When Kendall and Cameron January entered Prospect Ridge Academy as seventh graders in 2012, they likely didn’t imagine that 10 years later they would still be walking the PRA hallways. Yet both Januarys, graduates of the class of 2018—PRA’s first graduation class—found themselves back at PRA in official roles as the 2022-2023 school year got underway.
Kendall started the year as a third grade student teacher finishing her teaching certification then took over as lead teacher for one of the third grade classes at semester. Additionally, she also serves as head coach of the middle school cheer team. Cameron serves as a middle school student support services paraprofessional and assistant high school cheerleading coach.
Even as students both Kendall and Cameron knew they wanted to stay involved in the PRA community after graduation. Kendall hoped that would be in an official capacity as a teacher, while Cameron hadn’t anticipated being back in an official role.
“Returning to PRA has been a goal of mine for a long time,” Kendal said. “I always knew I wanted to come back. I look up to Mrs. Pratt and Mrs Wilkin as administrators. That’s one reason I wanted to come back. The elementary school staff is amazing. It is a little weird that old teachers are now colleagues. That’s been an interesting adjustment. But it feels really sweet to be back and welcomed with open arms again.”
Kendall said she always wanted to be an elementary school teacher. During high school, she served as a student aide for one of the PRA teachers who also served as Kendall’s youth group leader and for the art teacher. Those experiences, she said, is why she wanted to teach.
“I feel called to teach. I have a passion for working with kids,” Kendall said. “It’s really problem solving all day long.”
Cameron’s full-time return to PRA was a surprise but not an unwelcome one. She was already working with the high school cheer team as the assistant coach when she came on as a paraprofessional. Seeing both the familiar and new has been fun, she said.
“My favorite part of being back is seeing all the changes the school has gone through since I was a student here,” Cameron said. “It’s been interesting working in the middle school and seeing three teachers who taught me are still teaching. It’s also cool to see how the building has changed and continues to change with the new construction that’s happening.”
A career that serves children also appealed to Cameron whose goal for the future is to complete a master’s degree in social work. After becoming a licensed clinical social worker, she would like to work at Children’s Hospital doing psychiatric evaluations.
“The social work field is a flexible one so I can look forward to not being stuck in one job for the rest of my life,” Cameron said.
Both Kendall and Cameron embraced their time at PRA getting involved during middle and high school years at PRA. They played volleyball and basketball in middle school before settling on volleyball and cheerleading in high school. Kendall also served on student council her freshman year. They became a Miner family as their mom served on the board of directors and their older brother served as a PRA basketball coach.
Kendall said PRA overly prepared her for college. Having attended a local public school through sixth grade, she said she felt the PRA difference. The smaller community and class sizes allowed them to get involved and to be known. Kendall said she had teachers who were memorable and involved, and there are teachers she remains in touch with.
“I put in what I wanted to get out of PRA,” she said. “Being at PRA helped shape who I am. I did my senior year capstone project with the elementary department at my church, which gave me a glimpse of teaching. Being a cheerleader really helped me break out of being shyness and be more outgoing. The academics taught me hard work and determination. At times I had lower grades and worked with math tutors, but I learned that hard work pays off.”
Cameron said it’s hard to pick one favorite from her years at PRA. Being a member of the first graduating class ranks as one of her top memories, as does the cheer team going to to nationals in Orlando her senior year.
“Being able to experience that and have that opportunity to represent the school on a national level was unforgettable,” Cameron said.
Both Kendall and Cameron are looking forward to the class of 2018’s five-year reunion, which will be held on Friday, May 12. Kendall said they are hoping the majority of their classmates choose to back and celebrate the milestone as a class.
By Amy G. Partain
PRA Communications Manager