One of the many joys of the teaching profession is watching students grow, evolve, and then launch out into the world. This is the time of year when we celebrate their achievements and accomplishments and send them out into the world with a blessing. For those students who choose to enter the competitive activity of debate, I honor them by penning a letter that reflects on their time and achievements as part of our debate program. This year I’m celebrating the contributions of two seniors, but I wanted to highlight the contributions of our debate team captain, as she departs to the adventures that await her post graduation. Her name is Morgan Martin.
As your coach and professor, I am grateful to have shared our time together as teammates and colleagues on the OBU Debate team. I noticed your talent from the moment you made your first speech in Advanced Public Speaking, and I will always be thankful for the decision I made to invite you to be a part of our team and experience.
Your smile is infectious and your laugh can lighten any moment. But I’m most impressed with your ability to listen to your teammates and to be a quality friend to all of them and all of us. We all remember with gratitude, when your family was so kind to host us at their home when we were in Northwest Arkansas, and I know you were a big part in facilitating that memory. It is always a pleasure when I have the opportunity to meet the families of my students, because it gives me a glimpse into the worlds that produced such excellence, and this is certainly true for you. Please continue to extend my thanks to your entire family for their kindness and hospitality and for loaning us your beautiful spirit for the past several years.
In your role as Debate Team Captain, you served this team with excellence. I appreciate the way you listened to your teammates and sought input from everyone for even the simplest of decisions. It is the trait of a secure and effective leader to surrender power in order to meet the needs of others. Insecure leaders and people seek to dominate others, but secure leaders seek to serve others. You are a secure leader. I’ll always treasure your good attitude, exhibited even in moments when we were all stressed and tired. You were always willing to order or even go get food for all of us, you made numbers of coffee and donut runs, and I witnessed that your example of excellent service was contagious, as many of your teammates followed your lead. Thank you for your service to our team.
I will miss you as a student, as you were always one of my favorites, I can say this now that you are graduating. I will miss you as a debater because of your cooperative spirit, willingness to always help others, and generally just your kind disposition. You always asked great questions and served as an outstanding representation of our team and program. I have no doubt that great success awaits you in life no matter what you choose to pursue.
My only regret is that we never got to race each other or compete against one another in some sort of physical activity. I’m sure you would wipe the floor with me, but it would have been fun to try to beat you.
May God bless you and keep you and cause his face to shine upon you. Amen.
Sincerely and with love,
P.S. I know at had to argue on the negative side of the resolution “Morgan will make a great grandmother.” But I didn’t mean a word of it. You will be an outstanding grandmother one day!