From Head of School – Don Berger
This past week Hindus throughout the United States and most of the world celebrated Dewali, often referred to as the Festival of Lights. One of the year’s most important holidays for Hindus, Dewali is observed in a variety of ways but generally celebrates life, its enjoyment, and goodness.
Like the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, Dewali recognizes a historical triumph of good over evil and uses lights to honor our past and celebrate our present. The use of lights to symbolize goodness and to honor justice and peace occurs at Christmas as well.
As we begin a season of religious holidays, and Thanksgiving, I can think of no better time to reflect on how much we have in common rather than focus on differences. As I reflect on the holidays my family celebrates, I am always drawn to a deep appreciation for my country, which allows me to celebrate in peace the holidays I choose. With Veterans Day this Monday, there seems to be no better time to be thankful for not only my country and those who have laid the path to our freedom, but my family, my friends, and my Cape Fear Academy community.
When I started at Cape Fear Academy in sixth grade, I always knew I was going to Outward Bound. But I had no idea it would come so fast. The actual trip went by fast as well. It seemed like one minute we were doing the “duffle shuffle” and the next we were packed in the vans ready to head home. Although the experience was really tough, it was such an achievement.
After riding in a van up Brown Mountain, we finally arrived to an area where we participated in the famous “duffle shuffle,” in other words, where all of our belongings are transferred to the backpacks they provide. After everything was packed, we were already on our way to our campsite. The first day was the toughest day because we were still getting adjusted to those extremely heavy packs. But we finally made it to camp and enjoying some yummy macaroni and cheese while sitting around the campfire reflecting on the day. We set up our tents and fell fast asleep. The next day, we woke up bright and early so we could rock climb. We learned to how to belay and learned several tips that are useful when rock-climbing. Afterward, we hiked to another campsite where we had the dreaded solo night. But to my surprise, solo night was not all that bad! I actually enjoyed the night to myself in true peace. As soon as we regrouped, we were back to hiking. We made it to our final destination called Starry Night. Starry Night was quite a unique campsite because it had a wooden platform that you could sit on and look up at the stars. It was such a beautiful site. Fortunately, our counselors allowed us to sleep the entire night on the platform. After a night of laughs and confessions, we blew out the last candle knowing it was our last night of Outward Bound. As the sun slowly rose the next morning, we rejoined back with all of the groups and ran the personal challenge, approximately a 3-mile run. Then we packed and said our last goodbyes as we departed Brown Mountain.
After reflecting on my Outward Bound experience, I can say the trip was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I learned several survival skills, I made close friendships with people I didn’t know that well before, I achieved a huge accomplishment, and much more. Outward Bound was an unforgettable experience!
By Merritt – Class of 2014
Outward Bound: Four days and three nights spent hiking through the mountains of North Carolina….
I was fearful in anticipation of spending so much time in the wilderness. We would have to eat in the woods, sleep in the woods, go to the bathroom in the woods. I had no idea know what to expect.
I ended up having a wonderful group lead by our amazing Mr. Fancy; he is the Performing Arts Technology Director at Cape Fear Academy. We deemed ourselves the “Fancy Schmancies.” On day one, we got our massive backpacks situated and divided up the gear for everyone to carry. Luckily, I ended up carrying a tarp, which was much lighter than the other gear such as the water dromedaries, the pots and pans, and the first aid kit. After preparing our packs, we set off on our first hike. Our leaders taught us how to read maps and compasses so that we could safely navigate our way through the forest. Although the hike was physically challenging, especially with a heavy backpack, our cheerful group made the hike enjoyable. Singing songs and telling jokes, the hike seemed shorter and easier. When we finally got to our campsite, we set up our tarps to sleep under and began preparing food for dinner.
Waking up after a restless night, we prepared breakfast and refilled our water supply from a small creek near our campsite. We took down our tarps, repacked our gear, and set on our way. We hiked for half of the day until we arrived at scenic Table Rock. The amazing view inspired us to stay there for a little while to fix lunch and to take a break. After lunch we met a rock climbing instructor. He took us to where we would be climbing and taught us both how to climb, and how to belay each other. Climbing was a fun personal challenge to see how far you could push yourself. I was able to make it to the top of the rock face twice. The challenge showed me that I could do anything I set my mind to, if I simply have the courage to persevere. The rest of the day we spent hiking to our campsite. We crossed a large river by either “rock hopping” or wading through the water. It was a beautiful area with rushing water and a waterfall so we stopped to take a break and enjoy the scenery. Then we hiked a little way to our campsite for the night.
The night had come that I feared the most: Solo Night. How was I supposed to spend a night by myself in the woods when I could barely fall asleep in my own bed at home? The leaders gave us their whole safety talk, which did nothing to settle my nerves. The time finally came. One by one they dropped us along a trail to begin our solo experience. Thankfully I wasn’t far from some other people in my group. I could see their headlamps shining in the distance, which was a beacon of hope for me. Once I focused on setting up my solo tarp and preparing for the night, my nerves were eased. I was so determined to set everything up, that I forgot to be scared. The night actually ended up being peaceful, even though I kept rolling out from my tarp and onto the soil and leaves around me.
Morning came in no time and we were ready to begin our third day. This day was reserved for the most hiking. Since we were the group that was farthest away from base camp, we were to have a van to drive us back. We got to the site where the van was supposed to be, but it was nowhere in sight. We had to call the camp coordinators to send us a van, which would take at least an hour and a half. We had no choice but to wait. Thus began my favorite night at Outward Bound. My entire crew sat in a circle and ate snacks and talked and gazed at the stars and simply had fun. We wrote each other silly letters and drew pictures. One of our leaders read us Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go and The Lorax. It was the best time, because we bonded so much as a group.
The last day at Outward Bound was spent cleaning our gear and hanging out with our group. We had a fun last lunch together until we finally got in the vans that were to take us to the buses. Thus ended our Outward Bound journey. Although the actual excursion ended, the lasting bonds we made did not.
by Anna – Class of 2014
From CFA alum, Eliza Schuett
UVA Class of 2017
The Words of a Grateful Alumna
I’ve been thanking my lucky stars for my CFA education almost daily and the top 5 reasons why are as follows:
2. two words: lab reports (thank you Mr. Mcallister!) AP chem kids, you will thank him later. Thank you to Ms. Tarses for teaching me what the passive voice is and how to write really really well.
3. learn to love reading textbooks and taking notes when you don’t understand what’s going on (thank you Mr. Mcfarlane and the history dept. teachers)
4. learn to love your teachers and GO TO OFFICE HOURS. Don’t be intimidated; the professors are people, too.
5. hate all that online homework that Spanish and math classes assign? Don’t like technology and weird software? Most homework in college is online and almost every professor uses a different site. (Thank you to the Spanish and math departments for making me do online homework at some point)
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