HeadshotAbby Holland was the first valedictorian of Wilson Hill Academy and is currently pursuing a Classics major and Spanish minor at the University of Alabama.

Here I was at a state university of 37,000 people in a junior level Latin class as a freshman. Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed and definitely unsure of my ability to thrive in a Latin class composed primarily of juniors and seniors. But, after a couple classes, I realized that I was thriving in that class, totally prepared for whatever translations were thrown my way. A few weeks into school, I asked my Latin professor if there was any way I could get involved in research in the Classics on campus. Although he didn’t know of any positions at the time, he told me that he would let me know if anything became available.

About half way through the semester, my professor, Dr. Summers, asked me to come to his office after class. I nervously sat outside his office, waiting for him to open his door and wondering what I could have possibly done to warrant this meeting. To my surprise, he invited me to be a part of a four-year research project he was about to begin in Reformation Latin, specifically studying the works of Theodore Beza. I was so grateful for the amazing opportunity I had been given, being the only student asked to participate in the research. We presented our proposal to Student Government Association and recently received funding to continue our work.

As I reflect on my educational journey, I can’t emphasize enough the value of a classical Christian education. I took Latin II and AP Latin with Mrs. Hensley, and I couldn’t have asked for a more understanding or encouraging teacher. She always pushed me to be my best, even when I thought I couldn’t translate one more line of Caesar or scan one more dactyl of Virgil. She instilled in me a love of the Latin language and a desire to more deeply understand Greek and Roman culture. In addition to my understanding of Latin, I also possess a broad understanding of Christian history, which has been a great aid to me as I’ve worked through the Latin of Theodore Beza. The teachers at WHA showed me how to seek God’s truth and recognize His faithfulness in every situation. Having just completed my first semester of college, I can honestly say that I am prepared both academically and spiritually for the challenges that I face on a daily basis. I know that many strenuous classes and difficult life decisions lie ahead of me, but I walk in confidence knowing that I have a solid foundation and faith, both encouraged during my time at Wilson Hill Academy, that will carry me through even the toughest of times.