In remembrance: Seth David Mandryk

by Breanna Adamick

Every semester has its highs and lows – good and bad times. We rejoice in the good and do our best to support one another through the bad. The Greensboro College Pride was dealt a very harsh blow near the end of March, which tested our bond as a community. On Tuesday, March 21, emails were sent out to everyone on campus informing us of a current GC student’s sudden passing. The day before was the day that student Seth David Mandryk took his own life in his residence on West McGee Street.

A portrait of Seth Mandryk.

Seth Mandryk was from Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada, and came to Greensboro College after graduating from Barton College in the spring of 2022. A captain of the men’s lacrosse team, Mandryk was committed to his college sports career, but also to furthering his academic career, being set to graduate from GC in the May commencement ceremony with a master’s in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). People who knew Seth described him as someone who had a contagious smile, a fun, positive attitude, and a stickler for facts who had no problem speaking his mind.

There is never an easy way to move forward after such a tragedy – no clear way to cope with all the feelings involved and no wrong or right emotion through it all. What we can do now is continue to remember the person Seth was to each of us – family, classmate, teammate, student and friend.

The GC community has been more united than ever during this time, not just with each other but also with other schools. On March 25, Barton College men’s lacrosse honored Seth, their former teammate, at their game. The entire Greensboro College men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, as well as many parents of the players, were in attendance. The following week at Pride Field on March 29, the GC men’s lacrosse team remembered Seth before and after their game versus Warren Wilson College. Players from both teams came together on the field, joined by the spectators of the game, to speak of Seth and join in prayer. Before this, there had been talks about cancelling the men’s lacrosse season, but it was voted by the players that they would finish out their season for Seth.

Seth’s teammates holding the Canadian flag during the memorial (photo courtesy of Christopher Sawyer).

Now, as time goes on with Seth still very much in our hearts and minds, we must hold on even tighter to the memories and deep impression he made on those who were fortunate enough to know him best, and the resounding impression on all of us, whether we knew him personally or not.

Seth’s teammates holding his jersey during the memorial (photo courtesy of Alta Sky).

“Seth enjoyed life,” stated Nate Bate, men’s lacrosse head coach. “He had a contagious smile and was loved by his teammates. He always fit in well with the guys and could carry on a conversation with anybody but liked doing his own thing as well.”

On the lacrosse field, he stood out instantly with his diligence, commitment and natural leadership. Although Seth only started at GC in the fall of 2022, he quickly became a captain on the lacrosse team.

“All the guys looked up to him because of who he was,” Bates explained, “he was a coach’s dream – very intelligent and pushed people around him to be better. He and I could talk plainly about things that were good, bad and different. One of the last conversations he and I had was us going back and forth, point for point, on all the things we need to fix to get better, and that’s just who he was. He was always thinking about how to get people around him better and raise the level of play. The way he saw things was just different than most kids.”

While continuing his college lacrosse career was a deciding factor in why Seth chose Greensboro College for his graduate education, he was also very excited for his future and academics and was invested in the TESOL program. Throughout his learning here, he loved the time he got to spend with his professors.

“I thought he was only taking graduate classes as a means to play lacrosse for GC,” stated Dr. Michelle Plaisance, professor of English and TESOL, and the director of graduate TESOL studies. “It did not take me long to realize Seth was a serious scholar with a true interest in teaching students from diverse cultural backgrounds.”

When thinking of Seth, Plaisance recalled his smile and sense of humor first and foremost, as well as how agreeable, easy-going and engaged he was.

“Seth was the kind of student every professor wants. He was smart, attentive, thorough, punctual, respectful and a lot of other good things. He had a perfect GPA and was dedicated to his studies. But what made Seth exceptional was his desire to take advantage of every opportunity we offered him. He attended meetings, conferences and observations that were an optional part of his studies, but he seemed eager to make the most of his experience in the MA TESOL program. His participation in these events is an illustration of his dedication to the program and his desire to be an excellent teacher.”

Seth was a light to all those who knew him, through words and actions, and is an example of the kind of person everyone hopes to meet or wishes they knew. Despite being at GC for so brief a time – what still would have been less than a year come his graduation this May – Seth touched so many lives and made an incredible impact upon the Greensboro College community. Through this difficult time, we must continue to be there for one another, as well as not forget to reach out to someone or utilize the college’s counseling services if we are struggling to cope with anything. Let us normalize opening up about any struggles we each may be having and seeking support for them.

Seth Mandryk will forever be in our hearts – loved and missed but never forgotten.

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