After the First Year – Interviews with First Year Alumni

Our  Vikings venture out across the nation and internationally when they head off to college, but they are ALWAYS part of the Viking Nation. We wanted to check in with a few members of the class of 2017 after their first year away.

Jackson Spivey

College: Elon University

Major: Psychology & Cinema double major

How do you feel FPD prepared you academically for college? Academically, FPD helped me figure out what I am good at. I took a lot of demanding classes in high school, all of which helped me narrow down both what I am good at and what I enjoy. In those areas, I have excelled beyond those around me here at Elon. 

Are there skills or abilities that you now use that you gained during high school? I feel like FPD taught me how to handle stress. I did so many things in high school, but never once did I feel overwhelmed because the faculty was always so supportive, and I was never given more than I could handle. College is filled with so many new challenges and experiences that can be extremely stress inducing, but because of the stress management skills I learned at FPD, I feel like I am equipped to handle anything.

How do you feel FPD helped you build a strong foundation of faith? I feel like FPD made me spiritually mature for my age. I didn’t realize it while I was there, but I know a lot about not only Christianity but also other religions. I know more about the Bible than most of the people I have met. This allows me to have very intelligent conversations about my faith, and to be able to come to conclusions on my own.

What would you say to someone who was considering going to FPD? I would tell someone who is considering going to FPD to do it because it will be the greatest experience of your life. If you let it, FPD will prepare you spiritually, academically, and emotionally for college. On top of that, you will make lifelong friends that will remain with you wherever you go. 

Emily Rutledge

College: Auburn University

Major: Elementary Education

How do you feel FPD prepared you academically for college? The work in many of my AP and honors classes is very similar to work I am doing now and the way the teachers walked me through how to succeed in harder classes taught me more than they could ever know.

How do you feel FPD helped you build a strong foundation of faith? Teachers prepared me for things that I would hear in college that wouldn’t necessarily line up with the Bible, and I know that had I not heard those things before coming to a large public school, my faith wouldn’t be as solid. Also, FPD provided me with so many leadership opportunities and times to stand on my faith and make it my own so that I was not thrown out here without knowing what I believe and why I believe it.

Looking back, what are your thoughts on your years at FPD? FPD is simply the best. From the administration down, the school is run in a way that truly wants every student to succeed, but more than that, for everyone who walks through the doors to know who they are in Christ. I had teachers who challenged me in my walk with the Lord and really wanted to know me as a person, not just as a student.

Are there skills or abilities that you now use that you gained during high school? Absolutely! Taking reading notes for Coach A’s reading quizzes in AP Euro taught me how to read a textbook and pull the important information out, which is a skill I need pretty much every day. Also, I learned the importance of time management in high school because of the academic rigor of FPD and have not had as hard of a time trying to balance all that is on my plate.

What would you say to someone who was considering going to FPD? Growing up at FPD was invaluable to me. To someone who is considering going, ask me about my elementary teachers who are even now investing in me as I am learning how to teach in my own classroom. Ask me about my years in middle school where I gained confidence in who I was and was taught that I am capable of anything I set my mind to. Ask me about my coaches who pushed me farther than I ever dreamed I could go. Ask me about my best friends who encourage me every day to walk in a manner worthy of the calling I have received (Ephesians 4.1). Ask me about my high school years where I was challenged more than I would have liked, but learned more through that than I possibly could have learned any other way. It’s safe to say if I had to do it all over again I’d choose the same thing every single time.

Dane Wiggins

College: Georgia College

Major: Business

How do you feel FPD prepared you academically for college? FPD prepared me academically for college in a way that has made my freshman year much easier. While most other students are learning new material, I am typically just reviewing notes I had from FPD.

How do you feel FPD helped you build a strong foundation of faith? FPD definitely helps you think for yourself when it comes to your faith. FPD gave me a strong backbone for my Christian faith and helped make it easier for me to want to join Christian clubs around campus. One of my first priorities when I came to the GCSU campus was to find a Christian group to plug myself into.

Are there skills or abilities that you now use that you gained during high school? The ability to study is something that FPD taught me. The rigorous courses at FPD forced me to create my own study habits. It was just natural habit for me to go to the library to study after class because I was used to having to go home to study for classes when I was at FPD.

Looking back, what are your thoughts on your years at FPD? The best thing I can say about FPD is how much I appreciate having come from such an incredible place. In college I am able to learn about other friends’ schools and their relationships with their classmates and teachers. When I told people how close I was to my teachers and friends at FPD, they looked at me like I was crazy. I didn’t realize how different the experience at FPD was. My teachers were thought of as much closer to me than all my friends could say about their teachers.

What would you say to someone who was considering going to FPD? Going to FPD would be the best decision you could make for yourself, plain and simple.

Jack Yang

Jack is an FPD international student alumnus.

College: Texas Christian University

Major: Business & History

Looking back, what are your thoughts on your years at FPD? FPD gave me a special experience. FPD is very different from the high schools in China. I really like that everyone is so friendly to each other, teachers and students.

Advice for international students considering FPD? FPD has the resources to help you go to a great American university, but it is really up to you. Learn to manage your free time; do not just simply waste all your time on leisure activities. Walk out from your comfort zone, and make more American friends. Try to learn American culture, and then you will realize that you are so lucky to have the opportunity to study abroad.