When you are a kid, growing up feels so far away.
I clearly remember the first day of Ambleside, when there were more parents in the room than students. I remember thinking it felt less like a school and more like a game I was going along with for the sake of my mom. I spent seven years at Ambleside, and it honestly never felt like a school in the traditional way I had been accustomed to previously. It was a place that was always more of a community and a home than a school for me. I experienced many firsts there and witnessed Ambleside grow and change in those early few formative years as well. Now I find myself having been away from Ambleside for the same duration of time I was a part of it. Some life events felt so far in the future and now I’ve blinked and they’re already in my past. My first day at Ambleside I would never have imagined that I would graduate from 8th grade in seven years’ time. And I definitely could never have imagined graduating from college seven years later, but here I am.
After graduating from Ambleside I went to Vanguard High School and participated in their International Baccalaureate program. Four years later I enrolled at Florida State University and in seven days I will be walking across the virtual stage with my bachelor’s degree in English, specializing in Editing, Writing, & Media with a minor in Spanish. The educational path I took was a direct result of my experience at Ambleside. I loved reading and Ambleside was able to cultivate that into a love of learning. The best part of it all was that I was not alone in this venture. At Ambleside, I met one of my lifelong friends, Kelli Lacefield.
It would be easy to say that Kelli and I only became friends because we were never in a class with more than 10 people during our time at Ambleside, or because our moms were both on staff and so we didn’t leave school until 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening, but the truth is we knew each other before. We both were in Mrs. Lacefield’s Kindergarten class at a different school! However, it wasn’t until we were reunited at Ambleside that our friendship began to flourish. During those hours after school and at sleepovers, we would pretend to be teachers (and actually argue about who had to play the student) and would talk about what our lives would look like in the future. After Ambleside, we took two separate paths. She went to West Port’s dual enrollment program and from there to the University of North Florida where she graduated with a major in Child Psychology and a minor in Social Welfare. Throughout these years, even though we went to separate schools, (and were rivals on the soccer field) we remained friends.
I know I speak for both of us when I say we are thrilled that we get to be a part of the Ambleside community next year and even more excited that we get to start this new chapter together. I love not only that the dreams we used to have are coming true, but that they are being brought into reality at the very place in which they were born. We are looking forward to this coming school year and all it has to offer our friendship, the students, and this community!