Culver Girls Academy officially welcomed 98 girls into the fold when they received the CGA Crest on their blazers during a ceremony Sunday afternoon.
The event, conducted in Eppley Auditorium, featured Chase Cortes ’19 (Chicago) as the keynote speaker. Cortes, who is on the CGA basketball team, told the audience her role as a player coming off the bench has “widen my perspectives and attitudes in many aspects of life, emphasizing the very virtues depicted within the Crest’s quadrants.”
The crest is not only the “defining symbol” of CGA, she explained, but it also “represents the character and values upheld by CGA students through its four quadrants.
“Throughout the remainder of your Culver careers, you will find many of these values present in your daily life,” she said, “whether that be in your relationships, classes, dorms, or leadership positions.”
For Cortes, coming out of “basketball retirement” her senior year has given her a new perspective on the Crest’s meaning. “I soon found my true role,” she said, and she has learned more about being on a team and herself than ever before. “I was a benchwarmer.”
She joked about learning how to sit on bleachers without killing her hips, filling water bottles, and not needing to take a shower after most games. But there are some challenges, she added. “Sometimes, it’s not so easy sleeping at night knowing that if every player gets injured or fouls out, I am the go-to guy.”
But sitting on the bench has also “widened my perspectives and attitudes in many aspects of life, emphasizing the very virtues depicted within the Crest’s quadrants.”
Some of those lessons include:
- How to place others before yourself.
- It’s not about being the best player, “it’s about being the best teammate.”
- It’s not about scoring the most baskets, “it’s about knowing when to pass.”
- It’s not about making the biggest plays, “it’s about making the biggest sacrifices.”
Cortes said she doesn’t worry about playing time. “Instead, I focus on the things I can control: my attitude and my effort. I show up to practice every day, give my 100 percent effort, cheer my teammates on, and treat my coaches and fellow players with respect.
“These actions earn me more strength, dignity, friendship, and knowledge than any amount of playing time could.”
She finished by telling the new members of CGA to “look for the experiences that will allow these traits to manifest.”
Continue to work hard and maintain a positive outlook, she said, and “your moment of glory will come.” Down the road, the skills and character developed along the journey “will equip you to tackle anything that comes your way.”
And, let the Crest serve as a “constant reminder of this,” she added. By wearing the Crest on your blazers, “you commit to the CGA community and to exercising the values that someday will surely set you on the path to becoming an all-star.”