Article Courtesy of Online Tatler, Eamon M. '14
Photo Courtesy of alumni, Kelly Elias '81
A New Year: Benedictine Academic Convocation
Lou Holtz delivers keynote address to the entire Raven community
Well known television and sports persona, Lou Holtz, held the attention of an assemblage of over 1400 gathered Ravens in the Ralph Nolan Gymnasium at Benedictine College this past Tuesday, August 28. The entire staff and freshman class of Benedictine, as well as the full student body of Maur Hill-Mount Academy and the seventh and eighth graders of ACES were in attendance.
After an opening prayer delivered by Mount St. Scholastica prioress Sister Anne Shepard, an address was given by College President Steve Minnis and Academic Dean Dr. Kim Shankman. A video was then presented, detailing some of Holtz’s accolades (perfect season and national championship as head coach at Notre Dame in 1988, additional head coaching at the College of William & Mary, North Carolina State University, University of Arkansas, University of Minnesota, University of South Carolina, and the New York Jets in the NFL, television analyst for CBS Sports and the ESPN cable network, and five published books) as well as his family’s struggle with his wife’s cancer. At last the man himself, Lou Holtz, took the stage.
The gathered Raven community expected a talk on excellence, and they were not disappointed. For many, this was the first time hearing Holtz speak about life instead of sports. As a first impression, what was most striking was his sincerity. From the opening words it was clear that he was speaking from the heart. “I’m just a simple man” he said. “I’m old and I speak with a lisp.” “There are a lot of things I don’t understand.” And he mentioned several, including why hot dogs are sold in packages of 8 and yet hot dog buns are sold in packs of 6. And how a black cow can eat green grass and produce white milk and yellow cheese. He even did a particularly interesting and well executed bit of “magic”, in which he ripped a newspaper into pieces, folded it in upon itself, and then flapped it out again as a whole newspaper.
It was his endearing nature, tactful humor, and simple language that captivated the audience most strongly. But he also said some very true and insightful things about how to live your life right. “Wherever you are 40 years from now it’s going to be because of the choices you make today,” he said. “Let’s not complicate it.” He detailed his three simple rules for life: Do Right, do everything to the best of your ability, and show people you care. “It isn’t magic,” he said. “If you always do the right thing, do everything to the best of your ability and show people you care, you’ll always make good choices and when you get to be as old as I am, you’ll look back and you’ll have no regrets.”
He also gave a simple way to discover direction and purpose in your life. In any given situation, simply ask yourself “what is important for me right now?” Or in other words, what choice of action in your current situation is a positive step towards your ultimate goal of success and happiness? And whether the answer is studying more, avoiding that party, or telling your parents that you love them, you will always be looking for ways to improve yourself.
In conclusion, the Academic Convocation was a beautiful way to start the new school year. If I could add one (actually five things) thing to Holtz’s three rules it would be the attitudes of hard work and dedication, and the virtues of perseverance, faith, and peace. With these always in mind, doing right, doing your best, and showing people you care should come naturally.
Maur Hill - Mount Academy is a Catholic, international, college preparatory, boarding and day school located in Atchison, Kansas. Founded in 1863 by the Benedictine brothers and sisters, MH-MA provides a well-respected education to students from across the country and internationally in a safe, supportive, college prep environment.
For more information about recent events at MH-MA check out the student online newspaper! http://raventatler.wordpress.com/