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Student Comments

Below are West Virginia University Students' comments about the Fall presentation of Student Athletes Speak Out held on November 10, 2011. 
Speakers Sports Speech Titles
Avery Williams Football Controlling Your Destiny
Tommie McCune Basketball Dancing in the Rain
Kari Post Volleyball Discovering Yourself
Jabarie Hinds Basketball Finding Your Passion
Bridget Carey Volleyball Spark Plug
Aaron Brown Basketball Drug Abuse
Michael Morales Wrestling The End of Your Arm
Keaton Miles Basketball A Stamp of Legacy
Halle Kearney Volleyball Not Everyone Lives
Patrick Forsythe Basketball Dealing with Life's Struggles
Abigail Monson Volleyball Remember Who You Are and WHOSE You Are

All of the speeches today at the Coliseum by the athletes were amazing, but the two that stood out to me were given by Halle Kearney and Abigail Monson, who are both on the WVU volleyball team. Halle spoke about how she lost a close friend of hers in high school in a car accident. While she felt her own grief, she was also concerned about how to comfort and be there for her friends who were even closer to their friend who was gone. Abigail’s speech was about her mother who died earlier this year after an eight year battle with breast cancer.

Just last week, two of my best friend’s mothers was re-diagnosed with breast cancer for the fourth time. While my husband and I are very close with her and the whole family, her two sons, and our good friends, are feeling even more pain than us because it’s their mom. So like Halle, we have to deal with our own feelings while trying to be there for our friend, and unfortunately like Abigail, breast cancer has been involved and has been for awhile.

Both of them left a very positive impression on me because even though all of our situations are terrible and sad, they were both positive individuals who grew stronger and learned a lot from their situation. Hopefully my story doesn’t end the way theirs did and she is able to fight and win against the cancer again for the fourth time, but if not I know there is hope for all of us and only with that we can honor and remember her daily like Halle did with her friend and Abigail with her mom.

I liked the speech given by Michael Morales. His speech was inspirational and he really spoke about how passionate he was wrestling. He described all the hard work and effort that it took for him to get where he is today, and he also thoroughly explained his goals as a wrestler. He really described what hard work it takes to accomplish goals in life. This is the main reason I enjoyed his speech because he really put emphasis on the hard work part and I can relate to that being a former athlete myself.

Another reason that I liked his speech was because he really presented the speech very well. He used good eye contact throughout the entire speech. He rarely looked at his notes, but when he did he did it very briefly. The second thing that I realized about his speech that was really good was his clarity. He never really stuttered or struggled at any point of his speech and seemed very passionate about the message he was giving.

The speaker who I am choosing is Aaron Brown from the presentation at the Coliseum. My impression of his presentation was very shocked and saddened for him because his Uncle, who he had grown up with respecting and hanging out with, developed a debilitating drug addiction, which separated and tore apart his relationship with his Uncle and witness his Uncle beating up his girlfriend. The lingering effects that this could have on Aaron Brown are very significant, because watching someone go through this turmoil and addiction, increases your awareness of it, but also increases your exposure to it.

So, by being more exposed to drugs with his Uncle having such a impactful addiction, it makes it easier for him to think about and possibly try one of these drugs, since a close family member has used these drugs continually and extensively. But, by being aware of the negative effects that these drugs can have on a person such as beating up and being emotionally hostile toward your family and other significant people, that it makes Aaron Brown more educated about these effects, which will possibly lead him into pursuing a different path which does not involve drugs. I thought Aaron Brown was a very good speaker and had a lot of guts to talk about the emotional and psychological suffering that he and his Uncle have gone through because of this drug addiction. His speech gave me a good perspective from his childhood culture and left an impactful mark on myself.

Keaton Miles’s speech left the biggest impression on me. It was different than most of the others because he actually had a positive relationship with his father. It was touching to see that he truly appreciated everything that was done for him. He also made it clear that it wasn’t always easy and that in high school he rebelled against him.

I thought that all of the athletes did a wonderful job speaking, but in my opinion, Keaton’s was the best. It was worded very nicely and he had a lot of eye contact with the crowd and seemed to be very sure of what he was saying. He spoke clearly and effectively and I will remember him while watching the WVU basketball team!

The Student Athletes Speak Out event had amazing motivational speeches given by current WVU sports players. A huge crowd gathered to watch each of them telling their stories. I was excited and surprised to see Bob Huggins and Oliver Luck along with news broadcasters and photographers attend the event. There were times during the speeches that I wanted to laugh and other times I wanted to cry. Each speech made me feel like I knew the players as they spoke of personal, moving stories that landed each of them the spot they are at today. I learned a life lesson from each of these players that I can apply to my life to make me a better student, daughter, sister, girlfriend, and all around individual.

I was particularly moved by Volleyball’s Halle Kearney speech titled “Not Everyone Lives.” She told how her best friend was killed in a vehicle accident just a week after being at her house. Her best friend was an energetic, full of life kind of person that never took one day for granted. She said he lived more in his short years than many people live over a long period of time with his fearless, bold attitude. I found her three lessons, treasure friends, don’t take people for granted, and live each day to the fullest, to be inspiring for me 
to live my life by. She has lived by these lessons and is creating a successful person out of herself by leaving fear behind and living life out of the comfort zone. By doing this, she lives and her best friend lives on too.

I think the speech that left the biggest impression on me was Halle Kearney’s speech, “Not Everyone Lives.” I related to it very well, because a boy from the class above me also died in a car accident very soon after his graduation. I remember how everyone came together and grieved, and how some people felt like they had things to say to him but never did. This speech made me realize not to take peoples’ lives for granted, because you never know if you will get an unexpected phone call to inform you that they have passed on.

There didn’t seem to be many cons to the speech; it was well organized, it kept my attention, and it was a good length. The only con I could possible think of was that Halle seemed slightly nervous behind the podium. I understand how she could be, however, given the fact that she was speaking in front of a large audience and being filmed. Overall, the speech was very interesting and it taught a good lesson.

Of all the speeches that were presented on Thursday, November 10th, 2011, the one that had the most impact on me was Abigail Monson’s speech entitled, “Remember Who You Are and WHOSE You Are.” She talked about how her mother’s diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent death helped strengthen her as a person and renew her faith in God. I found this speech particularly touching and though provoking because I am extremely close to my mother and I could not imagine losing her this young. I really admire the courage and strength that flowed effortlessly through Abigail as she talked about her mother’s passing. I think very few people have the ability to talk about losing a loved one without breaking down in front of an audience.

I think Abigail is a very gifted speaker and I think her message could apply not only to the school setting but also in a religious setting as well. Because she talked a lot about her mother’s faith in God, I think her speech needs to be heard in the religious community. I think it could also be something worthwhile to share at a grief support group meeting as well. I believe Abigail has the potential to inspire and comfort others with her message. And I think that is a gift in itself.

Every speaker had a very important message that touched me and taught me about their lives. Each athlete presented themselves very well. Some of the speeches touched on parts of my life and I understood what the person was feeling.

The speech that had the biggest impact on me would have to be Abigail Monson’s speech about her mom’s passing. This touched me the most because my mom has dealt with cancer and I could not imagine losing her like Abigail did. All throughout her speech Abigail had good voice quality and sound. She had good articulation and word use.

The athletes I found the inspirational, as I’m sure most did, was Abigail Monson. She had just recently lost her mom to breast cancer. I was so inspired that she was able to get up and talk about it without it seeming to bother her. There was such a bravery I saw in her that I made me feel inspired, that of all the troubles I have in my life someone else has it worse.

She also made me think about my mom and how much I would miss her if something ever happened to her. Abigail showed such bravery that only her mother could have instilled in her.

The presentations of speeches given by some athletes of WVU were all great and contained powerful messages. It was hard to decide which speech to write about because they were all so moving. The last speech of the presentation was given by a girl of the volleyball team. It was especially powerful and inspiring.

The volleyball player talked about losing her mother to breast cancer. It made me realize how often things can be taken for granted. I myself am a fairly positive and optimistic person; however, I do occasionally find myself getting caught up in things that aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. This girl’s speech made me realize that I should take more time to be thankful for what I have. As previously mentioned, all the speeches given had very positive messages that left a great impact on me.

Abby gave a speech about her mom. She told the story of how her mom was diagnosed with cancer when she was 13 years old and fought it for 8 years. She talked about struggles but always gave glory to God for the good times.

I can really relate to Abby’s story. My mom has stage 4 colon cancer and I know how hard it is. God is always there. I think it was awesome that she isn’t afraid to proclaim her faith. I agree that it is important to remember who you are and whose you are.

The speech that stood out the most to me was the volleyball player, Abigail Monson. She talked about how her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 13 and battles it for 8 years. This presentation really touched home to me because my grandmother is a breast cancer survivor for twenty five years and it made me appreciate that I still have her. She’s influenced my life and has helped me with so much that I’m thankful to still have her with me today.

I thought her presentation was excellent because she told her story in a professional way. She got through her entire presentation without crying, something I wouldn’t be able to do, and did not mess up once. She didn’t say “um” or “like” one time and made eye contact with the audience throughout the entire presentation. Her speech was written in a manner that had flashbacks to help tell what she did and felt during those moments and times. Overall her speech was well written and really expressed the lesson that you should remember “who you are and whose you are.”

The speech that I found particularly touching was that of Abigail Monson, she gave a speech that you could really tell that she had a true passion for. When she began to tear up a bit this became abruptly evident. When she did become very emotional was when she was talking about her mother who was an undoubtedly strong woman who was suffering with cancer. Her mother later passed on when she was 21 it was very difficult for her but she knew she couldn’t give up. In turn she remembers who she is and who her mother was and that she will always belong to her.

Overall, I thought the whole seminar of Student Athletes Speak Out was amazing. They all had so many great stories to speak about, many of them I could even relate to. The one that hit the hardest was “Remember who you are and WHOSE YOU ARE” by Abigail Monson. She talked about her mom having breast cancer. She found out about it at the age of 13 and her mother didn’t pass away until last April. That had to be hard for her to deal with her mom having it for that long and always seeing her try to fight through it. Going to school far away from home must have been a very tough choice also. I thought she had a great speech though.

This speech affected me the most because my roommate’s mother just recently got diagnosed with breast cancer last year. She always tells me there is good days and bad days for her mom and she just tries to live life and take it day by day. Abigail and my roommate acted a lot like the same when they both found out; it was so many emotions at once. From hearing her story I have faith that my roommate and her mother will be able to get through all of the tough stuff to come.

Last Thursday, I was given the privilege to go to the Coliseum to hear ten of our athletes speak. While all of them gave great messages, one particular stood out to me. Abigail Monson, a volleyball player for West Virginia University, told a story that not only told a good story, but it was also one that I could connect with on a personal level. Last summer, my mother almost died from a blood clot that traveled from her leg to her heart. Therefore, when Abigail began talking about her mother’s battle with cancer, my heart instantly went out to her. Unfortunately, Abigail’s mother lost her battle to cancer earlier this year, but Abigail still makes sure that her mother lives on through her.

Miss Monson presented her speech with courage and pride despite the heartache that she felt. From my point of view, there were no cons to this speech. She was a very good public speaker and only took necessary pauses. Also, this story was one that many people, especially I, could relate to. By telling this story, she is able to remind people to never take anything for granted and to always “remember who you are and whose you are.”

All of the student athletes who spoke at the coliseum did a good job in my opinion. All of their speeches were very interesting as well. There was not one that I found myself not being able to pay attention. One that really touched me was volleyball player Abigail Munson’s story. Not only was the speech touching, but also I think that Abigail did a great job presenting it.

Abigail told the story of how her mother battled cancer and how it affected her. She said her mother suffered from breast cancer and explained how she lost one of her best friends. I thought that her story was really sad, but I thought that a lot of people could relate to it because many people have lost a loved one to cancer, including myself. In my opinion, Abigail’s speech did not really have any cons. I do think that there were pros though because the way she presented the speech was really good and I feel the topic left an impression on everyone there.

The speaker that had the most impact on me was Abigail Monson. Her message was “Remember Who You Are and Whose You Are.” I thought her message was awesome because she got up there and talked about the influence that her mother had on her life. Her mom battles breast cancer for eight years before passing away in April of this year. I thought it was amazing that she could go up in front of a crowd and talk about it. The way she described her relationship with her mom reminded me of my mother and I, so this is why her speech was the most touching to me. It’s really nice to hear that she talked to her mom every day, even though she was all the way in Colorado.

I think she is a very strong person for being able to go up in front of an audience after this tragedy happened so recently. It’s also nice to hear that she still thinks her mother is with her and will always remember her quote, which was the name of her speech. I really enjoyed the opportunity to go and listen to these speeches and they were much more than I expected they would be.

The speech that touched me the most was the last basketball player. Pat Forsythe story about being abandoned as a baby and having to live with his blind father was very touching. His speech showed that even having a disability shouldn’t prevent you from living your life. His father did everything he could to provide for his son and give him the best life. 

It broke my heart when he said that even though his dad never saw him play a game he still went just to listen to the announcers say his son’s name. I though Pat’s speech was very effective and truly captured his audience’s attention. He was by far one of the most memorable speakers.

The person that inspired me the most was Patrick Forsythe. The hardships that he had to overcome really touched me. He was being raised by only his mother. One day, she took him to his grandparents and never came back. His grandparents then took him to live with his dad. His dad is blind and did not have a lot of money, but did what he could for the two of them to get by. Patrick began playing basketball, and the hardest thing he had to overcome was that his dad couldn’t rebound for him or help him practice. Even though he couldn’t see, his dad would still come to his games and listen for the announcers to say his son’s name. Patrick ended his speech with saying that his dad was the most influential person in his life.

I can relate to his story. Though I was raised with two parents, my dad is the most influential person in my life. I also have been playing basketball since I was little and my dad is my number one fan 
and has taught me everything I know about the game. He helped me practice and even coached my team for many years. Looking back, I used to hate that he was my coach because he was always so hard on me. After hearing Patrick’s story, I am grateful for my dad and all that he has done for me. I think it’s amazing and inspirational to see what struggles Patrick has gone through and where he is today. He has taught me that even though you’re struggling, there’s always a way to make the situation better.

The speech that had the most impact on me was the speech done by the Basketball player Patrick Forsythe. I though Forsythe had the most touching background story and came the farthest with his life’s struggles. He really had a lot of courage to talk about his hard childhood and father’s disability in front of others. He proved to me that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

I could tell that it wasn’t easy for him to talk about his past but he definitely did a good job doing it. Although he spoke softly and was a little hard to hear at times compared to some of the other speakers I still thought he did an awesome job. He even made me tear up a little bit when he was talking about his dad not being able to see him play. He is a perfect person to talk to children who come from not so good backgrounds to push towards their dreams because they are possible.

I thought all of the speeches at the coliseum were great and many were very moving. One in particular was “Dealing with Life Struggles” by Patrick Forsythe. His story was very unique and really exemplified resilience. His struggles were far more difficult than most people’s; he had to deal with his mom giving him up, having a blind father, constantly having to move, and raising his grades to get into college. Seeing where he is today after hearing what he went through in his life is truly inspiring and he is a great role model for anyone who thinks they can’t overcome something in life.

 The most influential speaker from the other day would have to be the guy that whose father is blind. I don’t remember his name but I do remember his speech. His speech was a very personal look into how he has become the person he is today. From his mother leaving him at a young age to moving all over the country with his father who is blind. Not only was his speech inspiring, he was a really effective speaker.

I love the fact that he chose WVU to be a student athlete at because he thought it felt like a family. This speech just proved to me that although the odds are stacked against you, if you persevere you can succeed your goals. I feel truly inspired after hearing him speak of his struggles. Yet at the same time I also feel a deep sadness for the fact his father has never and will never get to see him play a basketball game, but at least he still has his father’s full and complete support.

As a final note I would just like to say I’m very glad I went to his event, I learned a lot about how sports can really be a lifesaver for some.

On November 10, 2011, I was given the opportunity to attend a public speaking event, “Student Athletes Speak Out.” This was a great experience. Eleven, West Virginia University, athletes sheared words of wisdom, touching stories, and personal experiences. They all did a great job presenting themselves. Some of the moving stories even brought me to tears to my eyes. The individuals did such a good job of painting vivid pictures and walking me, as an audience member, through their speech. I admire the fact that all the speakers were willing to share things that were so personal to them, and I admit that I had a very hard time deciding which speaker I would discus in my assignment.

However, Bridget Carey a volleyball player was very creative in the way she gave her speech. I liked her upbeat tone and positive attitude. She created a light atmosphere and was able to humor the audience throughout her speech. My favorite part about her speech was that while she was talking, she was able to get the audiences to feel as if they were present and sitting at the game on the bench right alongside her. I know personally, as she told us how the coach called her off the bench, I too though she was going in to play and was surprised when that was not the case. I also enjoyed her use of gestures, such as running in the spot as she mentioned warming up. This brought so much life to her speech. I also noticed that she had a great use of eye contact and seemed very enthused to be giving her speech. I really enjoyed myself at this event and hope I am able to attend another.

On Thursday November 10th, I was honored to listen to 11 WVU athletes speak about their life and morals. I felt that all 11 athletes did an amazing job telling their own personal stories. They all had something different to bring to the table which made each and every speech unique. Some speeches made you laugh, some made you tear up, and others opened your eyes.

There was one speech that I felt most connected too. Bridget Carry gave a speech titled Spark Plug. I was not sure what exactly it was going to be about at first but as she began to speak memories jogged my mind. Bridget gave her speech on how she was a bench warmer for the WVU volleyball team. Although she was a bench warmer that did not change how she was a team player. I can relate to her story because I was also a bench warmer for the first 2 years of my high school basketball career. As much as I wanted to play, I never let my team down. I cheered and got their spirits up every single game. A lot of the emotions that Bridget said she felt while sitting on the bench I also had. I felt that Bridget did a wonderful job telling her motivational story. I do not know her personally I am proud that there are other athletes out there that can say that they have enough team spirit that can carry a team to a win even if it is from the bench.

I thought that all of the speakers at this event did a very good job. All of their speeches were very inspirational and powerful. One of the speeches that really stood out to me was Bridget Carey’s speech “Spark Plug.” She was a freshman volleyball player here at WVU and talked about what it was like to be a bench warmer on the team. Before she even started her speech I was very impressed by her because she had a 3.9 GPA. It’s very hard to balance your school work and also be involved in an activity, so it was clear that she was a very hard worker and knew how to balance her time effectively.

She started her speech with a very humorous story. She was sitting at the bench of one of her games and saw her couch glancing back at her and thought she was maybe going to put her in the game. She started getting pumped up and ready to play then her coach looked at her and said, “Bridget?go get the snacks.” This was a very good way to open up her speech because she had the whole room laughing. She told us about how she still worked hard and stayed positive even though she was a bench warmer. She told us how to be a good sport and support your teammates even if you would love to be where they are. Her speech was very relatable and also very funny. Although all the speeches were very motivational, Bridget’s stood out the most to me.

The speech that made the most impact on me was Bridget Carey’s Spark Plug speech. The fact that she stays so positive even though she is not the best player on the team is really a great representation of her character. She doesn’t try to slack off or get jealous of her other friends and teammates that are better than she. Bridget continues to stay positive and cheers her teammates on. 

Bridget showed in her speech that not only does hard work have to be a big part of being on a team but also having a strong charter to support others. Although her speech wasn’t perfect, she allowed her personality to come through and therefore her speech was the one I remembered the most.

All of the speeches proved to be very interesting, and all of the speakers did a great job of telling their stories. Though there were several touching stories that will never be forgotten, the story that left the greatest impression on me was given by Kari Post, a member of the WVU volleyball team. Her story was about growing up and working toward an ultimate goal of discovering the true person you are behind your physical appearance. For her story she said that she moved to West Virginia from another state to be a part of the volleyball team. This journey, through rough, has proved to be a vital journey for her, on which she was able to learn many of life’s lessons for her. She was able to accept life’s challenge and adjust to a life away from family and find a way of life to live on her own.

Though my journey to college was not at far as Kari’s I can relate to this story. When I left home for college, I felt like I had already found my sense of independence, but this didn’t mean that I wasn’t scared or nervous to leave home and begin my life on my own as well. While being away from home the last two years I have learned a lot, and continue to be surprised by some things in life that I must overcome. Aside from telling a good lesson and sharing her story I felt that Kari was an effective speaker.

I really enjoyed the Student Athletes Speak Out event and am so glad that I attended. I especially like basketball player Jabarie Hinds who talked about his passion. I think that finding your passion is a very important message to give to an audience. I have found mine.

I think it is to work with children and help them learn to speak. It took me a lot longer than it took Jabarie. He is lucky that he knew so young what he wanted to do.

I think he did a nice job giving his speech. He has a pleasant voice and I could tell that he was sincere about his message. I liked all of the speakers but Jabarie stands out in my mind.

Even though Jabarie’s passion is basketball, I hope that he realizes how important getting his degree is too. If he makes it to the next level, it will only take one injury to end his playing career. So, I hope he follows his dreams, but I hope he gets his education too.

If he does both, he will be an OUTSTANDING role model for others.

All of the speakers did a good job at SASO, but I liked Tommie McCune the best. I liked him immediately when he asked Coach Huggins if his performance would affect basketball. I couldn’t see Coach’s face, but I’m sure he smiled or laughed since everyone else did.

His speech was very touching. The title was good; I had wondered what the topic would be. The quote was great.

Tommie went back and forth between being funny and being serious, so that kept our attention.

I think he did a good job and came across as someone I could relate to. I’m sure the students who heard his speech at the schools enjoyed him too. How could they not? He was “real” and had kind of a tough background, but look where he is today. I just hope he keeps working so he can enjoy all that life can offer him.

All of the student athlete’s speeches were very touching, but the speech that stood out to me the most was “Spark Plug” by Bridget Carey. Bridget, a WVU volleyball player, told a story about being on the volleyball team. Her story was inspiring because she spoke about how having a good attitude impacts your life and the lives around you. Also, her speech made me appreciate my day to day life.

Bridget’s story about being a benchwarmer and having to grab snacks made you laugh, but it also made you think. I really related to the story because I was often a benchwarmer when I first started playing softball. Even though I didn’t get much play time during games, I still tried my hardest at practice. I believe my positive attitude contributed to me eventually becoming a started for the team. All in all, “Spark Plug” by Bridget Carey was an enjoyable presentation that taught an important lesson-to live each day to the fullest.

My favorite speaker was Avery Williams. I think he had the hardest job because he had to go first in front of that large crowd. I have a lot of respect for his courage. Plus, he did a good job telling his story.

He is right that school environment is really important. I have had friends go to schools in bad areas and it was really hard for them. It also takes more guts to try to learn in an environment like that. I admire him for telling this story.

Avery had good eye contact and when he got a little emotional I got emotional too. He did a great job. They all did and I am glad that I attended.

They are amazing people. I think Avery should continue to work hard and get his education since he has the opportunity. I hope he realizes the opportunity he has been given.

32. Today I thought there were many awesome speeches that were very touching, so it was hard to choose just one. I was really impressed with Abigail Monson’s speech “Remember who You are and whose you are.” Her speech was very touching and almost brought me to tears. Not only was the story behind the speech a touching story but she did an amazing job speaking as well.

I feel like you would have to be a very strong person to tell the story of your mothers passing front of such a large group. Her story really touched me and made me realize it is important to keep a strong relationship with God. It is amazing to me that after she lost her mom she still had such strong faith with God.

Out of all the speakers that our class got the opportunity to hear speak at the Coliseum my favorite was the girl whose speech was entitled “The Spark Plug”. Not only did I get the feeling that she wasn’t as nervous as the others but she was a pretty good public speaker. She really knew how to draw in the audience and make it more personal, her speech was also funny too. It was a story that I think most people could relate too because we have all been there at one time or another.

Overall she had a good moral to her story and it was nice to hear something more light-hearted after hearing some of the other athletes’ speeches. She made a good point that many people don’t realize, you need to make the best out of any situation you’re in no matter how bad it is always look for the silver lining. I enjoyed the message of her speech along with the other athletes’ after hearing all the students stories it really made me think how much I have to be thankful for.