Making the Most of Your High School Experience
Mrs. Ashley Sapp serves as our College & Career Counselor for grades 6-12. Starting as early as middle school, Mrs. Sapp provides ongoing support to students as they navigate through school and make plans for life beyond graduation. Support is offered in a variety of ways, including individual meetings with students and families, parent nights throughout the year, leadership, job shadowing, and service opportunities, college visits, standardized testing, and career inventories and assessments. For this week’s blog, we thought we would have Mrs. Sapp speak from her expertise and share a few thoughts about how students can make the most of their high school experience as they look towards the future in which God has uniquely called them.
As the College & Career Counselor at WCCS, I have witnessed first-hand that success in high school means so much more than just getting a high GPA, passing the right tests, and playing on all the right athletic teams. I have also seen that success looks different for each individual student. It’s about finding that unique path, specifically designed for you, by God. It’s my desire that every one of our students at WCCS would do just that. I pray that first and foremost, they would accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, and from there, to grow as His disciples in order to glorify Him and bless the world in which we all live. For some, this might mean going to a four-year college or university. For others, it might mean entering the workforce, military, or mission field. Equipped with the right tools, the high school experience is a great opportunity for students to discover and begin using their God-given talents and gifts. Below are a few practical tips for success after graduation:
TIPS from Mrs. Sapp on how to make the most of your high school experience:
Explore your gifts/talents as you seek God’s call on your life.
You can do this through your academic courses and electives, clubs/organizations, serving in the community, and using resources from the College & Career Office. WCCS has over 50 high school course offerings, including 20 different high school electives. Students also have access to 20 athletic teams and a variety of service, travel, and club opportunities. Discovering your God-given passions and gifts might require you to get out of your comfort zone a little and try new things, seek out job shadowing and service opportunities on your own, or put some effort into defining your strengths and weaknesses. Continue pursuing personal growth and the Lord’s plan for your life, and I assure you it will lead to both academic success as well as personal fulfillment.
Perform to the BEST of your ability in everything, both in and out of the classroom.
Understand that each person’s BEST is different, and there is a future plan that connects with your gifts/talents and accomplishments. Along with this, you must be willing to accept and celebrate the “No.” As you explore that in which God is calling you, whether that be a college/university, a scholarship, leadership opportunity, etc., you will encounter moments in which you are told “No.” You must see this as God closing the door to one thing in order to bless you with a better thing. “Celebrating the No” is an essential part of taking risks and courageously following Jesus.
Communicate often with the faculty/staff at WCCS and take advantage of mentorship opportunities.
Asking questions is essential as you navigate through school and consider your plans for the future. As the College & Career Counselor, it is my job to provide intentional, guided planning for students as they research options and look towards future goals and plans. It’s a privilege for me to partner with families and students in this way, and I look forward to the individual meetings and conversations that I’m able to have with students as they dream about the opportunities ahead. Furthermore, throughout my years at WCCS, I have seen how the faculty and staff strive to make a personal investment in the lives of students, and I encourage you to embrace these moments of being surrounded by a community of supportive, Godly mentors.
I love hearing how former WCCS students are thriving and serving the Lord in so many different fields, occupations, and amazing locations. Below are a few recent WCCS graduates who have taken their knowledge and gifts/talents beyond high school. I have seen the Lord work in the lives of not only these students, but so many others - directing each of them to a unique calling in which they can impact the world around them, and I’m so proud of them all.
Baxley Crippen – Class of 2019
After graduation, Baxley Crippen took a gap year to participate in the National Outdoor Leadership School where she trained in outdoor rescue missions. For the second half of her gap year, she is serving in Mexico and plans to attend college afterwards.
“I believe that because of the guidance and love that was given to me during my years at WCCS, I learned who I am and who I want to become. My time at Westminster showed me what I am gifted at, and what I would excel in. My plans beyond college are to help the world in whatever way I can. I want to make a difference in God’s name.”
Travis Howell – Class of 2019
While at WCCS, Travis began an internship during his junior year that sparked his interest in the field of diesel mechanics and heavy equipment repair. He was recently accepted into the Caterpillar Diesel Mechanic Program at Florence Darlington Technical College. He obtained one of only ten sponsorship spots through Blanchard Caterpillar after completing the required testing to be accepted into the program!
Kara Hill – Class of 2018
Kara was recently admitted to the Bachelor of Science Program at Charleston Southern University and plans to pursue her Master’s in nursing or possibly a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant program, afterwards. She believes the Lord may be leading her to focus on pediatrics or labor & delivery, and looks forward to her clinical rotations to help her with this decision.
When asked how she feels WCCS has prepared her for her future, Kara responded, “Learning in a Christian environment has been a huge blessing because of the different perspective that it brought to the table. At WCCS, we always looked at worldly events with a Christian perspective. I believe my time at WCCS helped me not only grow stronger in my faith, but taught me how to defend and share my faith. In the future, I believe it will be easy to share my faith with patients because of my time at WCCS.” Her mom, Lucy Hill, believes Kara has been able to excel after graduation not only because of the high academic standards set before her at WCCS, but because she was prepared spiritually to know that everything done in life is for God’s glory. “Charleston Southern University’s mission statement includes ‘integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.’ WCCS has helped prepare Kara in this way as well.”
These are just a few examples of how our WCCS graduates are taking their gifts and talents into the real world to bless others!
For those who are transitioning into high school, it can be such an exciting time in the lives of students and their families. I’d like to invite you to join us on Monday, January 27, for our Rising 9th Grade Parent Night at 6:30 p.m. in the Upper School Chapel! You’ll gain practical information to help you and your student navigate through the high school experience and prepare to make plans for after graduation. We’ll talk more in depth about what kind of support WCCS offers to help students discover their individual callings, what class choices will best prepare students for success after graduation, and how our schedule uniquely accommodates the needs of high school students. I hope you’ll join us. To RSVP, contact Jane Wilson at email@example.com.