Lady Cougars celebrate six seniors on Senior Night

Published 8:50 pm Friday, April 12, 2024

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Grace Christian Academy fell to Georgia Christian Academy 8-0 on senior night. Lady Cougars head coach Jennifer Bacerra said she was proud of her team’s improvement from the beginning of the season despite the night’s result.

“I’ve seen a lot of improvement in all of them,” Bacerra said. 

The team has six seniors: Lucy Dowdy, Abi McDonlad, Kate McElyea, Alyssa Posey, Emilia Posey, and Ella Grace Straughn. Bacerra said the older group brings a lot to the team.

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“We really are going to miss them [after graduation],” Bacerra said. “They do really help us out a lot.”


Meet the Seniors

Abi McDonald has attended GCA for four years, where she has participated in soccer for three years and cheer for three years. Her future plans are to attend ABAC to get her degree in criminal justice and transfer to a different college to study law. Her life verse is Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

McDonald earned a spot on the GIAA All-State cheer team during this year’s football season. She was invited to Macon in December to cheer at the GIAA All-State Football game.

“She’s very enthusiastic and dedicated to the squad,” said GCA Head Cheer Coach Jessica Miller. “She’s just an all-around great cheerleader and person.”

Kate McElyea has attended GCA for five years, where she has participated in cheer for four years, dance line for two years, and soccer for one year. Her future plans are to attend UGA and major in ocean sciences, get married and start a family. Her favorite verse is Philippians 1:9-11, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.”

McElyea represented GCA in Hawaii in December 2023. The senior cheerleader performed with Varsity Spirit at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Honolulu.

Alyssa Posey has attended GCA for 14 years, where she has participated in Cheer for one year, dance line for one year, and soccer for one year. Her future plans are to attend Valdosta State University to become a speech-language pathologist, and to start a family. Her life verse is  John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

Emilia Posey has attended GCA for 14 years, where he has participated in soccer for two years, cheer for two years, and dance line for two years. Her future plans are to attend Valdosta State University to earn a degree in early childhood education with the hopes of getting her masters degree in occupational therapy, as well as start a family. Her favorite verse is Matthew 19:26, ”Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”

Posey was chosen as the 2023-2024 GCA Homecoming Queen.

Ella Grace Straughn has attended GCA for 11 years, where she has participated in soccer for four years, cheer for two years, and dance line for one year. Her future plans are to attend the Impact 360 fellows program. Afterward, she plans to attend FSU to obtain a degree in biology with the hopes of becoming a physician’s assistant. Her favorite verse is James 1:2-3. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

Lucy Dowdy has attended GCA for one year, where she participated in basketball and soccer. Her future plans are to attend college to attend Georgia College and State University and become a guidance counselor. Her favorite Bible verse is 2 Corinthians 4:18, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

This year is Dowdy’s first at GCA. She transferred to Grace for her senior year from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, after living there for two and a half years with her family. Her parents work with Campus Outreach, an evangelist organization that spreads “the relevant message of Jesus Christ to this generation of Brazilian college students in the midst of a jaded and complicated spiritual context,” according to the Campus Outreach website.

Dowdy and her family decided to move her to Bainbridge to reacclimate her to American culture in preparation for college. Her father, Jeffery Dowdy, grew up in Bainbridge and said having Dowdy leave Brazil was difficult.

“It was definitely a hard decision to let her go a year earlier than we would want,” Mr. Dowdy said. “But we want to prepare her best to be independent and to develop as a young lady, so we thought it was a good intermediate step.”

Mr. Dowdy said Dowdy has an “adventurous spirit” and has enjoyed seeing how she’s taken advantage of her time in town and the way the community has taken her in.

“She is ready to take on the challenges,” Mr. Dowdy said. “That’s really fun to be a part of, and it’s also part of the process of her growing up. She’s been a real blessing to us… We’re really grateful for how Bainbridge has received her, both Grace Church and the school, friends at school, like, that’s been awesome.”

Dowdy lives with her grandparents, John and Brenda Dowdy, while she’s in town. Mr. Dowdy said he’s extremely grateful for his parents’ commitment to his daughter.

“They’ve been great,” Mr. Dowdy said. “Lucy is very social, so they’ve opened their home to not just her, but her friends as well.”