2019 Homecoming – Outstanding Recent Graduate Award

2019 Homecoming – Outstanding Recent Graduate Award

October 24, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


– I am very excited this
morning to introduce you to one of my favorite people. Kasey Byzewski is the youngest of four. She grew up in Virginia Beach. Her mom is a preschool teacher, and her dad, after
retiring from the Marines, was a math teacher. Kasey and her siblings were
all athletes from a young age, soccer being their favorite
sport for all four of them. By the end of high school, Kasey was a three-sport athlete, top of her class academically, and a leader among leaders in Virginia Beach Leadership Workshop. All of this shaped her into
the ideal Barton student. Kasey first chose Barton to play soccer, but after an injury her
senior year in high school, chose not to pursue college athletics, but still pursue Barton. We, particularly me, were very lucky. Back in 2010, glorious Waters
Hall was a residence hall for male and female but for freshmen. Kasey and I lived on the same floor and we connected quickly since
we were both from Virginia. Our friendship grew over our four years, and we became inseparable. When someone would tell
us a secret and say, “You can’t tell anybody,” we of course told each other, and we knew a lot about this campus. (audience laughs) Kasey majored in athletic training, which was a perfect mixture of the caring and teaching nature she
got from her parents, her own athletic interests, and her experiences with injury, and her natural leadership ability. Not only a strong, dedicated student, she was just as involved
outside of the classroom. Student government, being
president for two years, and student ambassador,
just to name a few. It is a special moment when you
realize that your role model and your best friend are one and the same. I’ve always looked up to
Kasey for her dedication, her desire to always help
and lead those around her without even trying. She sets and achieves all of her goals. At the end of her junior year, Kasey tried out for the
Barton Women’s Soccer Team, and her dream of playing collegiate soccer became a reality just for her senior year. I learned a lot about soccer in that year, just so I could cheer her on. (audience laughs) She continued to follow her dreams, and became a certified athletic trainer. She completed her
graduate work at N.C. State, and worked with Division I athletes. She is now working at the
University of Charleston, West Virginia, as an athletic trainer, working with two sports, and teaching undergraduate courses. Even though she has been
a wolf and an eagle, and whatever future
mascot she will become, we know she’s always gonna
be a mighty Bulldog at heart. I’ve told her many times
that my college experience wouldn’t have looked the same without her if she wasn’t here. I watched her make an
impact on this campus, and I never had a doubt she would continue doing that in the real world. She’s made Barton proud, and given a name to this little, Eastern North Carolina school. She was changing lives, treating each of her
athletes like a friend, a little sibling, and a child all in one. You don’t realize the hours
that an athletic trainer has to put into their job, until they try to find a weekend to visit, or just call and catch up. (audience laughs) Kasey, I am so proud of you, and can’t wait to see how
else you’ll make an impact and grow as an alumni. You’re a perfect fit for the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award. (audience applause) – All right, makin’ me cry
this early in the morning. Thanks, Rachel. (audience laughs) First, I wanna start by thanking everyone in attendance today and those
that could also not be here. Dr. Searcy, thank you for
your hard work and dedication in all these past years
that you’ve been here. Barton has changed for the better, and I cannot wait to see where it’s going. Coach Hall, you’ve always
been a big inspiration. You were my biggest encourager
when I wanted to play soccer after taking three years off, and you’ve been a cheerleader for all student-athletes on and off the playing field. To my family, and to my
friends that became family, both students and staff. Thank you for sticking with me, thank you for staying up
late and helping me study anatomy terms even when
you can’t pronounce them. (audience laughs) Thank you, for while I’m sure you wanted to ring my neck and tell me no, for encouraging me to follow my dreams of playing college soccer. While preparing for this speech, I had so many memories rush into my mind. Should I talk about how
I met my best friends in Waters Hall my first year? Or should I talk about how
I had so many opportunities for service, at a campus whose
perimeter is only a mile. A quote from Saint Mother Teresa perfectly explains my years at Barton and shaped me into the
person that I am today. She said, “Do small
things with great love.” It’s not about large, grand gestures that will change the world. It’s the small things, like
giving up your spring break and taking a trip to Haiti to help rebuild houses
after an earthquake. It’s seeing firsthand where
meals you package with campus with the company, Rise Against Hunger, go. It’s Spirit Night in the Wilson
Gym packed with Bulldogs, cheering on our basketball teams against our rivals Mount Olive. It’s hosting SGA Senate
meetings in this very hall, hearing students
contribute about decisions for the campus and knowing
that their voice matters when I represented them as SGA President on The Board of Trustees. It’s being honored with the inaugural Gary Hall
Excellence in Athletics Award while there are so many
deserving applicants. This college surrounded me
with small opportunities with great love. And I have been able to go out in my last five years
and continue this model. Working as an athletic trainer in a private Division II college, very similar to Barton, has
been an amazing experience. I work with athletes on their best days, when they’re scoring
goals and winning games, but also on their worst days when they have season-ending injuries. The small things of filling water bottles, taping sweaty ankles,
and rehabbing athletes, I take great pride in. I do this thing when I’m
teaching a classroom. The small things of doing a riddle at the beginning of class or even taking time after class to help students one on one with information that
they may not understand. For the alumni in the room, I hope that we all have
felt the great love that a small campus like
Barton has brought us and continue to pass the love along outside the one-mile perimeter, which might have to be fact checked now that we have a football
field. (audience laughs) Thank you! (audience applause)