This Speech was given in June 2008 at a celebratory farewell dinner at St. Anselm College for Mr. Andrew Nelson. Mr Nelson was the Campus Minister at Trinity and was leaving to begin his journey as a pastor.
Throughout my lifetime I’ve met very special people that leave impressions on who I am today and what I will become. There are a lot of good people in this world and I’m blessed to have met Mr. Nelson along my journey. But I don’t think I have ever met someone so genuine, so funny, so full of life, and so thankful for everything he is given. I’ve always looked upon adults for advice, decisions, safety, support, and comfort. I can go stick my head into Campus Ministry whenever I like and talk to him about any issue that I am facing.
I can truly say that in my opinion Mr. Nelson is the face of this school. He’s always filled with Pride, Spirit, and Tradition. He organizes big events with little time or help. He can take upon the biggest tasks this city has ever asked upon to sort food, and rally up the entire school and get the job done. He puts our religion in a fun and educative way. He is a leader that we all trust and when called upon respond too. The Union Leader in the past has always praised the public city schools. It seemed like in the past years that we’d feed four hundred homeless people and get no recognition, while Central would feed a dozen people, and yet be on the front cover of the newspaper. But this year would be different; Mr. Nelson received the recognition he deserved by representing the pioneers on the Pope’s visit to our country, and leading Trinity into bettering the community.
That’s the biggest reason why I love it here. The community here is so strong and full of love. I was nervous first entering high school; I thought I would be the target for all of the bullies. I was 100% wrong; everyone here is welcomed with arms wide open. Everyone here is here for a reason. We all want to be educated, while in a community full of love and joy. Mr. Nelson has made my experience hear at Trinity beyond belief. I’ve grown up always wanting to become a leader. He is a leader in every sense. He has with out a doubt the best personality I have ever met. He can take charge and follow through on jobs most people would quit on.
My most recent experience with Mr. Nelson is a story I would like to share. It shows Mr. Nelson’s true character and heart. It was the Tuesday we returned back to school following the devastating Pearle St. fire that weekend. Sarah Bourque and I were interviewed a couple of months prior and we were selected to be on the front cover of the NH Catholic Papal magazine. We were told to meet Mr. Nelson at 9:30 a.m. in the office to leave for the photo shoot. Sarah and I are all dressed up in formal attire, waiting for Mr. Nelson. Mr. Nelson is no where to be found, we finally find him 5 minutes later putting together the final pieces of the puzzle for the Invisible Child project he was running. We were than told by Mrs. Tortollini that our photo shoot was at 8:45 a.m. and they’re waiting for us. We hop into the Campus Ministry car that has about a gallon left of gas and make our way to Commercial St. Mr. Nelson is calling the lady in charge and telling her that we are on our way and at the same time asking for directions. We cannot find this building what so ever. We are looking for 57 Commercial St. and we found 507 Commercial St. We stopped and parked at the first available parking spot and the machine wasn’t taking his credit card. The wind is blowing strong and I’m struggling running, trying to keep up with them. We find out that were at the wrong building and have to drive around some more. Mr. Nelson was thanking God, for the machine that didn’t accept his credit card.
We run into the building and he asks a man to hold the elevator open for us. This man is very quiet and rude and doesn’t respond to Mr. Nelson when he thanks him and asks how he’s doing. The elevator than starts to go up on floor and stops, Mr. Nelson than murmurs something like, “Who’s the idiot that hit the button to get off this floor,” expecting that it was me, because I hit the button for the floor that we’re supposed to get off. The elevator door opens and out walks the man who held the door open for us. Mr. Nelson felt so bad and embarrassed that it was hilarious. We run into the photographer’s office and find two other Catholic Schools waiting for us to start taking pictures. Mr. Nelson was being very sincere and apologizing for our tardiness. Know one minded, especially the 4 other students who represented St. Thomas, and Bishop Brady. The adult representing Bishop Brady was having a conversation with Mr. Nelson and had nothing but good things to say about him and our school. It was like Mr. Nelson didn’t even have to introduce himself because she had read all of the articles in the paper. When she had said to Mr. Nelson, “I have read many articles in the paper about you and have heard nothing but good things about you. The things you do over at Trinity are amazing and what a special guy Trinity really has,” really got me thinking and appreciating Mr. Nelson. I felt honored to represent Trinity along with Mr. Nelson and Sarah at such an event. The whole morning the ladies are cracking jokes to Mr. Nelson about us being late. Mr. Nelson was a trooper and laughed at the jokes and offered to treat them all to lunch after. Who would’ve thought that that offer was a bad idea? We all arrive at Gillian’s on Bridge St. and Mr. Nelson tells all of us to order whatever we like. We all eat and have a good time sharing stories. The bill comes along and Mr. Nelson flashes his credit card. The waitress than tells him that they don’t accept credit cards. Unfortunately for Mr. Nelson, that was the only form of payment he had on him. We are walking back to the car and straight ahead of us was St. Joe’s. At St. Joe’s were the victims of the Pearle St. fire were being held, Mr. Nelson told us that he wanted us to spend the rest of the day there, but he didn’t think the administration would be to happy. We than returned back to school finishing up our school day.
Thank you Mr. Nelson for everything you’ve done for me, and my three-year experience here at Trinity. You are someone that I will never forget and will always pray for at night. I wish you the best of luck on your journey through priesthood. You have left an impact so deep in my heart that it will never go away. You are a role model for everyone that you have ever come in contact with. I hope that one day I will become as nice and as giving of a man as you are. It really stinks that you couldn’t have waited for at least one more year, but you have to do what God’s telling you to do. Follow your heart, have passion in everything you achieve, but others in front of you are just a few of the things you have taught me and that I live by everyday. No one will ever replace you, may you always remember that you are a Pioneer at heart. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and May God bless you.