SCA FACULTY SPOTLIGHT | Mr. James Byrd

If you’ve been around SCA since the mid 1990s, there’s a good chance you know James Byrd. You may know him from his years as a student then, or you know him now as a leader in academics and athletics. A 12-year student at SCA, Mr. Byrd graduated from SCA in 2006 and left Albany for the University of Mobile in Mobile, Alabama. After double majoring and graduating, he returned to Sherwood Christian Academy in 2011—but, this time, to lead from the front of the classroom. Many of his former teachers became his co-workers. In 2022, Mr. Byrd moved into the role of Guidance Counselor after 10 years of teaching high school history, where he can continue to impact the lives of juniors and seniors, as they make some of the most important decisions of their lives.

EDUCATION:
BA in Political Science and BA in History from the University of Mobile
Masters in Secondary Education from Georgia Southern

YEARS LEADING IN EDUCATION:
I have been teaching at SCA for 11 years – 10 of those year in the classroom.

CAREER AWARDS:
Two time STAR Teacher – 2021 and 2022
Two time GAPPS Coach of the Year – Track and Field – 2018 and 2022
Coach of Six State Championships at SCA:
• 1 in Football (2015)
• 2 in Track and Field (2018 & 2022)
• 2 in Chess (2019 & 2021)
• 1 in Cross Country (2018)

Photo by Dan Mingo.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT GUIDING SENIORS IN THEIR NEXT SEASON AFTER GRADUATION: I enjoy breaking down the process of what comes next after high school for Seniors into small and much less stressful pieces. It can be easy to be overwhelmed as a Senior when they begin to look at all that lies before them. I encourage our Seniors to continue to move forward in God’s will – they don’t have to have all the answers yet, they just need to be willing to say, “Yes!” to what God will call them to as they continue to be faithful to Him.

FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN SWGA: My wife’s cooking! Was that the right answer? But public restaurants? Longhorns for a good steak or Los Vaqueros.

FAVORITE BOOKS: Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien are both very special to me. Although growing up, I read every single Hardy Boys book! I’m now looking forward to reading them with my son, Joshua one day.

FAVORITE MOMENT AS A STUDENT AT SCA: There are many special moments from my years here as a student, almost impossible to narrow down to just one! From four years of high school musical theater with Mrs. Terri Catt; running track and field and cross country in many Region and State Meets; being elected as the Student Council President and giving the morning announcements over the intercom each morning (I had a joke of the day that very few people would laugh at)… I obviously loved my time here because I came back!

It’s safe to say that Mr. James Byrd is woven into the history and future of Sherwood Christian Academy.

Kenny Roberts Awarded Albany Herald’s “Football Coach of the Year” and Football Players Honored

Coach Kenny Roberts has been selected by the Albany Herald as the “Coach of the Year” for his leadership in the Eagles’ State Championship winning year. Coach Roberts was Interim Football Head Coach for the 2022 football season.

Photo by Dan Mingo.

Several SCA varsity athletes were honored in the Albany Herald for the 2022 high school football season and named to the Albany Herald’s “All-Albany Football Team”:

First Team Offense | Easton Enfinger

Second Team Offense | Tripp Roberts

Second Team Offense | Jude Peavy

Second Team Offense | William Price

Second Team Defense | Maddox Powers

Congratulations to Coach Roberts and the entire SCA varsity football team for a great season and this special recognition!

SCA Athletic Director Jay Flynt recognized Coach Roberts and these athletes this morning in front of their peers.

Article from the Albany Herald: https://www.albanyherald.com/sports/albany-heralds-all-albany-football-team-announced/article_feee2826-9a6c-11ed-9e28-cbc3387aed1d.html

Coach James Byrd Awarded “Girls GAPPS Head Coach of the Year”

Congratulations to SCA’s Head Track Coach James Byrd for being awarded the Georgia Track & Field/Cross Country Association “Girls GAPPS Head Coach of the Year” on January 20, 2023!

Coach Byrd serves as cross country head coach, track head coach, and guidance counselor at SCA. The 2021-2022 SCA Girls Track Team won the GAPPS State Championship last season!

Sherwood Christian Academy Names New Headmaster

We are excited to announce that Mr. Kenny Roberts accepted the role of Headmaster of SCA on January 5, 2023! After 12 exceptional years leading SCA, Dr. Brian Dougherty has accepted a position at Heritage Christian School in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Mr. Roberts (known to many as Coach Roberts) served as assistant headmaster at SCA until January 5, 2023. He has held leadership roles at SCA since 2019 as campus pastor, high school principal, assistant headmaster, head basketball coach and interim head football coach of the Eagles’ 2022 GAPPS AA State Championship season. Mr. Roberts has 25 years of teaching and administration experience including serving twice as a headmaster of Christian schools. His credentials include bachelors and masters degrees in education and educational training with an education specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Valdosta State University. 

“At SCA, Kenny has proven himself as a leader and godly role model to our faculty, staff and students,” said Jim McBride, Chairman of SCA’s School Committee. “In his career as a high school teacher, Kenny was recognized as high school Teacher of the Year, systemwide Teacher of the Year, and STAR Teacher. Coaching middle school and high school teams and as campus pastor at SCA, he has proven himself to be a leader who challenges others around him to excel.”

Dr. Dougherty will remain at SCA until February 15, 2023, before beginning his new position in Indiana. We are grateful for his time and accomplishments at SCA and his unwavering focus on excellence in Christian education and furthering SCA’s mission in Southwest Georgia.

Please join us in congratulating Mr. Kenny Roberts and his family in his new leadership role at our school. Sherwood students shine! The future is bright at Sherwood Christian Academy!

SCA’s Varsity Football Team Wins State Championship

Photo provided by Kim Russell.

Sherwood Christian Academy’s varsity football team are the 2022 GAPPS 8-Man Football Division I-AA State Champions! The Sherwood Christian Academy Eagles won their second state championship in a nail-biting game against the Unity Christian Lions tonight at Legacy Field with a final score of 43-40 on November 25, 2022! The last four minutes of the game was a back-and-forth between Sherwood and Unity, and both teams played well. The Eagles scored in the last 12 seconds to secure their win. SCA won our first state championship in 2014.

The game was broadcast live on the radio with commentary from Alex Kendrick and Jim McBride. Fireworks signaled each touchdown and a fireworks show was displayed after the referees declared the Eagles the winners.

In a pre-game interview for the radio broadcast before the State Championship game, Varsity Football Coach Kenny Roberts said, “These guys have put in the time in the summer and in the weight room. They’ve put in a lot of very hot days working in full pads and working through a rough sport [and physically taxing] like football. These guys have gotten better all year long. Their character has remained strong. So for them to have the chance to play for a state championship and be able to play at home in front of their family and friends…I’m really excited for them!”

This was Coach Roberts’ first year to lead varsity football, and he attributed some of his players’ wins to their steadiness and strong character.

“These athletes are so mature and business-like. They have goals for their games, but it’s their character – they want to do well. Their mind and heart is ready before they come into the locker room. Once they get out there in that battle when they’re competing and they’re having someone who is coming at them just as hard as they are… they remain steady in the things that we worked on. They don’t get frustrated or angry. They just remain steady,” Coach Roberts said.

Video of State Championship celebration by Tommy McBride.

“If we remain steady in what we’ve worked at, we can trust the Lord with the results because we have walked out in obedience in the way that we’re supposed to be doing these things and we can trust Him with how it ends,” Coach Roberts said.

We are so proud of each one of these Eagle athletes who have competed with excellence this season!

Jim McBride and Alex Kendrick provided live commentary of the State Championship game on Albany’s Talk Radio 1590 and 99.3 WALG.
Halftime Radio Show – Listen to Alex Kendrick and Jim McBride interview Coach Kenny Roberts about SCA’s varsity football achievements as heard on Albany’s Talk Radio 1590 and 99.3 WALG, 11/25/22.

ARTICLE from Albany Herald: “From 2-7 to State Champions: Sherwood Christian Beats Unity Christian for Title”

PHOTOS: Photos of the State Championship game by the Albany Herald.

PHOTO GALLERY: Here are some highlights from the 2022 SCA varsity football season! Photography by Dan Mingo, Brian Kelley, and Rebecca Johnson.

SCA Students Spread Christmas Cheer in the Southwest Georgia Community and the World

Sherwood Christian Academy junior and senior students spent the majority of Wednesday, November 16 providing community service in the Albany area during SCA’s Community Service Day. Their goal: to be a light and share Christmas cheer! This was accomplished through Operation Christmas Child shoebox organization and setting up the Christmas display at Thronateeska Heritage Center.

One group of students helped the Operation Christmas Child organization at The Hope Center on Pine Avenue. They greeted donors who pulled up with trailers and trucks to drop off shoebox gifts, unloaded boxes, organized and packed the shoeboxes, and then spent time praying over the shoebox gifts with the donors.

Each Operation Christmas Child shoebox was filled with toys, toiletries, and supplies for a child in need across the globe. SCA elementary families filled and donated 124 shoeboxes, and our juniors and seniors had the opportunity to unload, organize, and pray over them at the OCC distribution center.

“We appreciate their willingness and joyfulness in serving so that the boxes will get to children who need them,” OCC Central Drop-off Team Leader Connie Thomas said.

The students handled hundreds of shoeboxes and spent time decorating lids to make plain white boxes more joyful with Christmas themes. Their prayer was that each shoebox gift they touched would minister to a child across the world with the light of Jesus.

Students over at the Thronateeska Heritage Center also unloaded and organized items for Christmas as they unearthed a large collection from the storage area and arranged each item in the museum area for display. The work the group did in a few hours saved the Thronateeska team days, possibly weeks of work.

Lead Educator at Thronateeska Heritage Center Alyssa Watrous said, “Having the Sherwood Christian Academy students come out and help has been the best help because there are thousands of Santas. When you walk in the storage area, it was really hard to move around and we were ready to get this exhibit out.”

Alyssa attributed how quickly the work was being done with the students’ great communication with each other.

“We’ve shared with them what we wanted them to do and they’ve shown amazing communication skills that have helped clear this storage area. We’ve already gone through half of it in the span of 20 minutes and saved us so much time,” she said.

By the end of the afternoon, the students put the finishing touches on arranging Thronateeska’s upcoming Christmas display of vintage and festive holiday decorations in the History Museum and the Georgia Museum of Surveying and Mapping in anticipation of the center’s holiday events in December.

We’re proud of our juniors and seniors and the difference they’re making in our community!

IN THE NEWS: “Sherwood Christian’s Big Adventure: All the Pieces Just Fell in Place”

An article about SCA’s 2022 Varsity Football Season from The Albany Herald by Joe Whitfield, Albany Herald Staff Correspondent. Read the article at the Herald’s website here.

ALBANY — The Sherwood Christian Academy Eagles will play Unity Christian School of Rome Friday night for the GAPPS Class AA state championship in 8-man football.

When interim head coach Kenny Roberts took on the challenge, he had no idea this is where his team would be at the end of the season.

“I took it because I didn’t want the football program to die,” Roberts said in an interview Monday afternoon. “After Coach (Chad) Evans resigned, Dr. Dougherty (Sherwood headmaster Brian Dougherty) and I began looking for a new football coach. We interviewed a couple of coaches and actually made an offer to one of them, but he withdrew his name because he decided he didn’t want to move. I told Dr. Dougherty I would step in because there were nine eighth-graders (rising ninth-graders) who wanted to play and could be a good start for the school. Since then, all of the pieces have just been falling together.”

Those pieces included great help from assistant coaches with the same goals in mind and a couple of key additions to the team in seniors Graham Anderson and Maddox Powers. Neither of these players was with the team when Roberts took over the program before spring practice last year. But now they are crucial members of the team about to play for a state title.

“Graham (Anderson) is the catalyst for our team when it comes to character,” said Roberts. “He has truly helped our team develop their character and I told him recently I didn’t want to do this without him here. And Maddox (Powers), some of our eighth-graders met him at a church camp. He was their leader at camp and then he ended up transferring to Sherwood. There is a real connection with him. Some of them even called him ‘Daddox.”

Anderson plays defensive end and left guard. Maddox plays fullback and defensive end for the Eagles. Anderson has been at Sherwood for 13 years and played football up until ninth grade before deciding not to return. He felt led to play and his friends on the team helped convince him to come back, along with a great deal of prayer. Powers is a transfer from Lee County after moving to the area from North Carolina during the COVID era.

“When everything kept falling into place,” said Roberts, “we realized about mid-season that we might be able to make a run at state.”

The Eagles are 10-1 on the year and have won nine in a row. They have scored fewer than 50 points in only three games all season with a freshman quarterback.

Quarterback Tripp Roberts is Coach Roberts’ son and has thrown for 1,341 yards and 20 touchdowns this season on a team that primarily runs the ball. Running back Easton Enfinger is the main running threat and has 1,541 yards rushing with 25 touchdowns.

“I’m a little surprised at his statistics, but not at Tripp’s ability,” Coach Roberts said of his son Tripp. “He has wanted to be the quarterback since he was very young. He has put in the work. He has had a growth spurt of about three inches in the last year or so. He is a serious kid who works when no one else is working,” the coach said. “I knew he would learn the playbook quickly because I knew how serious he was about playing quarterback. It has been fun to watch him this year.”

“With Easton, he is really fast,” said Roberts. “But he is a super hard worker and has excellent leg strength and great natural vision to see what is happening. There are a lot of plays where he just gets three, four, or five yards, but he just keeps working and he has to push through that. I’m proud of his toughness and his fight to keep pushing when I know he is exhausted.”

But all of this still doesn’t explain how the Eagles went from almost not having a team to where they are now — about to play for the state championship.

“We’ve worked very hard to be consistent in the weight room,” Roberts said. “We started working three days a week this summer and it has continued into the school year. The boys come to school before 7 a.m. three days a week to lift before school starts. It is our willingness to put in the work that has a lot to do with our success.”

But there is more. The coaches and others made real investments in the players.

“We’ve been very intentional on making sure these players learn lessons that will help them in life, not just on the football field. We wanted to invest in these boys and teach them things that will help when they get into tough situations and learn that you do things the right way,” the coach added.

“We’ve had other people invest in these boys by bringing a pre-game breakfast on game day and a pre-game meal later that day. We wanted the boys to feel live someone was investing in them. We wanted to let them know that they are loved by their coaches. We wanted to let them know they are special and valuable, not because of their statistics, but because of who they are.”

The coach said all of these investments showed up earlier this season when the Eagles were in a tough battle with Vidalia Heritage in Vidalia. The Eagles managed to come home with a 58-54 win but not without some real fight.

“We were in the game where we had been flagged 13 times for penalties and the other team had gotten two,” said Roberts. “Our guys didn’t whine and complain. It would have been easy to complain and give up. Instead, they just put their heads down and pushed even harder and won the game.”

Vidalia Heritage made it to the state semifinals before falling to Unity of Rome last week by a final of 52-8. The score was eye-opening because Sherwood barely survived against Vidalia, but Roberts said the film he saw showed Vidalia fumbled at least seven times because its starting quarterback suffered an injury and they were unable to run their offense effectively. While Unity is a good football team and will be challenging, Roberts believes his Eagles will be ready to face another tough challenge.

Kickoff for Friday’s game at Sherwood Christian is set for 7:30 p.m.

SCA Varsity Athletes mentioned in this article (L to R): Graham Anderson, Maddox Powers, Tripp Roberts, Easton Enfinger

One Act Fine Arts Students Win State Championship

Bravo! Bravo! One Act Fine Arts students won the GAPPS region and state championships for their original play Berlin. The play was written in 2020 by SCA ’21 graduate Ashlynn Dapper and High School Fine Arts Director Brydon Fox, and it was featured as the annual fine arts play with packed out crowds at their performances in April 2021.

The play is based on a fictional story about loved ones separated by the Berlin Wall in the 1960s. The plot: The Berlin Wall goes up in 1961 Germany – separating families, friends and loved ones forever. They must stay connected by any means possible. Will a wall keep them apart? Who will risk it all for the life they’ve always dreamed of?

Berlin was shortened to fit within the length of one act for the One Act competition this year. Even with the shortened length, it still required 17 set changes!

“This was my first time competing at One Act competition, so it was a learning process figuring out how to cut the original script to under 55 minutes,” Fine Arts Director Brydon Fox said. “There were lots of conversations about the best ending for the show for this performance setting. In the end, everything came together!”

SCA’s One Act team was up to the challenge! After offering a free public performance at SCA, they crushed region competition where they won by one point, and then won the state championship on Monday, November 7. Ashlynn Dapper attended the state competition and witnessed her play win first place!

Connor Mathis was awarded “Outstanding Performer” at the region competition. Three SCA Fine Arts actors received individual awards during the state competition.

Fox said, “The competition was tough, but each performance of Berlin from rehearsals to region to state kept getting better and better! We have so many talented students. So proud of our Outstanding Actors who won medals at state – Hannah Albano, Connor Mathis, and Caleb Kendrick.”

ONE ACT BERLIN CAST:

David Albano 
Hannah Albano
Asher Bailey 
Benjamin Brooks
Kennedy Daniels
Caleb Kendrick
Connor Mathis
Colton Mathis
Addison Mingo 
Mary Grace Piper
Lydia Sancinito
Sophi Scardino
Caden Thomas

Kyra Bevel – Lights

Congratulations to the One Act team for an outstanding year!

Photography provided by Dan Mingo.

SCA TEACHER SPOTLIGHT | Mrs. Joanna Richardson

Mrs. Joanna Richardson is back in the classroom this year and we could not be more excited to have her at Sherwood Christian Academy! This is Mrs. Richardson’s first year teaching at SCA, and she previously spent more than 16 years in education before working in non-profit ministries such as the Alpha Pregnancy Center and Albany Biblical Counseling.

Here are a few words to describe Mrs. Joanna Richardson from her 1st grade students: helpful, sweet, nice, kind, and friendly.

EDUCATION:
BA in Early Childhood Education from Mercer University
M.ED in Counseling and Psychology from Troy State

YEARS LEADING IN EDUCATION: This is my 17th year of teaching!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT TEACHING?: My favorite times are those when I get to see the excitement in a student’s eye when he or she is understanding a new concept for the first time. For instance, I get such a thrill when my students can retell a Bible story to me, and they truly begin to understand how much God loves them. 

FAVORITE FOOD/SNACK: Italian food, snack-fruit salad (strawberries, blueberries, grapes, apples)

HIDDEN TALENT: Baking

FAVORITE SEASON OF THE YEAR IN SWGA: Fall. It’s typically Goldilocks weather- not too cold, not too hot, just right!  It’s also the season for harvest, giving thanks, and celebrating Advent. In our home, it’s a time when family members who live away come home to fellowship with us for the holidays.

TEACHING AT SCA: I’m honored to have the opportunity to teach first grade at SCA. It has been such a blessing for me! I’m most excited about teaching at SCA because I get the opportunity to share Jesus with my class daily, and I’ve even experienced the blessing of praying with a student as he accepted Christ. Best day!!!

Thank you for your dedication to your students, Mrs. Richardson!

SCA TEACHER SPOTLIGHT | Mrs. Jessica Hardin

Mrs. Jessica Hardin is new to Sherwood Christian Academy this year, but not new to education! She teaches 6th, 7th and 8th science classes and uses a fun hands-on approach to learning like erupting model volcanoes, eating cell models after identifying organelles and functions, and experimenting with Newton’s three laws of motion. We’re excited to welcome Mrs. Hardin as part of SCA’s middle school faculty. Here are some interesting things to note about Mrs. Hardin:

Graduated Cum Laude with a BA from Mercer University
Major: Psychology (Biopsychology)
Minor: Chemistry and Art

YEARS LEADING IN EDUCATION: This is my 13th year teaching!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT TEACHING?: One of my favorite things about teaching is when I see a student’s face light up when they understand a little bit more about the world that God created for them. Seeing a child help another child understand something they love is also a wonderful moment for me. But most importantly, I get to witness kids grow up and grow closer to Christ in their daily walk. This is my prayer for all students everywhere!

FAVORITE SNACK: I love anything coconut and honey mustard pretzels. (I know, I’m weird!)

HIDDEN TALENT: I have played bluegrass music for about 16 or 17 years. My husband and I are in a group that travels to various churches and functions in Georgia playing music. I also love to sing with my husband too! I also enjoy drawing and painting.

TEACHING AT SCA: God very clearly opened the door for me to teach at SCA one year after my daughter Sarah came in 3rd grade. Ever since I made the decision to walk through that door and grasp onto His will, I have been so blessed by the staff and families at SCA.  I hope to grow in my position as middle school science teacher and do my part to foster the love of God’s creation! Thank you all for the support I have received so far!

Welcome to SCA, Mrs. Hardin!