alumni reflection cj lewandowski

Alumni Reflection: CJ Lewandowski ’12

Words by CJ Lewandowski ’12

As a 2012 graduate, I was fortunate to experience some of the most influential years of Academy progress and witness a substantial change from School Spirit “back then” to what Academy School Spirit has now become.

When I first came to Academy, everyone was proud.

We were proud of the quality education we received. We were proud of the distinct institutions where our alumni continued their educations. We were proud of the professional performances we consistently presented.

However, in Academy athletics, the student bodies of schools we competed against significantly outnumbered our student body. This showed in larger team sports. It wasn’t long until the first of many big wins. Our first season of 7-man football changed that when they earned the honorable title of State Champions.

I can still remember the student body cheering wildly from the ONE outdoor basketball court for our football team, as they stood for the school during morning meeting.

It was the first moment I witnessed our school stand behind Academy athletic excellence.

Academy athletes soon had articles in the paper showcasing their talents and received college scholarships. Academy teams won district championships.

These achievements were infectious.

One student after another sat in front of their coaches at morning meeting, signing to prominent colleges across the United States so they could continue their athletic and academic career.

Another moment I will always remember is seeing, for the first time, our very own gym. Our school finally had a home to showcase and experience everything that Academy had to offer its students today and into the future.

 

Another moment I will always remember is seeing, for the first time, our very own gym. Our school finally had a home to showcase and experience everything that Academy had to offer its students today and into the future.

 

And then Coach Haslam arrived.

When Coach became a Wildcat, there were no more excuses for anything less than competitive teams across the board.

The stage was set.

By the time my senior year began, Academy was a serious competitor.

Our girls basketball team, led by members of my graduating class (Samantha Fernandez, Alexis Holler, Amelia Oliver, Abby Persky, and Yvanessa Vincent), packed the gym with Academy spectators as well as locals from the Land O’ Lakes area.

Academy was showcasing elite Wildcat Athletics.

 

Academy was showcasing elite Wildcat Athletics.

 

Our stands were packed and loud!

Student sections were constructed on the gym stage, filled with passionate sports fans and athletes.

A Real Team. A Real Fan Base. A Real Presence.

What continues to resonate with me to this day is the fan support of a high school team from young children to older adults all around the area.

Our athletic events are now electrifying.

That team went on to State Final Four and began the trend of Academy as a top private school program in the state of Florida.

Across the board, Academy continues to excel in all facets of the school experience.

Football has followed the same competitive track. I witnessed many games in which AJ Carlson ’12 was throwing touchdowns or Jarrett Harvey ’12 was having 200 yard rushing games.

Friday Nights belonged to our team.

These enhanced the pride of our student body.

Many of us competed on multiple teams. Seeing your best friends balance school and excel in all extra curriculars continuously boosted student support. This is crucial to such a small, personal student body.

 

Many of us competed on multiple teams. Seeing your best friends balance school and excel in all extra curriculars continuously boosted student support. This is crucial to such a small, personal student body.

 

And it happened.

We finally got the credit we believed our school deserved, and it showed when the Fight Song was played and our teams stood strong at Pep Rallies. Teachers, administrators, maintenance staff, and the High School to Pre-K knew how great it is to be a Wildcat.

Now, our programs are in a better place than they have ever been for our Academy at the Lakes. The student body is at an all time high, full of premier academic, theatric, as well as athletic, talent.

I don’t see it ever stopping, and I believe I will come back as often as possible to witness new, more prestigious accolades.

 

I don’t see it ever stopping, and I believe I will come back as often as possible to witness new, more prestigious accolades.

 

So it goes without saying that from my experiences at Academy, Blue and White Truth and Light, will forever be ingrained into my and many other alum’s DNA.