On January 10, 2019, Foundation Academy held its annual State of the Academy. This year, the theme of the night was “The Power of One”, and everything presented revolved around that theme. If you were unable to attend this elegant and inspiring event, below is a summary of the evening which includes a video link at the end.
On display were six letters written by our Legacy Lions. Each letter was a response to how Foundation Academy has impacted them in their 13 plus years as a student here. In case you missed them, our Legacy Lion letters remain on display in the Upper School Main Office. Our Legacy Lions for 2019 are Bryson B, Michael M, Jonathan R, Dakota S, Benjamin S, and Paul S. Each letter speaks to how Foundation Academy has allowed each student to be themselves, to show their individuality, and to pursue their passions.
The evening began as every school day does, with pledges to the American Flag, Christian Flag, and Bible. Our talented Upper School choir then led in the National Anthem. Pastor Tim Grosshans, of Winter Garden’s First Baptist Church, opened the event in prayer. Next, our Upper School Praise Band, ASL Club, and Kindergarten class joined together to lead families in our chapel theme song for the year: “Who You Say I Am.” The ASL Club and Kindergarten students led in sign language as the praise band vocalists led in voice.
Head of School Mrs. Carol Grosshans delivered the Academic Address. She spoke on how student test scores continue to rise, and remain above state and national averages. Our 2018 graduating class received over $3.2 million in Academic Scholarships (with Athletic Scholarships included, that number is over $4 million!). Our 2019 graduates are poised to receive their share of scholarships as well with over $795,000 already. Two seniors, Felipe F and Samantha J, have already received full-ride scholarships to Duke and Stetson respectively. We have a record number of AP Scholars this year, and for the first time in FA history, two students who were awarded AP Scholar with Distinction: Victoria D and Jonathan R. Furthermore, Jonathan R is the first ever FA National Merit Semifinalist. It will be announced in February if Jonathan will move forward to the Finalist round.
Mrs. Grosshans also spoke of the intentional mission of our faculty and guidance department. FA intentionally keeps class sizes small so that our teachers can give each student the proper attention they need to do their best and succeed. Our guidance department works with every student to help them discover what their talents and passions are, helping them to define what their next step will be after graduation.
Mrs. Grosshans introduced Austin Lile, one of our alumni. Austin was the 2014 Salutatorian, and recently graduated with his Master of Science in Entrepreneurship from the University of Florida. He spoke to families about the important role FA has played in his life, and how it truly lays the necessary foundation for students to confidently tackle the world after graduation. Austin now has his own business, Spartan Advising and Recruiting Network, and returned to FA this year to assist coaching Football.
Family Involvement Address
Mrs. Luanne Lumpkins, Director of Development and Family Enrichment, took the stage to explain the importance of our special interest groups such as PAWS, Boosters, and the Fine Arts League. However, that’s not all FA has to offer. We also have groups for Senior Moms, Grandparents, and Alumni in addition to our many student clubs and organizations! Each group hosts gatherings throughout the year. There is a place for every individual to connect in Foundation Academy. All you need to do is speak with Mrs. Lumpkins to know which group is for you!
Mrs. Lumpkins was followed by our Lower School Choir, who sang the song “One”, which speaks to the body of Christ. We are all individual parts with individual talents, but when we come together in Christ, we become one body that can change the world, truly encapsulating our theme for the evening.
Mr. Dave Buckles, President of Foundation Academy, reminded our families of Foundation Academy’s progress in the past several years. This includes the opening of our new athletic complex, upgraded lower school playground, upgraded lighting and flooring on both campuses, to name just a few. He then painted the vision for the future, revealing design plans for expansion. Foundation Academy is currently preparing the Tilden Road campus for building additional roads and buildings to accommodate our growing student body. With our downtown Lower School campus at capacity, Mr. Buckles announced the opening of a second lower school, our third campus, in Windermere. This campus is made possible through partnership with First Baptist Church of Windermere. We are excited to partner with them as we expand our mission field to reach even more families for the Gospel through Christian education.
Mr. Buckles emphasized the “Power of One” and it’s double meaning. The first is that many times, we have a tendency to downplay the power that just one can have throughout the life of an individual. The second is the power of The One, the original teacher, who is Jesus Christ.
The pinnacle of the evening was a beautiful presentation made possible by our student body and families. Our FA Media debuted their short film, The Power of One, followed by a group performance of our Upper School Choir, Praise Band, and soloists Pam Shuler and Sherri Gladney, who are FA moms.
As he closed the evening, Mr. Buckles asked parents what their hopes and dreams were for their children. Cards in the shape of piano keys were provided for the parents to record their answer for each child. These hopes and dreams, when collected, are just like a piano. Each key plays a single note, beautiful and impactful on it’s own. However, when combined with all the other keys, it creates one magnificent masterpiece that wouldn’t be possible without the contribution of the individuals.
This is how Foundation Academy sees each of their students. They are beautiful, unique, and created with a purpose. Our goal is to help them discover that purpose and how they fit into the masterpiece that is the body of Christ – The Power of One.
If you were unable to attend this year’s State of the Academy, you may view the FaceBook Live recording below: