Alva Review-Courier -

Mapes challenges students to express thanks


Thursday night Alva Middle School eighth graders celebrated the completion of their year and marked their transition into high school. AMS Principal Stephanie Marteney welcomed the audience and introduced the speaker, Courtney Mapes.

A 2014 Alva High School graduate, Mapes went on to study at Oklahoma State University earning a bachelor's degree in animal science with a minor in microbiology in the summer of 2018. She is currently working for Stillwater Medical Center in the cardiac rehabilitation program. In August she will be attending medical school at the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa. Following medical school and residency, she intends to pursue a career as a rural family physician.

Mapes told the students they could look forward to the next four years of high school as "some of the most rewarding, challenging and enjoyable years of your life." She said they will be deciding on their career goals during these years. She started out with the goal of being a teacher. When she was an eighth grader, she wanted to be a veterinarian "because I adored animals."

A wise businessman gave her advice about setting goals and pursuing your passion. She was told to "Pursue something you enjoy wholeheartedly and be a good person."

Mapes encouraged the students to broaden their interests in high school. She suggested participation in sports, music, speech or FFA. "Do something you know you will enjoy and be good at. Give it your best shot," she said. "You never know who you might develop a friendship with."

She described a good person as honest, loyal and a person of good integrity. Mapes suggested the students "self-evaluate and see how you can improve the lifestyle you are living to be a better person to your family, friends and community.

"By telling the truth, remaining true to your friendships and clinging to good morals, the goal of being a good person is completely obtainable and something I would encourage you all to work for."

Mapes said she learned a lot from judging livestock while in school. She described looking over the animals, ranking them, preparing arguments supporting her decisions and giving a two minute speech focusing on the positive points of the animals. She said it was scary to her as an eighth grader but it served as a model for her future success.

Her livestock judging gave her the opportunity to travel to Ireland and Scotland in the summer of 2015. It also led to full time and part time employment with the director of the livestock competitions.

Mapes told the students to look around the auditorium at their families, teachers and classmates. "There are no better people than those surrounding you in this community of Alva," she said. "Throughout your next four years and whatever comes next for you, be sure to take time for relationships and spend time with your grandparents, parents and your best friends."

She passed out cards to the students saying, "I challenge you to write a thank you and give it to one of these teachers, peers or family members who has pushed you to be here today."

In closing Mapes told the eighth graders to "be intentional in your relationships and experiences. Pursue your expected lifestyle by working hard, and overall being a good person. You don't have to be the best student or the best athlete to be a good person."

As Principal Marteney called their names, the students filed across the stage and received their certificates from Superintendent Tim Argo.


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