“The changes in our lives make us who we are and, yet, we have to stay true to ourselves,” said Priscilla Saw in her Chapel Talk, delivered at Amelia Academy on March 20. Priscilla has experienced change in her relationships, and she spoke about the friends and family who have remained constant in her life. 

One significant change in her life came when Priscilla transferred to Amelia Academy for her ninth grade year. “I was not very happy about leaving my old school,” she said. Despite her uncertainty about a new school environment, Priscilla persevered. Her approach to academic endeavors improved. “It has always been hard for me to engage in school and do well,” she said, “but some of my teachers here have changed this about me.”

One of those teachers is Mrs. Trudy Arbitelle. “She brightens my day with her laugh,” Priscilla said. She expressed appreciation for the advice Mrs. Arbitelle has given her through the years. “She is so hard working, and it really shows that she cares about her students,” Priscilla said.

Mr. Dennis Cooper, the Academy’s longtime Art and Shop teacher, also helped Priscilla find positive aspects of her time at school. “He has the kindest heart, and his class is always a joy,” she said. Her art teacher, AA alumnus Mrs. Rachel Graber, has also inspired and positively impacted Priscilla’s experience. “She has been so uplifting and encouraging to all of her students,” Priscilla said.

Her first friend at the Academy was Amanda Carwile who also inspired Priscilla to play sports, including volleyball and basketball. “I had never played sports before, so I am glad that Amanda influenced me to try something new. Last year, she and her classmate Macey Atkins grew closer as friends.

Her friend, McKenna Grace Hill-Poore, has been her best friend since the seventh grade. Today, they are like sisters, and Priscilla is grateful that she has “such an uplifting and positive person” in her life. “We have definitely had our ups and downs, but we have always remained friends in the end,” Priscilla said.  

Her boyfriend Donovan has been a positive influence over the past two years. “He has been so encouraging to me and has kept me motivated to make it through high school,” Priscilla said. 

Her family relationships have changed through the years, sometimes not for the better. However, Priscilla said that she has “found it possible to rekindle the love” in her family. When she was in ninth grade, her sister Hailee moved, and they rarely saw each other. She missed her sister and spending time with her every day. Eventually, they began getting together and reestablished the relationship they had before. 

During that year, Priscilla also had a baby brother. “I had never lived with a baby before . . . I loved having a baby brother,” she said. “I loved getting him ready for bed and singing him to sleep,” she added.

Her family has also included her stepsister Madison and stepbrother Evan. “She [Madison] absolutely adored me from the start,” Priscilla said. Even though Madison is six years younger, Priscilla said that they have grown closer. “Madison has often scurried into my room for late-night conversations,” she said. 

Priscilla said she is proud of her stepbrother Evan. In the same grade, they developed a closer friendship as they got older. 

The remainder of her Chapel Talk was devoted to her parents and stepmother. She expressed admiration for her Dad. “I am so proud of him for all that he has done to become the man he is today,” she said. Together, her Dad and stepmother have also made positive changes in their lives and strengthened their relationships with God.  

A big change this year came when Priscilla moved to live with her mother. “This has been a big change for me, and I really appreciate everything my Mom has done to make me feel comfortable and loved,” she said.

The people Priscilla spoke about in her Chapel Talk have played a significant role in her life. Even though the relationships and circumstances have undergone change, Priscilla remains grateful for the love and support she has received from all of them. “It [change] is okay even though it isn’t always easy,” she said. “But, no matter what, you should never give up on the people who really love you.”

Attending her Chapel Talk were Priscilla’s mother Carrie Atkins as well as Scotty and Amber Shaw, her father and stepmother. Also present were her stepsister Madison Chapman, her half-brother Noah, and her friend Donovan Lupo.