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Nathan Paul

5 Things to Help You Prepare for the First Day of School

By Home News, Better Together Blog

5 Things to Help You Prepare for the

First Day of School

1. Review Our Quick Reference Guides

One of the first things you’ll need to begin preparing for your year at Portsmouth Christian Academy is to read through our school-specific Quick Reference Guides. These guides are usually about 15 pages long, but are chocked full of helpful information about the upcoming school year, including Arrival and Dismissal procedures, lunch sign-ups, and the yearly calendar.

Take a look at this year’s Quick Reference Guides here:


Lower School and Middle School

Upper School

2. Take a Look at the Dress Code

At Portsmouth Christian Academy, we believe that a student’s individuality is more properly expressed by what he or she does and believes than by what he or she wears. Therefore, our dress code, across the school, is meant to promote neat and modest fashion that encourages our students to focus their attention on their pursuit of meaningful skills and experiences in and outside the classroom as opposed to the latest fashions. can be found on Page 10 of the Upper School Quick Reference Guide

You can find the dress codes for our Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools here:

Lower and Middle School

Upper School Dress Code can be found on Page 10 of the Upper School Quick Reference Guide.

3. Stock up on School Supplies

Each class your child takes at Portsmouth Christian Academy requires a different set of supplies. Some are subject-specific like rulers or instruments. Others are more broad, like notebooks, pencils, and crayons. We want to make sure your child is fully equipped to learn, create, problem solve, and explore as a student here at Portsmouth Christian Academy.

You can find the Supply Lists for our Preschool, Lower, Middle, and Upper School here:


Lower/Middle School

Upper School

4. Review our Arrival and Dismissal Procedures

The first day of school is full of tangible energy—and lots of cars! Once you’ve experienced the Arrival and Dismissal lines once, you’ll be dropping off and picking up your kids like a pro! Before you drop your student off (prior to 8:10am), take a look at the route you’ll take to drop off your PCA student(s).

You can find the explainer video for our Arrival and Dismissal procedures below.

5. Ask Us Anything You Need!

We welcome at least 130 new students to our community every year. That’s over 80 new families figuring out everything mentioned in this article—and we’re here to help you at every step of the way!

If you have any questions about what to expect in your upcoming school year, please reach out to our administrative team to get all your questions answered! The contact information for your child’s school level is laid out below.


Harlee Tuttle, Preschool Director |

Sue McKenney, Lower School Administrative Assistant |

Lower School:

Carrie Abood, Lower School Principal |

Daphne Corso, Assistant Lower School Principal |

Sue McKenney, Lower School Administrative Assistant |

Middle School:

Lois Blatchley, Middle School Principal |

Sue McKenney, Lower School Administrative Assistant |

Upper School:

Jordan Heckelmann, Upper School Principal |

Amy St. John, Upper School Administrative Assistant |

Stephen Foley, Dean of Men |

Rebekah Shoemaker, Dean of Women |

7th Grade Students Impact the World for Good: Raise 7 Times Fundraiser Goal

By Home News, PCA News Stories, PCA News

By Elaina Russo, Director of Development

When Krista Brown from ChildVoice came to speak to PCA students earlier this year, she likely didn’t expect that the impact of that visit would linger and produce fruit months later when two of PCA’s 7th-Grade students spearheaded a fundraiser to support the organization. Enter PCA’s Anhar Saad and Truman Smith. I had the opportunity to sit down with Anhar and Truman this week to learn more about their fundraiser.

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We’re All Giving What We Can: A Reflection on the Auction

By Home News, Better Together Blog, PCA News Stories

Written by Nathan Paul

For those who don’t know me, my name is Nathan Paul, but most of the time I’m just “Nate.” If you’ve haven’t seen me running around at arrival or dismissal with a camera, or at a PCA athletic contest with a camera, or at a concert with a camera, or pretty much anywhere on campus with a camera, you’ve probably seen what’s on the other side of the lens: the pictures, the videos, and the projects I actually get paid to shoot with Dr. Abood. I tell people all the time that I have my dream job, and I got it before I even graduated from college.

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How Do Young People Learn to Serve?

By Home News, Better Together Blog, Uncategorized

How Do Young People Learn to Serve?

By Elaina Russo

We hear it all the time: pop culture is serving up a Me First mentality, with a hefty side of As Long It Doesn’t Inconvenience Me.

Is it any wonder that it’s not most people’s instinct to put others first? I’m not even talking about the big things, yet. I’m talking about the small things:

How many times have you witnessed a driver cut another driver off or not let the pedestrian cross the street? How many times have you seen abandoned shopping carts in the store aisles or in the parking lot instead of in the cart holders? Ever seen trash on the side of the road instead of in a garbage bin?

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PCA’s Paralympian Alumna Gives High School Coach a Special Christmas Gift

By Uncategorized

December 17, 2021 – Dover, NH – On Friday, Portsmouth Christian Academy Alumna, Liza Corso ’21, surprised high school cross country coach, and longtime PCA staff member, Mike Shevenell, during the school’s weekly chapel service, with a Coaches Medal given to Paralympic medalists to be presented to their personal coaches and trainers.

Corso, a decorated high school athlete with 4 All-State selections for Cross Country, 2 All-State selections for Track, a 4-year Team MVP, 3-year Captain, and holds school records in the 800m, 1600m, 3200m, 1000m, 1500m, and 3000m, returned to her alma-mater on break from college, where she attends and runs cross country at the NCAA Division I level for Lipscomb University in Lipscomb, Tennessee. This past August, Corso flew to Tokyo to take part in the Summer Paralympics as a member of the United States Paralympic Team. After placing in the top 4 in her heat, Corso moved on to run in the 1600m Finals, where she set a personal record and took home the silver medal.

Coach Shevenell, a 25-year member of the PCA Community and head coach of cross country and track, had been told he’d be introducing Liza as PCA’s chapel speaker. What Mike didn’t know is that, at the end of her message, she would turn it back over on Mike, surprising him with his own Paralympic Silver Medal.

“Coach Shev has always been there supporting me and encouraging me to push beyond my limits. I wouldn’t have this medal without him. He doesn’t know this, but I’m actually here to give him one of his own.”, said Liza.

With tears in his eyes, Mike walked up to the front of the school assembly, and joyfully outstretched his arms as Liza placed the medal over his head.

“It was such an honor and surprise to be recognized by Liza in this way. Coaching Liza has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of my 27-year coaching career.”, said Shevenell. “Watching her run Cross Country was an inspiration to me as she was able to run, lead and win races – all while having a low vision condition. It is hard for me to imagine the courage that took. But, she did it with such skill and grace, I often forgot the challenges she was overcoming on a daily basis. In all our years together,  there were very few times when I was reminded that she really doesn’t see everything the way the rest of us do.”

Reaching for the Stars: NASA-Hopeful Senior Lands Acceptance in Dream Aeronautic Engineering School

By Home News, PCA News Stories

PCA Senior Receives Exciting News Prior to Christmas Break

As we get ready to head off for Christmas break on Friday, many students and teachers are ready to take a break from school. However, school is going to be #1 on the minds of many of our seniors over the holidays, as early acceptances begin to roll in. Many of our students have applied to some big-name schools like Yale, Quinnipiac, and Seton Hall, and several are anxiously awaiting the response from their “dream-schools”. One of our seniors received that letter last week. This is her story.

Abby Oberto transferred to PCA from her local school in the summer of her freshman year. Change can be scary for anyone, especially for a high school student in the midst of a school change. Fortunately for Abby, PCA’s loving, welcoming community that we so often speak about was once again clearly evident in Abby’s first month as an Eagle. “PCA seemed inviting and a school that I could thrive in. My first month here was easier than I expected. Because of what I experienced in the past (at my previous school), the love and acceptance that I experienced made it almost too easy to integrate into the school culture. Initially, I was absolutely terrified to come here because I thought that I was going to be an outcast like I used to be, but luckily, my experience was the complete opposite. Coming here was the best decision I have ever made in my life.”

As Abby became more comfortable with her new environment, she quickly began to view the school community as her own, offering to help out in several capacities, even volunteering to be a tour guide for Open Houses run by the Admissions Office. “It honestly happened so quickly that there isn’t one specific moment that I realized that I was truly a part of this community, which goes to show how socially immersive the school is. The first time I ever volunteered was in my freshman year. Mrs. Sipp asked me to be a tour guide at an Open House, and I was incredibly nervous, but through those feelings it felt like I had done this for years, so from then on I kept volunteering.”

Volunteer–sure. But, Abby has now reached the point of involvement and servant-leadership at PCA where she’s sought out for positions of leadership before she even needs to volunteer. New to PCA’s Upper School program this year is a leadership development program offered to seniors, deemed by faculty, to be suited for positions of responsibility and leadership in one of 5 areas at the Upper School: Fine Arts, Spiritual Life, Unity, Athletics and Academics. Abby is the school’s Unity Prefect, sharing the responsibility with PCA Senior, Dylan Thyng.

“I joined the prefect program to make a strong impact in the school, specifically in student life. It has not only helped me grow as a leader, but as a person. I am stronger and more confident in myself, and in my faith, because of what I have learned from the program.”

In this position, Abby and Dylan are responsible for identifying opportunities to build unity between PCA’s Upper and Lower School student bodies. If you read our article on the school’s “End 68 Hours of Hunger” food drive this fall, you’d have noticed that Abby and Dylan were responsible for the Upper School’s involvement in the food drive alongside the Lower School. Abby and Dylan are now in the planning stages of a winter carnival, meant to build community between the Upper School students and the current 8th grade class.

But, Abby’s not just here to serve. She’s here at PCA to reach her own academic and career goals–the first of which she reached just last week.

“My love for STEM was fostered back in the 4th grade when my science class was doing its astronomy unit. We were given one-page, one-sided articles about each of the planets, and I was mesmerized by the information, so since then I wanted to be an astronomer. Then, I started to pay attention to my dad’s line of work. He is a machinist/manufacturer, and I found that so interesting too. So, I mixed space and tech together and got my dream career of an Aerospace Engineer. So, for almost a decade I have wanted to work for NASA, but I did not learn about Embry-Riddle until my sophomore year when the school sent me a brochure. The minute I looked at it, I couldn’t stop smiling, and I had this feeling that that is where I needed to be.”

From then on, there was no stopping Abby. She always knew she needed to work hard in her academics, but now she knew exactly what she was working towards. She was literally reaching for the stars!

“Since I have always been drawn to STEM, I already was focused on those classes, but how I viewed the information and what I was being taught changed a lot. It was no longer just a lecture or just some facts I need to know for a test that I will later forget about. I have truly absorbed what I have learned in my classes because I will be utilizing that knowledge in the years to come.”

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is a private university focused on aviation and aerospace programs with its main campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona. It is the largest accredited university system specializing in aviation and aerospace. As the world’s most respected aeronautical university, entry into the program is quite competitive.

But, that didn’t stop Abby from making it her first “space mission”–and we’re all so glad it didn’t. Last week, Abby checked her mailbox and found “the blue box”, something Abby says is a tell-tale sign that she made her dream a reality.

“When I saw the blue box, what they send when you’re accepted, I screamed, but when I opened it and saw the certificate say, “Congratulations, you did it!” I started crying tears of joy. My dream that I have had since I was 11 years old had finally come true–and through my tears, all I could say was, “Thank you, Lord.”

When asked about her experience at PCA, and if she felt she’d been prepared for her next step in her academic journey, Abby emphatically answered, “Yes!”

“The moment I walked on campus my first day, it felt right. The teachers and everyone who has invested into my life here has allowed me to grow into an incredible, well-rounded young woman. Without the resources and the opportunities that PCA has to offer, I would not be anywhere close to where I am now. I would not be excelling in the classroom, as a student leader, and as a follower of Christ. I have had every opportunity to share and explore my passions and discover new ones. PCA’s slogan is “Preparation for Life” and the teachers and staff uphold that statement. I learned to collaborate and work well with others, my faith has been poured into and supported by those around me, and the support that I have from my teachers here and the growth that I have experienced gives me confidence for the next steps in my life.”

At the end of the day, that’s exactly what PCA’s mission entails: giving students the opportunities to try something new, the resources to excel at it, and the guidance to identify the best way of impacting the world for good with the skills God has given them. However, it’s up to the student, ultimately, to set goals for themselves as they progress through their academic careers. We’re reminded of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, in which 3 men are given 3 different amounts of gold by their master. In the parable, one man doubled his five talents, another doubled his two, and the last buried his talent in the dirt. When the master returned, he was irate to find that the 3rd man was so irresponsible with the resources he had been given.

Abby doubled her talents. In fact, she may have tripled, quadrupled, quintupled her talents! Abby set a goal for herself as a young woman, made use of the resources available to her, and accomplished that same goal ten years later. We’re proud of Abby, and overjoyed for the entire Oberto family. We hope to hear many more of these stories from our other outstanding members of this year’s senior class.

Learning Styles: The Analytic Learner

By Better Together Blog
Written by Dr. Connie Lawernce, Dean of Academics

Learning Styles: The Analytic Learner

Learning is a multi-faceted process and the student who knows how to use all learning styles will gain a deeper knowledge. However, while the analytic learner can appear to be the “perfect student,” like all styles, they have strengths and weaknesses. Praise God that He has made us able to learn in multiple ways! Read More

Learning Styles: The Collaborative Learner

By Better Together Blog
Written by Dr. Connie Lawernce, Dean of Academics

Learning Styles: The Collaborative Learner

Did you know there are FOUR different types of learning styles?

While recognizing your students’ learning style may not directly improve their learning, it makes an incredible difference in their engagement and motivation toward the subject. Bernice McCarthy notes in her 4Mat System that although everyone has all four learning styles, there is almost always one preferred style.

PCA uses this method to engage your students when learning new concepts. In these upcoming articles, I will be discussing each of the four styles and how you can support your learners at home! Read More