Christ Church Episcopal School experiences have prepared graduating seniors for whatever comes next and to make a positive difference in the world. Each week, we will put the spotlight on a graduating senior from the Class of 2021. We hope you enjoy getting to know these amazing CCES students!
When Elizabeth Willcox first stepped on to the campus of Samford University last year, she knew that despite the torrential downpour, this was the place she wanted to call home for the next four years. The small, private school in Birmingham, Alabama offers many of the things she values – a strong sense of community, a welcoming and joyful student body, and core Christian principles. While Elizabeth applied to one other school, she knew it was always going to be Samford, and she says: “I cannot wait for the next four [years] at such an incredible place!”
Elizabeth is one of those rare individuals who knows exactly who she is, what she values. She has tried, done, and accomplished a myriad of things during her thirteen years as a CCES student, however, none of this has changed her as a person. Instead, each conversation, class, and trip has simply helped her further confirm what she holds important and what she wants her path to be moving forward.
As she starts at Samford in the fall, her major will be Early Childhood/Elementary Education, a decision that has been shaped through annual mission trips to the Dominican Republic through her church. For a week in July each year, she would teach VBS to a church in the local community. Elizabeth describes these trips as “incredible” and “eye-opening experiences.” She says, “Despite the language barrier, it was clear that the children there have such open hearts to Jesus, which was so beautiful to witness.” Although the trip was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, Elizabeth looks forward to having similar opportunities in the future through Samford.
In addition to deciding on her major, Elizabeth is also contemplating a minor in Art! Over the years, she has tried a wide range of extracurricular experiences, but from the beginning, she seemed to gravitate towards the arts. She has participated in the annual CCES musicals since the sixth grade and been a member of the choir since seventh grade. She notes that getting to tour Austria and Germany in 2019 with the US choir was definitely a highlight! However, her focus on studio art has been a relatively recent development. As a freshman, she jumped at the opportunity to take a ceramics class with Mrs. Kimmell, which quickly led to Sculpture and Ceramics II her sophomore year (she notes she had to sacrifice a study hall but it was worth it!). Then it was on to the AP Art Track, with Art Honors as a junior and AP Art as a senior this year. She calls ceramics her medium of choice, and one of her favorite pieces to date is a colorful dresser that will be in her AP Art portfolio. Elizabeth says, “It might not be my greatest craftsmanship, but it is bright, colorful, and very representative of who I am as a person.”
Elizabeth was able to incorporate her love for art, music, and more specifically, Taylor Swift, into her senior thesis project titled, “Big Reputation: A Critical Analysis of the Artistic Maturation of Taylor Swift.” She looked at a handful of songs from each album for different themes and analyzed how Swift has grown as a song-writer and performer. While she has never attended a concert in person, she is a frequent viewer of the Reputation Stadium Tour on Netflix, and her current favorite album is Folklore (recent Grammy winner for Album of the Year).
“Elizabeth is an old soul who values simple family time, self-reliance, and respect for all,” said Linda Schulz, Director of College Counseling. “Confident in her beliefs and unafraid to share her opinions with others,” Mrs. Schulz continues, “Elizabeth is at the same empathetic and supportive of others.”
Elizabeth certainly credits her family and this school community for shaping her into the young woman she is today. One of her most cherished traditions is a weekly breakfast with her dad, which started with trips to Starbucks before choir in the eighth grade. When she started high school, she no longer had choir practice in the mornings, but they kept their tradition of breakfast, shifting the location to Coffee Underground (go-to order of chocolate chip pancakes!) where the two discuss a wide range of topics. Elizabeth describes her dad as “one of my best friends” and will miss the breakfast dates when she leaves for school. As for CCES, Elizabeth calls these past thirteen years “foundational.” She says, “I have learned so much and I know I couldn’t have done it without the wonderful community CCES has established here.”
JUST FOR FUN!
Favorite class at CCES? English II Honors with Mrs. Nelson – I learned so much! And currently, IB World History with Mrs. Ferguson.
Most recent book? 1984 for Mrs. Carter; recently re-read my favorite series from Middle School while quarantining, The Selection (think Hunger Games meets The Bachelor).
Favorite coffee order? Iced coffee from Dunkin’ or a chai latte from Coffee Underground.
Favorite family memory? A surprise trip to Disney World when I was a Primer!
Top 3 bucket list travel destinations? 1. Tour of Scotland 2. The Holy Lands 3. Nice, France