From Thomas Starks, Jr.
Class of 2013
In the blink of an eye, one day you wake up and you realize — where did time go? As we grow older, we look back on past memories or experiences and realize how fast time truly does go. We then start to wonder ... Have we really made an impact the way we’ve always wanted?
My name is Thomas Starks Jr., and I am a 2013 graduate of Concordia Lutheran High School. It seems as if just yesterday I was roaming the halls of Concordia, finding new things to venture into as a young Cadet. Now, I often catch myself thinking — how in the world did my Concordia experience move so quickly?
As I get older, and I ponder over the memories I’ve made at CLHS, I can’t help but think of all the blessings that have been placed in my life just from being a Cadet. From a Christ-centered educational experience taught by outstanding teachers, to lifelong friends, to being a part of the 2013 State Runner-Up Basketball Team.
Concordia was worth it.
After graduating from Concordia, I spent my next four years studying business at Spring Arbor University. Through my collegiate career, I was challenged day in and day out. Athletically, I did not see some of the same successes as I did during my tenure at Concordia, and academically I was pushed hard. Luckily before attending Spring Arbor, I was challenged to always do my best. The faculty and staff at Concordia constantly poured into me and pushed me to be the absolute best that I could be. This propelled me to overcome adversity and to give my best over my four years at Spring Arbor.
It was cool to see all the hard work finally pay off. I graduated Cum Laude from Spring Arbor and was a two-time NAIA Academic All American. I was named to the Crossroads League All-Academic team both my junior and senior years. In addition, I graduated as the Business Administration Student of the Year.
These accomplishments wouldn’t have been made possible without some of the disciplines that were given to me throughout my years at Concordia.
In the book of Romans, it says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5).
When I read a verse like that, I realize that Concordia Lutheran High School didn’t need Thomas Starks. Thomas Starks needed Concordia Lutheran High School. I needed teachers and administrators to push me through the tough times, which has helped me realize that never giving up will produce the results we want to see.
I am now a graduate of Spring Arbor working in Fort Wayne. After graduation, I landed an amazing job for Ash Brokerage in downtown Fort Wayne, and started a position in May 2018 as the Vice President of Investment Services for First Companies, Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Looking back over the years, it is the people who believed in me that I want to thank. Without Concordia investing in me, I don’t know what my path would have turned out to be. But just like Concordia believed in me, I will continue to believe in Concordia and all they do and continue to do.