ACA Alumni Spotlight: Will Creech ‘22

Will Creech, graduate of ACA’s class of 2022, is now pursuing his studies in business at Auburn University. At ACA, he participated in various activities such as Varsity Cross Country, Choir, Key Club, Hiking Club, International Club, and Film Appreciation Club. At Auburn, he is actively involved in his fraternity, Sigma Pi, and serves on various committees. Looking back, Will notes several ACA experiences that have impacted his growth academically and as a person.

Will credits his senior thesis advisor, Mr. Stone, as the person who impacted him most significantly during his time at ACA. After reading The Death of Ivan Ilyich, they discussed the significance of treating your family and friends well and how every action should serve those around you rather than yourself. Will also shared that the rigorous curriculum at ACA helped him in college. As a student with a classical education, he says he feels confident in thinking critically in his history, literature, and philosophy classes. He appreciates his ACA teachers’ strong emphasis on discussions and reading challenging texts. 

At one point, Will considered leaving ACA. During 10th grade, he was accepted into a private school and intended to leave ACA. However, both Mr. Nugent and Mr. Andrew gave him a call to discuss his decision, not to convince him to stay but rather to emphasize his special place and role at ACA. Through this process, Will realized how unique and special ACA was and decided to stay. 

“I’m 100% sure I made the right decision. My relationships with my friends and teachers from ACA are unmatched, and I wouldn’t give them up for anything,” Will shared.

Will advises current ACA students to build relationships with their teachers as much as possible, even after graduation. He believes that they are some of the brightest people students will ever meet, and they care deeply about their students.

Introducing: ACA’s Faculty and Staff Lending Library

Take a walk down the fourth and fifth-grade hallway, and you will pass a new hidden gem at ACA: the Faculty and Staff Lending Library. The inviting little bookshelf is filled with classics and modern books handpicked by Mr. Barfield, one of our fifth-grade teachers. This lending library is available for the ACA faculty and staff to take and leave books as they enjoy them and want to share with co-workers.

But how did this Lending Library come to be? Mr. Barfield shares that it all began with a conversation about one of the ACA’s 11th grade American Literature books he began reading on his own, All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren. He discussed the book’s beauty with Mr. Hawkins, which Mr. Holt overheard, and prompted him to recommend Gilead by Marilynne Robinson as Mr. Barfield’s next book. Later, Mr. Barfield found himself in a conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Andrew about how Robinson’s writing felt like “being wrapped in a warm hug.” Mr. Barfield realized that the conversations and community surrounding great books should extend beyond the classroom.  The Lending Library collection began with a few of Mr. Barfield’s favorite authors but has grown to house over 30 books. 

“I like the bookshelf because it reminds me to persevere with reading and to challenge myself,” Mr. Barfield said. ”I like the perspective that books offer. I think it’s important to remember the vast amount of knowledge available, our inability to read or understand all of it, and the virtue of appreciating what we can.”

Curious about Mr. Barfield’s Lending Library must-reads? Here are his top 5 titles:
1. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
2. The Shining by Stephen King
3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell 
4. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
5. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

The Visual Art Scholars Program Offers Photography Class

The Visual Art Scholars Program is about to finish its second class offering of the year, Photography, taught by Mrs. Egan. Mrs. Egan, ACA’s K-2 Art teacher, majored in photography in college and worked as a photographer for many years. She feels passionate about this class being included in ACA’s Visual Art Scholars program. “In today’s world, where almost everyone has a camera in their pockets or hands all the time, it is essential to understand the true art of photography,” Mrs. Egan said. “Students are learning to create rather than just take a photograph.” Thanks to the Sara Roby Foundation and their generous donation to ACA’s Art Department, Canon DSLR cameras have been purchased for the photography students. The students have learned how to operate the camera in manual mode and how to control exposure with shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. They have also studied the history and great masters of photography, from photojournalism to portraiture to still life, and have practiced taking their own photos. Furthermore, the students practiced multiple printing methods, including cyanotype and polaroid transfers. They even had the exciting opportunity to visit The Long Arc, a recent photography exhibition at The HIGH (pictured above).

Poetry Out-Loud Launches at ACA

This year, ACA joined over 18,000 schools across the country to compete in Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry recitation competition. It was met with enormous enthusiasm on the part of our students and was a great success! This will become an annual event as we continue to encourage our students to love poetry and to perform it well.  

The competition started in the classroom; late last semester, every ACA student in grades 9-12 performed a poem of their choice from the list provided by Poetry Out Loud, and on January 12, nine winners competed in our gym in front of grades 6-12. ACA’s very own poet, Mr. McClatchey, served as our master of ceremonies, joined by a panel of literature teachers as judges who scored each student based on their poem presentation. Senior Maria Harle was our winner, with sophomore Miles McNeese scoring so well that a runoff competition was required to determine our winner. Maria will compete in the Metro Atlanta Regional competition on February 16 at the Woodruff Arts Center. Congratulations to each one of our classroom winners for helping us launch Poetry Out Loud this year!

Kaida Clarke

Jim Coleman

Hudson Kreafle

Sally Berry

Miles McNeese

Andres Wright

London Morton-Weeks

Maria Harle

Michael Gullett