The Great Transition

26 September 2014
The Great Transition

Paper airplanes soaring. Spitballs flying. Sleepyheads snoring. Those are just a few of the many things you may see in the average public high school classroom. Imagine sitting in a hot, close quartered classroom with over 35 students, including yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of those rare students that actually cares about your grade in the class because you’re consumed by the majority who don’t. You don’t understand the lesson? You should probably raise your hand ask a question, but then again how could the teacher possibly hear or even notice you? She’s too busy looking for the kid who asked to go to the bathroom thirty minutes ago and has yet to return. If you’re thinking about getting anything useful out of today’s class, you might as well forget about it. Looks like you’re spending another long night trying to teach yourself the material for tomorrow’s test.

A class with less than 30 people? Come on, this isn’t a joke–we’re talking about my education here! Imagine my surprise walking into class on the first day of school and being able to actually hear what the teacher had to say, crazy right? Well get ready to have your mind blown again because there’s more. There are after school tutoring sessions, study halls, and even two shortened days a week just so athletes won’t fall behind on their work. That’s what I call the good life, or better yet, Cape Fear Academy life. Being a student at a private school is so much different than public school. There are more opportunities and greater chances for you to succeed.

Of course, with that kind of change comes a rough transition period. I was forced to step outside of my comfort zone to adapt to the new academic challenges that I had to face. No longer would I have the luxury of just glancing at a problem and instantly being able to solve it; I learned that on my first Math Analysis test. Receiving that test grade back was probably one of the biggest blows my ego had ever taken. After grading my test, my teacher reported back to me and said: “I’m afraid you may not be ready to be in this course, I suggest you try a lower level of math. However, I will allow you to retake the assessment.” As soon as those words left her mouth I decided that I wasn’t going to give up on the class; I couldn’t. From that moment forward I spent every second of my free time with a tutor. I constantly tried to find ways to challenge myself academically and push myself to reach a level of learning I never knew existed. I went over problems until my head hurt and I memorized formulas until it felt like my brain was going to explode. Walking in to retake that test, I wasn’t sure that I would know one hundred percent of the answers– but I knew I would do whatever it took to figure them out.

Attending a private school isn’t all glitz and glamour. I was always one of those kids who never had to struggle academically. I’ve never had to really push myself to comprehend the day’s lesson or work extra hard to finish the homework. Never in a million years would I have ever thought that I’d have to attend tutoring lessons, ask questions in class, or even take school seriously. Cape Fear Academy has forever changed that for me. It’s taught me so much more than how to rationalize a denominator or how to create a proper analytic response. It has taught me the true meaning of hard work and dedication. It has taught me how to be a better and more efficient me.
By Tayah ’15


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Community Service – A Rewarding Part of Life in Upper School

Upper School offers many opportunities to get involved in activities that benefit the greater community. Since the Cape Fear Academy community is privileged to live in a beach town, we have the ability to do beach sweeps. These beach sweeps are a great opportunity to be on the beach with your friends while serving your community to keep the beach clean.

Another great opportunity is Clothed in Love, which is an organization, created by one of CFA’s own students, Carryl Tinsley. This organization is a place where teenage girls who cannot afford stylish clothes can come and get them for free. All of these clothes are lightly used and donated. It is a very rewarding process to know other girls will pick out some of your old clothing and be happy. It makes you appreciate what you have. It’s also a fun opportunity for you and your friends to work at together and help the girls shop.

Wilmington hosts charity walks and races throughout the year which are great options for community service. Races like, Walk to Cure Diabetes, Relay for Life, and Stop Hunger Now are all beneficial to others and are a great way to feel like you’ve had a helping hand in benefitting the community. At Relay for Life there are usually cancer patients there who have survived cancer; seeing them is very inspirational and uplifting. Community service is a great way to meet new people, spend time with your friends, and help out your community.

by Sarah ’15

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College Counseling That Makes a Difference

The daunting idea of college applications looms over me as I work through my second semester of senior year. Except it’s not so daunting. With the help from our college counselor, Mrs. Copenhaver, I have completed and submitted all of my applications. Since freshman year, she has helped me keep on track with my classes and my “four-year plan” and kept me active in the college search. Since the beginning of high school, she has made us look ahead to the application process by teaching all students how to use Naviance and the Common Application. Every time I panic about college, I simply have to sit in her office and listen to her soothing reassurance that everything will turn out in my favor.

I have heard horror stories from my friends at other schools complaining that their college counselors failed to send their transcripts or forgot to write their recommendations. At Cape Fear Academy, this is never the case. Mrs. Copenhaver will do anything to help her students attend the college of their dreams. She makes the dreaded application process seem like a piece of cake. I have recently been accepted to Sewanee and await admissions decisions from New York University, Boston College, Boston University, and UNC-Chapel Hill. I am excited to embark on my college endeavors and to see what the future has to bring me.
by Anna ‘14

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Reflections on my CFA experience

As I approach my final months attending Cape Fear Academy, I reflect back to my earlier years. I attended a public elementary school that I loved and honestly had a hard time leaving. Initially, I was afraid of going to CFA because I did not know anyone and I wanted to move on to a public middle school along with my friends. But now looking back, going to Cape Fear Academy was probably one of the best decisions my family and I made. Truthfully, my life would be very different if I had not come to Cape Fear Academy. At Cape Fear, there is a sense of community and security that I’ve come to value. I will miss my relationships with the teachers and staff at CFA because of all their time they’ve invested in me. I’m truly blessed to have teachers who care and who have wanted what’s best for me over the years. CFA has taught me many skills and experiences that I will carry with me through college and adulthood and I am so grateful.    

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The Upper School is full of interesting clubs, classes, and learning experiences!   Some of the popular clubs that students join are the Fear Club, Youth and Government (YAG), and Diversity Club.     

The Fear Club cheers on fellow students at sporting events.


YAG is a club that prepares for a 4-day conference in February in Raleigh where students experience state government firsthand at a mock legislature event.  They create and present legislation for consideration by the student “General Assembly.”   It is great way for students meet other students from around the state, step out of their comfort zone, and bond with classmates in a different environment.

Diversity Club members promote their interest in working together in spite of our differences and participate in the community, like last week’s  MLK Parade.

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Holidays, Gratitude, and Freedom

From Head of School – Don Berger

Published 11/8/13

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.

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Reflections on Senior Trip to Outward Bound

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

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