I would first like to start off by thanking everyone that made this commencement happen: the commencement committee that started meeting in the fall semester to lay down all these chairs, to the people running around getting us to where we all need to be, thank you all so much. We really couldn’t have done all of this without you, so thank you.
As I was coming up here to speak, I was very nervous. And I just looked out into the crowd, and I was like, these are my peers, these are people I’ve known for four years. I’m looking at my friends, and it makes me just feel so much less nervous and so happy to see all of you here today.
Like many of you, in August 2015 I packed up my life and said goodbye to longtime friends and family to come here to learn and grow. Like many of you, I occasionally questioned my decision to stay. But as the months continued, we chose to stay and take control of our circumstances.
We got close to our roommates, joined clubs, tried out for teams, and worked on and off campus, and we became embedded in the Ithaca community. We also began to learn to rely not just on those back home, but to trust the bonds of friendships we have created here at Ithaca College. We opened our hearts to new relationships and our minds to new experiences.
Some of those people, those new relationships lasted until today and you are surrounded by their love and praise right now. Some relationships ran their course but that’s okay because it is all part of growing up. Relationships back home were tested — some relationships lasted, and some did not. Some of us unfortunately lost loved ones, friends and family members during our journey here.
At this time, I would like us to take a moment of silence to honor the memory of all those we have lost during our journey including our beloved classmate Anthony Nazaire. Thank you.