Hey there! My name is Connor Derrick and I am interning here at The Nest Academy for the fall semester! Throughout these next few months, I will be sharing my experiences with the Academy, as well as creating Student Spotlights on each of our Academy students! (Check out my first post, on this year’s Academy senior, H’thin Rochom, here!) To start us off, I want to share with you all how I came to know about the Academy and how our relationship has grown since then!
When I first learned about the Academy, I was a sophomore at Mountain Island Charter School. Our student government was searching for a service project to help our community and my Spanish teacher, Courage Molina, shared with me about another school that she was working with which was called, at the time, One7 Academy. We decided that this would be a great project for us and we started making flyers for a paper goods drive for the academy. The drive was a huge success and we could not wait to take everything to the Academy and surprise them with it. We loaded up a bus with about 10 people in the front and the rest absolutely packed with toilet paper, paper towels, and other paper goods! I will never forget the look on everyone’s faces when we pulled up or the contagious feelings of joy and excitement that filled the room as we unloaded the bus!
I visited the academy several more times over the following years and every time I fell more and more in love. Each time I step into The Nest Academy, I can feel the love of Christ radiating through every person there from the teachers and staff to the students to every volunteer! This picture on the right is of my student government and the Academy students creating a banner for Emanuel A.M.E. Church after the 2015 shooting. The power of love and prayer in that room was undeniable!
After these experiences, I always knew I wanted to come back to the Academy to help in some fashion, but I never knew exactly how. I didn’t know what skills I had that could actually benefit the school. Now, I am in my sophomore year at UNC Charlotte as a business analytics major in the Business Honors Program. As a part of one of my classes, I was tasked with completing a service project and creating an e-portfolio of my experience. Right away, I knew I wanted to do my project with the Academy. All I had to figure out was HOW.
I’m not a teacher. I don’t have tons of extra money to give. But I have talents, God-given talents, and He will always make a way for our talents to be used for His glory. After discussing my options with MC and Kirsten, the answers became clear and I am excited to begin my new role with the Academy. I can’t wait to see the work that God will do through the Academy and through me this semester and how our connection will continue to grow!

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. [1 Corinthians 12:4-6]