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2008 Upward Bound Bridge Graduation Commencement Address (They let me do a speech!!)

Good morning, I am proud to stand here before you today, the Upward Bound graduating Class of 2008.. At one time, I aspired to do what it is that you are all doing and I was even awarded the same opportunity to sit where you all sit today. I did not realize or appreciate then what that meant, nor did I take advantage of what was being offered. Many of you will go off to college following this experience and no program will have better prepared you to do that. You all have been blessed with a gift to make a difference in the life of someone else and the ability to achieve great success on your own. Try to remember as you have been told time and time before. What is important is not how much money you make, the car you drive or the size of your home, but the positive relationships that you will build along the way. This is another one of the key tools which Upward Bound has given all of you as the students who have come before you. The staff of Upward Bound have not only demonstrated their belief in this, but instilled in all of us the importance of relationships and the meaning of family.

 

When I first sat down to write this, I thought about what inspirational life lesson I could tell you. You've probably heard them all, and if like me, remember very few. I could not recall anything that had been really moving, but I will tell you what has contributed to my own growth and success along the way. I stay true to myself and I don't give up. I say to you all today, always remember who you are. Growing and maturing may be the most difficult part of life, but hold on to the truest part of you and compromise that for no one. This is what is wonderful about each of you, that is what has brought you this far, and that is also what will contribute to your happiness and achievements in the future. You may find that the life you end up living is not the same life that you always envisioned for yourself. You may also find that the journey of life is not one that is easy and will be marked with many tribulations. These tribulations will make you stronger and will hopefully help you appreciate the blessings you have even more. Be willing to accept the changes and embrace the challenges because that is what life is. Make sure to do all of this while believing in yourself and the decisions you make. You earned this day and be proud of this because this is truly just the beginning.

 

I have not come to you today with a long speech filled with words you will not remember. What I hope you will remember is to stay true to yourself and don't give up. Again, I congratulate you all and wish you the very best in all that you will go on to do.



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