When I was first asked to speak in front of the graduation committee, I said to myself, "I can't do this", "what do I have to say anyway", "I don't have time", "I'm in the middle of midterms" and "it's just something else I have to prepare for."
After pondering over all these "excuses," I'm here and I have an answer to my own questions. The reason I'm here is because my achievements are much greater than me. I owe most of my success to the faculty, staff, and students of Shelton Community College. I need to show my gratitude and appreciation to those who helped me get on this stage tonight, something I never thought was possible. Let me explain why.
I was born and raised in Southern California in a difficult area, where going to school was not a priority. My high school was composed of gang violence and drive-by shootings. In addition, I was living in an environment where people abused themselves, as well as others. People around me were selling drugs, using drugs, involved in gangs, and dropping out of school. Most of my high school girlfriends were getting pregnant and working the welfare system to make a living. That was what my life was like, then.
I first visited Washington state in the summer of '93, at the age of 15. I didn't realize it then, but that visit opened my eyes to what was possible and gave me hope for the future. I settled in Shelton for the summer and joined the STAR program through Shelton High School. I was to go to summer school from 8 a.m. to noon and do a work assignment from 1-4 p.m. Can...
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... possible for us to have a dream and has impacted us in many ways. I know we will always remember SCC as a home, a life, and a future, all in one campus. You provided us a quality education in an atmosphere that has encouraged all of us to achieve our educational goals. We are now life-long learners, responsible members of our communities, and are proud citizens of a rapidly changing world. You have provided us an equal access to educational opportunities, maintained high standards of excellence, and promoted a sense of campus community. Therefore, I APPLAUD Shelton Community College for successfully fulfilling its mission with the class of 2006.
Go celebrate tonight! Spend time with your families and show them your appreciation. Please remember that yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, and that's why it's called the present. Dream big!
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