Le Fer Hall

Commencement reflection: Polet Horsley Horton ’24

Blog | 05.15.2024

This message was shared during the 2024 Campus Commencement ceremony.

Good morning to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods students, faculty and staff, families and friends. It is an honor being able to stand in front of you all. I would like to start by thanking the faculty and staff for their dedication to us students to be here today and continuing to pour into future and current SMWC students. I would like to personally thank my family, my husband, Dr. Pierce, Dr. Quinn and Presidential Corps for supporting and influencing me during my time at The Woods. I would like to thank to all families and friends who have supported and guided their graduate throughout their journey at The Woods. Truly, we could not be here without any of you today.

Polet Horsley Horton ’24 addresses her peers at the 2024 undergraduate commencement ceremony

To my fellow Woodsie graduates, congratulations to you all on achieving and celebrating this important chapter of your life. I would like for you all to take a moment, by taking a deep breath and look around you. Appreciate and remember this monumental moment as the endless hours, hard work, dedication and perseverance have led you to this very moment. Although we share this special moment together, each one of us has unique backgrounds, gifts and qualities creating new legacies to inspire us and the people around us as we go into this new chapter of our lives. Mother Theodore Guerin created an inspiring legacy through her triumphs and tribulations yet remained faithful to her purpose with passion, dedication and faith. Mother Theodore Guerin served as a humble leader connecting Saint Mary of the Woods within the community and beyond to accomplish what seemed the impossible to later on establish this “home” today. We all started our journey at The Woods, our home, our nest. Our home for the last four years that has been through moments of happiness but had a rough start. The pandemic surely created a sense of unknown into what we were not sure what our journey would look like at The Woods. The obstacles we have endured have made us resilient in embracing the uncertainty and unknown. Having to work through the pandemic as well as trying to make sense of it, was one of the hardest years academically and personally. The constant fear of failing and sense of hopelessness felt like there was no possible way coming back from this. The pandemic presented hardships, fear and a questioning if really, we would overcome this. However, not only have we endured, but we have thrived, succeeding and persevering what we once thought with uncertainty. As I am on this stage, I am leaving my own legacy. A legacy I am proud to have committed and have faith in, even when I felt like it was the impossible so that my family could one day be inspired to do the impossible. It was not only through comfortable passings, but also embracing moments of uncomfortableness from uncertainty and the support of professors and family that I am honored to stand in front of you today.

Whether you’re an athlete, non-traditional, first-generation, transfer or traditional student, we have laughed together, cried together, shared our stories and met new people during our time together that will continue to grow after today. Each one of us has created a legacy, whether we know it or not, that inspires future generations among families, friends or even ourselves as we take a new road of our own legacy story. Mother Theodore once said, “We cannot do our work if we all stay in the nest.” Mother Theodore took a step of faith with fearless leadership, passion and dedication to fulfill her purpose and vision of something beyond greater than what she could have imagined. As we leave “our nest,” our Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, into the real world, may we be constantly reminded of our time here at The Woods to guide us into our new legacy as leaders within our own communities to push boundaries, continue the faith and persevere. As diverse leaders may we always represent Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College through our work and be proud of our origin. As we come to new diverged roads, may Provident God continue to watch over and lead us in our unique, wonderfully made legacies, guiding us through the less traveled roads the same way He was faithful to Mother Theodore Guerin.

Congratulations to the class of 2024, and may Provident God bless and guide you through this new legacy.

Polet Horsley Horton ’24

Polet Horsley Horton earned her Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Nursing and Kinesiology. While at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), Horton was a member of the Presidential Corps and volunteered for several campus events, including Woods Giving Day and SMWC’s Foundation Day of Service. Additionally, Horton was involved in the Sustainability Club and the SMWC Dance Team.

As a native of Terre Haute, Polet stays connected to the Wabash Valley through volunteering with the Clay County Food Pantry, Knots of Love Blankets and Clothe a Child. Throughout her time at SMWC, she has continued to work at Terre Haute Regional Hospital and Union Health, giving her life skills as she enters the workforce. She is a first-generation college student and is forever thankful for the impact that SMWC has had on her. After graduation, she plans to continue her professional career as a registered nurse (RN) at Union Health in the Emergency Room.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.