The 13 years that I have spent attending school have quickly passed through my life as if a dream, much as I imagine it did Edgar Allan Poe. I can still remember my first day of school in Vietnam when I was five years old. Timid and scared, I held my mother's hand tightly, frightened that if I let go, I would lose her forever. My mother looked at me and said gently in Vietnamese:
"Su hoc nhu thuyen tren dong nuoc nguoc. Khong tien at se lui"
Translated into English it means:
"Education is like a boat heading upstream against the river's current. If it is not going forward, it will be left drifting behind."
Now, years later, I stand among fellow students who have also bravely faced the challenge of that upstream river of knowledge. We are gathered here tonight for a very special and important occasion. It will be a night for all of us to remember, a night of wonderful memories, a night that celebrates the end of one journey and the beginning of another. I would like to welcome all of you here today -- faculty, family, friends, fellow Phi Theta Kappans, and of course, the one, the only Harding Community College graduating Class of 2006.
Thank you for giving me the honor of speaking to you on this very special occasion in our lives. Giving a commencement speech is a very challenging task. The faculty would like a speaker with a substantive message. The parents would appreciate a sentimental tone, and the graduates would like the speech to be brief!
Two years ago, we came to this institution with great enthusiasm and determination to build a bridge to the future for ourselves and for the next generation. We brought with us impressive...
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...e has given us, to work together to translate the abstract into reality. In closing, and rather than saying good-bye to all of you, I ask the Class of 2006 to please rise.
Let us give a grateful applause to Harding Community College for all that it has done and continues to do to help students like us in our quest for success.
Let us thank you, our distinguished faculty, for believing in us, compelling us, and teaching us to explore the fullness and strength that lie within ourselves.
Let us thank our family and friends for loving us, supporting us, and encouraging us to pass through the challenges of that upstream river of knowledge.
And, let us celebrate this day with cheerful applause and congratulations to each other for being wonderful companions along this journey.
Class of 2006, I wish you all a bright future and may another journey begin here.
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