This is the speech I gave at this year’s Denison High School Band Banquet, at which I presented the seventh annual Super Steve Award. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this award was created in 2011 to honor my late son Stephen, a DHS band member who died in an accident in June 2010 just a few weeks before his 16th birthday.

Good Evening.

Each year, I am honored to be invited to come before this group to present the Super Steve Award. I’d like to thank the band directors, the boosters, the parents, and especially you students for taking the time to remember and honor my son in this way. And, for as long as I have a breath in me, I will always be more than happy to come here and make this presentation.

Seven years. It’s hard to imagine almost seven years have passed since the accident that took Steve’s life. It seems like only yesterday for me, and for anyone else who knew him. Do you remember where you were seven years ago? Most of the Freshmen here were just finishing up second grade…imagine that! You Seniors sitting in front of me didn’t start playing in Band for another year. That seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? And now you’re ready to move on to the next phase in your lives, hopefully filled with new experiences and exciting adventures. I certainly wish you all the best as you move forward in the world. But, be sure to remember where you came from and those you spent time with in class; you might be as surprised as I was to learn how much they really thought about you but were too shy or too cool to say anything back in school.

I realized the other day that very few of us in this room actually knew Stephen. I once said that eventually the day would come when no one here will have ever known him, and that it was the responsibility of those of us who did to tell those who follow a little bit about him. Steve’s friends and classmates still talk about him and the influence he had on their lives; I know this because many of them stay in touch with me through Facebook. That makes me very glad, knowing the memories will stay alive and the stories will keep passing down for a long time to come. Perhaps someday they may be the ones standing here, telling those that come along after all of us are gone what he was like, and why this award is so different from most of the other ones that are handed out this evening.

There have been many superlatives used to describe Steve and his personality. He’s been called a leader, a hard worker, a true warrior, a dedicated trumpet player, and an ideal student, among others. My favorites are “Mr. Integrity” and, of course, “Super Steve.” His accomplishments in academics were well recognized, having won numerous awards going all the way back to elementary school. He was second in his class, and well on his way to becoming valedictorian. He always strived to do his best no matter what he did, including Band; there were countless hours of practice he put in to make himself better.

But, to me the superlatives that mean the most are inscribed on his gravestone – Son, Brother, and Friend. Stephen was a Son whose talents made Chris and me as proud as any parents could ever be. He was a Brother who fought like cats and dogs with his siblings but fought harder when someone crossed them. And, he was a Friend who never hesitated to help others in need.

The criteria used in selecting the individual to receive this award are also superlatives in a sense; they are all qualities that were a part of Stephen’s character, the essence of the “everyday Steve” his classmates and teachers knew and admired, and still talk about to this day.

First is Pride for Band. This speaks for itself. Steve was very proud of being a member of the Touch of Gold, and when he was selected as a section leader he took the job to heart, working hard to learn how to be one of the best. Had he lived, I’m sure he would have been.

Next is Integrity. He stood by what he said, he followed the rules, and both celebrated his successes and owned up to his mistakes. I’d say the title of “Mr. Integrity” was well earned.

Leadership comes next. Steve was a natural leader in many respects, but most importantly he wouldn’t ask anyone to do something he wasn’t willing to do himself.

And finally, Selflessness. He gave of himself – his time and his talents – with no expectation of anything in return.

That sounds like a lot to live up to, doesn’t it? I suppose it is. Steve took it all in stride, and I’m sure if you ask any of the previous recipients of this award that question they might say the same thing. That’s what makes them “super”.

And with that, it is my honor and pleasure to present this year’s Super Steve Award to Maxwell Perez.

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 13th, 2017 at 10:50 pm and is filed under Today's Reality, Tomorrow's Dreams, Yesterday's Memories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment

Deneen Ansley

This is a wonderful speech! It has just the correct amount of touching on the past and the sadness that led up to the creation of this award, and the present and the hope for the future for all of the people listening. I’m not sure that I could have written a speech with this much grace. I’m sure that the Spirit-of-Steve is very honored by your honoring of him.

May 22nd, 2017 at 3:17 pm

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