Aucilla Christian Academy
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Many people have fond memories of their high school "glory days," where they made the playoffs or were named Prom Queen, but for me, it goes beyond fond memories.
ACA's very small - the entire school only has between 275-300 students, grades K-12 - but the campus is located on approximately 60 acres of land in the middle of the woods. Just like living in a small town, everyone knows everyone else. I attended ACA from kindergarten through my senior year and, when I graduated, I had five very close friends who had been there since the beginning with me! It was not uncommon for me to know the first and last names of the entire high school and middle school, as well as the majority of the elementary students.
ACA is a very laid-back, country school. Unlike high schools in larger cities, guns are commonly found in vehicles out in the parking lot (from where students went hunting before class) and common pranks include putting snakes on people's dashboards or letting a live squirrel loose in the girl's bathroom. However, one needs to understand that not only did we never have drug-related problems on campus, we never even had knife fights. The only fights we had were staged to fool the teachers and the only thefts we ever dealt with were when opposing teams came to the school to play games. Putting locks on our lockers was a totally foreign concept!
One of my favorite things about ACA, other than the small class sizes, was the chance I had to play sports I probably wouldn't have attempted to play elsewhere. Being 5 feet 1 inch tall and extremely vertically challenged (in other words, I can't jump), you wouldn't picture me as a basketball player. However, not only did I letter in varsity basketball for four years, I also had five years of varsity softball and two years of cross country. This isn't including cheerleading in middle school or the other activities I did outside the school. The funny thing about our sports teams, though, was that we were competitive. We were a threat in the playoffs each year, making it to the Sweet Sixteen in basketball, and were consistently District Champs in softball. The same guys and girls played every sport - it was a year-round commitment that provided me with some of the crazy memories I have now.
Don't get me wrong, though, it's not all fun and games at ACA. The school is very strong academically as well. It's a certified college prep school, utilizes dual enrollment classes with North Florida Community College, and was the reason I graduated with 30 hours of college credit. I entered UF ready for my sophomore year but it did come with a price - I worked my tail off in advanced classes. However, look where it got me!