experiences packed into that weekend! 

I am thankful for how wise and knowledgeable our teachers are. I am so blessed to not only have over-qualified teachers but ones that care about us as individuals! I am also thankful that Rockbridge has so many awesome sports teams and coaches, too! I have been so blessed for many years by the coaches and friends that I have connected with through sports. I am also simply thankful that I have been in school with the same people for years and have gotten to know them in a way that would otherwise have been impossible. It is so beautiful being around people you truly know!  

As a word of advice to those I leave: participate fully! In your classes, in grade or community events, in extracurriculars, take advantage of the opportunities you have, both ones you chose and those forced upon you! Every second and opportunity is a gift from God. Remember to treat them like that and thank Him for them!          

For my senior thesis, I will be defending the following: Brown v. Board of Education did not establish the Constitution as colorblind.

Please pray that I will find God's will for the next phase of my life and establish myself in a strong Christian community wherever he leads me! Please pray that our class would be blessed by a strong finish to high school, with sweet fellowship and good memories in our last months together.          

Cereal! My food brand SnackTime with Hannah would have a cereal called Hungry, a type of muesli.  It would have a crunch to it and be filled with protein and fiber! It would also have colorful dried fruit like strawberries and come in a bag with a small book hidden inside.  Every bag would also come with a code that enters you into a drawing to win something amazing! This cereal would be versatile! You could eat it hot or cold any time of day and it would always make for a perfect snack.

A blessing from Mrs. Ball: Hannah, your shining eyes exude joy, love, and laughter, and joy follows you wherever you go.  It has been a privilege to serve as your teacher and coach for so many years and watch you mature into a faithful, mighty woman of God. As you begin the next chapter in your life, I pray that you would always seek the Lord’s presence and ground yourself in His Word. May you ever delight in Him and find your identity in Christ. When you are weary, I pray that He would gently call you to Himself and grant you rest in the shadow of His wings.  May your love abound more and more as you stand firm in His truth. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be always with your spirit, sweet Hannah.

Nick Adams

One of my favorite memories of my time at Rockbridge was going and singing at the senior citizens homes with the choir. It was nice to meet and talk to the residents there, and it is always a memory I look back on happily.    

I am very grateful to the Lord for all that He has given throughout my life, but I am especially grateful for everything He has given me recently.

To those I leave behind, I would advise you not to procrastinate. One of the best feelings in the world is to finish an assignment far before it's due.

I will be defending the following for my senior thesis: Art is a necessary component of a flourishing society.    

A blessing from Mr. Lawing: As you come to the end of your time here at Rockbridge, Nick, may the Lord grant you a sense of accomplishment and joy in your achievements. Your gentle and quiet spirit and your incredible sense of humor have helped shape you and us during our time together. May your humble walk with the Lord be filled with mercy and kindness. My prayer for you is that as you go, the Lord will lead you into a place of service where you can use your gifts to further His kingdom. May this blessing of His presence rest upon you wheresoever you may roam: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you and give you peace.”

Ellie Davenport

I always really enjoyed the Variety Shows the school has put on! Going through the whole production process of late nights, chaotic outfit changes, and dramatic makeup looks with my best friends were experiences I will never forget! On a more academic note, I really enjoyed writing and preparing my junior thesis last year. Being able to research a topic that I found fascinating, and then presenting and defending it to my teachers and peers were very rewarding.

Recently, I've realized how grateful I am for the teachers who stood up for me and believed in me and guided me throughout my high school career.

As few words of advice to those I leave behind: Memorize your poetry recitations for Mr. Head on time! Waiting to memorize it all the night before will most likely not be successful. Also, make friends with people who bring good lunches. 

For my senior thesis I will be defending the following statement: Drug Rehabilitation Programs, or DRPs, would be a safe, clinical and restricted way to administer drugs to those who are already addicted in order to lessen chronic pain from withdrawal and keep addicts away from the illicit drug market.         

A blessing from Mr. Lawing: Ellie you are a strong young lady, kind and mature. You have a natural ease and confidence along with a cheerful, engaging presence. You have shown us how to stand firm in the faith despite adversity, and you have grown closer to Jesus through it all. May the blessing of the Lord found in Zephaniah truly rest upon you. “The LORD your God is in your midst . . . He will take delight in you . . . He will exult over you with shouts of joy.” This affirmation from Scripture, Ellie, is all the blessing you really need. May God impress this truth indelibly upon your soul. May the weight of this blessing press in upon you. May its depths always minister to you and may your heart mount up in joy at the fulness of this truth!

Natalie Watson

I fondly remember my time in Ms. Cawley's class in sixth grade. I really enjoyed the way the themes in literature and history class overlapped. I loved, and still love, reading about history in the form of first-person stories, such as pioneers on the Oregon Trail or Corrie Ten Boom in the occupied Netherlands. These stories allowed me to vicariously experience lives much different than mine.

I am grateful for my cross-country coaches who encouraged me to serve my team by mentoring younger runners as well as to be determined and to persevere. I'm especially grateful for my parents and Mrs. Davis who have helped me navigate the ins and outs of the stressful college application process.

My advice to those remaining at Rockbridge: don't be afraid to try something new and to get involved. Find the thing that you can use to connect with a new group. For example: although I'm musical, I have no theatrical or orchestral experience. My classical piano training seemed to not fit any Rockbridge group; however, I enjoyed the opportunity to provide piano accompaniment for a theater performance last spring. I found something new I could take part in with my theatrically talented classmates.

For my senior thesis, I am arguing that due to lasting psychological effects from the pandemic on the population, it is not healthy for Americans to expect to return to a pre-COVID ideal of normal, nor should this be their goal.

Please pray for God's church in Guatemala. I visited last summer on a mission’s trip and met members of the church community, who faithfully follow the Lord despite incredible hardships. Please pray for safety and blessing as my team and I plan to return again in July. Ask the Lord to remember them as they hold to the hope of Christ and that their community would come together to provide support.         

A blessing from Mr. Northup:  Natalie, it has been my sincere pleasure to observe you grow in Christ. From the point of listening to you wrestle with and articulate your desire to understand God’s Word, for the purpose of loving Him more richly, to the joy of witnessing your baptism, I have been blessed by your faith. Earnestness is a word that comes to mind as I consider what God has done and is doing through your life in the faith. I pray that as you continue to seek first His Kingdom you would experience all the virtues of being transformed more and more into His image. May our gracious Lord guide you by His Spirit, keeping you close to Him through His Word, encourage and bless you in the care of our Father, as a testimony of His grace. The Lord bless you, Natalie.

Noah Larsen

Some of my favorite memories of my time at Rockbridge are of Christmas concerts which were always fun and memorable as a choir member and because we got to fellowship and share the joy of our hard work with others. Also, Captain’s Cup was always fun as well because of some healthy competition and good bonding with classmates.

I have been thanking the Lord recently for continually guiding and shaping my path—learning more and more to put my trust in Him and what he has planned for me.

As a word of advice to those I leave behind, always be looking ahead, but try to enjoy each moment.

I will be defending the following for my senior thesis: Due to the failings in our justice system, the death penalty should no longer be used in the United States.

Please pray that I have the strength and courage to tackle college full-force.       

Cereal! My cereal would be called Chocolate Puffs, which definitely gets very soggy, but melts in your mouth and is soothing to the throat, so that as a public speaker you can speak as smooth as butte.

A blessing from Mrs. Ward:  Noah, you are a man of many talents—whether rapping about the American Revolution, performing Shakespeare, or cross examining a witness, it is a joy to see you steward the gifts the Lord has given you. It has been my privilege to see God develop in you a heart that responds as He does to the afflicted and destitute, as well as a sharp mind by which to navigate the legal system. May the Lord use you mightily to bring about His justice on Earth, until the one who is a perfect judge comes again. I pray Psalm 37 for you, and specifically: “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” (Ps. 37:5-6)

Trinity Jordan

I fondly remember when I was in 10th grade the soccer team beat Calverton in the championships, and I truly felt like a contributing part of the team. Being surrounded by so many sweet and encouraging people is something that I will miss most about playing soccer at Rockbridge. My soccer career ended up coming to a bitter-sweet end when we won the championships in 2021.

I am so truly thankful for the support that my friends, family, and teachers are giving me as my time at Rockbridge comes to an end. I thank the Lord for some of the great memories that I have made at Rockbridge.

As a word of advice to those I leave, remember that the Lord is with you in all things. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” No one can know the true plan that God has for you; times may seem rough, and school may get the best of you at times, but just remember that the Lord will always be by your side. The plan that God has for you is so much greater than you can even imagine. Something that is so encouraging to me is the fact that God, the creator of the heavens and the earth, has created each and every one of us and knows us all by name. He has picked out the plan that he has for us and as the verse says “plans to give us hope and a future," so just remember that God will never leave you behind, because you are the most important thing to him.

I will be defending the following for my senior thesis: America needs to change their strategy by which they rehabilitate their prisoners.

Cereal! The cereal made in my honor would be called Infinity Trinitys. It never gets soggy and always tastes awesome with three flavors in one, three shapes in one, three colors in one.

A blessing from Mrs. Keatts:  Trinity, as you continue on to the next stage of the journey God has for you, I encourage you to continue to use the kindness and compassion that He has gifted to you. Paul says it well in Philippians 1:6- “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ.” You show an abundance of love and joy for your family, friends, coaches, and teachers. Whether on the field playing soccer or working with a lab partner, your friendly and kind nature is always present. I will truly miss the bright smile that you always shared with me in the classroom or just walking in the hallways.

Evelyn Miklosovic

My favorite memories include the art trip to New York City back in November of 2019! We trekked all around the city and got to see the Met and the Cloisters. I also loved playing a concert for the Teddy Bear Tea Party, especially since I had requested we learn one of the pieces we performed. Lastly, I loved playing in the pit orchestra for the Little Mermaid musical in 2020. I've never had an experience like that!

I'm thankful to God for always being there, guiding me through my past, and continuing to do so in the future. I'm thankful for my teachers, my friends, and the community in general, and specifically for the great mentors and examples I have in my life. I'm also super grateful for my family and all of their support, especially with all of those early orchestra mornings! I'm thankful for my mom, who has supported me a lot this year.

My advice to those I leave behind at Rockbridge: Different voices and opinions being represented—diversity—is what makes a community beautiful. Don't be afraid to voice your opinion, especially in discussions, but don't let it affect your relationships with your friends.

For my senior thesis, I will be defending the following: A preemptive mental health approach from the educational system would help students in crisis access proper health care.

A cereal made in my honor would be called Crunchy Chai! It would have teacup-shaped cereal balls flavored with chai spices so that the milk tastes like a chai tea latte at the end!

A blessing from Mrs. Stevens: Evie, when I think of you, I think of your gift for encouragement, your steadfast cheerfulness, and your ability to grapple with and express ideas tenaciously yet gracefully. You’ve grown into such a lovely young woman of God, and your heart for truth and beauty is evident in all you do. May you leave this place knowing our love for you and resting fully in God’s boundless love for you in Christ. May your many successes and accolades—which I suspect you will continue to meet—pale in comparison to the unshakable privileges you have as a daughter of our King. May your every step be hemmed in by His irrepressible call on your life and His irresistible love. Walk in Christ, Evie. Walk in the good, good work which He has surely prepared for you.

Mary Soltis

One of my favorite memories of my time at Rockbridge was moving into our new campus. I also fondly remember when there was no water at the old (Baldwin) Rockbridge campus, and we all banded together and endured the struggle. Even though it was hard due to the lack of bathrooms (there was only one small set of restrooms for the entire upper school), we all bonded and laughed.

I am grateful for my teachers and all the love they have poured into me.

As a word of advice to my younger schoolmates: Keep pursuing truth, goodness, and beauty.

I will be defending the following for my senior thesis: Hacking is a skill that is essential for security but must be practiced ethically.

Please pray with me for safety and health in the hardships of Covid.

Cereal! A cereal made in my honor would never be soggy and be called Never Sogg. It would always be fresh and delicious!  

A blessing from Mrs. Soltis: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13. Mary, I have seen you live this verse out over the last 13 years at Rockbridge. It is not just a verse you sang as a little girl. I have seen Christ’s strength as you tackled school with concussions, migraines, and other obstacles. You inspired me through the years, whether it was your flawless recitation of James in sixth grade, your junior thesis on vaccines, or being a lawyer for Mock Trial. It has been a blessing to be not only your mother, but your fifth-grade teacher and swim coach as well. May Jesus continue to be your strength as you face the peaks and valleys of life after graduation. Keep your eyes focused on him, and trust He will take you from strength to strength.

Amelie Salada

Some of my favorite memories from my time here at Rockbridge are from sixth grade. We used to have spirit day competitions among homerooms. My sixth grade class had very creative spirit day ideas. We decorated the classroom like a mini soccer game in the fall, like an underwater swimming experience in the winter, and a Scottish highland dancing festival in the spring! Unfortunately, we only won twice that year, but that was definitely just because the judges had pity on the other classes that third trimester.           

I am very thankful for my friends and family for always encouraging and supporting me and being a steady force in my life in these unsure times.

As a word of advice to my younger schoolmates: I know it sounds cliché, but don't sacrifice who you are and what is important to you in order to please other people.           

For my senior thesis, I will be defending the following: The Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece by Britain.                

A blessing from Mrs. Salada: Beneath your quiet surface, there's an ocean's depth of vibrant emotions and brilliant ideas. While you choose to take deliberate steps rather than running headlong into unfamiliar territory, you aren't afraid to take some risks, creating beauty and order along the way. Your loyalty to your loved ones is immeasurable and your sense of justice is admirable.  May you always know your inestimable worth, which comes neither from what you do nor say but is because of the One in Whose image you are made. May you pursue justice on behalf of others while doling out heaps of mercy. May you continually grow in confidence and assurance of the truth and grace and beauty and order of Christ all of your days.  May you lean on Him in times of joy, in times of sorrow, and in every time between.

Lilia Bailey

Some of my favorite memories at Rockbridge include watching Emma Williams fall to her knees laughing in the fourth grade after saying, "Thanks Mom," during an oral presentation introduction given by Mrs. Williams and stage crewing for The Little Mermaid musical right before Covid. Watching my esteemed classmate, Emma Williams, die of laughter brought me a joy that I had never before experienced, and I am eternally grateful to her for that; and I enjoyed stage crew because I liked playing ninjas backstage and annoying our beloved stage manager when I should have been setting up the props with my fellow stage crew friends.       

Recently, I have been feeling very grateful for the invention of strawberry cake batter frozen yogurt. It has gotten me through many late nights working on thesis. Even more importantly, I have been very grateful for the peace the Lord has given me throughout my college decision process. The Lord has provided me with clarity and excitement about attending Gordon College next year, and I look forward to what the Lord has in store for me this coming fall.

As a two-fold word of advice to students at Rockbridge: First, if a first grader ever asks you to take out his tooth during recess, do it. No questions asked. Second, I would encourage everyone to not take yourselves too seriously here at Rockbridge. God calls everyone to work heartily and diligently for His glory. This is important. Work hard, care about your grades, strive to excel, but never take things so seriously that you forget to enjoy it. During my time at Rockbridge, I would often forget to enjoy my classes, foster relationships with my classmates, and seek wisdom from my teachers because I was so concerned with just "checking the box" and getting the A. However, after learning to slow down, laugh at myself when I do something embarrassing, be authentic, and care more about others at school, I began to find classes more enjoyable and relationships more sincere. Strive to succeed in all you do but recognize that it's okay to slow down and enjoy the relationships, even if you do have an oral exam the next day.    

I will be defending the following for my senior thesis: The existence of art necessarily reflects who God is in relation to man.

I would like prayer for joy and contentment with who I am in Christ. Everyone needs this prayer, especially me.

Cereal! The first thing everyone should know is that I'm a superior human being in that I find soggy cereal quite delectable. That being said, my cereal would be called Soggy Salmons. The three main ingredients in this cereal are fish oil (hence, the salmon part), protein powder, and strawberry cake batter frozen yogurt artificial flavoring. The fish oil is a useful supplement for the body because it supports the immune system and optimizes nutrients. The protein powder helps you get strong and bulky before a good lift, and strawberry cake batter is the most delicious taste in the world. This cereal would look like Mini Wheats but be massive. There are seven huge bricks of cereal per box of Soggy Salmons. When you pour the brick of cereal out of the holographic box (with a "gif" image of myself, my favorite snowboarder, shredding the gnar), the cereal immediately slurps up all the milk and breaks apart under the pure bodacity of the sogginess. The most magical part of my cereal is that before taking a bite, the brick of Soggy Salmons immediately turns into your biggest fear. For example, Mr. Lawing would be preparing to eat a shark every morning. This encourages children AND adults to conquer their fears every morning and start their day off strong with a delicious and nutritious brick of soggy cereal. This cereal should not be consumed by children under the age of 2 years and 7 months. This cereal proudly sponsors Emma McLaughlin and all her lacrosse endeavors.

A blessing from Mrs. Stevens: Lily, you are a beloved child of God, and His Spirit shines in you. Your abiding joy is born of wisdom grounded in the most profound reality. When I think of you, I think of Tim Keller’s reminder: “…the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.” Your others-oriented gentleness is an encouragement and blessing beyond measure. As you go out from this place where you have been loved and where you have loved so well, may you do so resting and rejoicing in Jesus, holding only and always to Him. May you know with the utmost confidence and certainty that you are clothed in Christ and freed to love and live and create and worship with wild abandon all the days of your life.

Sydney Hudson

My favorite memories at Rockbridge are of my times at cross country practices and meets. The dynamic of the team is something special. Coaches and students from all grades fellowship, grow, and work together. Those times are some of the best I've had at Rockbridge.

Gratitude: Life is messy, especially growing up. Not only do circumstances change people, but also people who walk alongside you change. And so, I am grateful for my teachers and classmates for walking through life with me. Thank you, teachers, for teaching, correcting, encouraging, and praying for us. You have played such an important role in shaping who we are and giving us the tools for a successful future. Thank you classmates, my friends. We, too, have had our ups and downs, but thank you, for all the memories and good times. God has truly blessed me, and I am sad to leave.

As a word of advice to those I leave behind, I was going to talk about cherishing the time with your friends because you won't ever get that time back, and you'll miss it when you are gone. However, even more important than that, I want to charge you all to make the most of your education at Rockbridge. Not just what you learn about in class but what your teachers teach you about life in general. So, I encourage you to listen to your teachers and have those discussions. Never take for granted that they are willing to speak Truth into your life. And if you let it, this Truth will change your life. They are not only giving you the tools to be successful in the real world, but to have a life that is full in Christ.

For my thesis I will be defending the following: Christians should be intentional about their outward adornment.                 

Cereal! A cereal named in my honor would be called S’mores Surprise. It would be comprised of s’mores flavored granola clusters, with marshmallows, chocolate flakes, and chocolate chips—for breakfast with milk or as a snack on the go!

A blessing from Mrs. Cooley: Sydney, what a gift you’ve been in our art class. I appreciate the calm, thorough, thoughtful focus you bring to all your work. Beauty shines through and tells your story well, of goodness and of thorns, of faithfulness, of eternity. LORD, continue to grow Sydney’s gifts as she tells of Your wonderful grace. Strengthen her in Your Truth as she journeys to future adventures. Teach her to trust You when waves of hardship crash and when sweet, peaceful breezes refresh her. May every situation draw her close as she gratefully, faithfully obeys You. Encourage her with Christian friendships along the narrow way. Astound her with your Holy love as she becomes fully persuaded that You are her all-in-all. Protect her and bring her to that perfect place of “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Anna Pasquarelli

I would say my favorite memories of my time at Rockbridge revolve around the history parades in grammar school.

As a word to those I leave at Rockbridge: Don't stress too much over a failed test or bad participation grade. At the end of the day, just work your hardest for the Lord, and you'll be fine.

I will be defending the following for my senior thesis: The U.S. government has failed to fulfill its entire role in the Covid-19 pandemic of providing both medical resources and long-term plans to restabilize the country.

A cereal made in my honor would be Reeses Puffs, but with more peanut butter. You can't really improve on perfection.

A blessing from Ms. Cawley: At the cusp of a new beginning, dear Anna, and with prayers for your going forth as you carry with you a myriad of patterns and an eye for the beautiful and creative life—the patterns you choose to keep and the ones you choose to create—are part of your unfolding. Nothing in your life has been incidental. All of it—each thread, each stitch—a means of workmanship—poeia—in process of becoming who God intended for you to be: wholly well and at peace. May you take His guidance, hold His helping hand, and accept His abiding love. May you be spiritually renewed. As a maker, may He give you eyes to see. And ears to hear. And hands to give and receive. God grant you serenity, courage, and wisdom.

Paul Ward

The most memorable times for me were probably the times of fellowship I experienced with my grade over the years; this was probably the best part of my time at Rockbridge, and I am thankful for my classmates.              

I would like to thank the staff for teaching me all these years. I am very grateful. I am also thankful for the gift of receiving the sacraments.

To those I leave behind at Rockbridge: Many times, we often feel helpless in our journey of faith, and that there is no modern way to have Christian community. Maybe you feel that all the meaningful Christian testimonies are outdated or from ancient times. A modern-day saint, Carlos Acutis, has been a powerful example to me when I have been in despair and dealt with loneliness. He was only a teenager when he passed and still has been a shining example of Christian living in the modern day. I want to leave you with a quote from him, "Our goal must be the infinite and not the finite. The Infinity is our homeland. We are always expected in Heaven."     

For my senior thesis, I will be defending the following statement: The Presbyterian Church in America ought to be actively involved in the catechesis of covenant children.        

Please pray for my discernment of the diaconate calling, and for my continued learning at college.

Cereal! My cereal would be called Oops! All Cinnamon, and it is just cinnamon squares cut up.

A blessing from Mr. Vaughn: “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:16-17) Paul, I have admired your serious devotion to Christian truth and your heart to serve the Lord and his church. These spiritual virtues have been evident in our many conversations and class discussions. My prayer for you is that, after leaving Rockbridge Academy, the Holy Spirit would work through your words, deeds, and prayers, and grant you an abundance of grace to bear witness and be a light for Jesus Christ in a dark world.

Ben Geverdt

One of my favorite memories from my time at Rockbridge was in grammar school at the end of the day. I was playing soccer on the field at Baldwin, and out of the blue, James Mackes (class of 2015) drove up and just handed me a slice of banana bread from Beanrush. The banana bread was amazing, but what really blew me away was how this super cool old guy noticed me and went out of his way to make my day.

I am thankful for the teachers at Rockbridge, and all the work that goes on behind the scenes that we don't often see, but is vital for learning.

To those I leave behind at Rockbridge: It’s not hard to make someone's day—a high-five in the hallway, being excited with someone else about something, or even a piece of banana bread after school. A little effort can go a long way to encouraging someone and making an impact.

For my senior thesis, I will be arguing that diesel should be part of the Unites States' long term energy strategy.

Cereal! A cereal named after me would be called Captain Brunch! Its brunch…in a box! Why have boring old cereal, when you could have a five-star Michelin dining experience straight from a box? Served how you want, when you want, wherever you want! Captain Brunch! includes drinks, appetizers, the main course of your choice, dessert, and only the finest cutlery. Don't ask how it fits in the box, just be glad it does! It’s not cereal, it's Captain Brunch!

A blessing from Mr. N. Griffith: Benjamin True Geverdt, it has been my great joy to watch as the Lord has grown you from a young, energetic boy in middle school youth ministry to a young man leading his teammates on the Cross Country team. He has been faithful to you in many ways. I have always admired the humility and grace with which you manage the many gifts the Lord has given you. As you leave this place, may you not only know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge but also feel it in your bones. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Noelle McDowell

One of my favorite memories from my time at Rockbridge was rehearsing for and performing in The Little Mermaid musical in 2020. I got to be in the show with both my siblings (Ryan '20 and Amelia '27) and many of my friends, both old and new. I really enjoy theatre because it takes you out of your comfort zone and helps you create memories with lots of different people. My character, Scuttle the Seagull, was super goofy, and I had a blast performing in the show.

Another highlight from my Rockbridge experience was my junior and senior year Cross Country seasons. It was a great privilege to captain the team both years and get to know lots of sweet, goofy, courageous, thoughtful, strong, and beautiful girls. We ran together. We prayed together. We drank chocolate milk together. We braved gross porta potties together. We had many heated discussions during practice over movies, spiritual gifts, church government, superpowers, dating philosophies, homecoming dress styles, and much MUCH more. Not only did we compete in 5K races together, we got to run the race of life together.

Recently, I've been very grateful for the way God designed our Earth to have seasons. It's a simple but amazing fact that we get to enjoy a spring, summer, fall, and winter every year. Each season is refreshingly new and different from the last, but each season also has a wonderful sense of familiarity from the last year. I love the seasons! Spring brings life and warmth after the winter doldrums. Summer brings sunny days after the spring rains. Fall brings crisp, cool air after the heat of summer. Winter brings beautiful, brilliant snow after endless days of leaf raking. And we've been blessed with blankets, umbrellas, swimsuits, and snow pants to enjoy them all! Not only did God create a beautiful world for us to enjoy, but He makes it a new kind of beautiful every month. What a gift!          

As a word of advice for my younger classmates: I would encourage the students at Rockbridge to avoid complaining. Believe me, I know it's hard (like really REALLY hard). I've struggled with it a lot. In the end, I've learned that complaining doesn't help the people around me and can hurt my own mindset. However, please understand that "don't complain" doesn't mean that you have to pretend like everything is all happy-go-lucky and perfect in the world (because it's not!). Instead, you can suggest solutions to problems, explain your own point of view, or simply refrain from unnecessary complaining.   

For my senior thesis, I will be defending the following: As they are able, Christian churches should value and encourage racial diversity in their congregation.

Please pray that God would give me wisdom as I try to simultaneously look forward to the adventures of the future and cherish the time I have left at home with my friends and family. I feel a little bit like Elsa from Frozen 2: "Everyone I've ever loved is here within these walls; I'm sorry, secret siren, but I'm blocking out your calls…Every day's a little harder, as I feel my power grow. Don't you know there's part of me that longs to go...Into the unknown! Into the unknown! Into the unknown!"

Cereal! A cereal made in my honor would be super crunchy, colorful, and candy-full (maybe some nerds?). And probably included some glitter, too. It would be sold exclusively in ginormous dinosaur-family-size boxes and each purchase would enter you into a sweepstakes to win 50 pounds of sour patch kids. It would also be specially engineered to make you more optimistic, hyper, and better at doing backflips. Please partake only under adult supervision.

A blessing from Dr. Seufert: I am truly thankful to have had you in class these last couple of years. I will miss your impressively thoughtful, steadfast engagement and your considerate, humble spirit. God has graced you in many ways; I pray that He continues His work of the desire to use everything you have for the good of the people blessed to be around you, and the magnification of Him. “Every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights.” Naturally, the generous giver of grace garners glory from the gifted when the girl genuinely glorifies the God graciously giving and gently growing good gifts in the graced. God-given giftings greatly gotten gloriously go with adoration of, blessing, captivation with, devotion to, and exclamatory faming of, God. May your humility, joy, kindness, and love increase more and more. God bless, bless, and bless.

Emma Williams

Though my time at Rockbridge is full of great memories, two favorites come to mind. The first was the snowball fight that broke out during lunch last year! Many teachers and students started throwing snowballs back and forth, and it was just incredible! This is one of my favorite memories because there was so much visible joy! Teachers and students alike were smiling and laughing and just having a great time! The other memory that came to mind was cleaning out the Baldwin building last year. While the actual cleaning was not particularly fun, being able to work alongside of so many people and remember all of the memories we had in that building was wonderful! It was so cool to see the community all come together and enjoy themselves even while cleaning. To me, it was a beautiful picture of the fellowship we have as Christians, the love of Christ, and the joy that can be found even in mundane tasks.

I am so thankful for the community that I have had the opportunity to be a part of since kindergarten. I am thankful for all the teachers who have sacrificed their time to be way more than just teachers for me. I am thankful for all the administrators who keep this school running. I am thankful for all my classmates and fellow students that encouraged me, laughed with me, learned with me, and helped me grow throughout the years. I am also thankful to serve a good, loving, and faithful God who chooses to grant me grace in surprising ways, even in the form of a school.          

To those I leave behind at Rockbridge: In the words of John Piper, "Don't waste your life!" As Christians, we find our purpose, identity, and worth in our Lord Jesus. Don't waste your life finding your purpose in academics or athletics or any other worldly thing. These things will pass away. Don't waste your life placing your identity in your test scores, talents, or any other insubstantial thing. These things will change from day to day. Don't waste your life finding your value in what your grades say about you, what other people say about you, or what any other finite person or thing says about you. These opinions ultimately do not matter. These worldly things are unsteady, limited, and ultimately meaningless in the scope of eternity. There is one purpose that will always matter, one identity that will never change, and one worth that will always be meaningful, and these are found in Jesus and Jesus alone.

For my senior thesis I will be defending the following:  Christians should not pursue the American Dream.         

I would appreciate prayer for wisdom as I figure out where I will be next year and trust in God and His promises as lots of things in my life change.      

Cereal! My cereal would be called Hydrate or Diedrate! I love water and dislike milk, but eating normal cereal with water is disgusting. So, my cereal would be specially created to be delicious when eaten in a bowl full of water. This way, you would be able to eat breakfast and get hydrated at the same time!

A blessing from Mrs. Williams: Emma, The Lord has blessed you with a loving, compassionate, hospitable, loyal, and determined spirit. May He continue to bless you in these ways. You expectantly seek the wisdom of the Lord, delighting in the Scriptures, intentionally striving for loving relationships with God and His people, walking in His way. May He continue to give you the passion to do so. I am wowed by His presence in you. May He continue to give you the ability to see Him daily. Joy and excitement abound as I anticipate God’s continuing work in you. “May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1Thessalonians 5:23-24 I love you! Mom

Olivia Reardon

My favorite memories from Rockbridge are the four minutes between each class period. At first, the four minutes were just an awkward chunk of time that didn’t seem long enough to accomplish anything substantial. But it wasn’t until the Spring of 2020 when I found myself sitting alone in my bedroom staring at a laptop screen between classes that I realized just how much happens in those four minutes. Walking through the hall, getting notes, taking a quick power nap, chatting at your locker, or simply sitting there together, each minute is precious. I am fully convinced that these are the moments that build relationships. It is four minutes of unlikely discoveries, meaningful advice, and inside jokes. As much as I love the big events such as Captain’s Cup, sports championships, and the musical, I have learned first-hand that those experiences are never guaranteed. So, it is the little, in between moments that build up over time into an enormous mountain of joyous memories that I will cherish forever.              

I am so remarkably blessed in every way, but today I am specifically thankful for my Rockbridge family. I have only been a part of this community since tenth grade but it has blessed me in so many ways. Besides an incredible education, Rockbridge has given me lifelong friends, impactful role models, a hunger for Christ and God’s Word, and a deep understanding of what it means to be a part of a Christian community. This community knows how to love their people with a Christ-like passion. Through every trial and every triumph, I have been prayed for, encouraged, and loved and I could not be more grateful. So, thank you to everyone who (knowingly or not) has made Rockbridge the absolute blessing it is.

I would like to share with the younger Rockbridge generations a lesson that has taken me a very long time to learn: corrections are a compliment. I know that someone telling you your work could have been better does not seem like a compliment, but it is true. People give corrections because they care about you, see potential in you, or want to help you. No one tries to help someone be better unless they believe that person can be. So, the more corrections you get in a sport or the more feedback a teacher gives you on an essay or speech, the more they see potential and the ability to be better in you. By giving feedback, they poured their time and thought into you. So, take hold of every correction you receive and apply it, because it is not an insult but rather a demonstration of how much someone cares about and sees potential in you.   

For my senior thesis, I will be defending the following: A Christian ought to view himself in light of both perfectionism and self-love.

Please pray for me as I have many big decisions and unknown adventures ahead of me. I would be extremely grateful for prayers in navigating such uncertainty. Specifically, I would ask for prayer that I would accept whatever future God has in store for me humbly and joyfully and that I would lean completely on Christ for peace and satisfaction.     

Cereal! A cereal made after me would be called Ice Cream Cookie Cereal. The pieces would be chocolate cookies shaped like ballerinas and books, and it would be eaten with ice cream instead of milk.

A blessing from Ms. Scheie: Olivia, your friendship has been a gift to Rockbridge, and while we will miss you, we know other communities will be blessed by your sweet character and many talents. From quiet homeroom moments to defending your thesis, I’ve seen many fruits of the Spirit in your life. I pray you keep your confidence rooted in Christ, undertaking new endeavors with your characteristic poise, kindness, and willingness to learn, meeting each challenge as a chance to grow. Regardless of what career or calling lies ahead, I pray you will continue to delight in the Lord, knowing that “the world is charged with the grandeur of God” (to quote Hopkins). May you find many opportunities to “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4) in the coming years!

Tomilade Akinyelu

I have MANY fond memories from my time at Rockbridge, but in an effort not to bore you, here are a few highlights ;) : Spending time with grammar schoolers at the 2019 Homecoming pep rally and in Homework Club; participating in the Little Mermaid while making new friends, hanging out with old ones, carpooling with the amazing Bowie Squad, and growing in my acting abilities; making Captain’s Cup history in the 7th, 9th, and 10th grades (The Bubble, DJ Dance Party, and Back to the Basics); participating in Cultural Appreciation Club and learning about people around the world; eating lunch inside with my classmates in 11th grade during the cold winter; singing ""Dear Little Child"" with my brother at the 2021 “COVID Retrospective."

Lately, I've been grateful for how God works things out for good. He's placed me in a school that allows me to grow intellectually and spiritually. He's surrounded me with friends that encourage and sharpen me. He's given me communities that supported me when my family was struggling. God truly is the Light that darkness cannot overcome. In the words of Maverick City Music: "He picked me up, turned me around, placed my feet on solid ground...He healed my heart; He changed my name; forever free, I'm not the same. I thank the Master; I thank the Savior; I thank God."      

Some advice to those I leave behind at Rockbridge: Be bold. Be curious. Be creative. Be open. Be hopeful. I know it sounds like something you'd find on a random t-shirt at Five Below, but it's such important advice for life inside and outside of Rockbridge. As scary as it might seem, interact with other students and teachers (Don't avoid Mr. Head in the hallway!). Learn new things everywhere, not just in the classroom. Think outside-the-box and see where your imagination takes you. Listen to and understand people different from you/who disagree with you. Trust that no matter what, God's got your back. You can either pass through life or let it pass through you; make an effort to grow in every circumstance.     

For my senior thesis, I will be defending the following:  US high schools must teach students holistically, focused on encouraging all intelligences.

Please pray that I continue to follow God, hear His will, and trust Him. I know God is always with me, but please pray that I would remember to believe it.      

Cereal! Have you ever just not known what to eat? Have you ever wanted takeout, but not wanted to leave home? Well, now you can with What-Should-I-Call-This? cereal! This cereal is specially formulated to adjust to whatever you're craving. Want a spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A on a Sunday? Just take a bite! Can't decide between jollof rice and iyan? Eat some What-Should-I-Call-This? cereal and let your body decide! If you order now, you could get a free travel cup so you can eat on the go. Buy What-Should-I-Call-This? cereal today! 

A blessing from Ms. Cawley with a prayer from St. Therese of Lisieux: “Today may there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.” God bless you to receive His love just where you find yourself, and God bless you with courage not to compare yourself to any other. Find the way He is asking of you. And footfall by footfall, follow. May He give you eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart teeming with love, Tomi.