Senior Spotlight – Mickayla Mein

Mickayla has been a student at LCA since starting school in K3.  Over the past 15 years, she has had many memories and friendships.

Mickayla’s father’s family has been in this area since his ancestors came from Scotland, even having a street named for his family in Pottsdam.  Her father grew up in Watervliet and graduated from Watervliet High School.  He attended Albany Business College and after graduating has worked in a variety of fields including in construction and as a truck driver before accepting a job as a school bus driver for the North Colonie School District where he now works.  He has served on the LCA School Board and as a deacon at our church and has even helped build at least one section of the building here as well as the house where the family now lives in Latham.

Mickayla’s mother grew up in the Adirondacks also on a road named for her family, Joy Rd.  Mickayla is quick to point out that her mother worked in a cemetery while attending school!  After graduating from high school, she worked for several years at a Christian school in the Adirondacks.  She then went off to Pensacola Christian College, earning her elementary education degree in 1983, as well as being a roommate with present-day co-worker Mrs. Coonrod.  She accepted a job at Latham Christian Academy and has been here ever since.  Mickayla jokes, “She just can’t seem to escape!”

Mickayla’s parents met through their pastor (and her adopted grandfather), the late Rev. George Whitman.  Mickayla’s father’s first wife had passed away from cancer and one of their children began calling the future Mrs. Mein “Mom.”  She began helping to care for the children and eventually they all fell in love.  After marriage, Mickayla’s parents added three children to the three they already had.

Today, Mickayla’s oldest sister Tammy lives in Glens Falls where she works at the hospital.  Todd lives in Michigan and serves in information technology for the state, working in local school districts.  Her brother Teddy lives in Florida where he works in sales for Nabisco.  Her brother Josh lives in North Carolina and works as an executive at a technology company.  Her sister Diana lives in Latham where she is raising her two children, one of whom attends LCA, continuing the family tradition.  Mickayla has thirteen nieces and nephews and three additional great-nieces and great-nephews!

In addition to her blood family, Mickayla has two “Asian sisters” who often stay with them.  Jessie has lived with them since she was 7.  She once locked Mickayla out of her own house early in the morning after a midnight swim in their pool on a 40 degree night!  Mickayla had to bang on the door to her own house to get in.  Chelsea once hit Mickayla in the face with a seat belt buckle after Mickayla took something from her.  Chelsea wanted it back and decided swinging the seat belt would be the best way to get it back!  Both Jessie and Chelsea are current LCA students.

Mickayla has many memories from her years here at LCA.  She remembers several years ago a time when she and Kallie Parker were by themselves in Mrs. Mein’s classroom.  Mr. Fry asked who was supervising them to which they replied simply, “Jesus!”  Mickayla remembers Mr. Fry simply walking away with nothing to say.  She also remembers a time when she was hit in the face by a hockey stick Kallie was swinging while “being competitive.”  They ended up rolling on the ground laughing together—until Mickayla learned that she had a fractured nose.  In fact, Mickayla will remember that her “face has taken permanent damage from this place”!

During her years at LCA, Mickayla has been good friends with Kallie, saying that since they have been “stuck together” at LCA, they “might as well be friends!”  Mickayla makes the point, “She abuses me, but I still accept her as a friend!”  Mickayla has also been good friends with LCA Class of 2015 member Andrew Coonrod.  She remembers, “Andrew and I always are having fun” and that they do the most stuff together outside of school.  On a recent family camping trip, Andrew hit Mickayla with a kayak paddle while he was kayaking and she was swimming.  Mickayla promptly took the paddle and swam away with it only having to swim back with the paddle as a storm came up and Andrew had to get to shore quickly!

Mickayla also has many good memories of the teachers at LCA.  She remembers all of the times Mrs. O’Rourke would put her in the corner for fighting with classmate Jasmine Earnest.  She also remembers Mr. Fry standing on his desk yelling about commas and Mrs. Parker acting out the stories behind the constellations, especially that of Andromeda.

Mickayla has attended Latham Bible Baptist Church for her whole life.  She accepted Christ as her Savior at age 4 after hearing Mrs. Urban teach the resurrection story and speaking with her mother about salvation.  Mickayla was baptized around age 9 by Pastor Davoll before he and his family left the church as missionaries to Ecuador.  Mickayla has been very involved at her church including ministering in youth group, Olympians, Awana, the nursery, Sunday school, junior church, kids’ club, on church dramas, and on the church sound system.

Mickayla plans to attend Pensacola Christian College in Florida this fall, following the lead of her mother and of four of her siblings.  She plans to major in physical therapy and then hopes to transfer to either Duke University or to Russell Sage to complete her physical therapy training.  Mickayla has many special Bible verses.  Among them is 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Senior Spotlight – Jasmine Earnest

Jasmine Earnest has been at Latham Christian Academy since kindergarten in 2002, making her and fellow senior Mickayla Mein some of the longest tenured students ever to attend LCA.

Jasmine enjoys speaking of her parents and their obvious love for each other saying, “I envy my parents – the way they handle things in their relationship and the love they have for each other.  I hope one day I can do that with my hubby.”

Jasmine’s father claims Brooklyn as home after his family came to America from Pakistan.  Jasmine’s mother grew up in Queens after moving to the States from India.  She valued the freedom and educational opportunities available to her here and even graduated high school early so she could attend SUNY Albany.  Jasmine enjoys seeing pictures of her mother’s “really big hair” and “bright lipstick,” commenting that her mother could be seen “a mile away”!  Jasmine’s parents met through family connections in Queens and began their “love at first sight” relationship.  Their first child, Jasmine’s older brother Jace, was born less than a year after their marriage.

Jasmine’s father has worked in a variety of fields, even owning his own commercial cleaning company for a time.  Today he still does a little cleaning and also works as a delivery contractor.  Jasmine’s mother has worked in the banking field since graduating from college, working her way through many promotions.  Today she is the Area Retail Leader at Key Bank.

Jasmine’s older brother Jace is “awesome” and she says she “wouldn’t want a different big brother”!  As for her little brother James, Jasmine comments, “He needs to stop copying me.”  Jasmine laughs, however, that since she is leaving LCA, James will be free to continue the Earnest family traditions.

Because Jasmine and classmate Mickayla have been together for many years, the two of them share many memories.  Jasmine noted that the two have become closer than ever during this school year.  They share a special memory of being in Mrs. Diggs’s class and going together to Mrs. Parker’s classroom to raid her snack closet.  Jasmine also remembers “communicating with their eyes” back during naptime in kindergarten!  Even though they claim not to have been close friends until recently, Mickayla and Jasmine have obviously created a “relatively good” friendship with so many shared memories.

Jasmine speaks fondly of Mrs. O’Rourke, “She is so loving.  When you need someone to ‘vent to,’ she is the first one you think of.  She knows the words to say and when to put you in your place when you are wrong.”  She will also remember Mr. Fry, commenting, “I didn’t know he could be so chill.”  She will remember when he speaks in “Mr. Fry language” when things go wrong and even going to Mr. Fry for help finding a date for the senior banquet!

Jasmine also commented that Mrs. Kettlewood will miss her coming into the school office each day and writing on her calendar and messing up her desk and asking her for food all the time.  Jasmine does admit, however, that she will actually miss Mrs. Kettlewood after graduation!

Jasmine accepted Christ as her Savior when she was five.  A friend of her father’s named Dan Pelcher prayed with Jasmine, leading her to the Lord.  She was baptized at age 11 at Grace Bible Church.  Today the family attends Clifton Park Community Church.  Jasmine has always been active in her churches, working in the nursery, singing special music, and helping in Sunday school.

This fall, Jasmine plans to attend her mother’s alma mater, SUNY Albany and major in human biology.  Jasmine’s eventual career goal is to become a general practice physician.  Jasmine’s life verse comes from Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”

Senior Spotlight – Meka Terry

Latham Christian Academy is blessed to have a small and close knit class of three graduating seniors during the 2015 – 2016 school year.  These members of the Class of 2016 have attended LCA together for a long time, and they have all contributed a great deal to the ministry here.  We will be highlighting one of the seniors in an article published in our Knightline newsletter over the next two months.  We begin the series this week with senior Meka Terry.

Meka Terry was born in Westchester County and was adopted at age 3 by Phil Terry and Cathy Belanger. Her father worked as a sales manager as Meka grew up, living in Broadalbin.  Meka attended school in this area and in Fonda before coming to LCA in seventh grade back in 2010 when her family moved to Ballston Lake.  Meka’s mother worked as an accountant, owning and managing several of her own businesses.

Meka has been blessed to grow up in a large family with nine siblings: Timmy, living in Virginia; Brian, living in Glenville; Ben, living in Perth; Kayla, living in Amsterdam; Abbey, living in Clifton Park; Danielle, living in Florida; Alex, living in Clifton Park; Jimmy, living in New York City; and Seless, her younger sister who is a junior at LCA.  Meka lives with her father, her sister, and her step-mother Candice in Ballston Lake today.

Meka grew up attending Perth Bible Church before moving to this area and attending Grace Fellowship.  She now attends Living Hope with her father and step-mother.  Meka came to accept Christ as her Savior when she was 9 years old.  After her father had talked with her about her need of salvation, Meka accepted Christ while attending Word of Life camp at the ranch in Schroon Lake.  In her churches, Meka has served by working with children, helping with small group lessons, and working in the snack shop.

Meka hopes to open her own salon in the future, doing makeup, nails, hair, and anything else she can.  Her plans are to take a year off this fall and then begin pursuing her cosmetology program at Hudson Valley Community College to get licensed.  She then plans to earn her business degree.

During her time at LCA, Meka’s favorite memory actually began as a hard one.  Jasmine and Meka got into a fight at school so bad that both fathers had to come in to the office.  During the parents’ meeting with Mr. Fry, the two began their friendship and were laughing together by the time they left school that day and remain close friends—nearly inseparable—today.

Meka remembers that all of her teachers have “pushed me to do better” after admitting that she was “not that great of a child when I came here.”  In particular, she will remember the enthusiasm of Mr. Fry, “trying to get in our heads” and the “random conversations” of Mrs. O’Rourke’s class.

Meka’s life verse comes from Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”