SENIORS OFFER KEY INSIGHTS, LESSONS FROM PBA JOURNEY
As the spring semester winds down and graduation nears, Palm Beach Atlantic University students on Thursday got to hear some words of encouragement and reflections about campus life from two of their graduating peers.
Seniors Alexandria “Lexi” Redmond of Baltimore, Maryland and Amy Schatzmann of Tulsa, Oklahoma were among nine accomplished students nominated by faculty members and advisers from across campus to deliver the special chapel messages this week as part of an end-of-semester tradition.
On Friday at 11 a.m. seniors Kyle Anderson, Taryn Lentz and Philip Kalicharan will close out the Senior Chapel series in the Rubin Arena.
Earlier this week, Redmond was honored as the outstanding graduate in psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences. She’ll graduate Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree on May 5 during spring commencement at the Expo Center at South Florida Fairgrounds. After PBA she has plans to attend graduate school.
In her address, Redmond reflected on some challenging moments during her junior year when she felt somewhat ill-suited for two key jobs she had been chosen for.
“I was a pretty quiet and introverted person and so how I managed to get jobs in two of the most extroverted departments on campus, I really have no clue,” said Redmond. “I didn’t look, sound or act like the women who had the jobs before me.”
Still in spite of her doubts and lack of confidence, Redmond fully embraced the roles as resident assistant in Johnson Hall and Refresh coordinator for student leadership events believing they had a higher design.
“I knew that God had placed me in these roles for a reason, that he had a purpose for me,” she shared with the crowd of students gathered. “He placed me in a position of influence.”
That summer also proved difficult for Redmond as she grappled with the disturbing news of the senseless shootings of unarmed black men and attacks on police, which were occurring across America.
Redmond felt compelled to act and mustered up the courage to ask permission to organize a town hall meeting on campus on diversity, which to her surprise was granted. Unbeknownst to her, God had already been at work planting the seed for such an event as discussions about racial reconciliation had been occurring that same summer within the student development division.
That first panel discussion on racial reconciliation among student leaders, although difficult, was transformative and became the catalyst for many more campus events on this topic, Redmond said.
“This change occurred because students cared about this conversation and together challenged the administration on what could be done to make PBA a welcoming place for everyone, for all cultures.”
In closing Redmond encouraged students to be obedient to God’s calling and reminded them of three key lessons she's culled from her PBA journey:
Don’t be afraid to do something new
Don’t be afraid to challenge (within reason); and
Don’t be afraid to feel uncomfortable
“I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t be the leader I am today if I didn’t walk in obedience to God,” Redmond said.
Schatzmann in turn encouraged students to embrace their individuality and use their God-given talents in service of others and to do his will.
“Your uniqueness is your greatest tool to building God’s Kingdom on earth,” she said.
She told students that like a house, they need to build their lives on a strong and stable foundation, and for Christians that foundation is Jesus Christ.
Recognizing those God-given tools (skills, talents) and embracing them as uniquely divined is key to living one’s fullest potential as a Christian, Schatzmann said.
“We have to stop comparing our building process to someone else’s,” she said. “Your life is not a mistake and the tools that you’ve been given, you’ve been given for a reason.”
Schatzmann read Ephesians 2:10 as proof that as humans we’re God’s handiwork, something that’s not mass produced or built on an assembly life, but “specifically and uniquely designed.”
Schatzmann, a finance major and business studies minor and a nationally recognized Who's Who top achiever, will graduate Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from the Rinker School of Business. Following graduation she plans to launch a new specialty cold brew coffee business called Seaside Brew, and work part-time as a financial analyst.
Recognizing that “we’re all created differently” has been one of the most freeing revelations she’s learned at PBA, Schatzmann said. “That’s a good thing. Not everyone connects with the Lord in the same way.”
In summation, Schatzmann told students: “Stand firm on your foundation of Jesus Christ, take up the tools that God has given to you, and build away!”
Other seniors presenting at Senior Chapel this week included Jeanny Saint-Fleur, Zach Guinta, Josiah Kish and Gabby Lindquist.