Alumni Spotlight
Emily DeMoss ('12) Pursues Passion for Students with Special Needs
Categories: General, Alumni
Posted: 10/3/2017

Emily DeMoss ('12) graduated from the University of Georgia during the summer of 2017 with a degree in human development. While at UGA, Emily was involved in Extra Special People, a nonprofit organization with a passion for enhancing the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

“My little buddy shaped my heart and life for the better!” she said.

She is thrilled that UGA is starting a new program called Destination Dawgs, which will give students with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to experience college on their level of comprehension and ability.

“Athens is a very cool special needs community,” Emily said.

Emily is now enrolled in a master’s program at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She plans to continue her work in human development, focusing her master’s work on a degree in student life and would love to one day work on a college campus, helping students to maneuver the college experience.

Emily remembers her time at Whitefield fondly and says she loved the Christian education she received. She participated in cheerleading, the arts, peer leadership, and tutoring and was also regarded as a gifted writer by her English teachers. She is looking forward to returning to work at a school with a Christian emphasis.

Anna Panu ('11) Brings Love to Life Through Wedding Planning
Categories: General, Alumni
Posted: 9/13/2017

Anna Panu ('11) is putting her communication and event-planning strengths to work as a wedding planner at Chancey Charm Wedding Planning and Design.

Anna has executed events at many of the top venues in and around Atlanta. Her detail-oriented nature has given her a particularly sharp eye for design. With a degree in public relations and advertising from Anderson University, Anna has perfected the ability to juggle communication between clients and the many vendors it takes to bring a wedding day to life.

Anna is very passionate about serving other people with love and works hard to build meaningful relationships wherever she goes. When she’s not planning, Anna enjoys spending time with her parents and two older brothers, traveling, crafting, and playing the piano.

Voted “Most Friendly” by her senior class and being an event planner, she is committed to organizing a class reunion for her class of 2011. She will join the Whitefield Alumni Board in 2017.

Samara Huggins ('17) Featured in NYT and Book Festival
Categories: General, Alumni
Posted: 8/28/2017

Whitefield alumna Samara Huggins, winner of the 2017 National Poetry Out Loud Competition, was highlighted on August 26 in a New York Times article about the importance of memorization.

Samara will also be a featured guest at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. September 1-3, where she and the second- and third-place Poetry Out Loud winners will collaborate in a talk about poetry, hosted by one of the judges of the national Poetry Out Loud finals, Adrian Matejka.

Jaylie Welch ('11) Makes Wishes Come True
Categories: General, Alumni
Posted: 8/23/2017

Jaylie Welch loves making wishes come true, and she does this very thing through her job at Make-A-Wish Foundation Georgia. Founded in 1995 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Make-A-Wish Georgia works diligently every day to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions across the state. 

Jaylie graduated from Whitefield in 2011 and headed off to the University of Georgia. She secured a job as an intern for Make-A-Wish Georgia when she was in college, and, upon graduation in 2015, a position was created for her. This year, she is most excited about heading up a new endeavor called the Trailblaze Challenge, which will take place in the fall of 2018 in the north Georgia mountains. This high-endurance hike will provide participants an opportunity for adventure, fun, and fitness while raising money for Make-A-Wish Georgia. She hopes to have at least 70 hikers take the challenge in the inaugural Georgia trek.

Jaylie and Whitefield classmate Anna Panu currently enjoy sharing the rental of a house in Smyrna.

She said, “Anna and I are both introverts, and we know when we need our space – and respect that. We love the history we have together.”

Lea (Babcock) Wallace ('10) Fights for Educational Equity through Teach for America
Categories: General, Alumni
Posted: 7/17/2017

Lea (Babcock) Wallace (’10) finds fulfilment in the day-to-day business of education as a recruitment associate for Teach for America in the Athens/Atlanta region.

Upon graduation from the University of Georgia in 2014, Lea made the decision to take on a teaching placement at Glencliff High School in Nashville through Teach for America. Not certain if it was the right decision, she reached out to former teachers at Whitefield. Coach Johnson, Mr. Hellier, and Ms. Bonnem all encouraged her to “go for it.” Their support was one of the underlying motivations that gave her confidence to head into the unknown.

Teach for America enlists the country’s most promising future leaders in the movement to eliminate educational inequity. Working alongside team members, Lea develops and executes strategies to build movements for educational equity on college campuses and in communities across the country, recruiting a diverse group of members across a portfolio of colleges and universities and professional sectors.

Glencliff, where Lea taught, is one of the most diverse high schools in Nashville, where their motto is “Our diversity is our strength.” Lea had 230 students, most of which were 12th-grade boys. In the student population at Glencliff, Lea experienced 142 nationalities and 26 different languages. Most of her students came to her with a third-grade reading level. She had her work cut out for her.

"While at Glencliff, I got to be a part of the team that brought Young Lives (for teen moms) to the community," said Lea. "I assisted in several of my students’ deliveries and mentored 40+ of my teen moms at Glencliff on how to care for their babies. I am SO PROUD of my students and their willingness to care for their children, finish high school, and go on to college."

When asked how she managed with such a diverse group, her answer was, “I truly couldn’t have survived teaching without the incredible love and support of my students and the community. They welcomed me in like family and made me one of their own. I was in no way a 'savior' to my kids or the South Nashville community. My students are the backbone of their families, and they are ushering in so much opportunity through their willingness to work hard in school, hold 40+ hour/week jobs, and take care of their own siblings and sometimes children. It was with their help, I succeeded.”

While in Nashville, Lea received her master’s degree from Lipscomb University in secondary education and instruction. She also met her husband, Jarryd Wallace, who is a Team USA paralympic sprinter.

Lea has made a difference in the lives of her students, helping to secure some 25 scholarships at David Lipscomb College and other local colleges. While she has been instrumental in helping them to maneuver the pathway to college, she also enjoys maintaining contact with her former students.

“I always appreciate the opportunity to talk about the students and the work that I love!”

Lynlee (Howell) Bradley ('05) Takes the Cake as a Chef
Categories: General, Alumni
Posted: 6/26/2017

Lynlee (Howell) Bradley (’05) is the present owner and chef instructor of Young Chefs Academy in Atlanta and owner of Lynlee Cakes, a specialty cake business. She attended Birmingham Southern College and is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

Just what is Young Chef’s Academy? Founded in 2003, Young Chefs Academy is one part culinary adventure, one part culinary education, and it’s all for children. They learn invaluable life lessons through a cooking curriculum that evokes curiosity, which provides them with a pathway to personal discovery and creativity, all in a warm, welcoming, and inspiring movement.

Lynlee participated in Whitefield Academy’s 2017 Upper School Arts Day, where she helped to broaden the variety of art and techniques brought to the school for the day of art experience. After the event, Lynlee shared her thoughts on returning to Whitefield.

First of all, Lynlee was amazed at the new Upper School! She and her cake decorating class met in the main student lounge, positioned at the end of the hallway overlooking the Whitefield pond. Floor-to-ceiling windows and high boy tables and stools created a very “with-it” environment, according to her.

She was a bit surprised at the interest in baking – or maybe the students were just hungry for cupcakes! They were engaged and interested in the process of baking, asking great questions as they practiced their frosting techniques.

“I looked at these students and I thought, ‘Wow, this is where I was once. They seem so young and have so much more in life to experience,’" said Lynlee. "But after spending the day with them, I became impressed that several of them had already picked out a college and had huge plans for their lives.”

Lynlee has a great passion for teaching in the culinary field. She says her joy of teaching grows every day because she is teaching children what she loves. She equates that to the teachers at Whitefield. By getting to do what they love, they have more of an impact on their students.

“I look forward to bringing my son, Dallas, to Whitefield one day and showing him around," she said. "Seeing all the growth at Whitefield makes me very happy!”

Olivia Powell ('10) Pursues Her Gifting in the Medical Field
Categories: General, Alumni
Posted: 6/19/2017

Olivia Powell is learning to be on her own as a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit. Hired in February 2017 by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for the night shift, she is training for her job by working alternate day and night shifts.

“It’s a good way to learn how to be independent," said Olivia. "Working the day shift gives me more interaction with colleagues as well as visiting parents of infants. I can practice my newly-learned nursing skills with the support of experienced staff who are close by to support me as I become more skilled in my job.”

Olivia graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in public health. She continued her education at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta and has her master’s degree in clinical nurse leadership.

While at UGA, Olivia was uncertain about her career path and said she really prayed about the direction in which God would have her go. God eventually revealed to her, “Olivia, it’s ok. I have a plan for you.” She thought maybe she was to work in the emergency room, but then her high grades rewarded her a 400-hour practicum in the pediatric ICU. That experience showed her that pediatrics was where God wanted her to be.

Voted by her senior class at Whitefield as “most likely to host her own talk show,” Olivia says now she has the opportunity to engage deeply in conversation with parents and doctors. She is learning to be comfortable talking to strangers about life-threatening medical issues. Compassion, tone of voice, and genuine love for her patients have given her tough conversation assignments. She is learning to practice “dashboard therapy” when she leaves her shift, often shedding a tear or two in her car.

Olivia traveled to Peru in October 2016 with a medical mission team focused on women’s health. She had to brush up on her Spanish in order to be a team leader and looks forward to returning one day, possibly for a longer period of time.

When asked how Whitefield prepared her for college and her career, she said she learned how to study, how to listen, take notes, and ask questions—all of which have helped her excel in the medical profession. She is grateful for the morals and values instilled during her tenure at Whitefield, which has helped her to stay the course throughout college.

“Doc Liv,” as her friends called her at Whitefield, is getting to live out her gift of communication, offering compassionate support and guidance through her skills gained in the medical profession. Who knows, maybe one day she will have her own talk show.

Fuller ('17) Drafted by Los Angeles Angels
Categories: General, Athletics, Alumni
Posted: 6/14/2017

Congratulations to Sam Fuller ('17) for being drafted in the MLB's 14th round by the Los Angeles Angels! He is only the second player to ever be drafted directly after graduating Whitefield and the highest player ever selected from Whitefield.

A right-handed pitcher, Sam has played baseball since he was five, beginning with Smyrna Little League and progressing onward through East Cobb Baseball, 6-4-3 travel team baseball, The Arsenal, a travel team based out of New Jersey, Whitefield’s middle school team, and, finally, the varsity team throughout high school. He had originally committed to play baseball for the NCAA Division I West Virginia Mountaineers but will now begin training at the Angels’ practice facility in Arizona this summer and will enroll in college classes during the off season. 

Whitefield Athletic Director Danny Ryan said, “Sam Fuller is a tremendous baseball player, extremely hard worker, and has overcome a lot to get to this point. It is apparent that the Angels saw that same thing in Sam. They are getting not only a great baseball player, but an outstanding young man who loves the game and is passionate about the sport. I am excited to see the tremendous ways God will use Sam in the Angels’ organization.”