Today four Wabash students gave the Senior Talk with cheers and tears, all well-deserved reactions after four years at Wabash College. I was struck by the way all seniors delivered there speeches today, from the Monon Bell Chapel Talk given by leading seniors on the football team to both the independent and fraternity men who spoke in front of Wabash today.
The speakers were Matt Paul and Jimmy Kervan, two athletes I have had an opportunity to compete with in soccer and track respectively, along with Rudy Altergott and J.J. Peller. Just to give you a short description of what each person spoke about, I will list their speeches in the order they were given.
“Lessons Learned” Rudy Altergott
Rudy started by quoting the Wabash fight song, “Dear Old Wabash thy loyal sons shall ever love thee.” Rudy will always love Wabash for the impactful lessons he has had, and continues to have as he will continue his education at Wabash into the ninth semester. Altergott spoke about learning to be a leader, and he strives to live his life as President Ford once said, to find “something good in everyone.” Here at Wabash Rudy is proud of role models such as graduate and future NAWM President Kip Chase, Professor Blix, and many more. In the words of the Odyssey, Rudy hopes that at the end of his Wabash experience he will have learned to “walk with giants.”
“These Fleeting Years” Matt Paul
Matt started with an anecdote about Sphinx member’s Francisco Huerta’s reaching out to him and other seniors for a “recognizable senior” to speak at chapel. Yet only a month prior during Honors Scholar Weekend, Matt successfully convinced Francisco that he was a prospective senior in high school! Matt cherishes his Wabash experience because he knows he could very easily have attended a more affordable institution. He views each seeming setback as an opportunity to move forward. Through Wabash he has made many sacrifices but has had the best experiences in Spain, Ecuador, and many other places. Although he will miss being a Wabash student, Matt says he will always enjoy being a Wabash man.
“Wabash College: My Safety Net” Jimmy Kervan
As a personal friend of Jimmy’s, I was unaware of the personal nature his chapel talk would take. Around this time two years ago, Jimmy was called home after his father suffered a traumatic heart attach that left his dad in a coma for eleven days. It was
Coach Morgan, Jimmy’s track coach, who he called first. But he received the friendship and support from professors, pledge brothers, and many others on campus. What Jimmy has learned is that forming close relationships is a difficult but worthwhile task, because if Wabash has taught anything, it is that anything worth doing is going to be difficult. Through Wabash, Jimmy made it through one of the most difficult times in his life and can look back with satisfaction at the friendships he’s made.
“Walk in Like You Own the Place” J.J. Peller
Perhaps the most humorous chapel talk of the day, Peller regaled the audience with the story of how he and his buddy used a career service opportunity to gain access to the best seat in Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, the booth. While Peller does not condone crashing the booth at any athletic venue, the mentality of walking with confidence and respect are aspects of a Wabash experience he has learned the most. Peller encourages students to get to know people at Wabash who have the ability to give advice and guide you on the road to success. He also encouraged students to make the most of their experience, and give back to Wabash so that other students may have similar opportunities.