15 Academy “Lifers” Reflect As Graduation Approaches

February 5, 2017

Riley+Rubio+and+Victoria+Baldor+represent+their+jag+shop+attire+with+tanks+saying+%22Academy+Princess.%22

Credit: Riley Rubio/ Achona Online

Riley Rubio and Victoria Baldor represent their jag shop attire with tanks saying “Academy Princess.”

Fifteen brave Academy girls do not remember a day before yellow brick walls. Since the age of five or six, Academy has been their second home. These girls remember the days before the bridge was built, before SAGE, before the green turf field, and the days when Academy was NOT a two to one school. As they move on to their third Academy graduation, these girls can proudly say they know the Academy halls better than the back of their hand. The senior class recognizes 15 girls as “Academy Lifers.”

Pre-Kindergarten:

Gianna Gonzalez

Photo Credit: Gianna Gonzalez (used with permission) Gianna Gonzalez said, “Academy is my home; I know it so well. I love being able to have teachers that have watched me grow up.”

Jenna Maceovsky

Photo Credit: Jenna Maceovsky (used with permission) Jenna Maceovsky said, “I remember when we thought we were so cool by combining tables with boys and girls even though the sides were completely split and no one intermingled.”

Sophia Mastro

Photo Credit: Sophia Mastro (used with permission) Sophia Mastro said, “A funny thing about being lifers if you have been here before a lot of staff started working. Before Ralph we had a custodian named Skipp.”

Rachel McKenna

Photo Credit: Rachel McKenna (Achona Online) Rachel McKenna said, “There is a sort of special bond that all of us who have been here since the beginning share. We may not all be best friends but we have so many memories and inside jokes with each other.”

Emily Orama

Photo Credit: Emily Orama (used with permission) Emily Orama said, “My favorite memory is me, Adwoa, Kate and probably the rest of our 8th grade friend group were eating in the library lobby and Mrs. Swiger was coming so we left a bunch of trash on the table and hid behind the wall so she walks in and starts complaining about us and when she walks to the trash can we jump out at her.”

Naomi Youakim

Photo Credit: Naomi Youakim (used with permission) Naomi Youakim said, “I was looking through old yearbooks yesterday because we had recently made a ‘lifer’ group chat talking about old jokes. It is crazy that so many people in the pictures, even from pre-k, are still here. Also that I have been going to classes here with them for my whole life. I know just about everything about them and we’ve had so many weird and funny moments together.”

Jessica Zakhary

Photo Credit: Jessica Zakhary (used with permission) Jessica  said, “Being a lifer at Academy is so special to me. After 13 years, Academy is a big part of who I am, and has shaped me into the young woman I am today. From all of the inside jokes to the cute baby pictures, I love being able to look back on all of memories Academy has given me.”

Zoe Cuva

Photo Credit: Zoe Cuva (used with permission) Zoe Cuva said, “My friend group has for the most all been here since the beginning. We have all grown up together, sharing so many memories.”

Ashley Achin

Photo Credit: Ashley Achin (used with permission) Ashley Achin said, “Academy has been a second home to me for the past 14 years. It’s where I learned to grow and expand myself to new experiences while also finding ways to overcome hardships. I will truly miss Academy once graduation happens which is something I thought I would never say. I’ll miss all of the friends I have made over the years and fun memories but I know Academy will always be my second home no matter where I am.”

Riley Rubio

Photo Credit: Riley Rubio (Achona Online) Riley Rubio said, “Looking back on my time at Academy, it has been interesting to watch the same group of people grow into the young women they have become. I am glad that I can share memories from the awkward middle school stage with these girls and look back at all of the hilarious pictures of each other.”

Victoria Baldor

Photo Credit: Victoria Baldor (Achona Online) Victoria Baldor said, “My funniest memory is when Kendall Perez, Riley Rubio, Bella Guerra, Kali Bradley, and I all dressed in Juicy sweatsuits with sperrys, and a french braid. A “cute” new boy was shadowing in seventh grade and we all were humiliated.”

Kindergarten:

Gabbie Ragano

Photo Credit: Gabbie Ragano (used with permission) Gabbie Ragano said, “It is weird that I have spent almost my entire life at Academy. My favorite memory is probably celebrating 8 Day with my eight grade class. I will keep the friendships that I have made here for the rest of my life.”

Kate Scanlan

Photo Credit: Kate Scanlan (used with permission) Kate said, “It’s going to be weird not going to AHN because a majority of my memories are all here. One of my favorite memories was either DC in 8th grade because I feel like everyone in our grade got along or when I was the lead in the fourth grade play because it’s just a funny memory to look back on and I was so shy so it was weird that I was lead.”

Julia Prince

Photo Credit: Julia Prince (Achona Online) Julia Prince said, “It is weird to think I remember Academy before the bridge being built; every P.E. class we would walk across MacDill holding each other’s hands.”

Devin Folkman

Photo Credit: Devin Folkman (Achona online) Devin Folkman said, “The length of time I have been at Academy feels unreal. I have made so many memories and friends. It is going to be weird next year not seeing the same classmates every day.”

Olivia Valdes

Photo Credit: Olivia Valdes (used with permission) Olivia Valdes said, “Something I will always remember about Academy is my class’ 8th grade DC trip. We had so much fun and it was definitely the best time of middle school.”
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