2019 BVN Lacrosse Scholarship Recipient
Eryk Yarkosky - Defender
Excerpt from Eryk's Scholarship Essay
When Chad took his life, the change on the lacrosse team was immediate. When a group of people are shaken to their core by the same event, nothing can stand between them and activism. Each of us has contributed equally to the change I’ve seen on the lacrosse team, and without ever making a plan, enforcing rules, or touching the subject of our metamorphosis, we all reached a general consensus that it could never happen again. When a teammate is struggling on or off the field, nobody is too shy to step in and help, and our teamwork off the field is often greater than on the field.
BVN Lacrosse Scholarship Recipients
Alex Bounmiswang - Midfielder
University of Kansas
Alex "Alessio" Garcia - Midfielder
Kansas State University
Andrew Gomen - Goalie
University of Kansas
Seth Welhoelter - Defender
Kansas State University
BVN Lacrosse Scholarship Presentation
May 21, 2018
I’d like to start by congratulating all of the Seniors who are receiving awards tonight. I know for a fact that your parents are extremely proud of you. But more importantly, I hope each of you, deep down inside, are really proud of yourselves because that is what’s really important. I know you all loved Chad and my family and I are grateful for the way this school has remembered and honored him. I can promise you, he loved you back. The Blue Valley North Lacrosse team had a nickname for Chad. They called him the Spark Plug. I’ll bet all of you that knew my son know why. For his teammates and coaches, the nickname came from Chad’s ability to raise the level of the team’s performance through his hustle, his positive attitude, and the encouragement he provided to his teammates. When the team was down, Chad found a way to inject his spark and renew their will to win.
Sadly, this gift he gave so freely to others was a gift he was unable to receive, and on June 12, 2017, Chad chose to take his own life. At the time when he needed to keep the spark alive and renew his own will to win, he somehow wasn’t able to feel that spark. Your spark is whatever fires up your soul and makes life worth living. It’s your relationships with family and friends, it’s the joy you find in music or sports, it’s the warmth you feel when you help others, it’s the happiness you find even in the little things.
Even though we all saw Chad as a happy-go-lucky, not a care in the world, infectious smile, always humming a tune kind of guy, and he knew, better than anyone, how to love others unconditionally… Chad struggled to be unconditionally loved.
As you move on to your next chapter, I beg you to remember what your friend forgot. You are unconditionally loved. You have an exciting life in front of you. You’re going to have issues that will challenge and frustrate you but that’s part of life. So live.. laugh and love - but, especially, live!!
I want to ask a favor. Right now, I’d like to ask you all to close your eyes. I’m going to give you a few seconds to think of the names of three people that you could go to if you find yourself in a dark place and feel like maybe life isn’t worth living. Now, with your eyes still closed, I’d like to ask you to make a promise to yourself that, if you ever find yourself in that place, you will reach out to at least one of those three people, share it with them and let them help you. I know they will!
One last thing… I want you to remember something: Every single person is going through something you don’t know about. Let me say that again. Every single person is going through something you don’t know about. Treat everyone you come in contact with as if you know that! Just be kind to each other!
And now, I am pleased to announce the first Keep The Spark Alive Scholarship. In this first year, our selection committee has found it incredibly difficult to select one recipient for this scholarship. The essays submitted were well written and truly touched our hearts. So we’ve decided to award four $1500 scholarships to the following Lacrosse Team Seniors (who, btw, have a game in Olathe at 8:00, so they’re going to have to head out – drive carefully, boys) and Go Mustangs! When I call your name, please come up and let me congratulate you. Prepare yourselves for a “man hug”. Chad would be really proud of you guys: Andrew Gomen, Seth Welhoelter, Alex “Alessio” Garcia and Alex Bounmiswang.