By Randy York, The N-Sider
A 5-foot-7 senior gymnast from West Middlesex, Pa., Jennie Laeng scored a 10 last Saturday afternoon addressing 51 fellow Husker student-athletes who received their diplomas at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's commencement exercises at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Laeng warmed hearts, created smiles and received healthy applause defining and describing Nebraska's favorite six-word phrase. Here is her short but powerful speech:
“There is No Place Like Nebraska.
“This is a saying that is placed on t-shirts. It's sung in our fight song. It's on billboards around the city. But most importantly it is the best saying to describe this university and especially this athletic department.
“From the first time I stepped on campus as a junior in high school to my senior year on the gymnastics team, I have felt a sense of community that only Lincoln has provided. This place has become home to all of us from different states, countries and backgrounds and I wouldn't have it any other way.
“Now is the time to begin the next chapter of our lives, but it is also a time to reflect on everything we have accomplished and to be thankful for everyone who has helped us along the way.
“It hasn't always been easy, but with the help of our Academic counselors, Life Skills staff, Compliance staff, coaches, teammates and so many others, we have reached the ultimate goal of all student-athletes and have become alumni of the University of Nebraska."
Laeng: Facts Help Her Understand Why There Is No Place Like Nebraska
“In the past four or five years, we have made it through the 6 a.m. lifting before classes.
“We have successfully found ways to watch Netflix in study hall.
“We have built relationships with Ruth and Larry at the Training Table.
“We have given in to Jordan's and Stacey's requests to speak at elementary schools and secretly ended up loving it.
“We have witnessed or been a part of volleyball and bowling national championships.
“We have become Big Ten Conference champions.
“We have come together as a family to mourn the loss of a friend in Sam Foltz.
“Some of us have hung up our cleats and finished our sporting careers while others will continue to play professionally.
“We became the first participants in the annual Nebraska Diversity Summit.
“We have succeeded over and over in the classroom.
“We have left our legacy.
“Take a moment to look around and realize how blessed you are for this moment, these people and this one-of-a-kind university.
“Thank you for the best four years I could ask for.
“I am forever proud to be a part of Husker Nation.
“Go Big Red!”
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