TKA Announces 2015 Geography Bee Winners


L to Right: Ben Knight, Mr. Lee Daft, and Gavin Hall

Mr. Lee Daft, the 7th and 8th grade social studies teacher at TKA, congratulates this year’s winners of the Geography Bee.  Ben Knight (grade 7) came in first place, and Gavin Hall (grade 6) came in second place after the championship round ended in a tie and the gentlemen competed in a “sudden death” championship tie-breaker that lasted for 10 questions.  Ben will be taking a National Geographic State Test to determine if he is eligible for the state competition in the spring.

TKA students in grades 4-8 are selected to compete in the academy geography bee in which they answer questions about general world-wide geography, including questions about cities, states, countries, geographic features, and culture.  Many academy teachers present daily geography questions to their students in addition to the geography content that is integrated into the social studies curricula.

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TKA Student Wendell Thornton Receives Second Place in County Spelling Bee

Wendell and Carlisle

Wendell Thornton with TKA Middle School Language Arts Teacher Mrs. Carlisle

Wendell and Maddie

Madeline Reagan and Wendell Thornton


Wendell Thornton (grade 7) and Madeline Reagan (grade 7) represented TKA in the Sevier County Spelling Bee for students in grades 4-8.  Twenty-eight students from schools across Sevier County competed in the Spelling Bee, and Wendell came in second place after 12 rounds of competition.

Thank you, Wendell and Madeline for representing TKA well!


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Obstacles to Passion for God

Obstacles to Passion for God

TKA’s 2014-15 chapel theme is “Fire-Desire, Passion-Compassion.”  Focusing on passion during the following skit, TKA student Danielle Quesinberry challenges the middle and high school student body to identify their obstacles to passion for God.  What obstacles will you overcome?


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TKA Advanced Algebra/Trigonometry Students Experience Mathematics in Action

DSC00255 DSC00252 DSC00248 DSC00247 At a glance, Mrs. Zuber’s Advanced Algebra/Trigonometry classroom looks like it has been abandoned.  Students left their paper, pencils, and books behind as they went outside to experience mathematics in action.

Students have been studying parabolas as equations to describe the trajectory of an object.  Today’s lesson brought the concept to life as Jinxu Gu kicked the soccer ball across the parking lot from Jason Wu to Callie Greene.  Jason Wu and Anya Santee held the ends of the ribbon, which represent the roots or zeroes, which is where the parabola would intersect the x-axis drawn on the asphalt.  Mrs. Zuber was in the background watching the class implement their plans, and she was eager to share how proud she is of the students designing their lesson, planning the logistics of the activity, and applying mathematics to real life situations.

After the students carefully observed the path of the soccer ball’s trajectory, they used a tape measure and the coordinate plane they had previously engineered to calculate the coordinates of the vertex of the parabola.  Ben Morin held the ribbon in place to mark the vertex on the class’s parabola while Callie Greene, Jinxu Gu, and Nickolas Tilley calculated the height of the vertex.  The hands-on math lesson piqued the interest of elementary students walking to and from lunch.  Even though the fifth grade class had not studied parabolas yet, they recognized the coordinate plane drawn on the ground.  This activity left younger students thinking, “I can’t wait to do that!”

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TKA Students Participate in All-East Honors Choir

Congratulations to our East Tennessee Vocal Association’s All-East Honors Choirs participants. These students participated with honors choir students all across our East Tennessee area rehearsing and performing at the Clayton Center for the Arts at Maryville College November 20th-22nd. A special congratulations to Senior Kaitlyn Hayes who auditioned, qualified, and participated in the All-East Women’s Choir. Freshmen Honors Choir participants from TKA: Brandon Burgess, Luke Hussung, and Faith Williams. Middle School Honors Choir participants from TKA: Sierra Biggs, Jessica Cookson, Sarah Beth Day, Daniele Guo, Levi Hall, Diana Logan, Bethany Mobley, Halle Morton, Wendell Thornton, Grant Webb, and Keelie Whitaker.


L to R: Freshman Honors Choir Participants Luke Hussung, Faith Williams, and Brandon Burgess


TKA Senior Kaitlyn Hayes


Middle School Honor Choir Participants: (L to R standing) Daniele Guo, Levi Hall, Grant Webb, (L to R Kneeling) Sarah Beth Day and Halle Morton, (L to R Seated) Wendell Thornton, Jessica Cookson, Sierra Biggs, Diana Logan, Keelie Whitaker, Bethany Mobley


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TKA Scholar’s Bowl Teams Earn Unprecedented Success

The King’s Academy Scholars’ Bowl teams have enjoyed unprecedented success during the 2014-2015 season. Team A consisting of Mandy Huffman, Nathan Dowdy, Sam Rector, Danielle Quesinberry, Hanna Wilbourn, and TeamCaptain Tyler Pitney competed in the first round of the PBS East Tennessee Scholars’ Bowl competition against Harriman in a near shut-out game, with a final score of 270-45. The second game against Daniel Boone was a nail-biter, but TKA claimed victory 210-170 advancing to the “Super 16.” In the last game, TKA faced former champions, Dobyns-Bennett, but the TKA team played tough and concluded with a final score of 295-205.

Team B, consisting of Trevor Pitney, Leah Holley, Mason Fox, Frank Pornsopin, Taylor Weekly, and Team Captain Niamh Schumacher took down an all senior team from York Institute with a final score of 140-115 advancing to the second round of competition. TKA was eliminated after facing a tough team from CAK in the second round. 

“Both teams have progressed farther than in years past and we strive to build on this success and momentum for next year!,” Coach Susan Reynolds said.

Team A Scholar's Bowl

TKA Scholar’s Bowl Team A: (L to R) Sam Rector, Tyler Pitney, Danielle Quesinberry, Hanna Wilbourn, Nathan Dowdy, and Mandy Huffman

Team B with Emily Herndon

TKA Scholar’s Bowl Team B pictured with Jeopardy winner Emily Herndon who was invited to the taping of Scholar’s Bowl: (L to R) Niamh Schumacher, Taylor Weekly, Frank Pornsopin, Emily Herndon, Leah Holley, Trevor Pitney, and Mason Fox


Team B Scholar's Bowl in Action

TKA Scholar’s Bowl Team B in Action: (L to R) Leah Holley, Niahm Schumacher, Trevor Pitney, and Taylor Weekly


TKA Physics Class Holds Air Resistance Design Contest

TKA physics students were challenged to compete against one another for the best air resistance design. An object was tied to each student’s design and then dropped from the same height while being timed. The design that took the longest to hit the ground won.

102414 Physics Air Resitsance Group

TKA physics students Hannah Ayers, Taylor Norris, and Virginia Hayes with their air resistance designs.

102414 Physics Best Air Resistance

TKA physics student Sarah Morgan with her winning air resistance design.

2014 Festival at The Academy Brings Smiles and Fundraising Dollars

2014 Festival at The Academy Sasscer

TKA Cheerleaders and Dance Team sponsored a jail, and Festival attendees could use their tickets to put a friend in jail for a few minutes.  Miss Sarah Sasscer, arrested by second grade student Christopher Cook, is seen here with fourth grader Brelan Delius.

Each year, Festival at the Academy brings smiles to the faces of academy friends and families while raising money for the teachers, clubs, etc. who choose to host fun activities or sell carnival-style food. The 2014 Festival was a huge success, raising over $16,000 for TKA teachers and various school causes.

Thank you to The King’s Academy family and the Seymour community for your support!

International Students Learn About Christianity

2014 ESL Students Learn About Baptism

The King’s Academy has a Bible class specifically designed for international students with little to no knowledge of the Bible, and additionally looking to help them improve in their understanding and grasp of the English language. This class consists of Chinese and Japanese students, with most of them never hearing of Jesus before arriving on campus. After reading through the Gospel of John, watching The Jesus Film, and completing other various tasks related to vocabulary associated with Christianity, the ESL Bible class traveled to Sevier Heights on the afternoon of October 9, 2014.

While at Sevier Heights, Andy Langston escorted the students and Mr. Fultz around their main campus. The students listened to ministry leaders in various locations, including topics such as the nature of the Church, children’s ministry, counseling, music, youth ministry, small groups, and baptism. The international students were able to gather around the baptistery at SHBC, and witness Youth Minister Eric Palmer discuss baptism from within the baptistery. One Chinese student even asked the question “how do I become a Christian?” After touring through the different ministry destinations, SHBC treated the students to Chick-Fil-A cookies, a student ministry t-shirt, and a devotional book. As the old saying goes, “a good time was had by all.”


Reading the Bible – Expanding Our Perspectives

– Thank you to TKA faculty member Emily Carlisle for sharing this helpful information that she presented to TKA staff and faculty during a morning prayer meeting.

We all have our favorite Bible verses.  Ones that leap off the pages of the Bible and stick in our memories because they’ve truly resonated with us. Perhaps they provide a comfort or a promise or a needed strength to us.  I want to focus on some verses that really never were my favorite verses, though.  In fact, they seemed largely irrelevant and eerily cultish instead.

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?'”–Matthew 16:24-26

These are key verses in the Gospel.  Peter has just proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ, and Jesus foreshadows his crucifixion to his disciples.  Jesus’ act of sacrificial love is the central component of our Scriptures, but His call to take up my own cross didn’t seem relevant to me.  I’m a literature teacher at The King’s Academy–my likelihood of martyrdom is slim at best. What does losing myself for Jesus’ sake look like, and what does Jesus want from me?

Actually, my job as a literature teacher is what finally made these verses actually mean something to me.  As I teach the great classics: Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare, I hear all too often the complaint: “Why do I have read a story that is hundreds of years old? How will I ever use this? These stories aren’t even real.”

I’ve tried to explain that good literature attempts to answer questions about what it means to be human.  We read because we seek an enlargement of our being. In reading, we have to momentarily give up our subjectivity.  We become objects caught up in a new web of subjectivity.  We give ourselves up to another’s perspective because we are curious, bored, or maybe aware of our own limitedness.

Reading captures the same paradox explored in Matthew–you have to lose your life to find it.  Reading is both a momentary obliteration of self and an expansion of being. C.S. Lewis finds this same connection in his 1961 book An Experiment in Criticism:

“Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality…In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.”

I still don’t believe I’ll experience literal martydom in my life, but these verses finally mean something to me now.  I think that they speak to a recurring motif in Scriptures of community: husband and wife, Christ and his Bride, the three persons of God.  We lose part of ourselves every time we love, every time we serve, every time we give.  But in losing part of our subjecthood, we gain so much more. Our sense of self expands to a much larger, stronger community that we would never experience if we limited ourseslves to a singular set of eyes, a singular story.