WCA graduate returns as teacher
After several years of being homeschooled, Emily Billings entered Westside Christian Academy in Westlake as a third-grade student and graduated five years later. This academic year she returned to WCA, now a K-12 school, to teach third grade.
“When I returned to WCA in the fall, I felt as if I was coming home. I always felt cared for and genuinely loved by my teachers,” said Billings.
Their love and care extended beyond her time at WCA. One teacher in particular, Kathy Foldesy, now the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and an Upper School teacher, was Billings’ “go-to” person in high school and college. When her father became sick during her college years, Foldesy was a consistent presence, becoming her life coach with a healing touch. Now as colleagues, Billings knows she can draw on Foldesy’s teaching experience at WCA. In addition, Billings was recently married. Now the women and their husbands have become close friends outside of the school.
“Our teachers spoke life into us, seeing us as the people God had created us to be,” said Billings. “I remember being told, ‘You are an honorable woman of God.’ It had a huge impact.”
Billings went to Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania, earning her Bachelor of Arts in English and Classical Christian Education. She made the transition from student to teacher after short stints as an intern at WCA and at a school in Fairfax, Virginia.
“When we know what the kids love to do and set high standards, it creates a love of learning that lasts a lifetime,” said Billings. Yet she was also surprised by her students.
“Kids are capable of so much more than we expect. They have amazing memories. They will remember a small detail from a lesson we had a month earlier and apply it to the current lesson,” said Billings. “I love their creativity and their love of learning. It’s exciting for me to see these life-long learners form.”
Another surprise has been the reception she has received from the parents of her students in her first year teaching at WCA.
“They are so gracious and welcoming. On the 100th day of school, I received texts and emails from parents expressing their appreciation for what I do and encouraging me,” she said. "I feel so blessed.”
At the school’s open house on Saturday, Feb. 27, Billings will be answering parents’ questions not just about the curriculum she is teaching but how her time as a student at WCA prepared her for much more than a job after college graduation.