Ever since I could understand the English language, I have always been encouraged to learn and put time into academics. On that same note, my family had provided to me an interest in the University of Kentucky from a young age. Coming from Kentucky where it is common knowledge that basketball is our lifeblood, it is almost a state-wide competition between the two large universities that reside there. In addition to closely following the sport teams, there is a certain feeling of accomplishment when you are able to affiliate with the schools they hail from. Public schools have UK days where, several times throughout the year, the students and teachers dress up to show their Kentucky pride. I have many elementary school memories of showing off in my cheerleader outfit, which was, without a doubt, my favorite thing to wear.

Despite the encouragement from my family, I have never once felt pressured nor have I felt trapped in the idea of attending UK. When I was little, it was all I would ever talk about. In second grade, I made plans for it and counted down the years until I would finally be able to attend college. This is something that, even without familial persuasion, I have always considered a large part of me.

When looking at colleges, I initially did not apply to this school with the intention of attending. I was looking into many other schools, some of which I had my heart set on. That said, the more I researched the campus, the more I fell in love with what I consider to be my destiny. My entire life has always surrounded the idea of going to college and furthering my academic perspective as much as possible. When I received my acceptance letter, I am not ashamed to say that I screamed with joy.

I have Center Academy to thank. When I was homeschooled, I felt unmotivated and incredibly depressed. I didn’t see a well-lit path ahead of me. I am ecstatic and proud to represent this school as a student who is going to attend a school in the top 31% of prestigious universities in the nation.

Thank you, Mr. Kaser and all my teachers for helping me get here. I will always hold this place and the people close to my heart. Don’t be so sure you’re getting rid of me, though. I plan to come visit as often as possible and stay in touch through emails. This is my home as much as Kentucky is, and I’ll never be able to abandon it.

Bethany Stapp, Senior at Center Academy – Palm Harbor