Graduating Seniors Offer Insights in Chapel

Two student athletes — Sydney Jimenez and Allison Rohn — were the first of eight graduating seniors who will share their reflections with their peers during chapel this week.

Faculty members recommend senior chapel speakers based on who they think would be a good encouragement to their peers. Sam Theriault, Drew Mydock and Josh Bartz will speak at Thursday’s chapel, followed by Jake Graybill, Ellie Graziadei and Charis Flake on Friday.

Sydney Jimenez shares a motivating message during senior chapel on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 in the Rubin Arena.Jimenez, an exercise science major from Ocala, Florida, urged students to let “haters” — those who constantly criticize and undermine others — motivate them to work hard. The soccer player illustrated her point by telling a story about a pair of cleats that she asked her mother to buy her when she was in middle school. Mom said she’d buy the cleats only if Jimenez could juggle a ball in the store using only her feet.

Jimenez didn’t succeed that day, but she went home and practiced. And practiced. And practiced. Two months later, a different pair of shoes caught her eye. Her mother made her the same deal, and Jimenez went home with new shoes.

“It was just so spectacular. Ever since then, I love proving people wrong,” Jimenez said.

Rohn, a sports broadcasting major from Cedar Lake, Indiana, shared two lessons she learned from her time here: “Be where your feet are,” and “Embrace God’s will for your life.” Rohn admits she didn’t always do those two things well, especially during her first two years at PBA.

As a freshman, she was scared and homesick. She was new to living on her own, going to class after a lifetime of homeschooling and playing college volleyball. She spent most of her time in her dorm room, hoping to FaceTime with her then-boyfriend, who attended another school.

“I wasn’t mentally or emotionally here,” Rohn said. “I missed out on so much that was going on around me.”

After the heartache of a broken relationship, Rohn learned that it wasn’t good for her to be alone. She started investing in those around her. She kept reminding herself, “Ally, God has you where He wants you right now.”

Allison Rohn shares her story during senior chapel April 24, 2019 at the Rubin Arena. While she was still dealing with pain and loneliness and needed a friend, she remembered a boy whom she met her freshman year — Eli Bottenfield — and pestered him to hang out until he agreed. This fall, Bottenfield asked her to marry him.

Rohn had a tough break a few days before the opening volleyball tournament of her senior year when she landed on another player’s foot and hurt her ankle. She tore three ligaments and couldn’t take the court for the first 20 matches of the season. But each trial that she’s faced has become easier to bear, she said.

“I’ve seen how He has protected me and molded me as a young woman through these hard times,” Rohn said.

She closed with Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.” She reminded students that they will be filled with joy and peace, not because of their circumstances, but because of Jesus.

Photo 1: Sydney Jimenez shares a motivating message during senior chapel on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 in the Rubin Arena.

Photo 2: Allison Rohn shares her story during senior chapel April 24, 2019 in the Rubin Arena. She focused on two lessons God taught her while at PBA: "Be where your feet are" and "Embrace God's will for your life."