Being an Azalea Belle for the North Carolina Azalea Festival was like nothing I have ever done before.
The excitement started a few months back when I went to pick out my Belle dress. I was torn between two but finally decided on a soft baby pink dress that was patterned with little roses. My motivation behind choosing it was the classic southern belle look. I anxiously awaited my first opportunity to show off my dress at the Belle Tea Party. It was held at Mary Lou McEachern’s house, who is a beloved member of the Cape Fear Garden Club and who has made an everlasting impact on the Azalea Festival with her countless contributions. I enjoyed spending the day taking pictures in my dress …a lot of smiling, but it gave me the chance to get adjusted to the outfit.
The next event was the Queen’s Welcome and Coronation. It was held Wednesday, April 10th downtown in front of the Federal Courthouse. All of the belles crowded together on the steps in order to have the perfect view of the crowning of our 66th Azalea Festival Queen. I was really excited to see our Queen, Jennifer Wayne, be crowned at this beautiful riverfront site.
That Friday was the Ribbon Cutting, and I woke up nice and early only to find a terrible thunderstorm outside. When I arrived at the belle meeting destination, they informed us the ceremony was moved to the Independence Mall. I was disappointed, but knew this was the best solution since it was the only place in Wilmington that could hold so many people indoors. Despite the sudden change of plans, the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was still exciting and lively. I even got a chance to chat with a couple of Citadel cadets who drove from Charleston to Wilmington just for that one event. Luckily, a few hours later, the weather cleared up and I was off to my first garden. It was absolutely beautiful, and it was hard to stand still because I just wanted to explore the yard. My favorite part of the day is two little girls referring to me as “the princess” before taking a few photos. After a long day as a Southern belle, I went home and straight to bed.
Saturday was another early morning because I had to be downtown for the parade by 8 a.m. I was placed on a float where I waited for 3 hours before it finally started to move and join the other floats down 3rd Street. Although it required a long waiting period, the parade will forever be one of my best memories. It was so cool to be on a float waving to the fellow citizens of Wilmington and having them so excited to see you! I felt like a very important celebrity!
Immediately after the parade, I headed to the Wilmington City Club to sit in the garden. Luckily, I got a perfect spot sitting on the front porch in the shade. I enjoyed chatting with visitors and answering their questions, such as, where I go to school, if the belle hair is my natural hair, and how I got to become a belle. Sunday was bittersweet; I had really enjoyed my weekend as a belle but I was also ready to hang up my heavy dress and parasol for good. I am so thankful for these good memories and to have been able to participate in such an important local event.
High school is a time during which students search to find out who they really are and discover their true passions. I am very fortunate to be a student at Cape Fear Academy because the college counselors help provide a solid foundation for these decisions about my future. Without the college counselors, I believe I would be so lost and disarrayed. They offer great advice with SAT and ACT, applying to colleges, finding careers, and much more. What’s remarkable is the fact that the counselors meet regularly with us in a one-on-one setting, which shows that they really care about each of us individually.
There are many opportunities accessible for students to utilize. All of the students in the Upper School are given a Naviance account. This is a web-based planning and advising system to help make the college application process more manageable and less stressful for students and families. It includes personality and career quizzes, surveys, assistance on resume writing, and more. The college counselors also plan a college trip for sophomores so the students are able to visit multiple colleges with their peers and the counselors. The college trip was an incredible experience and it provided a starting point for me to narrow down what interests me about particular colleges. Every other week, the counselors send out a newsletter which has college information and deadlines, scholarship information, and college open house dates. These are a just a few of the many opportunities given to us to utilize for the future. I know I am fortunate to have this kind of support as I make important decisions.
Merritt – grade 11
I have been at Cape Fear Academy for 10 years and am grateful to be attending this school. Throughout my years at CFA, I have found that teachers are always willing to help set their students up for success. The small class sizes make it easy to form relationships with teachers. Flex days are a huge help because they give us the opportunity to seek help from teachers after the usual school day. I have found that many of my teachers challenge me to think outside the box which has helped me develop my reasoning and logic skills that are not only important inside the classroom, but also outside of school.
I really like the way that Cape Fear Academy gives its students a wide range of opportunities. I have been able to perform in musicals at Thalian Hall, compete in sports throughout the state, and participate in various clubs throughout my high school experience. One of the things I enjoy most is giving back to the community. The upper school provides a wide range of community service opportunities so that we as students can help improve things within our own town. I’ve been able to do beach sweeps, work in a homeless shelter, volunteer at marathons, and help out with various events throughout Wilmington. I can most definitely say that I have never been bored during my time at CFA. There is always something new and exciting to try out!
- Anna – grade 11
Since my third grade year at Cape Fear Academy, when our new Headmaster arrived, Mr. Meehl has been steadily improving our school. From each grade having about 20 students to the “big” classes of between 40 and 60 we have now, Mr. Meehl has lead the school to new heights.
As a senior at Cape Fear now, I am able to think back to many great memories of working with our headmaster, and I appreciate his working to establish relationships with his students. From being his third grade representative in 2002 and going to his office once a month for pizza, to being his inbound marketing assistant this year, I realize what an integral part of student life he has been. As he retires this year I know he will be missed and am thankful to have had him for most of my Cape Fear experience.
What does it take to become a University of North Carolina Morehead-Cain Scholar? “It takes passion in any given field and an attitude that never accepts mediocrity,” says Fields Pierce who was just awarded a Morehead-Cain Scholarship. As a member of the Cape Fear Academy’s student body since kindergarten, our school is exceedingly proud of this recognition for one of our students.
The Morehead-Cain Scholarship is given to 56 students annually; it pays for their UNC tuition and summer enrichment programs for all four years along with all their incidental education costs. Fields Pierce was one of two students nominated for the scholarship from CFA; 4,500 applicants from around the world were considered for this prestigious award.
Fields certainly proved to the board that he was worthy. Throughout his Upper School years here, he has been passionate in the goals he had set forth to achieve. His achievements have embodied leadership and hard work, as well as have demonstrated that he is capable of anything that he tries to achieve.
As a freshmen, Fields was chosen as Class President and has participated in many different clubs. He continued to be a student leader for the next two years and was elected Student Government Association President at Cape Fear Academy as a rising senior. Fields is in National Honor Society and BETA Club and participates on the Debate Team. He is president of one of the school’s political clubs and the Youth and Government Club. He is in on the Varsity basketball team and soccer team and, in the summer, is on swim team.
As an active participant of Youth and Government for four years, Fields has held the positions of Delegation President, Speaker of the House, and, most impressively, Governor of the North Carolina Youth Legislature. He has been nominated to and has attended many summer programs which have broadened his horizons and his participation in the things that interest him. He has attended the Conference on National Affairs (CONA), has been a page for the North Carolina General Assembly, and has participated in many mission trips. He has also interned with a local political party and campaigned for national and regional political candidates. In addition to all of this, he has been on either the Headmasters List or Honor Roll every semester while challenging himself by taking many AP and Honors classes.
Fields Pierce has demonstrated a moral force of character, scholarship, physical vigor, leadership and much more during his four years at Cape Fear Academy, and we are all so proud of him for being chosen for this very special recognition!
Technology is everywhere around us. It is constantly being used and new types of technology are being created at an ever-increasing rate. Therefore, why is it that, in most colleges, instructional technology seems to rarely be used and instead there is a heavy reliance on instruction by lecturing?
As a senior going to college next year this is a sad reality. While some colleges are changing the ways they teach, most of them are still using the archaic methods for teaching that they have been using for decades. Therefore, college, the place that is supposed to prepare you for jobs, is not embracing how many jobs now use collaboration and technology.
At Cape Fear Academy I use technology on a daily basis in most of my classes. I don’t sit through lectures and takes notes in the traditional manner that many other students do. Instead I get to use technology and do collaborative projects with my peers.
My teachers have integrated technology into a lot of my assignments as well as their lessons. I have used sites such as voice thread to explore The Odyssey and its many themes. A voice thread is a website where you create a power point type presentation but you can narrate each slide and also have others comment directly onto the project. I have also used wikis where my entire class had to work together to define and explain various terms about European history. In my government class, our teacher frequently shows us videos from online that explain topics in a straightforward manner to give us a another explanation for something we are studying. Even my weekly vocabulary words for my literature class use technology; we get to quiz ourselves on the words using games online. This is much more interesting than simply staring at a piece of paper trying to memorize twenty words and their definitions.
Integrating technology with learning has been a great experience for me. I feel as though I can learn information more quickly and more thoroughly through its use. There are so many different sources online that I can also use in order to learn more about a topic. And this is heavily encouraged by my teachers. They realize the massive amount of information out there and they motivate us to take advantage of it.
It seems that college will be completely different from what I have been taught at CFA though. While I may not get to use as much technology in my classrooms in college, I will always have the skills that I have obtained from CFA so I can be ready for the work force.