By CHARLIE ADAMS
In May, Ivy Tech brought me in to speak to all of their 2013 graduates. I was able to speak at their commencement on the importance of the set of attitudes they take out into the world.
While on the Ivy Tech campus, I learned of a powerful story of attitude and wanting to do something for others. I came across this swing, and learned there was a special story behind it.
When the new Ivy Tech campus was being built several years ago, Shareese Hollar was president of the Student Government Association and an administrative assistant in the business program there. As benches, chairs and picnic tables were being ordered, Shareese kept saying, “We need a swing … if we get a swing then people can sit on it and fall in love there.”
She was relentless and they finally ordered that swing. She knew special things would come from swinging on that swing.
Shareese was a single mother of a 9 year old boy. She struggled to get through school with taking care of her boy as well as her sister while working and being a student, but she stayed with it and was going to continue her education at Goshen College after graduating from Ivy Tech.
In becoming president of the Student Government Association she was able to sit on the podium with former First Lady Laura Bush when Bush came for the school’s dedication. People say if you look at the picture carefully you can see an angel in the background.
“She always looked on the bright side,” said Cathy Mullett, associate director of Career Services. “If someone said something negative about something or someone, Shareese would go ‘yeahhhh…’ or ‘uh huh’ in a way that stopped it right there. She never added to any negative gossip or talk. She also had this distinctive giggle that I have never heard
duplicated! She was always there. At the old campus before we had staff to set up and tear down events, we had to do it. She would get there three hours before and event and stay three hours afterwards helping out.”
In October of 2011, Shareese was killed in a car accident. She was just 27. Reports indicated that her minivan was rear-ended by a dump truck after she had stopped for a flagman from the Department of Transportation. Her little boy is being raised by his grandparents and doing well, but the void left by Shareese and her positive attitude is felt on campus.
At her funeral, her family talked about ‘Reecy and how she had made such an impact on others with her positive nature.
And people on campus say if you go by that swing, you can sense her presence there as she waits for a couple to sit down, gently swing and start to fall in love.
About the Author
Charlie Adams is the author of the new book ‘How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!’ The former WSBT-TV sports anchor and positive news reporter delivers seminars to Michiana businesses, educational institutions and churches based on the book. He can be reached at charlieadamsmotivation.com