Gaby Zelholf '16, Alumni Association Scholarship Award Winner
Family. A place where you feel at home, yourself, safe, protected, cared for, comforted, and held accountable. A place where you laugh, cry, share, make memories, and listen. Westminster is my family. As seniors are getting eager to move on from high school and “never see these people again” I find myself asking “Why?”
I’m in denial. Tears are hitting the keyboard as I even try to express what I’m feeling. Why would someone want to leave a place that makes them feel so at home and so comfortable? Westminster is filled with a contagious spirit like no other. This school and the people in it have guided me and influenced me in so many ways I didn't even think was possible. Why leave behind family?
This school and the people in it have matured me into who I am. If it wasn’t for Mr. Warren encouraging me to pursue music and my instrument, I would not be attending the University of Miami, studying music business in the fall. He never gave up on me and still continues to send me words of encouragement. If it wasn’t for Mr. Reed’s Christian Living class and my relationship with him, I would not have grown so abundantly in my faith. He taught me that it is never a bad thing to ask questions. If it wasn’t for Mr. Medder’s guidance and constant support in my growth as a person, I would have never discovered who I am. His belief in me taught me how to believe in myself. I’m going to miss hearing his inappropriate, seventh grade jokes throughout the day.
All of these small and appreciated memories will continue to warm my heart as I leave Westminster, but there is one memory that has touched my heart forever. “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you will call me.” The entire high school sang out these words giving me goosebumps all over. There is something about almost five hundred high schoolers worshipping God and you being the one standing in front of them all, watching them lift up the Lord’s name. The song “Oceans” has been a guidance for me throughout high school. God calls us upon the waters, and it is up to us to listen to our spirit guiding us along those waters. When the student body sang out these words, it reminded me of the spirit of Westminster that has left an imprint on all of us.
No person enters Westminster and leaves Westminster the same. Westminster’s spirit is infectious and unavoidable. It is what fills my soul. The presence that this school gives off is embedded in my heart forever. Because of this impact, it would make it impossible to not stay connected to what has been my home for the past eight years. This spirit is what makes me excited to wake up at six in the morning to go to my Leadership early bird class. This spirit is why I find myself staying hours on hours after school just so I can catch up with Mr. C and other faculty. This spirit is what makes it permissible to move on from Westminster Christian.
As I and the rest of the Class of 2016 prepare for graduation, I pray that we all follow our spirit along the waters. I pray that our spirits that has been filled with God’s love through Westminster lives within us. Although we may be leaving Westminster, the morals and relationships that have influenced us over the years will never leave us. Once a Warrior, always a Warrior.