2015 Scholarship Proud to be a Warrior. "Not was. Am. Forever."

Alexandra Betancourt '15, Alumni Association Scholarship Award Winner
I've been a student at Westminster Christian School since the wee age of eight, where I was a brand new 2nd grader from Connecticut. This school always stood apart from any other school I had been around and I had always loved it dearly, but it wasn't until my 10th grade year that I realized just how one of a kind this school truly was. The week before the first official day of my sophomore year, I was at Warrior Week, a place to rekindle old friendships and form new ones. I didn't expect to see too many new faces this year, and I didn't expect the few I saw to matter very much to me; I couldn't have been more wrong. There was a girl in my cabin. She was new and didn't know anyone at all. I didn't really notice her until my other friends did. We took her for a walk and got to know the basic facts about her, like her name, where she came from, what she liked doing. She was nice and my entire friend group took a liking to her; however, there was so much more to her than met the eye. One day, she told me that she had moved down to Miami because her mom had cancer and required treatment that could only be given to her down here. My heart bled and I pulled her into a hug. We became very, very close friends after that point. Now, fast forward to Homecoming Week of that same year. My whole group of friends was in the school's auditorium as we were all waiting for the afternoon's antics to begin. All of a sudden, a girl sitting one row in front of me and two seats down gasped at her phone. She had just received a text message saying that the girl from Warrior Week's mother had passed on. In that moment, it felt like a weight had fallen over our entire quarter of the room. Some people cried; Others hung their heads in defeat. Everyone was silent. Our hearts seemed to beat at the same slow rate, the melancholy percussion of a sorrowful song sung in unison.

As memorable as all of the aforementioned moments are, none of them have been my most memorable. Nay, they are simply background information. Within a week, the girl's mother's funeral was planned and most everything was in order, but the girl herself had not returned to school. It was understandable, but we, her friends, were all worried about her. One friend had the great idea of asking if the funeral was open to guests, and fortunately for us, it was. We decided to have our parents drive us all there. Surprisingly enough, almost all of us got the okay to go, even though it was in the middle of the school day. There were about 10 people form my friend group that split up into two cars, and we thought that it might make her feel better that so many of her friends cared for her. However, when we walked into the chapel, my jaw dropped. The room was packed. Yet, it wasn't full of adults I didn't know. The room was full of Westminster students, faculty, and parents. I was in awe because I hadn't said half a word to most of the people I recognized there, so I knew for sure they hadn't spoken to this new girl. This also worried me because some of the people there had reputations for being rambunctious and problematic. What caught me even more off guard was that not a single person who attended came just for fun. Every single person there was there because they genuinely cared and ached for this girl they didn't know, but wholeheartedly accepted as family. Not friend. Family. As the service went on I could not believe the respect and maturity and air of almost comfort brought about by seeing so many of my peers, and I could only imagine how this meant to that girl. I even saw some of the burliest football players we could call our own wiping away a few tears. This moved me to tears.

I can honestly say that it has been an honor to attend a school with the sense of camaraderie and such genuine and obvious love for one another for these past ten years. Sometimes, I kind of wish I had gone elsewhere, because I know no school will ever measure up to this one. I have made friends that will last a lifetime (including that new girl with the dark past and heart of gold). I will never forget this school and the effect it had on my life. I know that no matter what problem I have, I can always come back to my second home and there will always be a smiling face ready to check up on me, and I can only pray that my kids end up going to a school of this quality. As cheesy as it may be (and you'll never get me to admit to this in person), I can say with all my heart that I am proud that I am a Warrior. Not was. Am. Forever.
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