The Chapel Talk, a requirement for graduation at Amelia Academy, is a milestone in an eventful year. Before a gathering of students, faculty, and family, each senior presents a reflection focusing on significant aspects of their life. 

This year, the opening speech was delivered by Kyle Anderson on January 24. He opened with a favorite Bible verse from Proverbs 3:5-6– “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Having been a student at Amelia Academy for the past fourteen years, Kyle said he has been influenced most by the learning experiences and relationships he has formed as an AA Patriot.

Playing sports has played a significant role throughout the years. “Sports have always been a big part of [my life],” he said, “I’ve always wanted to be active. If I wasn’t shooting a three or trying to touch the net, you could catch me fielding a ground ball or running to first.”

Realizing that the years have passed all too quickly, Kyle said that he has enjoyed his academic studies, especially as he “looks back on all the fun times we had.”

The exception was COVID with the restrictions in place during his 9th and 10th grade years. “Thankfully, those days are in the past,” he said, “No six feet apart or going home for a week if someone in the class was exposed.”

Kyle expressed gratitude for all the coaches and teachers that “God put in my life who have had a positive influence on me throughout my school years.” Two of those teachers were AA Head of School Mr. Taylor and Mr. Cooper, the Academy’s Art/Shop and Yearbook teacher for four decades. “Mr. Taylor and I never have a dull moment; we can always find something good to talk about,” Kyle said. “I’ve always been able to go to Mr. Taylor if I’ve needed something or just talk about life,” he added.

Mr. Cooper has provided guidance from Kyle’s early years going to art class once a week. More recently, he has guided Kyle to building everything from toy trucks to benches and tables to props for prom. “I’ve learned many things from Mr. Cooper through casual conversation or staying after school to help with fruit orders,” Kyle said.

The friendships Kyle has formed at the Academy have created good memories. He paid a tribute to Troy and Mikayla, “the cousin I didn’t know I had,” and to Amanda, who has been with him since Pre-K. He will  never forget his friendship with Gracie, especially fishing and breakfast on a rainy afternoon at Cracker Barrel. 

“Most of all,” he said, “I’ll never forget coming back from winter break in fifth grade and meeting a boy from Thailand who couldn’t speak English.” He and Nick have been friends since then, and Kyle said, “there has never been a dull moment with us.”

In a special tribute to his family, Kyle highlighted the role each member has played in his life thus far. “My grandmothers have guided me and shown love for and support in every aspect of my life,” he said. From a young age, Kyle said he learned everything he could from his grandfathers, from learning about the sawmill to flying airplanes.

“As far as aunts, uncles, and cousins go, you could say I have the best network around, and I am very grateful to have the family I do,” Kyle said.

His parents have been his “greatest role models,” The support and encouragement of his Mom has been especially important. “There isn’t another one like her in the whole world; she is truly the best Mom I could ask for,” he said. Kyle spoke about the life lessons he has learned from his Dad. “His generous heart and work ethic have given me big shoes to fill,” he said, “and I am going to do my best to fill them.”

Kyle thanked his brother Ryan for the “memories full of laughter and fun times.” They have had conflicts as siblings but have remained close. Kyle said, “he is my best friend, and I am grateful to have him as a brother.”

Kyle encouraged his fellow students to appreciate their lives as students. “Cherish the moments you have and make the most of every day,” he said. “Stay connected to the right influences and never be too arrogant to learn something.” He said they should “know that God has a plan for your life . . . He will guide you on the right path.” Finally, he told them to remember “where you came from because your roots here are strong.”

Attending his Chapel Talk were Kyle’s parents, Angela and Kelly Anderson, along with his brother Ryan, a 2020 AA graduate. Also present were his grandmothers, Christine Anderson and Mary Anne Smith. Other family members present were his aunts, Shane Dowdy and Mary Catherine Piland.