Education, News

High Point Academy Alumni Spotlight: Arcadia Resident – Annie Diehl –

Courtesy Photo

By Norma Richman

“It’s nice to be important but more important to be nice” —Anonymous

Shortly after graduating high school, I headed out to Fort Worth, TX, to complete my undergraduate studies at Texas Christian University (TCU). There I double majored in Psychology and Communication Studies while also receiving a minor in Business. Working off campus at an insurance agency and also holding a position on the Panhellenic Executive board kept my days busy. With the tremendous support of family and friends, I graduated in May 2019 Magna Cum Laude. As most graduations are, graduating from TCU was a tremendous milestone in my education. All my years at High Point, high school, and college led to this moment as I would soon start my first full-time position in the world of working professionals. 

A few months after graduating, I relocated to Irving, TX, to complete the B2B (Business to Business) Sales Development Program with AT&T. This was a 6 month training program that provided extensive product training as well as familiarizing us, as recent college graduates, with successful sales practices. Upon completion I was successfully “placed” and accepted a position in the sales field as an account executive based out of Dallas. My placement happened to take place during the peak of COVID-19, so I’ve actually been working remotely from my home in Arcadia, CA, for the time being. Once safe to do so, I have plans of relocating back to the greater Dallas area to resume my work as an account executive. There I will have the opportunity to meet with my assigned mid-market sized customers and continue my efforts to mobilize, design, and implement their telecommunication services. I consider it a tremendous honor to be working to help keep connected both internally and externally with customers at such a crucial time. I’m excited for my career to continue with AT&T as I aspire to continue designing networks and providing connectivity to small and medium-sized businesses so that they may capitalize on the ever-changing technology surrounding communication.

High Point is so closely held  dear to my heart because it was the single most influential experience of my entire education. Perhaps it was the carefully selected curriculum or the high expectations of excellence upheld by teachers and faculty who cared beyond measure. Ultimately, the lessons and skills gained during my years at High Point are those that most greatly influenced my success in high school, college, and beyond. There have been many times throughout my educational and professional career that I look around and feel as if I almost have the advantage over my peers of disciplined study habits and a strong work ethic. I never fail to recognize the education at High Point that gifted me the immeasurable skill set I would carry on with me for the rest of my life.

I once returned to High Point while still in high school. I actually came onto campus as part of a presentation team to speak to the soon-graduating 8th grade class. Selfishly, I wanted to come back to say a quick hello and tremendous thank you to all the smiling faces that made High Point such a special place. The most valuable asset of High Point is genuine emotional investment that teachers, faculty, and staff members alike pour into students. Ultimately, returning to High Point, even just a few years after my graduation in 2011, emphasized how unique our “nest” truly is and how fortunate I was to have attended for 8 years (1st-8th grades). 

While all my teachers at High Point were tremendously influential, I’d have to highlight the caring nature of Miss Standing. Miss Standing was my 1st grade teacher, and I specifically remember the extensive efforts she went through to make me feel comfortable as the newest student at the brand new school. It was her efforts to see me socially connecting with my classmates that are vivid memories years later. After graduating, I would later come to discover that she too was new to High Point as my first grade class was her first full year of teaching. What a special bond we unknowingly shared at the time!

As I look back on my most memorable moments at High Point, most took place on the numerous field trips and overnight trips built into the curriculum. Specifically, one sticks out in my mind when our 7th grade class traveled to Camp CIMI on Catalina Island. We were scheduled to have a nighttime snorkel trip, and that did not align too well with my fear of the ocean after dark. Clutched to a classmate, all ten of my white knuckles dipped into water cautiously. A few successful minutes led me to believe that I was ‘in the clear’ in my attempts to avoid the teeming wildlife that lurked beneath the surface. It only took one leaf of seaweed tickling my calf for all that to go away in a matter of seconds. I hollered so loud that I’m sure I woke every sleeping species on the island. For the remainder of the snorkel activity, I went from observing the sights underwater to a rushed doggy paddle that would lead me to the safety of shore. 

Upon graduating from High Point, I attended Maranatha High School from 2011-2015. The transition was unbelievably seamless. There were even times during my freshman year that I felt I was bearing a lighter load than in my 8th grade year. Whether that be true or not, I know that I was more than adequately prepared to take on the workload of high school with great time management and self-organization skills. 

As I mentioned previously, High Point prepared me for the remainder of my education and the start to my professional career far better than I ever could have imagined. I’m grateful to all those who made the High Point experience like no other. It’s through the school’s everyday efforts and intentional care that I was changed for the better. 

As I’ve probably demonstrated by this point, I could go on and on singing the praises of High Point Academy. I chuckle as I think of a conversation I had with a childhood friend and fellow “Eagle”, Riley Worley, not long ago. We were comparing our time at different high schools, colleges, and employers. Aside from the remarkable fact that we’ve remained friends to this day, we were discussing the impact that High Point had on us during our respective K-8 years and beyond. Toward the end of the conversation we both decided that, given the choice, we would send our own children to High Point. The rewarding impact, skills for success, lifelong friendships, and lasting mentorships were far too great to not revisit as parents ourselves one day. 

January 20, 2021

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