Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Class that Loved Each Other by Gracie Eddins

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So here I am. Second semester senior year, and I am about to leave all of the friends I have spent the last 13 years of my life with. We have presented our theses, registered for move-in days to our new homes in the fall, and cried at our last home basketball and soccer games. We all have a foot in two different places. As we try to balance soaking in
every last happy memory of high school and prepare to start a completely new chapter in just a couple of months. This transition is scary, sad, happy, and exciting all at the same time, but everyone that goes to college has experienced it. It is interesting because everyone has gone through it, but no one can tell you how it actually feels until you get here.

High School really does go by so incredibly quickly. So the question we are all asking is what impact have we left on our school? I hope our school will remember our unity. I hope they will look back and say that we were the grade that truly loved and supported each other. I think our class picture is a testament to this. It is simply joyful, and it’s all these small moments like this that make me truly thankful to be a part of a group of students that accept, support, and love each other. Here we go!

Newspaper 3rd quarter

 

Racial Reconciliation by John Richardson

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The Birmingham area was once plagued with racism, and the city made horrible headlines throughout the nation. The actions of the people of Birmingham were judged by millions, and things began to change. The long process of reconciliation began. This word has been used for over fifty years throughout the city. But what does it mean?

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by Restoration Academy. The forum was about how the city’s youth could come together and bridge the divide by finding the common ground of Christianity. They gave us many opportunities to sit down and talk with people from a different “bubble.” I had lunch with a couple of guys from Restoration Academy and learned about what their average day looked like. We joked around for a bit about food, jobs, and others such things; then the conversation changed. I started to ask them their opinions on many of the political issues that face America today. It was amazing to learn a whole new perspective on some of the issues I thought were one-sided. Even when we disagreed, the whole table gained understanding of each other and was able to find common ground.

We concluded that the way to reconcile and bridge the political divide was very simple at its core. One must only talk to and learn about a person to figure out why they hold the ideas they do. It is upon learning about someone that people can then find the similarities and work from there. If this simple tactic was applied to many of the issues that plague our country, then I have confidence that America would benefit as a whole. I was able to make some new friends and understand them better by just spending forty minutes talking to them.

 

Hopeless and Close to Home by Rachel Faulk

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Every time I travel downtown, I am sure to encounter at least one disheveled person standing on the side of the road, holding up a cardboard sign asking for help.

“No money. Have a family.”

“No home. Need food.”

Shabbily-dressed figures trod sidewalks, huddle in cardboard shelters under overpasses, and clutch signs on street corners. Many people do not even give them a second glance.

There are well over 1,500 homeless people in the city of Birmingham—men, women, and children, white and black, young and old alike. Although some attribute this problem to a lack of affordable housing in the city, most of these are on the streets because they could not keep a job, whether due to mental illness or addiction, and ended up with no means to provide for themselves.

Thankfully, this problem has not gone wholly ignored. Numerous shelters and ministries have risen up across Birmingham to aid the destitute. Examples include the Foundry, the Jimmie Hale Mission, the Lovelady Center, Brother Bryan Mission, and Urban Purpose. Yet despite so many opportunities for restoration, there are still over a thousand homeless in Birmingham.

Nevertheless, we can all contribute to eliminating the problem of homelessness by donating money or time to these ministries. Some may prefer to help by giving financially to these ministries, most of whom are non-profit and run on donations. For others, there are volunteer opportunities that allow volunteers to come face to face with these people and hear their stories. We can even help simply by talking about the issue and not pretending that the people we see on the side of the road are invisible. If the community is willing to step up and give of our time and resources, then in time the problem of homelessness can be abated.

Why History? by Eden Morris

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It is common for students to dread history class. A lot of students view history class as a place where they are forced to learn and stare at the pictures of people who are only a pile of bones under the ground.

I do not fit this stereotype. I love and have a fascination with history of all cultures and time periods. Setting opinions aside, why do students have to learn history? The general answer would be to learn from the mistakes of the past, but it is much deeper than that. History gives us a lens for understanding people around us and what makes them unique. When one opens a history book, one has opened a door for a world of perception to be used not only for head knowledge, but for applications to use in present day life.

Knowing what others believe, I can open up an entire new perspective for myself on the events happening in the present world. For example, I am currently studying American History. This year I learned about the extreme racial tensions in America that led to the start of the Civil War. I am also studying Southern authors in American Literature who reveal the same tense conflict by writing about the murder of an African American man whose goal was to persuade America to allow African Americans to vote. The author exposes the murderer’s heart issue and why someone would hate another race so much. By using this information learned in class, I can analyze the racial tensions still going on to this day and identify the root of the issue. I can also take it to a positive light and see how far America has come with racial tensions and how it is slowly fading away. Having awareness for what is going on in the world will benefit you in understanding others and where they come from. 

College Tour: What to Expect by Ann Marie Godfrey

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One exciting aspect of junior year at Westminster is the college tour. The purpose of this trip is to show you what kinds of schools are out there from big universities to small liberal arts colleges. This helps you get a feel of what options are available to you and what kind of schools that you like best. This trip along with taking the ACT several times were essential to my junior year. Once you have a feel for the type of college that you might want to attend, the process of research and tours begin. Even if you really like a school that you see on the college tour, it is important to tour that school again or maybe attend a preview day to make sure you still like it. For juniors and rising seniors, days off from school like spring break and even summer can be good times to tour schools that they are interested in. According to ACT, Inc., there are nine things you should do when visiting a college: 1) take a campus tour, 2) explore the surrounding area, 3) meet with a department advisor, 4) chat with an enrolled student, 5) sit in on a class, 6) eat in the dining hall, 7) attend a play or sporting event, 8) talk with a financial advisor, and 9) spend the night in a dorm. While you may not be able to do all of this in just one visit, it might be beneficial to spend the night on campus and explore the surrounding area as you become more serious about attending a college. The college search can be scary and overwhelming. I have only just begun this process myself, but knowing what I want from a college and the steps I should take to make sure a college is right for me have been a vital part in making the process a little easier.

Rambling Thoughts from a Grateful Senior by Will Green

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As I approach the end of my senior year, it is honestly just hard to believe that it is already here. This has always been a time of life the I have only imagined and dreamed of. Literally, since seventh grade I was so scared of senior thesis and having to speak in front of the whole school. I was convinced I would never have to do it. “Maybe that will pass by me, and I will not have to do that.” However, that was not the case. Just a few weeks ago I gave my senior thesis speech to the Upper School, and it was terrifying.

It is behind me now, and it is just one more reason why my time at Westminster has been such a crucial part of making me who I am. Westminster has shaped me and molded me to think, write, create, and relate to others and the world through the lens of Jesus Christ. Westminster has challenged me to use my mind and talents in ways that I never thought I could do.

Westminster opened up the door for friendships by older students like Jack Stein. As a result of the lasting, meaningful relationship I have with Jack, I knew that I wanted to pour into the lives of those younger than me. Westminster has called me to seek meaning in what I do both inside and outside the school walls. I have learned to use and manage my time wisely. Yet in those moments when my time escaped me, I was reminded and even sought out by teachers and staff who knew me well enough to see I was struggling. Westminster truly does care for the individuals that are in its halls, and that to me is the most unique part of our school.

Teachers, faculty, and staff all care for me and want me to succeed. My prayer is that leaders among the students will continue to rise and challenge those in their grade and friend groups to be more like Christ and, ultimately, to shape Westminster to be a light to Birmingham. So to all who have poured countless hours, days, and years into me and my education, I would like to say thank you.

And in the words of the current senior class, “Knights forever!”

An Angel Choir (Nate Collins)

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The grim atmosphere of this night displays a façade of unending boredom and bleakness. An occasional breeze rustles the ragged, jagged boughs of surrounding trees and forces begrudging, weathered leaves into a dizzying flight through the nocturnal void. Instantly, a shimmer of sonic bliss pierces the night and casts the accompanying gloom into oblivion’s endless depths. Soon, these ethereal utterances expand into a cascade of melodic harmonies, emanating from within a warm, cozy house.

Here, in the battlefield of his room, a young man sits entrenched. On a throne of seemingly endless chaos consisting of dirty clothes, shoes, school books, and many other miscellaneous oddities, he wages an intense battle. Deep within the recesses of his mind, he has receded into a realm of vivid vibrations and splendid sounds. Thus, armed with his weapon of choice, he unleashes a war-cry against the oppressive demons of the night. His dexterous fingers, engaged in a well-practiced dance, support this rally. And so, this tango proceeds atop a worn dancefloor of wood and metal, strings and frets.

It extends to his other hand, which whirs back and forth between the sparkling strings. At times he strums boisterous chords; other times he elicits soothing arpeggios and crooning licks from the careworn instrument. Regardless of the tune, and even regardless of whether his beloved guitar or his unceremonious voice dominates the room, the young man unleashes his troubles into the night to be heard by no one. And yet, as he transitions songs, he sometimes swears that the unobtrusive noises of the night are actually the whisperings of an angelic choir.

A Little Pink Ain’t Never Hurt Nobody (Pierce Moffett)

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That fateful November I stood with six other guys staring at a smoking pile of dirt in our youth leader’s yard. Buried in the dirt, lay our Thanksgiving turkey. Our leader had managed to convince us somehow that burying a turkey on top of coals in the ground was a good idea.

As one of the guys took a shovel to dig out the turkey, he noted that the ground above it was cold. Even though the ground (not to mention the turkey) was supposed to be warmed by the coals buried beneath, it was frigid. Despite this painfully ironic omen, we trudged on with the process. We managed to lift the turkey out of the ground without breaking the aluminum foil seal that we had created around the turkey. Sadly, this was perhaps the only thing that we would do correctly.

We noticed as were walking back to the house that the turkey continued to leak juices, which were supposed to have cooked off. Again, we just trudged on. We placed the turkey on the table with the highest hopes of success. After all, the turkey was only about twenty pounds, and the fire was probably hot enough before it was dumped in the hole. Surely, seven hours is long enough for a turkey of that size to cook? Well, with images of beautiful roasted turkey in our brains, we undid the covering around the bird.

Most people say that a turkey should be about 160 degrees Fahrenheit before it is safe to eat; our turkey was 120 degrees. Not wanting to be let down, we cut the turkey to look for ourselves and see if it was safe to eat. After all, most of those home meat thermometers are always off by about a few degrees, right? The color of the turkey was mostly white. “A little pink ain’t hurt nobody” is what we kept telling ourselves as we put the turkey on our plates. That was one of the biggest mistakes any of us had ever made. That night we learned the hard way that, yes, “a little pink can hurt somebody.”

Remembering Winter (Daniel Collins)

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I could not see. Every step more snowflakes landed in my eye. Snow crunched underneath my shoes as my brother, my cousin, my uncle, and I tore up the snow-covered trails that morning. Before us was a vast winter land of white. We ran and ran, plowing through untouched powder, flinging snowballs at each other as we ran. We knocked the overburdened branches with snow to send snow cascading onto the runner behind us. It was a joyous day. The higher up on the mountain, the deeper the snow. Instead of dealing with the usual jagged rocks, we were landing on blankets of powder. It would not have been surprising to turn a corner and discover the lamp post from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Our hands may have frozen, but our spirits were soaring. We ran and ran, across the snow-covered hills. Snow hung in the bare trees. It covered bridges, logs, and rocks. It poked us in the eyes and piled into our shoes. We ran like giddy kids that day in a winter wonderland.

Better Than Life (Gracie Eddins)

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Several months back a man from my church passed away. He was thirty-three years old. He had a beautiful wife, a four-year-old daughter, and a two-year-old son. For seven years, he constantly fought a rare, incurable form of sarcoma known as DSRCT, which eventually spread throughout his entire body. He would often update us on Sunday mornings on how various treatments were going, and he became our church’s most frequent and longed-for prayer request. It is not often that someone knows that they only have a few more weeks on this earth with their kids and their wife, but this was the situation that he found himself in. I am not going to pretend that I knew him or his family well; in fact I am not sure that I ever did more than introduce myself. However, from a distance, like so many others, I saw the process of his body weakening.

At the funeral I was proud to be a part of our small, yet well represented church family. We all sat together in about six rows, and our pastor performed the funeral. I felt a unity in our church body that I had not experienced before. His brothers shared many funny memories and stories that showed the strong character and uncommon faith of this man. Then they showed a video that was made before he passed.

He started the video by saying, “The Lord has been so good to us on this journey.” Even this statement gives a window into his faith that was unwavering even when he knew what was ahead of him. He discussed the joy that his children and wife were to him and also his fear that his young kids might not remember him. He relayed a story of him rocking his daughter right after she was first born and processing that he might not be around for her to know that he loves her. He would say over and over, “I always want you to know and I never want you to forget how much I love you.”

He claimed that never had he heard God so clearly speak to him as he did in this situation. He heard God say, “I always want you to know and I never want to forget how much I love you” back to him. He experienced God in such a clear way. God had not promised him healing or put that on his heart, but God had always promised that he loves him. He said, “In a way, healing is not what I want most; knowing that my father loves me is what I want most.” The psalmist says, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” (63:3). This man was able to say that he knew this to be true. He knew that to die and experience all of Christ and all of His love would be better than to stay on this earth and live out his life with his young family.

I don’t think I have ever been so encouraged in my faith than by his story and by observing God fulfill his plan through his life. I cannot even comprehend this amount of faith at this point in my walk with Christ, but I know that these are the situations and stories where passages like “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” become more than just words. This is where there can be no more passive, cultural Christianity. This is where you have to decide: Do I truly believe this to be true–that nothing this world has to offer can be better than experiencing the fullness of the Lord?

Even the best things of this man’s world–walking his daughter down the aisle, growing old with his wife, seeing his son mature in his own walk with Christ–none of it would be as good as eternal life with Christ. He believed this to be ultimate truth; he lived it out; and now he is in heaven experiencing the full glory of his savior with no more sickness, pain, or sorrow.

I hate typing that in one simple sentence, it’s so much more of a big deal that I think we like to admit. I think truly processing eternity with Christ is unnerving, confusing, and convicting. One day, if we have surrendered our life over to Christ, we will be in heaven experiencing the fullness of Christ. This is completely overwhelming and exciting, and frankly, I am not entirely sure of the best way to process this fact. Reflecting on the funeral, this hit me in an incredibly real way that I had never experienced before.