Joel Wright Named Head of SCA Boys’ Soccer Program

Coach Joel Wright was announced as the head coach of Sherwood’s boys’ soccer program in the 2021-2022 school year.

Coach Wright and his wife, Amy, have six children who have been enrolled at Sherwood Christian Academy since 2020, and the family attends Sherwood Baptist Church.

Coach Wright, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of nearly 13 years, is the Chief Legal Affairs Officer at Albany State University. He started his career in higher education at Georgia Southern University as the Associate Dean of Students for Military Affairs and then as the Director of Equal Opportunity & Title IX. He has also served the University System of Georgia as the Interim System Director for Conduct and Title IX. Prior to his career in higher education, Mr. Wright practiced law in the private sector.

Coach Wright played soccer from early childhood through high school before deciding to join the Marine Corps instead of pursuing soccer at the collegiate level. He has remained involved with soccer throughout his adult life including serving as a foundation board member of a professional soccer team (South Georgia Tormenta FC). He has coached soccer for 11 years (recreation, club, and high school levels) and is currently working on his USSF “D” license. He is already a familiar face as he assisted with the varsity boys’ soccer program this past spring.

Please help us welcome Coach Wright to the SCA coaching staff!

Sherwood Christian Academy Teacher Retires After 44 Years of Service

Sharon Howard, beloved kindergarten teacher, announces her retirement from education

After teaching kindergarten at Sherwood Christian Academy for 44 years, Sharon Howard announced her retirement from education in May 2021. Howard’s teaching career began at Sherwood Baptist Church in 1977 leading preschool classes. She has faithfully taught kindergarten since Sherwood Christian Academy was established in 1985. Howard holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Florida State University.

“A key part of the growth and development of students is a strong foundation,” said Sherwood Church Executive Pastor and SCA School Committee Chair Jim McBride. “One of the great strengths of Sherwood Christian Academy since its beginning has been the Christ-based foundational teaching of Mrs. Sharon Howard. She has left a legacy in the lives of hundreds of students and all of us on the faculty and staff who have had the pleasure of serving alongside of her. On behalf of the entire SCA family we wish her the best in her retirement.”

Howard’s teaching has spanned six decades. She has seen major changes over that time in Albany as well as at the school like a campus renovation that moved the lower school classes to one facility located on Old Pretoria Road in 2015. She seamlessly pivoted to virtual learning in March 2020 and back to in-person instruction in August 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Howard embodies being a life-long learner. 

Headmaster Dr. Brian Dougherty said of Howard upon her retirement, “A Mrs. Howard is a once-in-a-lifetime educator to have at any school. To impact so many students in the important formative year of kindergarten is invaluable. She has cast a long shadow of impact on several generations of students. We are grateful for her influence and pray God’s richest blessings on her in retirement.”   

She has received multiple recognitions throughout her distinguished career. In February 2020, SCA ’20 Alumnus Andrew Orr, Mrs. Howard’s former kindergartener, selected Howard as his STAR Teacher for having the most influence on his academic achievement throughout his primary and secondary education at the PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, sponsored, administered, and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) and the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.

Howard was awarded an individual grant from The Junior League of Albany, Georgia, Inc. through their Grants for Innovative Teachers Program in January 2021. This program provides up to $500 for each winner to support their classroom instruction and curriculum. Howard’s grant was used to further enhance the education and use of technology in K4 and K5 at SCA, including a mobile tablet lab with 12 Kindle devices to be used by students in each classroom for reading journals.

It is estimated that more than 1,000 students have been taught by Sharon Howard over 44 years, and her impact reaches beyond Albany. When asked about Mrs. Howard, many graduates of her kindergarten class immediately smile and remember fondly of their time with her – even those who are now in their 30s and 40s. A teacher of generations, Mrs. Howard recently taught children of SCA alumni.

Sharon Howard said of her teaching career, “One of my objectives was to encourage students to enjoy the process of learning. I tried to make school fun, exciting and to anticipate something new every day! I strived to help students know God has a plan for their lives, just as He had for my life.  The theme of my ministry was Jeremiah 29:11, which states, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’ It is my prayer that those seeds of hope and love were planted in their tender hearts!”

Parent of a student in Howard’s 2020-2021 school year K5 class, Rebecca Johnson, attributes her child Mazie Grace’s excitement for learning and observation of creation, like birds and butterflies, to Mrs. Howard’s serious, yet loving, instructional approach. 

“My child flourished in Mrs. Howard’s class this year! She dearly loves Mrs. Howard and is constantly telling me things she learned in class that go beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic. She has cultivated a deep love for God’s world, nature, and learning through Mrs. Howard’s eyes,” said Johnson. “There’s just something extra special about Mrs. Sharon Howard.”

Howard said, “I grew to enjoy five year olds who exhibited curiosity and wonder at seeing and learning new things. What a wonderful opportunity I had at introducing young people to our precious Lord and His creation! Thus my love for teaching children grew out of my love for God and His creation.”

Howard was recognized for her years of service at SCA’s 2021 kindergarten graduation ceremony on May 20, 2021. She plans to spend time with her husband Price in her retirement and, of course, watching the birds and other animals that visit her bird feeder in her backyard.

SCA Announces 2021 Valedictorian, Salutatorian

Sherwood Christian Academy is pleased to announce Ashlynn Dapper and Samuel Scardino as its valedictorian and salutatorian respectively for the class of 2021. 

Valedictorian Ashlynn Dapper graduates with honors and will be attending Anderson University (SC) where she earned the prestigious Presidential Fellows Scholarship for full tuition. She plans to major in communications. Some of her achievements include being the STAR student at SCA, headmaster scholar, and a member of the National Honor Society. Dapper has earned a gold medal for exemplary community service. She was awarded an ACSI Distinguished Christian High School Student Award and received the Georgia Certificate of Merit. Dapper also lettered in fine arts and participated in Spring Literary. She served as student body chaplain in student government and received the Christian Character award. Dapper was selected to participate in the Mitchell EMC Washington Leadership Tour. The daughter of Steve and Janet Dapper of Albany, Ashlynn has attended SCA for seven years and is a member of Sherwood Baptist Church.

Salutatorian Samuel “Sammy” Scardino graduates with honors and will be attending Columbia International University where he earned the exclusive Board Scholarship. He will major in business administration. Some of his achievements include being a headmaster scholar, a member of the National Honor Society, and Junior Class President. Scardino also received the ACSI Distinguished Christian High School Student Award and the Georgia Certificate of Merit. He has earned a gold medal for exemplary community service and a two-year letter winner in fine arts. The son of Reverend Mark and Karma Scardino of Albany, Samuel has attended SCA for five years and is a member of Sherwood Baptist Church.

Sherwood Christian Academy will hold its 32nd commencement exercises for the class of 2021 at Sherwood Baptist Church on Friday, May 14, at 7 p.m. Former Vice President of ACSI and current headmaster of Southside Christian School in Simpsonville, S.C., Dr. Sam Barfell, will deliver the commencement address to the graduates. 

Class of 2021’s Senior Walk Through SCA on Senior Day

We honored the Class of 2021 on their last day of school, May 5! Senior Day included the traditional Senior Walk and a reception for seniors and their parents. Seniors began the walk across the campus in the kindergarten and preschool hallway and moved through elementary, middle school and past the remaining high school classes. The entire school cheered as “Pomp and Circumstance” played overhead on the speakers and the senior class walked through the campus one last time.

Chad Warbington, father of senior Julia Warbington, was thankful for the opportunity for the seniors to be honored. 

“All the things the school does to recognize the seniors is special. This walk, the Drive of Honor and graduation help families and students build good memories at the end of their senior year,” Warbington said. 

SCA teachers and administration are proud of our seniors and what they’ve accomplished! This class switched to virtual learning in spring 2020, then spent the current school year at Sherwood Church’s campus to provide a safely-distanced environment for in-person instruction. Being back on the school campus today was special.

Senior Ashlynn Dapper’s mother, Janet Dapper, described the event as “bittersweet.” 

“It’s sad that one chapter is ending and sweet that another is beginning for Ashlynn,” she said. “We’re thankful the seniors were able to come back to the school campus today and see all the students again.”

SCA’s 2021 Graduation Ceremony is on May 14 at 7 pm at Sherwood Church.

SCA Teachers Awarded Grants for Innovation

The Junior League of Albany, Georgia, Inc. each year invites teachers to apply for grants through their Grants for Innovative Teachers Program. This program provides up to $500 for each winner to support and enhance their classroom instruction and curriculum. This year SCA is pleased to announce that three of our teachers were recipients of individual grants. Congratulations to Mrs. Sharon Howard (K5), Mrs. Peggy Bullock (K5), and Mrs. Vickie Knuckles (Music/Theatre Arts Instructor)!

Mrs. Howard’s grant will be used to further enhance the education and use of technology in K4 and K5. They will set up a mobile tablet lab with 12 Kindle devices to be used by students in each classroom. The teachers will further enhance instruction with the mobile Promethean Board already in the PK/kindergarten department. One of the first plans for the devices includes having the K4 and K5 classes create digital portfolios of their work using Seesaw on the Kindle. Students will use this for reading journals to facilitate conversation between students, parents, and teachers about reading.

Mrs. Bullock’s grant will be used to purchase additional books for the K5 students to support their thematic unit studies. Our kindergarten teachers add additional unit studies to their daily curriculum in order to encourage exploration and help increase their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The teachers often read stories to enhance thematic units (community helpers, cowboys, birds, kindness, etc.) and provide additional books for the students to enjoy independently. This grant will allow kindergarten to grow their class library giving the students additional visual lessons.

Mrs. Knuckles’s grant will be used for the project, Uke, Can Play the Ukulele. Learning to play the ukulele develops skills in students that are essential to creating music, mathematics, history, culture, social skills, and responsibility. Students learning to play the ukulele will learn music theory, ear training, composition, repertoire, improvisation as well as strumming exercises, note reading, rhythm, and scales.

We are very thankful to The Junior League of Albany, Georgia, Inc. for providing the opportunity for our teachers to apply for these grants and for their support to our local schools. We look forward to seeing all these resources being used in the classroom in the near future.

Mission Possible!

It has been almost three months since school began on August 7. It seems like such a long time ago because of the amount of energy and hard work put into our re-opening plan as well as the diligence employed to execute our plan daily. I am very proud of our faculty and staff for their selfless service to our students to keep them safe and deliver an excellent education in the midst of extreme circumstances. Being the first school to re-open in our community was challenging to say the least. We had all eyes on SCA, and many had strong opinions on both sides of the issue regarding our commitment to open with in-person instruction. We are praising God for His protection and provision that has allowed us to continue to have in-person instruction without interruption since we started.

All total, we have had only three positive cases of COVID-19 with no spread–two student cases in the secondary school which both were before Labor Day, and one support staff member in mid-September. This astoundingly low number is a testament to God’s hand of blessing on our school and the hard work of His people. Today, we know so much more about this virus and the many protocols that are out there–some heeded and others not necessary. Though we are not out of the woods, we are in a better place than we were in early August and hopefully headed to a much better place as each week goes by.

With great awareness and caution, we have begun to open up more of our student programming which is allowing us to get closer to normal. These include competing interscholastically in basketball this winter, expanding the use of the playground and media center, and planning field trips and small-group community service projects. I am so encouraged as we work hard to open up more opportunities for our students.

During our weekly faculty meetings, I have been having group discussions with our staff about our core values including our mission. It was important during this time for us to address this seemingly obvious question: How effective are we in carrying out our primary mission to lead students to Christ when we have to wear masks and social distance?” The truth is, like many schools, we have spent so much time putting safety protocols in place and being vigilant in enforcing these guidelines continually with our students that we may have lost sight of making meaningful personal connections that position us to share Jesus with our students.

The mission of Sherwood Christian Academy speaks of leading students to Christ as our most essential work. Evangelism at its foundation is the ability to have meaningful, personal interaction. In a school setting, it looks like one-on-one conversations that take place beyond group instruction. I reminded my staff, “We have done an incredible job starting up school and keeping it moving forward. It’s time to press in closer and have individual interactions with students that foster Gospel conversations.” The staff agreed in unison. They recognize that our hyper-focus over safety protocols has created distance between them and their students. You see, our essential mission of evangelism is possible even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic!

In the last few days, I have already heard about two students making personal decisions for Christ, and this news thrills me! With God’s grace and protection, and the courage and awareness of our staff, SCA will continue to be the life-saving mission on the south side of Albany, GA, that we have been for the last 35 years! To God be the glory!

Dr. Brian Dougherty

Sherwood Rolls Out New Technology for Fall Semester

From WALB: https://www.walb.com/2020/08/26/sherwood-rolls-out-new-technology-fall-semester/?fbclid=IwAR3U9kdn-KDpzp91c5SPUhFCMLbQkHLywXQBJb8j_NmV7C65PjNgHdmBCaM

By Jamie Worsley| August 26, 2020 at 4:21 PM EDT – Updated August 26 at 10:32 PM

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) – The Sherwood Eagles have been back for in-person learning since August 7.

According to the head of school, no COVID-19 cases have been reported so far.

Dr. Brian Dougherty says the start of the fall semester was a non-traditional success.

“Being the first school in the community to open up, we were excited and also anxious about how this is going to go because everyone is looking at us, of course. And I couldn’t be more proud of our students, staff, and parents. They’ve really embraced our reopening plan and many of the measures we have put in place. They’ve said this is what it’s going to take to be in in-person instruction,” said Dr. Dougherty.

As part of the school’s reopening plan, students are required to have their temperatures checked twice daily, using a thermal thermometer.

“The temperature checks are pretty seamless. It’s a part of our procedure. So when they come in the building in the morning, they are lined up six feet apart and they go in front of the thermal scanner and it automatically checks their temperatures. One by one, they go to our rooms. Before we go to lunch, they line up 6 feet apart, and all I do is just go down the line and check their temperatures. It doesn’t take more than about two minutes,” said Deborah Holman, a second-grade teacher at the school.

When kids do go to lunch, they sit on blue dots that are six feet apart from one another.

On each side of the lunchroom, kids face the same direction to eat.

In addition to these protocols, the school also hired a nurse as an extra COVID-19 safety measure.

“What a blessing to be able to hire a school nurse. It’s always been something we have thought about, but in this season of making sure to have a professional health care person on point for any cases or any other illnesses in our school, managing social distancing and contact tracing in our school, we needed that extra person,” said Dr. Dougherty.

Between the thermal temperature scanners, new air purification systems, and COVID-19 protocols that the school has put into place, Holman says she’s confident their staff will be able to handle whatever this fall brings.

“I know that our leadership has put many safety practices in place so that we can have a very smooth school year, a very effective school year, but also a very safe school year,” said Holman.

A copy of Sherwood’s complete reopening plan can be found on the SCA website.

Patrick Burke Commits to Emmanuel College

We are pleased to announce that senior baseball star Patrick Burke has signed a national letter of intent to continue his baseball career at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, GA. Patrick started his baseball career at SCA when he transferred in 9th grade.

Since the beginning, he has distinguished himself on the field. Patrick holds a career .545 batting average, a .934 on-base percentage, with only 3 strikeouts in his career! He has won the Best Offensive Player Award three years running and is a three-time state all-star in GAPPS (GA Assn. of Private & Parochial Schools). His bat will certainly be an asset to the Emmanuel Lions!

Defensively, Patrick will provide a strong arm on the mound and play the infield. He has been the number 1 pitcher in the rotation for the last two seasons for the Eagles, striking out 50 batters last year. He serves as a closer on his travel team (GameOn Baseball). Coach Jay Flynt is counting on Patrick’s arm this season to help the team make a deep playoff run!

Patrick will be majoring in Christian Ministry with a minor in History at Emmanuel. Eventually, he would like to go into youth ministry. Join us in congratulating another SCA Eagle headed to college on an athletic scholarship.

Curry Commits to ASU

Congratulations to Ketavion Curry as he signed his letter of intent to play college football for Albany State University!

During the 2019 football season, Curry set SCA school records with 988 rushing yards for the most in a single season and 2583 career rushing yards. He also set the school record for the most career touchdowns with 29.

Curry told the Albany Herald he is excited to go to a school close to home so his family can watch him play and that has an excellent music program because his intentions are to become a music producer as his career.