Graduation is an exciting and sometimes stressful time in the life of a StoneBridge senior. Leaving behind the familiar and heading off into the unknown can be both fun and frightening. StoneBridge alum and current P.E. teacher Katie Wingard, Class of 2017, offered some advice to this year’s seniors.
“It’s good to have a plan, but it’s even better to have that plan penciled in,” she said. “Don’t become too attached with the future version of your life you have created.”
“God has His own plan for your life,” she explained. “Learning early on to trust Him with every next step and be joyful even when it doesn’t align with what you had planned will allow you to grow in His peace and prosper in His plans for your life.”
Wingard, who graduated from Liberty University in 2021 with a bachelor’s in exercise science, said she feels blessed to have grown up in a Christian home with a Christian education. Growing up this way showed her how different Christians can be from the world and what a positive impact they can make through Christ. As a physical education teacher at StoneBridge, Wingard is responsible for teaching classes to students in preschool through 8th grade.
“I believe, by working at SBS this year and fostering relationships with the students, I have been able to further His kingdom. We are called to teach, to disciple and to encourage one another and as a teacher, it’s a big responsibility to act as a shepherd over our students,” she noted. “This is where God called me to be this year and I have faith that in my obedience, He has and will continue to use me to further His kingdom.”
Wingard attended StoneBridge from 7th through 12th grade. Class trips, such as Boston and Washington, D.C., and the Upper School retreat all quickly became favorite memories.
“Senior trip was probably my favorite memory from high school; seeing so many countries and trying new things was a great experience,” she said.
She also looks back fondly on her athletic experience at SBS.
“Whether on the basketball court or soccer field where we were sweating, crying, sometimes bleeding together, we grew close and had a lot of fun times,” she recalled.
But it was not all just fun and games during her years at StoneBridge. Talk to any graduate and they all will mention senior thesis.
“It was a great preparation, though I never had to write so much in college! The presentation and defense of my thesis provided me with the confidence and capability to excel in public speaking situations as well as written assignments,” she said. “I’d say that the greatest advantage StoneBridge gave me was critical thinking skills. Creating the mental pattern to reason and think through things was very beneficial, not only in college but in life.”
Her time at StoneBridge grounded Wingard in a biblical worldview and helped her find that lens to see the world through.
“I believe that has been the biggest influence on how I live my life in a secular world, because once you see the world through a Biblical lens, it shifts one’s self-importance, morals, and desires,” she said.
She admitted that always being surrounded by believers can sometimes become too comfortable and act as a “shield” to the secular world.
“We are not called to hide away to ourselves,” she said. “We are in the world, but not of it. My StoneBridge experience gave me a strong foundation to rely on and the knowledge and confidence to defend what I believe in.”
When not at work, Wingard keeps busy working out, hiking, going to the beach, painting, drawing, and playing games and sports. She is also a volunteer fundraiser for the Crisis Pregnancy Center’s yearly Walk for Life and attends CrossPointe Church in Suffolk.