McCollam tells D&E students ‘You get what you order’
ELKINS — In a message sprinkled with humor and wisdom, Missy McCollam encouraged Davis & Elkins College graduates to work hard, spread kindness and build resilience. The Old Brick Playhouse Executive Director served as the featured speaker for the 2019 Summer and Fall Graduates Recognition Ceremony Tuesday evening at Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church.
McCollam shared family stories that revolved around a quote she often heard from her grandmother: “You get what you order.” The anecdote comes into play when life deals the unexpected and resilience is the key to overcoming challenges.
McCollam told the group about how her father, in his youth, decided to build a sledding luge with his friend during recess at school. In the process, the friend accidentally cut her father’s nose and he ran home with plans of taking off the remainder of the school day. His mother, however, offered a quick mend and sent him back to school, reminding him, “you get what you order.” In another instance, McCollam relayed that her son insisted on playing basketball despite a previous medical condition. Reluctantly agreeing, McCollam said she taught him to be tough and continue in the game even when other players were getting the best of him.
“You have to be tough and resilient,” McCollam said. “It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to get knocked down. You have to say to yourself you can get back up.”
McCollam also told the students they should make the decision to work hard.
“Hard work pays off,” she emphasized. “In the first 30 seconds when you get up in the morning, decide to work hard that day. Even if you don’t feel like it, order yourself to work hard.”
In her third piece of advice, McCollam told the students to spread joy and love wherever they go. Pointing to a decades long Harvard University study, she said happiness is not based on money or accomplishments, but rather on relationships.
“Take joy and kindness into your work,” she said.
Also addressing the class and their guests were graduates Zoe Sampson and Dana Quattro.
Sampson relayed memories of her days at D&E – her brother driving her to the campus for her freshman year, encouragement from her mother to stay in school when she wanted to return home and meeting her new best friend on her 18th birthday. She also thanked her academic adviser Michael Curtis for preparing her for her future career.
Quattro, a non-traditional student who earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree in the online program, told the group that D&E had been strong and supportive. She said this graduation marked her third from a nursing program and she plans to continue her education.
“Be willing to learn from and grow from your mistakes,” she advised. “Ask for help. Offer help. Be prepared for the unexpected. Be kind, be bold and be confident. But most importantly, be thankful for the opportunity to impact the lives of others.”
Additional advice to the class came from D&E President Chris A. Wood and alumnus and Chair of the Board of Trustees Bill Nuttall ’70.
Wood told the students to pause, reflect and give thanks as they closed one chapter and began another, moving forward with hope and optimism.
“You graduate with an understanding of God’s world and God’s people,” Wood said. “Each of our graduates share a special gift with us.”
Nuttall told the graduates that as they move into the next stage of life, they will experience moments when they appreciate what D&E has done for them.
“When you came to D&E, you stepped way out of your comfort zone,” he said. “Now you are ready for the next step. Somewhere, someplace, there’s someone looking for someone just like you.”
Students receiving certificates and a plaque made of cherry hardwood and engraved with the D&E seal were: Mohamed Talal Alansari, Sabaa Salem Alfadli, Abdulahadi Ali Almarri, Wadha Abdullah Alsegayh, Abel Agyei Ameyaw, Tyler Scott Baldwin, Samuel Alan Behrens, Nicholas Dean Cecil, Suzanne Kimberly Chenoweth, Christina Alise Conway, Laura Jane Dransfield, Heather Lynn Dunbar, Bragg Matthew Eastin, Emily Layne Erdie, Candida Dawn Foster, Mason Scottie Fox, Katie Lauren Hager, Morgan Taylor Henrie, Kollin Sheppard Hopwood, Molly Ann Jackson, Matthew Allen Leech, Meghan Elizabeth Linn, Robert Keith McKinney, Austin Wayne Nestor, Melinda L. Parsons, Everton Sales Pereira Carvalho, Abbagayle Nicole Peterson, Jessica Lynn Plantz, Felipe Polycarpo Sanches, Dana Quattro, Zoe Paige Sampson, Sarah Elizabeth Slatton, Abigail Cameron Sowards, Kathryn Renee Spears, Savannah Ann Stanford, Caitlin A. Stover, Teresa A. Stroud, Danielle Nichole Vild and Ridgley Nicole Williams.