Sarah Sims is the Salutatorian for The Brook Hill School Class of 2022. Sarah started attending Brook Hill in the sixth grade, and in her time at Brook Hill, she played volleyball for the Lady Guard and co-founded the Spanish Club. As salutatorian, Sarah recently gave a speech at the Class of 2022 graduation. She shared her perspective on the Brook Hill “story.” Her words deeply resonated with our community, so we have included them here for all to read.
Good evening, Teachers, Parents, friends and graduates. I am Sarah Sims, and I am honored to be the Salutatorian of the class of 2022. Today marks a very special and significant day in each graduate’s life, as our chapter at the Brook Hill School is coming to an end. As we are all gathered here in our robes, sitting side by side, we each represent our own unique story but there is one common theme within each of our stories and that is that God has chosen Brook Hill to be part of all of our stories. We are all part of the Brook Hill story.
Looking back on our chapter at Brook Hill, there are many stories and characters that have shaped who we are today. Some of our stories begin in the lower school, playing at recess and watching the high school celebrities. Some of our stories begin where mine did, in middle school, as we got the privilege of tasting Mrs. Berry’s infamous muffins and engaged in heated discussions, or might I say arguments, in Mr. Eslicker’s class. We laughed at the rat in our classroom and spent more hours than wanted at track meets wearing our all orange. In high school, the characters of our story grew as we welcomed boarding students from all over the world into our class. We attended our first Brook Hill dance, then more Brook Hill dances, spent our Friday nights in a sea of Orange cheering on the Guard, started driving ourselves and making the long trek from the student parking lot, and finally survived and maybe even enjoyed a 17 hour bus ride together for our senior trip in Colorado. We listened to Dr. Lee lecture about lit term after lit term after lit term and our eyes were opened to a whole new world of lecturing in Mr. Soldi’s class. When covid hit, we quickly pivoted to distance learning. While some of us translated this opportunity into optional learning, we all quickly realized how much we had taken for granted up to this point. At Brook Hill, teachers and faculty pour into our lives and help us grow deeper in our walks with Christ through chapel, advisory and Bible class. Each story, no matter how big or small, has been written by God. Carefully weaving all of our stories together, God has created our chapter at Brook Hill.
When looking back on this chapter, we will all remember Brook Hill as a community of love, warmth, passion, and orange. Whether you made your way to Brook Hill from thousands of miles away or arrived from just down the road, it is by no accident that God has written Brook Hill into each of our stories. God chose each of us to be part of this Brook Hill story just as He chose Esther when he said “For such a time as this.” While Brook Hill has taught us fundamental academic concepts, such as reading literature like a professor and the complexity of the quadratic formula, the stories of Brook Hill are much bigger than that – we have been taught how to live a Christ-centered purpose driven life. From weekly chapels to Bible class to serving the East Texas community during Oasis week, Brook Hill has instilled in each of us the importance of not only strengthening but living out our faith. The Brook Hill faculty truly leads by example, challenging each of us to strive to look more like Jesus each and every day. Walking down the halls of Brook Hill, one cannot help but notice the intentional focus our faculty has on nurturing and developing personal relationships with each of us. From conversations after class with Mr. Soldi to life lessons in Spanish with Mrs. Story, our stories have been shaped by our teachers who not only love us but love Jesus too; they do not want any of us to leave this chapter without experiencing firsthand the love of the body of Christ. To that end, I recently learned just how alive the body of Christ is here at Brook Hill. As many of you know, my brother was in a tragic car accident leaving the Brook Hill campus. Not only did God protect my brother, but He quickly revealed to us what it means to be part of the body of Christ. In an instant, our world was turned upside down and, in an instant, the Brook Hill community was by our side, helping us put our world back together. Not only did the Brook Hill family flood our kitchen with food but they flooded the heavenly realms with prayers. While the meals were great, the prayers are what have carried us through this hard time. Without God at the center and without a Christ – centered community like Brook Hill, this part of my story would look very different. And I know my story is not unique nor is the theme of this chapter.
Now as our chapter at Brook Hill comes to a close, we look forward to whatever God may write in our next chapter. As we leave the comfort of Brook Hill, we must continue to let God write our stories. Just as Mr. Dement obediently handed the pen over to God and let God write the story of Brook Hill into existence, we should hand our lives over to God and let him write our story. Not only would I like to thank Mr. Dement for his boldness and obedience to God, but I would like to encourage each and every senior to follow Mr. Dement’s example. Seniors, as we step into this next chapter of our lives, let God be the author of your story. Don’t forget that His story is and always will be better than our story. As it says in Isaiah, His ways are always higher than our ways. When you give God the pen, there is nothing to fear. Remember that Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Seniors, let’s give God the pen and take what we have learned in our Brook Hill chapter and apply it to the next part of our story, always striving to live pure, speak true, right wrong, serve others and follow the king.