From A Jovial Cemetery Supervisor To An Inspiring Minister, Career Day Presenters (And BA Alumni) Helped Us Imagine The Future

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Photo: Kristine Krauss, A Minister And BA Alum, Speaks To BA Students On Career Day

by Antonio Hunter

On Career Day, BA was graced with the presence of many hard-working professionals from different backgrounds. All of them possessed unique backstories and occupations. Fortunately, I had the privilege of being able to witness two of these presentations. One was by an inspiring pastor named Kristine Krauss, while the other was by a surprisingly joyous (considering his job description) cemetery supervisor named Terrance Nelson. During their respective talks, I had the responsibility of absorbing the minutiae of multiple factors, such as their past, their dreams, their experiences throughout life. Most importantly, they were able to share their inspiration for wanting to pursue their current professions.

We were greeted to Kristine Krauss and her husband, John. She began the introduction by telling us about her intensely traumatic past, which included negative self-esteem problems related to her body, marital issues, substance abuse, and rape. Things took a positive turn when she began talking about her time in IB and Honors courses during her years at Boyd Anderson High School before graduating in 1995. Ms. Krauss eventually graduated from Florida State University and held jobs as an author, journalist, editor, and poet, even completing a brief stint in the U.S. Air Force. However, due to complications from lupus (a serious, inflammatory auto-immune disease) and her right knee blowing out, most of her dreams were taken away from her. Ms. Krauss told us that her unyielding faith and firm belief in God is what helped her survive everything painful she was forced to endure. This deep trust in God is what led her to becoming an uplifting pastor who prays for people in their times of need. Even though she doesn’t get paid, (she runs her ministry on a volunteer basis) she said, “I do it because I love God and I love helping people. The only payment I get is knowing that God is happy with me.” Another message she gave us was :“Don’t give up your dream. No matter what.”

I personally appreciated Ms. Krauss’ bravery and immense courage for finding it within herself to relive her most painful moments and memories with us for the purpose of letting us know exactly why she took the path to being a pastor who helps others out of the kindness of her loving, caring, compassionate and understanding heart. She’s an extremely powerful and resilient woman for what she decided to share, and she deserves a tremendous amount of respect for her current contributions to others. God must be ecstatic to have an angel like her on Earth.

After Ms. Krauss’ lecture, Terrance Nelson and his childhood friend, Rochelle Davis, came into the fold. Mr. Nelson was a very bubbly and charismatic person despite dealing with death most of the time. He was open to telling us about several things, like his fun times at Boyd Anderson High School and at Band Camp for the summer. He was also in the JROTC program and aspired to join the military after high school, but his dad talked him out of it. After graduation in 1999, Mr. Nelson attended college but quickly dropped out when discovering it wasn’t what he expected. He later went on to become a graduate of Florida Atlantic University with the purpose of wanting to be in HR and accounting. Additionally, he had a stint as a garbage collector for the city Pompano Beach, joining a large municipal bureaucracy with potential for advancement into other departments and positions.

Mr. Nelson finally found his calling in 2001 when he became the cemetery supervisor for Pompano Beach. He’s been at it 19 years. His job is to deal with the cemetery grounds, and he oversees burials and schedules meetings with families about funeral preparations. He said that among the greatest challenges of his job is helping families plan funerals for teenage children who’ve died as a result of gun violence. Mr. Nelson infused his talk with strong advice to BA students not to fall in with the wrong crowd, or get into silly disputes that can turn deadly and sometimes, as he’s witnessed, begin as social media spats. Of his job’s mission, he said earning a salary was beside the point.

“It’s not about the money, it’s about meeting people at their lows. It’s spiritual, not monetary,” Mr. Nelson told us. This is in reference to raising up the spirits of his clients to help them cope with grief. Mr. Nelson credits his success not only to his father for guiding him, but also to his mother for teaching him to be accountable.

“My parents were always there for me. They were an inspiration for me to do good,” Mr. Nelson said. In similar fashion to Krauss, Mr. Nelson gave us a parting message in which he said, “Whatever you want to do, start now.” I enjoyed his presentation because of his electrifying personality. Whether you are dead or alive, you’re in very good hands with Terrance Nelson.

All in all, Career Day was a major success due to the willingness of such hard-working and motivational individuals who graciously took the time out of their day to enlighten and inspire the next generation. To all who participated, thank you for your service!