Even with all of the changes Abigail Ambrose had already experienced between eighth and 11th grade at C.S. Lewis Academy, moving the entire campus to the North College Street campus this year was a welcome change for the senior.
Ambrose had already lived through the school's merger with Open Bible Christian School and the accompanying move to the new campus her freshman year, but the consolidation opened the door to an opportunity that helped shape her future in a significant way.
"It was a little bit crazy at first trying to get used to it and all the little kids running back and forth, but I had the opportunity to teach the (kindergarten) through second-graders Spanish," Ambrose said. "That would not have been possible if they were on a different campus, so that was really cool."
The class of 2017 valedictorian has long wanted to become a teacher, but actually instructing such young students confirmed her plan to pursue elementary education after she and her six classmates graduate at ceremonies beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at Northside Community Church.
"We think of her already as a teacher," CSLA teacher and counselor Carrie Adams said. "She's both engaged and responsible and so understanding of what's going on in situations that she's practically one of us. Her strengths are in her academic rigor, her attention to detail. She's diligent and also very likeable."
Ambrose also took a lead role in re-establishing CSLA's mentorship program, which she experienced as a freshman but had fallen by the wayside her junior year. As middle school chaplain mentor this year, Ambrose matched upperclassmen with middle school students, helping to strengthen ties between the two groups, which don't attend classes together.
"She saw both a need and an opportunity to bring it back, re-envision it and make it better," Adams said of the mentorship program. "It needed a positive and mature student to drive it."
Ambrose will attend Northwest University (Kirkland, Wash.) in the fall and received the Gold Scholarship, the school's top merit award, after attending the school's scholarship competition.
"I really liked the community. It kind of felt like a bigger version of C.S. Lewis, which is really cool, and I was definitely drawn to that."
Ambrose participated in CSLA's Spanish-language immersion trip to Mexico a year ago and will embark on its mission trip to Belize this summer.
After first coming to CSLA in sixth grade, Ambrose has made the honor roll each year of high school and was given the coveted Front and Center Award in Brenda Buckner's American Literature class.
"She is an engaged, open and positive person," Adams said. "She is funny and smart. She isn't immature in a lot of those high school ways where she doesn't create or feed on drama. She's a little more stable, balanced and wise than your typical high school student."