Young people come through Randolph-Macon Academy’s doors for many different reasons. Some want to enhance their level of education, some require more structure in their academics, and some want to be a part of a decorated Air Force Junior ROTC program. Regardless of their reason for choosing to attend R-MA, they receive all of these benefits that forge a well-rounded person, even under tragic circumstances.
Stephen Czarda ’09 found himself in the R-MA Middle School dorms in the fall of 2002, after his mother tragically passed away from cancer. “My father sent us to R-MA to get away from the whole situation,” said Czarda. “For the first few months of sixth grade I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be here, but I eventually grew into it.” Once Czarda grew into R-MA, it became his home and his family for the next seven years.
Czarda is an esteemed alumnus of Randolph-Macon Academy. He was a member of the National Honor Society and the German National Honor Society; he was even an R-MA “lifer,” a title given to those Yellow Jackets who complete grades 6-12 at the Academy. He was also an accomplished athlete, named the Most Valuable Player of the 2008 boys’ varsity soccer team.
After graduating from R-MA in 2009, Czarda attended George Mason University and earned both a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management and a Master in Sport and Recreation Studies. In order to finish his undergrad in Sports Management he had to complete an internship. In late 2012 he earned an internship with the Washington Redskins. What started out as an internship turned into a part-time position, and eventually became a full-time position.
Fast-forward to the present and Czarda is now the Senior Writer and Content Coordinator for the Washington Redskins. He serves as their primary beat reporter, oversees all digital content on Redskins.com, helps run all of their social media platforms, and yes, he knows Kirk Cousins. “My favorite part of the job is definitely traveling,” said Czarda. He goes to every game, home and away, and observes the game from the press box to gather his post-game recap stories and deliver live tweets.
Czarda recently visited R-MA’s campus for the 2017 Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony on June 1st to deliver the commencement address. His return to campus sparked many memories of the Academy, which helped him remember how the school and the people here shaped him into the man he is today. During his speech, Czarda specifically recalled the emphasis on time management and keeping up with a daily planner, two things he considers crucial towards his success in college and in the real-world.
An essential lesson he learned was to not only respect your elders, but your peers as well. “You can’t move up in life by being abrasive and not acknowledging the respect that is due to others,” explained Czarda. The close-knit community of R-MA allowed him to put this lesson to use on a daily basis, and it has, without a doubt, paid off for Stephen Czarda.