“Be the Change you Wish to See in the World” – Mahatma Gandhi
Everyone will say that life eventually comes to an end, so don’t stress about it. Then why as an 18-year-old student am I letting it? For fear that such a question would create additional stress, I reflected on the never-ending wants of mankind and the unlimited time of life. Yet, again, why travel around the world when I face the fear of receiving a dreaded phone call with bad news – the death of a loved one.
Such was the challenge most NCAI staff members, teachers, students, and alumni confronted as we said goodbye to a great teacher, Mr. Seipel, on February 13, 2021. Tom Seipel was an American who lost his battle to cancer at the age of 39. He was first diagnosed with cancer in his kidney where it later spread to the rest of his body. He worked at Nicaragua Christian Academy International as an English and Economics teacher for six years. As Leader of the Worship Band, Seipel seeked to motivate students in fostering a spiritual relationship with God. As Christians, NCAI admired how he built a culture of motivation for all students and teachers.
Although Mr. Seipel is not in any of the internet’s ‘Most Influential Leaders’ list, his true story, teacher-student bonds, and inspirational personality confirms that as he faced a battle with cancer, Mr. Seipel did not fear. He impacted.
It does not require one to be mentioned on the Internet to be known as influential. Such was the case of Mr. Seipel. Battling cancer is not easy. With it comes the fear of saying goodbye and the stress of paying treatment. After being diagnosed with cancer, Mr. Seipel did not quit, rather he attended school every day despite his ups and downs. Therefore, he remained as a symbol for NCAI that God brings good-spirited people into our lives to teach about His love, purpose, and timing. Courageously, he motivated himself to preach his journey with cancer to encourage others to lean on God in moments of frustration. Despite it being a sad story, it is also beautiful seeing as it stands by his life, values, and relationship with God.
With no doubt, Mr. Seipel has all the qualities that made him an influential leader at NCAI. Yet, it is his relationships with students that makes him the most distinguishable. As a senior advisor, he had the opportunity to get closer with each senior on a personal level. Although their relationships were different from mine, I can affirm that he influenced most of us in his own way. As soon as I met him, he pointed out that I could rely on him whenever I needed it. Therefore, I came to him for guidance on high school, university, and boys. He always knew the right thing to say, even though I had no desire in hearing the truth. Yet, these conversations have helped me to not be subject to the paralyzing events of constant frustration and disappointment I confront during my stay in university. Moreover, I, on behalf of most seniors, can say that our time with him was well spent since he achieved a positive change in us from the day we step foot on the real world – university.
Like all, no one wished to receive the dreaded news of Mr. Seipel’s death. We still long to see him laugh while he sits in his favorite rocking chair. We still long to hear his energetic voice sing to God during chapel and youth group. And most definitely, we still long to feel his welcoming and caring presence at NCAI. It is clearly undisputed that he has always had an influential personality. That which now motivates us to spend our time like we intend, aware of the risks that we might encounter during our journey and living our lives as the best Christian we can.
Mr. Seipel’s story, relationships, and personality made him leave a definite impact at NCAI. Moreover, it is a story that will leave an impact on others outside of NCAI borders, starting with this one article. And just like Mahatma Gandhi said, Mr. Seipel did prove to be the change in the world he wished to see.
We commemorate the life of Tom Seipel. Rest in Peace. Love, peace, and care to his family and friends.