If the Freshman Ryan Zearley that walked through Fenwick’s doors on a warm August morning three years ago met the Junior he’d become, he wouldn’t be able to be happier.
Ryan began his freshmen year by following the legacy of his sisters and joining the cross-country team. He loved the warm welcome and spirit of the team but found himself afraid to reach out and meet new people, both on the team and at school. In grade school, Ryan was quiet, shy, and unsure about things; however, throughout Freshmen winter, Ryan slowly saw himself growing in confidence through the new activities Fenwick offered like Academic Team. Freshmen spring brought challenges that Ryan had never encountered before: sports, schoolwork, and friendships became overwhelming and Ryan often woke up feeling sick and burnt out. These things left for a difficult and uncertain summer.
In his sophomore year, Ryan was ready for a new start. He was thrilled to be back on the cross-country team and renew his faith life. However, sophomore winter proved to be the most difficult time of high school for Ryan. Ryan got involved in a lot of unhealthy friendships and soon lost a majority of them. This along with family challenges caused Ryan to lose his sense of self. However, in losing this old self, Ryan was able to find who he truly was. “God used the wings of the flock to lift me up and show me His love.” Ryan says this because in the spring, Ryan had the opportunity to be a part of stage crew for The Sound of Music. This experience gave him hope that would only reach its height during a mission trip he went on in the summer where he discovered love more profoundly than ever before.
After the mission trip experience, Ryan has only continued to grow. He loved his junior retreat, acted for the first time in the fall play, sung in the spring play, had a life-changing experience at Kairos, and is more than excited to return to Tennessee for the mission trip this summer. Although, the most important thing for Ryan in all of these activities is his confidence in the person he has become. No longer the quiet freshman who kept to himself, Ryan now seizes every opportunity he has to grow and explore the beautiful world he has come to see. For this, he credits the Fenwick family and all of the people who have helped him along the way. Ryan is so happy to be a part of the Fenwick Flock and can’t wait to see the heights it will reach in the years to come!