Headed to Purdue Fort Wayne this fall is Bishop Dwenger salutatorian Shea Odle, a graduate who has embraced both her education and her faith to the fullest.
Odle attended St. Jude School and has been a lector at the parish since seventh grade. She appreciates having been able to continue her studies in a Catholic environment at Dwenger.
“Throughout high school, faith was my refuge. During my early years at Dwenger, I would find myself dwelling upon the looming decisions of the future and the wretched pains of the past. I worried about the college I would get into, what career I would assume, and if my life would be successful in my own eyes or in the eyes of others,” she said. “Little did I realize then, all that time spent worrying was spent in vain. As St. Augustine wisely wrote in Confessions, “We could not measure things that do not exist, and things past and future do not exist.”
“The profound truth in this statement set me free from all my concerns of controlling the future or fixing the past, for there is only now to act and to be.”
Odle feels that she “hit the holy gold mine” with her final theology/philosophy classes at Dwenger, Dignity of Women and Great Catholic Thinkers.
“These classes have enriched my very soul and given me a greater faith and knowledge of truth than I have ever had in my 18 years. I now know, and will never forget, that my primary vocation and calling is to holiness,” she said. “Only if I do not accomplish this will I truly be a failure, for there is no greater loss than to reach the end of life and not be a saint. Any concerns of success in a job and having money have evaporated, for this is not my home I am just passing through.”
Extracurricular activities interested Odle as well and made high school “a blast.”
“For the first two years, I was on the tennis team and learned some patience and endurance. As a sophomore, I joined the varsity bowling team and had the time of my life; I remained on the team for the rest of my high school career and wept on the last day.” The joy and vivacity of the team affected Odle deeply: She wasn’t ready to give them up. “I did spell bowl all four years and became captain for the last two, a very luminous experience for sure.”
To continue stretching her brain, Odle said, she was a frequently losing member of the Scrabble Club sophomore year. “I competed on three of the academic super bowl teams during my junior year. In service for the community, I went to a club called Project Linus every Wednesday to make blankets for childhood trauma victims and the nursing homes, and I participated as a Euell Wilson tutor for underprivileged children.”
At the end of her junior year, she became a writer and editor for the school newspaper, The Golden Trumpet. “I loved writing articles, both silly and serious, and I discovered a passion for puns and poetry that I had not yet known. Junior and senior year, I was a member of National Honor Society and learned the importance of service and charity and integrity.”
In her free time, Odle likes to read and write and listen to music. She also entertains many fond memories of high school, including screaming cheers in the football stands on Friday nights, hallway run-throughs for the students going to state competitions, and dancing at the dances and during physical education classes – “especially in lines and squares,” she said.
Odle graduates with a 4.490 GPA, placing her second in the Bishop Dwenger Class of 2020.
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