Opening Chapel is the kick off for every fall semester, and this year’s assembly definitely did not disappoint.
The Parade of Flags, just one of Opening Chapel’s traditions, recognizes every country represented in the ACU body. Many students look forward to watching the parade at the beginning of Chapel each year.
Kaileb Holland, junior information technology major from Conroe, was one of those students.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Holland said.
The parade and the processional start off the festivities, which are then followed by an address by Phil Schubert, president of ACU, and a guest speaker.
Rick Atchley, minister at The Hills in North Richland Hills, was this year’s speaker. Atchley easily caught the attention of the student body.
“Work hard in school, but play hard too,” Atchley said. “Grades don’t matter.”
Phrases like these may make any faculty member choke, but ensured students were listening.
The words caught the attention of Caitlin McKnight, junior speech pathology major from Pittsburg, Kansas.
“I thought it was a fantastic way to kick of the semester,” McKnight said. “I thought Rick Atchley gave some very insightful and encouraging advice for the student body.”
Delaney Noel, junior exercise science major from Littleton, Colo., tuned in to Atchley’s speech as well.
“I think that Rick offered a really important perspective especially for those stressed out about going into the new year,” Noel said. “He offered a really good perspective that even though grades and academics matter, focusing on God and other people is what will end up being important.”
Atchley, despite being valedictorian of his graduating class, encouraged students to place more emphasis on building relationships and making memories than spending time in the library.
“You were made for a calling, not a career,” Atchley said.
Hanna Marshall, freshman art major from Plano, appreciated the targeted sense of humor.
“I liked how he knew how to talk to the audience by making jokes and delivering his message in a way that was entertaining,” Marshall said.
Atchley kept the audience laughing by referencing things such as the infamous days when dancing was not allowed on campus.
“Learn to two-step. You can do that now,” he said.
He used brevity, humor and familiar topics to keep the attention of the students, which proved to be a successful tactic, Marshall said.
“He spoke to us as young adults instead of talking over our heads or treating us like kindergartners,” Marshall said. “It made it seem like he really cared about who he was talking to and what he was saying.”
With a successful speaker, the traditional singing of “Doxology” and “The Lord Bless You and Keep You”, this school year is off to a good start.
“Opening Chapel was a magnificent display of everything this university holds dear,” said Holland.