Inspire, Engage, Transform

Featured Alumni

Sam Denton, Class of 2010

April 28, 2017
By Sam Denton

I graduated from SJCA in 2010 then headed for North Greenville University that fall. In 2014, I graduated from NGU with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. I also am a carpenter on the side.

Considering my childhood background and college major, I felt drawn to teach and coach. When I was a student at SJCA, I loved the small school, family atmosphere so I knew I’d return to give back to SJCA if given the opportunity.

Now I teach and coach St. John’s. At SJCA, I teach Elementary P.E., Elementary and Middle School computer, and sixth grade Bible. I help coach JV football and softball.

In my classes, I use scriptures to answer many questions, for example:
1.   God will not let you face something that you cannot handle. 
2.   Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 
3.   God says 365 times in the Bible “Do not fear”. (one for every day of the year)
4.   You have to be able to laugh at yourself. The Bible says that laughter is a good medicine

Since I graduated in 2010 and returned in 2014, we have a couple of new teachers, coaches and facilities. But the same small school, family atmosphere remains.

My favorite memory in school was playing baseball from the 8th-11th grades. Being a part of a team helped me prepare to coach and do what I’m doing now.    

Emily Brown, Class of 2008

April 28, 2017
By Emily Brown

I currently teach 7th and 8th Grade Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 CP, Geometry CP, and Discrete (basically from 7th Grade to Seniors).

At the end of the 2013 school year, Dr. Denton approached me about working as the middle school math teacher. Since I was still working with my father, I could not commit to being a full-time teacher so we agreed that I would work part-time for the last three months of the school year. I started off with a Discrete class of seniors, 8th grade pre-algebra, and then 7th grade pre-algebra. After those classes, I would return to my position in my father’s company. As soon as I started teaching, I knew that this was the right job for me. Thankfully, Dr. Denton offered me a full time position at the end of the school year. And as they say, the rest is history. I thank God every day that He opened that opportunity for me to come home and help my alma mater grow even further.

There has been a major difference from when I was a student to now being a teacher. For one, the classrooms have changed. That is definitely a good change because that shows how much the school is growing with the times. Some of the teachers that I had are still there, and it is always wonderful to say hello and catch up with them whenever I can. I love reminiscing of old times and talking about how awesome of a student I was (J). But all in all, it almost feels like riding a bicycle being back at SJCA. Everyone treated each other like family with the upmost respect for each other and for our professions. We supported each other through thick and thin, and I can relate that feel back to my students.

Being an alumnus of SJCA, I can give the students the extra insight as to how SJCA helped me once I graduated. One thing is that the opportunity to take dual-credit classes helped me so much when I got to college. I was able to get some required courses like English and Western Civilization done before I even started college. This allowed me to focus more on my core courses, which was a major help considering the math courses I was taking. Another thing that I tell my students is that SJCA helped me restore my faith and how to keep my faith when others would question it. As part of my required courses, I had to take two religion courses. As part of the courses, we had to learn about different religions in different cultures. I actually enjoyed learning about the different cultures religion, but I always knew what my beliefs were. When we were asked about what our personal beliefs were, I would always stand by my faith in God. The main experience that I always tell my students (even to this day) is that the teachers/faculty/staff/everyone at SJCA wants to see you succeed. They want you to be the best that you can be, and that is why they push us hard in their classes. I will never forget all the kind words of encouragement that teachers have told me over the years.

Adam Kelly, Class of 2016

January 26, 2017
By Cathy Ollic

Meet Adam Kelly, the 2016 Student Body President and SJCA Graduate and now the current North Greenville University 2016-2017 Freshman Class President!

In high school, Adam’s peers elected him Freshman Class Representative, Co-President of the Junior Class and 2015-2016 President of the Student Body.  His teachers bestowed upon him the coveted Cavalier Pride award for three consecutive years.  Academically, Adam earned the rank of Freshman and Sophomore Usher and Junior Marshal at SJCA graduations.  He had the highest class GPA of 4.89 with a grade average of 97.31 making him Valedictorian of the Class of 2016.  He was also an SJCA and National Beta Club member. 

BCSD invited Adam to its Breakfast of Champions for three consecutive years where he was awarded the Academic Award in 2013, 2014 and 2016 and the Leadership Award in 2015.

Athletically, Adam ran Cross Country all four years of high school, earning the Best Teammate and Coach’s awards.

Civically, he has tutored students at SJCA; led worship at several area churches; helped with the Healing Farms Walk-a-thon; and helped with SJCA’s landscaping during the summer.  

In Adam’s words, he explains how he persevered to become NGA’s current Freshman President:

"Around the end of September, I found out North Greenville University was holding elections for freshman president and vice-president.  There was a guy already passing out flyers and business cards before campaigning began and one of my friends (Allison) wanted to run against him.  I talked to some other friends about it and they convinced me to be her running partner.  At first, I was skeptical because I felt like I have already had my time in Student Government, but I decided that it would be fun.  

We got together and discussed our platform and the changes we wanted to propose to the school.  I had professional posters made by our printing center and they became a big success.  Closer towards the election, I wrote a parody of Meghan Trainor's "Me Too" with Allison.  On the night of the election, we decided to do a last-minute campaign video of our parody and posted it on Facebook.  It became a big hit with our class and with our Facebook friends as well.  

Later that day, I received a phone call that Allison and I both won president and vice-president and that we should attend the upcoming meeting for our cafeteria.  We were able to give requests other students had made about the food and the environment of the cafeteria and they began to be implemented.  Being a leader of the freshman class has allowed me to take their requests of improving our school to the people of Student Life.   

Overall, North Greenville University has been an amazing experience.  For over a year, I told myself that I would not go there because of other options, but they offered the most financial aid out of every other school I applied to and by the end of my senior year, I should have little to no debt.  I am very blessed to have a future like that, and the opportunities the school will bring my way.  

I have been able to do work-study for the department I am majoring in (Mass Communication) as well.  Work-study is a way to make money on campus while working within your major.  I work in the equipment room and check equipment in and out when people need it.  I feel like the people in my department really care for the students and want to set them up for a good career, so I am excited for more opportunities to come.  

 Not only that, I have made many friends at school and have already gotten close to a few of them.  It's great to not have the obligations you have at home and be able to go out and hang with your friends after classes.  I have also been able to sleep more since school started, and that has been nice!  

I have even been to two concerts as well (The Chainsmokers and Meghan Trainor) which would not have been possible without being here!  I am starting my second semester and am super excited for what's to come.  I have already made so many memories in such a short time, and I am ready to make some more!"

All Posts

4/28/17 - By Sam Denton
4/28/17 - By Emily Brown
1/26/17 - By Cathy Ollic