Community was the theme expressed by graduating seniors Daniel Schwab, Nicole Valentin and Cole Hopper the first speakers in Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Annual Senior Chapel series in the DeSantis Family Chapel.
Pastor Bernie Cueto introduced the students who, along with all of the speakers, were recommended by deans at PBA to share reflections on their career. According to Cueto, a great number of seniors are held in high regard.
“This is a record semester. We’ve had so many recommendations, we added a new speaker every day this week,” said Cueto.
|From left, speakers in Monday’s Senior Chapel were, from left, Daniel Schwab, Nicole Valentin and Cole Hopper.|
Schwab, 22, is a theatre-arts major from Pompano Beach, who recently played the role of “Adolpho” in PBA’s rendition of the musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone.” He expressed attending PBA was the best four years of his life. He also encouraged students in the audience, particularly first-year students to avoid what he called the “religion of self,” or self-preoccupation. “This is a poison to something we have in common – community,” Schwab said. “I challenge you to live wholeheartedly at PBA, take love of yourself and give it to someone else.”
Valentin, 22, an accounting major from Orlando is currently studying for her CPA exam. She entered PBA with what she described as a “hidden heart,” a fear of trusting those outside of her friends and family. She cited how positive interactions with staff at PBA, in particular Susie Best, a resident director, and faculty and students brought her from not knowing her purpose at the school to learning community is essential. She was eventually successful in becoming a resident advisor (RA), and has been an active member of student government. Valentin summarized James 5:16, “You need people,” she explained. “You need someone to confess your sins to and to pray with and you will be healed. A portion of my heart needed to be healed, and God used PBA,” Valentin said.
Hopper, 22, a cross cultural studies major from Mountain Home, Ark. received a serenade of “Happy Birthday” from the audience, as April 18 is his birthday. He made a connection between his reflections and that of his fellow speakers.
“The three of us have not talked about what we wanted to say. And at the core, we’re talking about a lot of the same things,” Hopper said.
He told the audience it is important as a student to prioritize, and the first priority is maintaining a relationship with the Lord. A lot of time is spent in concern over choosing the right major to prepare for career goals after college, and this can deter one from self-development, he discussed.
“The authors of the New Testament aren’t concerned with majors,” he explained. “We need to be holy, set apart for Christ. Help the poor, and needy. Stand up for justice, love one another and build community,” he said.
Hopper encouraged students to do well academically, but to appreciate this special time in their lives. And, ended engaging the audience in prayer, “Jesus help us to keep our eyes fixed on you,” he said.
Schedule of Speakers:
Tuesday -- John Warner, Bernard Knowles and Adam McGregor
Wednesday -- Shane Hess, Anna Karabensh and Matt Johnson
Thursday -- Arno van Vuuren, Josh Sharp and Jordon DeBord