2023 Senior Challenge

Each year, the senior class selects a representative to deliver the Senior Challenge. This speech provides seniors with final words of encouragement and points them to Christ. This is an abridged version of Valedictorian Corinne Ritter’s speech; each point was shared alongside the cited Bible verse.

Running is a lot like life and is mentioned in the Bible a number of times. Here are five things I learned in cross country that I’d like to challenge you to apply to your life as well.


Running can only be effective if you follow the training plan set before you. Our training is not always easy, but it is meant to prepare us to handle the tough race ahead of us. We have spent the last four years growing and preparing ourselves͙ now as we enter a new phase of our life it’s time to take this training and put it to the test. James 1:2-3


Cross country is a team sport, and the team can only be successful when every runner is at their best. Who is your team? As Christians, we have the incredible ability to be part of God’s economy (or oikonomia, as we learned in Bible 12). It is our calling to encourage and build each other up because each person plays a unique role in God’s family. 1 Corinthians 12:26-27


Like any sport, cross country requires specific gear that helps a runner to run their very best. As we approach our “race” let us carry the proper equipment to help us succeed. Remember that we have been given the tools we need to run our race well. Ephesians 6:13


When running a race, it can be tempting to go out too hard or too slow in order to match the pace of someone else. As we enter a new environment, it might be tempting to adjust or change ourselves to fit in with others, but it’s important to remember that we were created this way for a reason. Surround yourself with people who push your pace but ultimately root yourself firmly in who God says you are. Romans 12:2


A runner knows to listen for their coach’s voice. Think of God as your coach. As we enter college it can be easy to just focus on what’s right in front of us. When we tune out our coach’s voice, it can become easy to slow down our pace or not pursue God’s plan full force. Jeremiah 29:11

As we approach the starting line of our race, let us remain confident in the fact that our training has prepared us for this new phase of life. So “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-3