What an honor it is to be named the valedictorian of the first graduating class of Wilson Hill Academy.

I still remember that first day of online Latin class the summer before I officially entered high school. Little did I know then that I was about to embark on a journey, not always smooth and easy, but always incredibly rich and rewarding. My online classical Christian education has taught me to count learning as a privilege and joy, not a necessary evil. I am grateful to have had the unique opportunity to study alongside my amazing classmates from all over the world, including South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Canada, and England. I’ve learned that a narrow path does not always lead to a narrow mind. Through this type of education, I have learned not only to cherish diversity but to see it as a necessity. I have come to realize that every person has something special to offer.

This year at Wilson Hill Academy has truly been an incredible experience for me. The fact that WHA integrates AP courses into a thoroughly classical education first attracted me to the school. I have had the honor to be instructed by dedicated teachers who care about the success of their students, not only in education but also in life. My senior course load included AP Latin, AP Calculus AB, AP Biology, The Great Conversation 6, and Spanish 2. At the beginning of the year, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted my major to be. Ask Mrs. Stublen. I’m sure she heard at least five different major choices from me during the course of the year. But, this year has taught me that I have a passion for languages and culture while I also believe I want to eventually become an anesthesiologist. I’ve often tried to explain my love for seemingly polar opposite subjects, and very few understand how I can actually enjoy so many different classes. However, I attribute this to the classical approach to education, where Mr. Lowery’s “Great Conversation” history relates to Mrs. Hensley’s Latin, where Mrs. Owen’s bacteria relate to Mrs. Stublen’s exponential functions, and where Mrs. Pliego links Spanish to geography. I have come to appreciate that every subject is distinct yet connected to every other subject.

As I embark on a new journey, another four year commitment, I am blessed to have a classical Christian education as my foundation. I am pursuing Classics and Spanish on the pre-medical track at the University of Alabama, and I am excited about what I will learn in the future, and, more importantly, how I can apply my classical base to my university education.

Fellow students, I know there have been or probably will be days where you’re ready to throw in the towel, or throw out the Omnibus textbook in our case, when it seems like you can’t read one more page of Nietzsche or Freud. But, every “Great Conversation” book, every language class, every math problem, and every science exam is shaping you into a truly classical student with a more well-rounded education than most students can ever hope to have. You might be wondering if it’s worth it. Trust me, it is worth it. I have used my knowledge to find common ground with a Muslim piano teacher, college professors, and many others in the hopes of sharing the gospel for God’s glory.

So, remember that life is a marathon and not a sprint, a journey and not a destination. Remember to enjoy the little things because they mold you so much more than a couple mountaintop moments. Be consistent. Be kind. Be real.

Even as you take flight, remember Peter Pan’s words: “To live will be an awfully big adventure.”

Submitted by Abby Holland, Wilson Hill Academy Class of 2015 Valedictorian

Abby will be attending the University of Alabama in the fall.