Righteous Oaks

photo - Dec 2012 honoreesTonight, friends and relations of the Honors Program came out to give tribute in Trinity’s first ever December Honors Pinning Ceremony. We ran out of couch and extra chair space, thanks to a huge attendance from students in every year of the program, along with Dean Robbert, Pastor Bill, Dr. Sebestyen, and Dr. Keeley-Jonker. It was good to give tribute to five “oaks of righteousness” now graduating from the program. In case, you didn’t get to hear them honored in the words of our presenters tonight, here follows their artfully crafted words.

From Brian Hofman in honor of Trevor Schaap:

I have had the privilege of spending a lot of time with Trevor Schaap during my time at Trinity. In this time, I have learned three things about him. First, Trevor is an excellent student. From what I remember, there were four declared math majors in our class when we came to Trinity, and Trevor was the only one following the same path as me. Needless to say, we took a lot of math classes (and a couple of honors classes) together. I learned that Trevor always comes to class prepared. He is ready to learn and willing to contribute his answers and input, which are almost always correct.

Second, Trevor is a delightful research partner. We spent our junior year working together on a Vander Velde Scholarship project about the mathematics of cryptography. There were a few times we wondered if we in over our heads, but we always made it through together. Trevor always took care of his responsibilities and was more than willing to work with me on the joint tasks. I don’t think the project would have been nearly as fruitful without him, and it certainly would have been less than half as fun on my own.

Finally, Trevor is a great friend. We’ve ended up together in a number of places during seven semesters at Trinity, and we even spent a year living together in Alumni. I’ve always found Trevor easy to talk to, and despite our different sports allegiances, we’ve always gotten along well. He’s good at remembering details, asking questions about your life, and empathizing with your situation. Thanks for everything, Trevor. Here’s to you.

And from Leah Laky in honor of Megan Regalado:

I had the immense pleasure of living right across the hall from Megan Regalado freshman year. After only two months of knowing each other, Megan agreed to go to “the frozen North,” which was back home with me to surprise my family for Thanksgiving. A California native, she
boldly approached the cold. An even bolder move she took was accepting to face my crazy family. From the moment my surprised mother opened the door to the deer-stricken drive back home, she faced each moment with grace; so many moments that could have been awkward turned into moments of intense laughter — how great a gift it is to share in joy with a friend than be lonely in humiliation.

As if her radiant smile and laugh didn’t bring enough joy to Trinity’s community, she has shown true friendship through her loving and intentional heart. This amazing woman, although busy like every student, accepts and even encourages each person to be the person God has made them to be. She works hard to get to know the distinctive qualities that make us all who we are. More than anything, her balance of friend and sister in Christ is impeccable; her evident stronghold is Jesus Christ our Lord, but she also stays present in this world with sinful humans like me.

As she leaves to approach the next chapter of life, I, along with the rest of the Trinity community, recognize the significant gift that she has been and thank her for her generosity in love. May we all take a note from Megan by loving with open hearts and reaching toward others with acceptance and joy.

From Dr. Keeley-Jonker in honor of Kimberly Van Spronsen:

I have not known Kim for very long, but the more I get to know her, the sadder I am about that.
I’ve learned this semester that Kim is a careful reader, a diligent, self-directed learner, and a person who likes to set new challenges for herself.

I’ve also been really impressed by how well Kimberly thinks about events and ideas in their context. She uses her knowledge of historical events and political realities to connect the goals of various political speakers and their ethical implications.
This makes Kim’s discussion of rhetoric in her honors work for my course especially connected and grounded, and has led to new insights for me and, I hope for her.

I know from reading Kim’s personal essay for her law school applications that she is interested in law in part because she wants to stand up for other people, and she enjoys challenging herself.

In addition to these noble reasons, I think she will do well she is able to see her goals in the context of larger things, like the structures of society and God’s work toward justice. All this makes me very hopeful that she will continue to be a smart, thoughtful force for good in our world.

From Holli Moote in honor of Daniel Thayer:

When I first came to Trinity I was a little unsure of myself and my major, music. But I assured myself that everything would be fine, and I believed it (kind of). Then I came into the music office that first week. And there I encountered these people who were so much older than me, and they were certainly not suffering from the same kind of uncertainty. Dan Thayer was one of those people. I was so uncertain and he was confident. He was confident and he knew what he was doing. Great. Then I came to the theater, and there he was again. He was confident and he knew was he was doing. And I was intimidated. But, fortunately for me, I soon discovered that Dan’s confidence was not something that I should be afraid of or intimidated by. His was not the kind of confidence that seeks to assert itself over others, but rather I learned that his confidence was something that could be an encouragement to me. Dan’s confidence was something that he used to help bring others up and help them to feel more confident in themselves. His confidence is something that inspires rather than intimidates.

Now, Dan and I are both setting off on new adventures next semester. We will be in new places doing things that are yet unfamiliar to us and it may be easy for me to get intimidated. But, I think that just maybe next semester when I am feeling uncertain or discouraged, I will think to myself, “I bet Dan Thayer is feeling confident right now” and it will help me to yet again, feel inspired to be more confident as well. That is just one thing that Dan has taught me. So, thank you, Dan. And congratulations.

From Andrew Blok in honor of Brian Hofman:

Some might say Brian and I are each other’s oldest friends at Trinity. We did, after all, sit at the same table at the Founders weekend dinner. I still think that it was that meeting that inspired Brian on to victory that weekend and to an excellent academic record in his years at Trinity. But, since we all know of Brian’s academic prowess, I thought that I’d highlight a few of Brian’s other, lesser-known qualities.

One thing I know about Brian is that he is a staunch supporter of the Green Bay Packers. This came out after one especially close and tense victory over the Bears upon which he left his Tibstra room and shouted down the halls something to the effect of “I’m so happy. I bet you Bears fans aren’t right now,” braving the ire of his Chicago native floor mates.
Another thing I know about Brian is that he often utilizes, or misappropriates the transitive property. This says, if A=B, and B=C, then A=C. Following this logic, as Brian often does, we can prove that he is Frank Lloyd Wright, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Georgia O’Keefe, the founder of Gillette, and all the characters from That 70s show. Because if Brian is from Wisconsin, and all these people are from Wisconsin, Brian is these people.

Brian is also a pioneer in the realm of the Philosophy of the Killers, asking the important questions like “Are we human? or are we dancer?”
But, in all seriousness, what I appreciate more than these hilarious occasions I’ve had occasion to remember becomes clear in a consideration of many a Wednesday night when Brian would play guitar for us for hours, anything he could figure out, which was most things. And those nights on the picnic table in the dark, Brian helped us in doing what he does best, what I appreciate most about him. He pursues what he does to the point of excellence and offers it to his friends and to God as praise and thanks. Here’s to Brian.

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