Alumni Story – Abby Thor

Abby Thor, Class of 2016, is attending U of MN – Duluth, majoring in Marketing Analytics. She is also playing Volleyball for the Bulldogs. We visited Abby on Campus during the Spring 2018 to ask her about her College experience and how her time at New Life Academy equipped her for higher level academics. Meet Abby.

NLA: Tell us about UMD and what you are studying and involved in.

Abby: I was just accepted into a marketing analytics program. It is a very select program that requires application and interviews and only selects 18-24 students per year. I’m really excited about this program and am just beginning workshops now. I’ll start the actual program in the fall of 2018. I originally started at UMD as an accounting major but knew this Marketing Analytics program existed. I’ve formally switched my major to Marketing Analytics with a minor in accounting.

As far as classes, it’s been going very well. The professors are all very personable and they’re good at working with athletics and the travel schedules. They genuinely want the best for you and are willing to do whatever they can to help. The classes are a good size so I know my classmates well. Overall it is a good academic fit for me.

I play on the Volleyball team and the team atmosphere, the team dynamic and the coaches have been awesome. I love being able to join Crew and plug into a community of athletes that also value their faith. I also have attended UTC, the ultimate training camp for college and professional athletes. You are pushed physically, mentally and spiritually – nearly to your breaking point so you rely on God’s strength to sustain you.

NLA: Looking back, how do you feel that the Academic program at New Life Academy prepared you for College level classes?

Abby: Being active in sports and taking 7 classes at New Life, many that were Upper level courses, taught me time management skills. Being able to juggle all my courses as well as afternoon practices and games taught me how to be efficient with my time. New Life also offers a flex time schedule that gave me opportunity to catch up with teachers if I needed extra help. I found that time to be very helpful in managing my schedule and keeping up on my schoolwork.

The writing classes that I had at New Life Academy helped prepare me for College level writing. The athletic community was amazing and Mr. Wetzel, the Athletic Director when I was there, was a good leader that showed me that you can blend sports and faith together.

NLA: Now that you are in a public university, how do you feel New Life equipped you with a solid foundation in faith?

Abby: I realize now what a blessing New Life has been in providing me with solid knowledge about the Bible. I now see what it looks to live for Christ in your workplace or college. I’ve taken all the knowledge that I gained and have incorporated it – my faith has really become a heart thing now that I genuinely want everyone to experience. I’ve been able to speak at Crew events on campus and have been able to reflect on the retreats we went on at New Life. They really helped me to grow in my faith. So many of my college peers didn’t experience that in high school.

NLA: Is there a teacher that you really helped shape you or had a meaningful impact on your life?

Abby: I would say Senora Stubbs. She has an awesome heart for her students. She cares about them and helps in any way she can. She even would come out to our games to cheer us on. She was personable and shared stories of her own life with us. She always took time to talk to us about our day – it wasn’t just about Spanish for her. Whenever I come visit New Life, I always try to stop and see her. I would also say Mr. DeBoer and Mr. Simmons as well. I really enjoyed Mr. DeBoer’s teaching style with math – he’s also really funny. I was able to identify that I really wanted to go into statistics with my degree. Mr. Simmons Bible classes were so good. I still look back at my Bible homework notes today. He was influential in equipping me with Biblical knowledge and he was influential in my faith journey.

NLA: What are your favorite New Life memories?

Abby: The retreats. I’ve finally been able to think back and appreciate that in the sense that it is a unique experience that many of my college friends didn’t have. The camp forest springs trip in 6th grade was where I finally understood what Christ did for me and I would say that’s the place where I finally understood and accepted Christ in my life for myself. It was no longer just my parents’ faith but it was when I made it my own. And of course, the class trips like the Bio trip and senior class trip were incredible. I was able to really connect with classmates and teachers on those trips.

NLA: If someone were to ask you about bringing their student to New Life, what is one thing you would say to them?

Abby: I would say that New Life offers a unique high school experience that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. It offers you challenging academics and a solid faith background. The teachers are not only teachers but role models and mentors. They genuinely want the best for you and are there to serve you. The community of friends is amazing and the school size is perfect allowing many opportunities and the ability to know everyone personally. It was a blessing to have those connections and the people that influence you really help you grow. It’s just awesome.