AA Senior Hanna E. Delivers Chapel Talk
2017, November 08 – The “irreplaceable bonds” of family and friendship are foremost in Hanna E.’s life. She described these important relationships in her Chapel Talk, delivered on Nov. 8. She paid a special tribute in her speech to her grandfather, “Papa,” the late Howard J. E., Jr.
The special bond she had with Papa began when she was very young. Throughout her childhood, she and Papa could be found hunting, fishing, or working in the garden. “I went everywhere with him,” Hanna said.
One of her favorite memories was when she was learning to tie her shoes. “Everyone tried so hard to teach me, but I could never get it...the first time my Papa showed me, I got it.”
Hanna went on to describe how hard it was for her when Papa was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. As the disease progressed, she said, “it was hard for me to see someone I loved in so much pain, and I couldn’t do anything for him.” After he entered the hospital, Hanna went to see him every day after school. She recalled the day, January 5, 2012, when she found out that Papa had passed away. “I just wanted to be alone, away from everyone and everything.”
As she struggled with losing such an important person in her life, Hanna said that the next few years became difficult. “I started becoming someone I had told my younger self I would never be,” she said.
More recently, she faced the disappointment that the near-blindness in her left eye would keep her from joining the Marine Corps, a goal she had since she was fourteen years old.
Through all the challenges in her life since losing her Papa, Hanna has relied on her friends for support. The bond she had with him has carried forward into the relationships with her friends.
She has been a “big sister” for her cousin Lexi E., who enrolled at the Academy last year. “I’ve learned a lot about responsibility and being there for someone else,” she said.
Other friends, such as fellow classmates Elizabeth J. and Aeron M., “taught me what true friendship is.” She said how good it was to have the loyalty of friends in her life. And, she pledged to show her friends the same loyalty they have given her.
“The irreplaceable bond I had with my Papa is what taught me to always be loyal to my friends no matter what,” she said. “That is the most important goal in my life.”
While a student at the Academy, Hanna has played basketball and softball. Over the past four years, she has presented a reading at the Academy’s annual Veterans Day program.
Attending her chapel talk were Hanna’s parents, Kathy and David E. Also present were her grandmother, Julia E., and her aunt, Jackie E. Family members and fellow students included Lexi E., Daniel E., and Madison Ba. Other friends and special guests were Elizabeth J., Aeron M., Ellie T., and Emma V.
Guests and members of the senior class attended a reception following the chapel talk program.