Senior Send-off Tributes From Our WCA Athlete’s Parents

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As the school year winds down, we prepare to say our final farewells to many of our seniors who will graduate and begin college in the fall. As part of the celebration of the Class of 2020, we asked our graduating senior athletes’ parents to say a few words as we send them off from WCA Athletics…

Isabell Comber

Dear Isabell,

From the start of WCA, it was different for you, starting with the academics, the small classrooms, and the people that taught you about God. They were caring people. They reached out to you in a very difficult time for our family. The sports started very early for you with Soccer and trying out Field Hockey. Two hip surgeries created a standstill for a couple of years, but soon after, you were able to get back into the sports that you loved. I remember the middle school basketball games and watching with other parents in the bleachers. We watched you and the other kids grow up and into amazing women. Volleyball has been a super sport for you despite the wins being few and far between. It has been all about the growth at this school, learning about the goodness in the coaches, the team, and what the senior izzypeople have meant to you, Isabell.

So for many people, it is the “wins” or winning the Conference, but for me, it has been watching you improve with your skillset in sports, and the overall enjoyment and team spirit. I am very proud of the way that you stepped up in Volleyball and Basketball during trying times. A win was so exciting, but being a captain and team leader is the best that really could have happened! It will set you up for a productive life. Great job!


Nandi Davis

Dear Nandi,

First, your father and I thank God for shaping and carving you into the young lady you’ve grown up to be. We are grateful to God for choosing us as your parents. We have no words to express how proud we are of you. The years have flown by; you’re graduating high school soon and getting ready to tackle your dreams to become a physician. We have no doubt that you will make it at UMW as long as you keep God First and always seek His Wisdom. “If God is for you, who can be against you, and no weapon formed against you shall prosper.”

The compassion you’ve shown to others and the willingness to reach out to those you hardly know is amazing and your laughter is contagious. You are very driven, committed to your studies, a fierce athlete, very competitive, full of compassion – yet a team player and leader. During your tenure at WCA, you served as SCA Chaplain, have been a member of the Honors Society, Medical Explorer, Kiwanis Club, and the FBC Youth group Shikanna Glory “Praise Team” along with attending the VCU Neuro Summer Program. You were also a two-time recipient of DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), a three-time recipient of the NAACP ACT-SO Award, andsenior nandi served as a volunteer at Sentara Hospital Community Service, New 2 You Thrift Store, and the West Virginia Missions Trip to help the victims of a flood.

When you got injured a month before the last basketball game in January with a sprained ankle, the trip to the ER was not in the plan, but GOD saw you through. I didn’t think you would get back on the court, yet you surprised all of us by attending practice to support your teammates and insisted on playing the last game with a taped sprained ankle – that’s commitment, my dear! And the team played hard and ended the season with a WIN!!! A big shout out to all who prayed for your speedy recovery. Your father and I are grateful. We are proud of your integrity, conduct, and amazed at your maturity and study habits. Many times I heard a voice in the middle of the night at 1 a.m., and when I opened your bedroom door, it was you studying for exams. Your work ethic, character, and integrity are impeccable. The strength and courage you exhibit when dealing with difficult people and “all of a sudden” situations…you handle these things very well. We are going to miss you, especially on Saturday mornings when we make “Big Breakfast together” as Joel likes to call it!

Last, the sacrifices and commitment that we made to keep you at WCA for 13 years were worth it. We thank every teacher, administrator, counselor, and coach who took the time to encourage you along your journey at WCA. Well done, Nandi! Keep reaching for the STARS!!!

Your supporters forever,
Mom, Dad, Isaac, and Joel

Riley Linback


What a surprising ride the last four years have been culminating into senior year. You moved away from a school, friends you had played sports with since pre-K, a state, and your entire family to begin your freshman year at a school you had only visited once in a town and state you had only read about in history books. Just writing this makes me realize how much strength and perseverance you have. You have needed every bit of it during your time as a student-athlete at WCA. You have had great coaches that could bring out the best in you and you have had not so great coaches that didn’t or wouldn’t see your value. It really is the best possible experience you could hope for, because it prepares you for life well beyond WCA or your chosen school, VCU. That is the gift of being part of a team. You have earned lots of honors during your time at WCA in soccer and golf. You had the chance to improve your Basketball game and made great friends that I hope you will carry with you throughout your life. Your name means courageous…you have proven time and again that you are that. You experienced the loss of your Senior Spring season and, thus, couldn’t play your newest love, golf. Watching you improve and enjoy the game of golf is one of my fondest memories of you as an athlete at WCA. The joy I could hear in your voice after team play, recounting your shots to me, you going to the course to practice without anyone telling you that you should, you polishing your clubs and caring for them…it makes my heart smile. Thank you for the tears, the laughter, and the loss of every clothing item and valuable you have ever had because you left it in random gyms, locker rooms, soccer fields, and golf courses across the state! Most of all, I want to thank you for the memory of you doing something you loved to do. In Esther Chapter 4, Mordecai says to Esther “for such a time as this.” It is my favorite verse because it gives me comfort in knowing you are right where you should be no matter the circumstance you are in because God has prepared you for it.

Mom and Dad

Liam McConnell

Dear Liam,

It has been our joy to watch you play sports for WCA over the past 2 years. Even though your sport was football, you still put your all into WCA Soccer and Basketball. Whether it was Soccer practice on a really hot afternoon, a long Basketball practice, or games against tough opponents, you always gave 100% to your coaches and teammates. They could always count on you to show great sportsmanship, have a positive attitude, and as a captain, to rally the rest of the team to practice hard and play smart together. I know you will always have good memosenior liamries from times with Coach Scott, Coach JJ, Coach Calvin, Coach Kendall, and Coach Kenya. I know that your Athletic Director, Pam Gibbons, appreciated your heart for sports and your willingness to give of your time to run the clock and keep the scorebook for many basketball games of all levels, both home and away. You have been a wonderful and supportive brother to Joshua and Bekah in all of the sports they have played in these past 2 years as well. We will truly miss watching you play hard and be a fierce defender. We love you and wish you a wonderful and fulfilling career as you leave to serve our country in the United States Marine Corp.

Love always,

Mom, Dad, Joshua, & Bekah

senior jordanJordan Pearson

Dear Jordan,

Wow! So hard to believe the time is already here for you to see how all your hard work has finally paid off! It seems like just yesterday you headed off to kindergarten…and now, here we are approaching your graduation day! What an exciting time in your life!

We hope you had a childhood full of fun opportunities and enjoyed experiences with your friends that will leave you with tons of great memories.

When we had the opportunity to send you to WCA during your 8th-grade year, we couldn’t have been more excited about the opportunities that lay ahead for you! We had a wonderful feeling about WCA and just knew this was the place that you were supposed to finish out your school years. We thank God for blessing us with the ability to bring you to WCA and keep you there. While there, you were introduced to and quickly fell in love with the game of Soccer. We found it so exciting and rewarding to watch you succeed on the field. Additionally, you played on a championship-winning basketball team which made your love for basketball even sweeter! You were able to travel to other parts of Virginia and experience so many fun moments on the bus rides to those away games. These are memories that you will always be able to look back on, smile, and laugh at all the crazy times with your friends.

Not only did you enjoy athletic events, but you also made so many lifelong friends at WCA. We felt so blessed that you quickly fit into the tight-knit group of students that are in your class. You

formed close friendships with both the guys and the girls, and enjoyed activities both in and out of school. One day you will look back on this time in your life with fondness in your heart for all of these people who walked right beside you, day in and day out, through all those grueling classes. You made it through together!

However, most importantly, you broadened your walk with God! You studied His Word and participated in the most rewarding Mission trips. We were so excited about your trip to Jamaica and know that you had the most amazing adventure there. How awesome to share the love of Christ with the children in Jamaica. What an outstanding accomplishment!

While the future is uncertain, we know that God is directing your steps and will place you exactly where you are supposed to be. Always know that you have made us proud and we love you with all our hearts. Congratulations on your graduation! You deserve every happiness and success that life can offer! You will always be in our prayers.

With all our love,
Dad and Mom

Carson Pietruszynski

Dear Carson,

As we reflect back on your time at WCA, we cannot help but feel proud of what you’ve accomplished both academically and athletically. All of the hard work and dedication you have given to the game of Basketball is reflected in your personality and how you live your life. When it comes to character and integrity, Carson, you are First Team All-American! We know that you have made

senior carson

some wonderful friendships through Basketball. Your devotion to your team is something you can be proud of. Despite not being used to the best of your abilities your Senior season, you stuck with your team. You were also willing to put on a pair of cleats and play Soccer your Junior year so that WCA could field a Varsity team. That’s teamwork and allegiance! We are grateful for the lessons learned and memories gained. Watching you and your teammates through the years has given us great joy!

I know that we are slightly biased, but, Carson, you are such a special person and you deserve to succeed in whatever you do. We have every confidence in your ability to think and act wisely. Use your gifts to help others. Work hard and play fair. Fight hard for everything you believe in. Trust God. You will always be in our prayers.

We love you so much,
Mom and Dad

Laura Reese

My dearest Laura,

I cannot believe your High School graduation is finally here! I still remember picking you up from your first day at WCA. It was so strange because from preschool through fifth grade, we had always been at the same school (Some years even in the same classroom!) and now you moved on to Middle School. I was so proud of you that first day as you started a whole new academic journey on your own, and I am even more proud of you as your last day of that journey approaches. You have consistently worked hard and done your best, and that is just one of the many amazing things I love about you.

Along the way, there were many wonderful adventures including cultivating a love for theater (appearing in several school productions), exploring your artistic talents, earning a membership in the National Art Honor Society, and performing with the Praise Band for Chapel. I loved seeing your heartfelt response to being a prayer buddy every year and to those you served on the Mission trip to Jamaica.

senior reese

I know how much you learned about teamwork (and hard work!) during your time on the Varsity Volleyball team, and I’m sorry you couldn’t continue that with the Tennis team this Spring. I’m so happy you had the opportunity to be a part of a team and to learn the many valuable lessons that come with such an experience.

Your academic achievements stood out above all of the others, though, and I am so proud of your commitment, responsibility, and desire to do your very best. I have loved seeing your creativity shine through so many of your academic assignments and projects. You earned your place on the WCA Honor Roll many times and were inducted into the National Honor Society. But the culmination of all of your hard work was your acceptance into William and Mary, your lifelong dream, and with a full scholarship for your Freshman year! This is a true testament to your character, strength, perseverance, commitment, and your beautiful heart. Through all of your endeavors and all that you took away from them, you have grown into the amazing young woman I am proud and blessed to have as my daughter.

I love you,

Connor Simmons


Wow! I can’t believe we are here at the end of your Senior year. Academically, you have done a tremendous job, with Honors Society recognition and a 3.6 GPA. You have been accepted at every college you have applied to and have been awarded over 600,000 in scholarships so far! I could not be more proud.

Athletically, you have put your heart and soul into the WCA Basketball program for 5 years. You have been a big part of two Metro Conference Championships, one State Runner-Up team, a Metro Conference Runner-Up team, and VMAC Championship team. As a 10th grader, you were a swing player and a captain on JV. You played Point Guard and helped lead your team to a Metro Conference Championship. You averaged 17.2 points and led the team in assists. You were also on the State Runner-Up Varsity team that year. In your Junior year, you led the conference with 62 three-pointers and ranked third in Division III. Though you made many clutch threes in the season, we will never forget your three-point shot at the buzzer to seal the win against first ranked Portsmouth Christian. You guys came together with grit and determination after a rough start to make it to the Championship finals. We were all so proud!

In 2020, after working hard to recover from a broken wrist (rec center accident on the last day of school, junior year), you were a captain and a team player. senior simmonsFrom a long arm cast to rehab, you still made team events and did not miss a workout. You adjusted to a new coach, new teammates, and put in the work. You made over 50 threes and your shooting percentage was at 76% for the last 5 games of the season too, so way to finish strong! You finished in the top 3 on the team for scoring, assists, rebounds, and steals. Your effective shooting percentage was 53%. You had big games against Peninsula Catholic, Banner Christian, Hargrave, Grove Christian, Grace Christian, and Church Hill to name a few 🙂 Way to contribute, Connor! Other honors this year included VMAC season champs, Honorable Mention All-Conference, and All-Tournament team selection. Proud of you, son!

Thanks to all of your coaches and teammates along the way. I would also like to thank your teachers for keeping you straight and the team moms for keeping me sane. Many at WCA have made a positive impact on you over the years and for that, I am very thankful. I also love your friends and know that forever you will have brothers and sisters in Christ in your circle.

I’m very proud of your decision to continue your education (Health Management) and to play basketball at Lancaster Bible College. You will always be an Eagle, but now you are a Charger. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish. Thank you, Lord!


Will VanDivender


We are very proud of you and the dedication that you exhibited this year in support of the Varsity Basketball program. You were a valuable member of the team and helped lead your teammates to become the Conference Champions and participate in the State play-offs. Although the season ended not as you had hoped, your senior van divendercommitment never wavered.

You impressed us with your resilience, work effort, loyalty, and overall talent. You are an amazing athlete but more importantly, a wonderful person and we couldn’t be prouder of you. We wish you blessings and success as you head to the University of Tennessee in the Fall!

Mom and Dad

Jalen Vaughan

My Gentle Giant,

Congratulations on completing 14 years at WCA with PERFECT ATTENDANCE!!! I am so blessed and thankful that God entrusted you to me. When you were 2 months old, I gave you back to Him and He has covered you at all times. He continues to smile down on you and provides for you. He has given you a loving and gentle heart, compassion for others, and has equipped you to lead. Continue on His path as a warrior for the King.

Throughout your life, you have been a blessing and an inspiration to me and your friends. You seem not to have the word “no” in your vocabulary. You have participated in Swimming, Football, Soccer, Basketball, Coed Soccer, Golf, Musical productions, and Key Club and have volunteered numerous hours within the community. Many of these activities you were doing simultaneously while taking a class before school. I have watched you get up at 5:30 am, leave home at 6:30 am, and not return home until after 10 pm, all to start over at 5:30 am the next day. You have given up every high school spring break to take part in Mission trips to help others.

You have played WCA Soccer since the 6th grade. You have been on the Varsity Soccer team since 8th grade and have made the First Team All-Conference your 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade years. Freshman year, you were voted “Offensive MVP.” Sophomore, Junior, and Senior year, you were team “MVP”. 9th, 10th, and 12th grade, you lead your team to become Conference Runners-Up. You were a captain for Varsity Soccer in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade being named the “Most Outstanding Player” in the VMAC your Senior year, as well as “Virginia’s Player of the Week” in MaxPreps. In your Junior year, you were part of WCA’s first Coed Soccer team and were named “Offensive MVP”. You have played WCA Basketball since the 6th grade. You became a swing player as a Freshman, playing both JV and Varsity Basketball. Your Freshman year, the Varsity Basketball team won the VISAA Division III State Championship. In the 9th grade, you were named “Top Rebounder” for JV Basketball and 10th grade, “MVP” for JV. As a Sophomore, you were a captain and helped your JV team to win the Conference Championship. In the 11th grade, the Varsity senior vaughanBasketball team won the Conference Runner-Up. As a Senior, you were captain for Varsity Basketball and helped the team win the Conference Championship. Also, Senior year, you made the Honorable Mention All-Conference team. You tried your hand at Golf in both the 10th and 11th grade, when players were needed to make a team. Your first year, you made an Eagle during the Championship match. As a Junior, you were awarded the Conference “Male Scholar-Athlete” Award for WCA because you played multiple sports during one school year while maintaining a high GPA.

I remember when you were in Pre-K and you learned how to sign your letters and numbers using American Sign Language (ASL). I thought you were learning it at WCA and Mrs. Gillis thought you were learning it at home! We found out that you found an ASL book and were teaching yourself! You have become proficient in ASL and Spanish and have dabbled in a few other languages. So it is no surprise that you want to major in Linguistics and travel the world using your God-given talents in communications. In the Fall, you will head to Messiah College to study French and Chinese and become a Falcon Basketball player. You are going from being an Eagle to a Falcon…continue to SOAR!!!


Kailey Watson


I have had the best time watching you play volleyball, perform in plays, and lead at WCA. I will miss bringing you to school and having you stop by my classroom throughout the day. These years have been hard and fun for both of us, but you have made it through and I am so EXTREMELY proud of you. You are strong and caring and you help others around you to be strong and caring. You set an example of hard work, determination, and integrity. Your love for Christ shines in senior watsoneverything you do. I am so proud of the young woman you have become. I can’t put into words the amount of joy you bring me. I love you to the moon and back!

Love ya,

Franklin West

Since Franklin’s joyous arrival eighteen years ago, I became “No first name, just Franklin’s Mom.” I’m really looking forward to regaining my first name again! Watching you grow into such a wonderful young man has been the most precious blessing and honor of my life.

As I sit and reflect on the eve of your High School graduation, a myriad of emotions overwhelm me. Tears of joy and sorrow from disappointments and success’ along the way, we both have grown in God’s love! Our journey has been complex with many ups and downs but through it all, I have loved your tenacious spirit and constant drive to overcome!

While you have never been the “star” athlete, you have been a bright beacon on the Soccer field! I admire your willingness to always show up, ready to learn, and support your team members. Many lessons are learned from humility and you showed true courage for which I am so very proud! Please remember that winning is not always about scoring goals; it’s much more about character in the face of adversity. It was so kind of Coach to award you the “Heart and Hustle” trophy this past season. You will always be my star! I must admit that I will not miss those stinky cleats, uniforms, and gym bags…However, I will miss the camaraderie of the soccer moms and coaches. I am eternally grateful for Coach Scott, Coach “C”, and Pam Gibbons. Your encouragement and support of Franklin both on and off the field has meant so much! Thank you for being a part of our journey.

I am amazed that you have accomplished so much these past few years! Earning your Eagle Scout rank was an important milestone in your Scouting career. And, completing the Triple Crown…Seasenior west Base Scuba Adventure, Northern Tier, and Philmont! And, throw in the C&O Canal and GAP Biking Adventures! Thousands of miles of paddling, biking, and hiking! Now that is true athleticism!! You amazed me with your sense of adventure and sheer determination. I know these experiences have helped prepare you for life and I know that you will always look for another mountain to climb.

I have always been so proud of you, Franklin! You excelled in the classroom while balancing Scouts, serving your community, sports, and other activities. Now you can take pride in your hard work, diligence, and self-discipline! I hope you never stop wondering…You are off to The Citadel in the Fall to study Military Intelligence! Go Bulldogs! Wow, you set a goal and worked hard to achieve that dream. I can’t wait to see what great things you will accomplish in the next four years. Remember those who love you and believe in you. Honor your Heavenly Father and may you always seek His Word!

The world is yours, now go climb that mountain! I wish you love, happiness, adventure, and all of God’s Blessings as you embark on this new journey.


“Franklin’s Mom”

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