When Sara Holley graduated from GPS in 2012, she didn’t expect to return to Chattanooga after graduating from Auburn University to work at her church. But armed with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she applied to the job as assistant youth director at First Centenary United Methodist Church and was hired.
As a Bruiser, Sara enjoyed science classes, particularly biology with Jenise Gordon, Head of Upper School. Her favorite tradition is Cat-Rat. “When I was a sixth-grader, it was special to have a senior who paid me attention and was excited I was there,” she recalls.
Transitioning to college was fairly seamless for Sara. At Auburn she found herself surrounded by classmates who didn’t have the GPS experience and saw them struggle with a workload for which they were unprepared. “Going to an all-girls school was helpful because I always felt comfortable speaking my mind in class and participating,” Sara says.
When asked what advice she might give to current GPS students, Sara says, “Even though it’s impossible to avoid, try not to worry about things too much but enjoy your time. Be present with other people and build relationships. Work hard but don’t let it keep you from making connections with your classmates.”
And while she knows it is only natural for seniors to be concerned about the road ahead, Sara says, “Don’t worry that you’ll not be ready. You will be prepared to to figure things out in the situation you are in.”
Today Sara works with her former youth director Troy Hamilton. She conducts Wednesday night dinners and bible study and games. She can be found coordinating Sunday evening activities and special events. You might also find her driving the church van in the afternoons to pick up inner-city kids for the church after-school program. On Thursdays she’s supervising the Reading Room. She is directly impacting more than 70 students who might otherwise be unsupervised after school, and many of those kids, once they reach sixth grade, get connected to the church group.
She’s making ripples in the Chattanooga pond that will likely have far-reaching effects. While Sara dIdn’t anticipate working with kids, she is glad this is where she has landed.